St. George COVID-19 Pastoral Care Response

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Dear Friends in Christ:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even as we continue to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and heed the advisories from the CDC and other national and local agencies and officials, the Church staff and I are working diligently to see to it that the essential parts of our mission and ministry continue through the duration of the situation.

In times like these, there is a great temptation to simply hunker down and hide until the storm passes and life returns to normal.  Life will return to normal but it will be a new normal. Even as long-held ideas and assumptions in a number of areas of our lives have begun to crumble, God is at work in new ways.  God’s Mission will not be stopped. Ever.

Indeed, God’s Mission has a Church, the Body of Christ, which has to come to constant terms with its reality, its limitations, its humanity.  In times such as these, the Church; the People of God, redeemed and renewed in Christ; will continue to be equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue to do the work the Church has been called to do.

Therefore, mindful of our calling, we will continue on, admittedly in a new way, with the “work we have been given to do.” (BCP, pg. 366)

You will be receiving a series of emails over the next few days detailing information on a number of topics.  This email deals with Pastoral Care, Outreach Opportunities and Financial Giving.

Pastoral Care

One of my primary concerns is providing pastoral care to the St. George Community.

The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that in “case of illness, the Minister of the Congregation is to be notified“ (pg. 453). Please do communicate your need for pastoral care for you or a loved one.  St. George is blessed by an abundance of caring hearts. Community of Hope Lay Chaplains and an active number of prayer ministers partner with your clergy to tend to the spiritual needs of the Community.  We are pleased to be useful in assisting you in a time of need.

You may arrange an in-person, phone or Facetime visit by emailing Marilynne Herbster, Director of Pastoral Care, at mherbster@saintgeorgechurch.org.  You may also contact Rev. Susan Burnham, our Curate, via email:  sburnham@saintgeorgechurch.org.  I have charged them with organizing our pastoral care efforts within the congregation. We have also added a new email address. For any and all prayer requests, confidential or otherwise, you can email prayer@saintgeorgechurch.org.

Please note that we will assess, per best practice, the potential for exposure to COVID-19.  It is critical that pastoral caregivers stay healthy so as not to inadvertently and unknowingly expose others.

Outreach Opportunities

COVID-19 has caused many disruptions to the daily lives of many.  Those who struggle with basic necessities will find themselves struggling even more due to loss of work hours and income.  Those who are food insecure, especially children who have access to food only at school, will find themselves with less food.  Proper nutrition is critical to our ability to think, perform and learn. It is a basic need.

I invite you to consider supporting one of the following agencies who are already at work helping those who struggle daily with meeting their basic needs.  We cannot control the circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and that can leave us fearful and anxious, but we can replace fear by faithfully sharing, freely and generously, what God has given to us by giving to help others.

Rector’s Discretionary FundFunds used to help those in need.  Gifts received into the RDF will be allocated first to members of the SG Community in need then to those outside the SG Community. https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/360119

SA Food Bank: While dropping off food is always a good thing; monetary donations can go much further! 1.00 = 10 pounds of food, 10.00 = 100 pounds of food. 100.00 = 1000 pounds of food!   They will accept monetary donations online (see link below), but if you are not able to go online, their address is: SA Food Bank, 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy. San Antonio, TX 78227. They will also need volunteers to help during this time of increased activity.  Their hours of operation are: Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Please be aware that you will be asked a few questions when you first go to volunteer. Please see the link below to donate or volunteer. https://safoodbank.org/

Larkspur Elementary School: At this time they are not in need of supplies while the school is closed, but when they return, the Family Specialist has requested soaps and hygiene items for the families.

West Avenue Compassion:  WAC is aware of the hard times people are going through during this time of stress.  They will continue to be open for their “Choice Pantry” on Mondays and “Open Pantry” on Tuesdays with extended hours to maintain a safe environment. They are asking for donations of canned food and cereal, as well as volunteers (young and able) on Mondays and Tuesdays to help assist those who come in for food. https://westavenuecompassion.org/  

Lunches for Kids: Below is a link to information on where meals can be picked up for children while the schools are closed. Please share with those who may need it.  https://therivardreport.com/students-can-pick-up-meals-during-coronavirus-school-closures/

Meals on Wheels:  During this uncertain time, Meals on Wheels wants to make sure our senior neighbors have enough food in their pantries.  They have expanded their delivery time to the weekend. If you would like to help, please contact Sadie at 210-735-5115. 

Prayer:  Prayer is the most powerful tool we have in our toolkit. So this is a call to pray. You may not have money or the ability to get around but we can all pray. Below is a link to the Daily Lectionary. Praying the Daily Office gives us all an opportunity to help.  http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/

Financial Giving

Please be diligent about making and keeping up with your financial offering to God through St. George.  Continuing to give during this time allows us to respond to the ministry needs before us and continue to plan for the time when this pandemic has passed. To give online, please use our Tithe.ly website or you can give through your bank.

Should you have questions about how to give online, please contact Jennifer Kirkland, Bookkeeper, via email:  jkirkland@saintgeorgechurch.org or Keith Earle, Senior Director,  kearle@saintgeorgechurch.org and they can assist you.

Closing

In closing, I would share the words of St. Paul to the Philippians, “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (4.8-9)

May God’s peace be with you and your loved ones.

Stay well and God bless you!

Peace,

Ram+

Welcome To Our New Curate!

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Join us this Sunday, March 8th, as we welcome The Reverend Susan E. Burnham as our new Curate.
Susan joins us on our staff bringing much experience in serving as a staff lay minister at St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Braunfels for the past three years. Susan graduated from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest in Austin.

Lenten Lunches Are Back!

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All members of the St. George Family are invited to break bread over crockpots of homemade soup and warm bread and share in conversation about our Lenten journey. Come one Sunday or enjoy them all! Soon, every member of the St. George Parish will be receiving a phone call or email from a fellow parishioner to sign up to bring a crock pot of soup on ONE of the Sundays during Lent. It can be homemade or store bought, and we hope that all parishioners consider participating.
March 1 …….. A-C
March 8 …….. D-G
March 15 …….. H-L
March 22 ………… M-R
March 29 ………… S-Z