Dear Friends in Christ:
I have never liked roller coasters. The Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags over Georgia did me in during a Ninth-grade church field trip. I thought if I ever got off of it alive I would never get back on it again. And I haven’t until these past weeks. I prayed a great deal during what was in essence less than a five-minute ride and I am praying a lot right now. There are so, so many variables at play emotionally, financially, and most importantly spiritually. Our best hope is, as it always has been had we been able to see, God. God and God alone. God was there at the beginning and God is always the circle around which other’s circles continue to be drawn come what may. We have been given an opportunity to expand the parameters of our faith. To trust in what we cannot see. This is the raw material of your Lenten journey. I want to ask you to do three things in the coming week.
- Pray the great theologian Reinhold Niebuhr’s prayer once every day. Choose either 8 am, or Noon or 8 pm knowing that one or more of us is offering up those very same petitions.
“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. “
- Instead of singing Happy Birthday while you wash your hands sing instead the Doxology through twice. Gratitude is the hallmark of the faith led life. It will change your heart faster than anything I know.
Let us know what you most need from St Paul’s right now. We are doing our very best to try and stay connected in a rapidly changing landscape.
Please know that I am praying for you. Let me know if there is something you would like for me to hold before God with you. Please pray for me and most especially those working hard on the front lines of health care right now. Be kind to those who are risking their lives so we can get groceries and medicine. Let them know how appreciated they are. We will keep you posted as we adapt based on these more stringent enforcement’s.
Keep the Faith and Let the Faith Keep you,
Rev, Tambria (Tammy) E. Lee +
We will be live streaming Morning Prayer from St Paul’s at 10:45 a.m. on Sundays via our Facebook page.
Please contact the office at 252-728-3324 (follow the prompts)if you have a pastoral emergency.
March 13, 2020
To the People of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
Dear Friends in Christ,
It is with great reluctance that I write today to request that all congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
suspend public worship, effective immediately and continuing through the end of March 2020. This direction is made
after consultation with many of our clergy and with members of our Executive Council. As I understand them, the
Canons of The Episcopal Church give me the authority and responsibility to offer such direction, in my capacity as your
Bishop. As it will be helpful, I will be available to speak with any clergy or churchwardens needing assistance.
This decision has not been taken lightly. It has been made in response to the request of the Governor of the State of
North Carolina and in line with the recommendations of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services,
published yesterday. In keeping with their efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, they have recommended, “that
organizers of events that draw more than 100 people should cancel, postpone, modify these events or offer online
streaming services. These events include large gatherings where people are in close contact (less than 6 feet), for
example concerts, conferences, sporting events, faith-based events and other large gatherings.”
The NC DHHS has made these recommendations for the next 30 days, with reassessment to follow. We very much hope
that, in fact, we will be free to resume public worship in time for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter, April 5-12.
Suspending public worship will challenge our life as church. As a diocese, we will work to share resources for online
worship and for prayer and worship at home.
We will also need to develop pastoral strategies for caring for the most vulnerable in our midst, and I hope that our
congregations will find ways to serve the needs of community members struggling to provide food for their families or
to provide Internet access for children sent home from school. While public worship is suspended, we must give good
attention to other dimensions of our life and decide locally when it is appropriate to modify plans and when events
must be cancelled or postponed. I look forward to learning of your creativity in meeting these challenges! We will be in
regular contact and will share resources through our website, by email, and through Zoom meetings.
We believe that we are called to love God and neighbor, and that our neighbors are all of God’s children in the State of
North Carolina and beyond. By suspending public worship, we hope to help slow the spread of COVID-19 particularly
amongst the most vulnerable in our communities. In time, I would rather learn that such precautions were unnecessary
than learn that by ignoring these recommendations we had contributed directly to the suffering of our neighbors.
Yours in Christ,
Post Office Box 1336 Kinston, North Carolina 28503
Telephone 252-522-0885 Facsimile 252-523-5272 www.diocese-eastcarolina.org