Dear St. John's,
The situation in Seattle is changing rapidly and your leadership at St. John the Baptist has decided to join many other worshiping communities in canceling services and gatherings for at least the next two weeks and probably longer. The church building will be closed during this time as well. I expect our bishop will mandate this as soon as later today and so the staff is in planning mode to shift our Sunday worship to online. Here is what you need to know right now:
All planned meetings and gatherings at St. John the Baptist or hosted by St. John the Baptist are canceled or postponed.
This includes Sunday worship, adult formation classes, Sunday School, Wednesday night Lenten program, outside groups using the space, etc. We are asking everyone to stay home as much as you can, and find other ways to connect with each other. We will help with this!
We will livestream worship at 10:15 a.m. this Sunday on our Facebook Page. The situation continues to change day by day. The current plan for Sunday, March 15 is to have Rev. Kate Wesch and Emily Tanis-Likkel, Family Life Minster each record from their own homes. This will be Morning Prayer, with a sermon, readings, and lots of prayer. Watch alone or as a family - plan to comment and interact as well!
It is our plan to post the video of Morning Prayer to our YouTube Channel immediately following the service for you to view later.
Emily Tanis-Likkel, our Family Life Minister, will also be preparing a video Sunday School lesson for our families.
Wednesday Evening Prayer will also take place in this way at 6:30 p.m..
Here is the link to our public Facebook page. You do not need to have a facebook account to view our videos or our livestreams. If you need help with this, let me know and I will send you directions for doing this! (email@example.com)
Connection Groups are being formed now. Connection Groups are an effort to help those who are feeling isolated. We do not expect Connection Groups to meet in person, but to check in via phone, Skype, Marco-Polo, Zoom, text or some other method daily during this crisis. We will put together resources to assist those who are unfamiliar with these technologies and have folks available to help! If you would like to participate in one of these groups, notify the Parish Office with an email. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your staff and clergy are still working. We will turn our efforts toward curating online worship, and connecting with Friend groups and individuals as we care for each other during this time. We may still be in the office, and there may be times when we are working from home. Emily will be recording videos and compiling resources for parents and families to use for faith formation at home. Anita and Lyn will continue to make sure bills get paid and our administration runs as smoothly as possible. We are, even now, considering how we can use some virtual formats for things like adult formation, book groups, and other important forms of connection and formation. Stay tuned for more on this as we put it together.
If you are able, consider online giving options. Many in our community are already experiencing negative financial impacts from this crisis. If you are able to continue your giving, you can mail your pledge, or give online. Click here to make a onetime pledge or gift to the SJB general operating fund.
You may also make donations to the Rector's Discretionary Fund at this link. What's that you might ask? It is a special fund at the church which will be used in the near future for those whose livelihood is threatened by these shutdowns. Please prayerfully consider whether you might be able to make donations to this fund or let me know if you need temporary assistance to get through this difficult time.
When in doubt - reach out. It is okay to be worried, scared, anxious or angry during this time. Your church is here for you. Reach out to me, your Connection Group, neighbors, and friends. You are not alone.
Here is my email: email@example.com
We will continue to be in frequent communication. Be well. We can do this.
Blessings and care,