June 12, 2020
Beloved Saints of Saint Luke’s,
Most of you have probably heard or seen something along the lines of, “The church is not closed, we just cannot access the building right now.” Fortunately, this has been true for us as many important ministries of our congregation continue including our Food Bank, with our gratitude to Deborah and Ken Delmastro for continuing this vital service to so many people. Many committees as well as your Vestry have continued to meet online, and our Junior Warden, Don McKellar, has continued several key projects during this time. (When you can return, please take a look at our recently refurbished chapel with new pew cushions and reupholstered chairs to match in the altar area thanks to a generous donor.) While the buildings are closed our ministry to our community and those in need continues, thanks in no small part to your ongoing support of our church.
I had originally intended to update you on our plans for re-opening St. Luke’s for worship again. Bishop Reddall had earlier announced that churches in Yavapai County could re-open once they had submitted a plan for doing so in a safe and secure manner and that plan had been approved by the Diocese. However, with the recent spike in the incidences of Covid-19 in the state and the jump in Yavapai County, this has once again been postponed. So once more, like Christians through the ages, we have to wait in hope and anticipation.
When we are able to gather again, this will not mean an immediate “return to normal”. I did want you to know that we are actively working on a plan that will allow us to safely and securely return to a regular schedule of worship for those who feel that they can comfortably do so. Some of the things you will notice when we do re-open are that masks will be required of all, hand sanitizing will be mandatory, appropriate social distancing will be required by all and carefully marked, and unfortunately there will not be an opportunity to socialize together as we love to do after worship.
The name and theme of our Diocesan program for re-opening our congregations is “Gathering for Abundant Life”. St. Luke’s has put together a task force to make the recommendations for a plan to be approved by the Vestry and submitted to the Diocese. Mother Denise has agreed to head up this group and they are going to try and get the plan submitted as soon as possible, consistent with ensuring that it is comprehensive, safe and meets all of the guidelines outlined by the Diocesan Committee. The others serving on the Task Force are Steven Dear, Julie Cargill, Lloyd Needham and Ron Weiss. We deeply appreciate their efforts and hard work. We are hopeful that we will be able to re-open fairly quickly after we once again get the approval from our Bishop, but at this point we do not know when that will be.
When we have an approved plan, we will distribute information to the congregation as to the nature and requirements of that plan. I hope you anticipate this as much as I do, and I very much look forward to seeing those of you who are able to be in church again. In the meantime, if you have special needs, please let me or another of our staff members know about those. Please know that you continue in my prayers and in most of my waking thoughts. I do want to close by mentioning once more my deep thanks for all of your continued good wishes, prayers and ongoing support of St. Luke’s. It is a wonderful privilege to be your Rector.
In Jesus’ Love,
To download PDF of Fr. Pierre-Henry’s letter, click here.