Fourth Sunday in Lent

Fourth Sunday in Lent

St. Andrew’s 

 Episcopal Church

22 Cumberland Street, Clear Spring, Maryland

 Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2020

“Church Closed for Public Worship During the COVID-19 Pandemic”



Church Closed for Public Worship. Because of the public health concerns pertaining to the Coronavirus (COVID-19); Bishop Sutton has ordered there is not to be any Public Worship in the Churches of the Diocese of Maryland until May 16, 2020.

No Holy Communion: All clergy in the Diocese of Maryland are forbidden at this time to Administer Holy Communion. The Sacrament may not be administered whether in the context of a Holy Eucharist Service, or individually with a small group or individuals from the Reserved Sacrament. The ONLY exception would be in the context of Extreme Unction to the Active Dying (Last Rites). The Clergy may continue to do as I am doing in my Livestreaming by doing a Mass of Intention where I represent the Congregation in consuming the Sacrament that I just Consecrated.

Livestreaming Continues During the Church Closing: Public Worship is suspended during the COVID-19. However, Father Steve will continue Livestreaming Morning Prayer and the Mass of Intention on Sunday Mornings. During the Livestreaming, no one is allowed to be in the Church since this would be considered Public Worship. All Livestreaming is on the Church Facebook page.

Morning Prayer – Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. Father Steve is Livestreaming Morning Prayer, Monday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. from the Church. Again, no one is allowed inside the Church during any Public Worship, including the Daily Office.

Other Activities May Continue During the Church Closing: Bishop Sutton will allow small groups to meet; this includes the Thursday Evening A.A. The Friday Lenten Meatless Luncheon & Bible Study will still meet since it is a small group. Father Steve’s “Friday Fish Eaters” program will continue to be Livestreamed during the Church closing. Groups are advised to use “Social Distancing”, keeping 6 feet distance between each other. No hugging or hand shakes. 

Pastoral Visits with Father Steve Inside the Church: Father Steve is scheduling Pastoral Visits (at this time) with him inside the Church. Groups no bigger than 10 may schedule to meet with Father Steve at the Church during each Pastoral Visit.

Vendor Fair Cancelled: Saturday, March 28th, Miller’s Farmstead  CANCELLED.

Pledges to the Church During Shutdown: If you are not signed up for our Online pay (Pushpay); please mail your Offerings to the Church: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 189, Clear Spring, MD. 21722

Bishop Sutton is Requesting for Us to Watch Livestream Sunday 22nd.: Bishop Sutton is requesting that as many people as possible watch the Livestreaming Service from Our Cathedral in Baltimore, this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Bishop Sutton will be Celebrating & Preaching. If anyone does not have the ability to watch Livestreaming, I can allow a small group, under 10, to come into the Church and watch the Livestreaming from our Cathedral. I will put this on the large television inside the Church. Our two Confirmands will be watching this as part of their Confirmation Class.

The Actions During COVID-19 are Fluid: As you are aware, the seriousness of this virus is causing changes by the minute. Please be flexible. Your Vicar is not happy with the impact of this virus on St. Andrew’s, just as our Bishop is not happy with the decisions he has to make for the Welfare of the Whole Diocese. As our Bishop said in a Webinar on Wednesday, sometimes as leaders we have to make decisions that are not popular, but we have to make decisions for the better of the whole.What may be OK now, could change very rapidly. While we are able to still meet in small groups, and still travel outside our homes, our Government could prohibited this tomorrow. Keep Praying! Keep Praying now for all who are not allowed to go to work because their jobs have been suspended.

Update on Cancellations & Modifications (Subject to Change at the last minute.):

1.) April 4th; 10:00 a.m. The Annual Trip to the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg for Outside Stations of the Cross is STILL ON at this time. However, the Grotto Bookstore is closed, and there are outside portable toilets.

2.) April 5th; 9:00 a.m. Palm Sunday. Father Steve WILL have the Palms distributed outside of the Church, however this will be the only Palm Sunday practice that will be allowed by our Bishop at this time. Bishop Sutton is requesting that the Churches Livestream the distribution of Palms. Father Steve will Livestream the Liturgy of Palm Sunday inside the Church (No Attendees allowed – Only Clergy) The Annual Palm Sunday Breakfast is cancelled.

3.) Holy Week at St. Andrew’s: April 9th (Maundy Thursday) Public Worship Cancelled, but will be Livestreamed. However, I will be allowed to bring in a few people into the Church for the Maundy Thursday Practice of Stripping the Altar. This will be Livestreamed. A Prayer Vigil will Commence after the Maundy Thursday Service Ends. Small Group may be inside the Church for the Prayer Vigil April 10th (Good Friday) Public Worship Cancelled, however, Father Steve will Livestream the Liturgy of Good Friday, as much as he is able. People will be allowed inside the Church for Prayer Vigil before the Good Friday Service begins.April 11th (Holy Saturday). The Easter Vigil at St. Andrew’s on April 11th is Cancelled. Our Bishop is requesting congregations to watch  the Easter Vigil that will be Livestreamed from our Cathedral. Time to Be Announced.

4.) Easter Sunday, April 12th at St. Andrew’s CANCELLED. However, Father Steve will Livestream “Something” at 9:00 a.m. Easter Egg Hunt at the Church is Cancelled.

Father Steve is Going to Open the Church: Father Steve knows how important the Church is, and how everyone is so saddened by the suspension of services during the COVID-19 Crisis. As long as he is allowed, Father Steve is working on a plan to have the Church open through the week for those who would like to come into the Church, sit; meditate, and Pray. This can be done in small groups (10 or less), and is not considered Public Worship. Those who would take advantage of this opportunity will be required to use hand disinfectant upon entering , and before leaving, and use social distancing (6 feet) from other people inside the Church. Common Sense will prevail. Not feeling well, or experiencing any symptoms, please do not walk into the Church. No one would be permitted inside the Church during the time Father Steve is Livestreaming any services. At this time, Father Steve is looking at having the Church open all through Holy Week, including the Triduum (Maundy Thursday – Easter Sunday) during the times no service is taking place. 

Stations of the Cross: Anyone who would like to do the Stations of the Cross inside the Church as individuals, let Father Steve know. The Booklets for the Stations are in the Narthex. 

Private Confession: This Sacrament is still available (with modification) during the virus crisis. Contact Father Steve to arrange. Holy Week is a good time for Private Confession.

Illness – Shut Ins – and Ongoing Needs:

Susie – Tommy – Sue – Carlene – Pam – Hilda – Jennifer – Brenda – Wyatt – Kathi – Christine Michelle – Patti – Ed – Don – Nell – Dana – Those suffering from the Flu. Those suffering from the Coronavirus. The Homeless. Those who suffer from addictions.  Our Military – Police Officers – Correctional Officers –  Fire Departments & Rescue Squads. Our Utility Workers.

In the Military: Benjamin Benner

“God Loves You”

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