Letter from the Rector

Dear friends in Christ,

Hope you are all holding up well as we stay home. As a result of the developing crisis and the governor’s executive order on Monday, Bishop Perry has issued the following directive on March 24, effective today until further notice:

All church buildings are to be shut down and all ministries and business functions suspended. This means that no clergy, staff, volunteers, ministries, groups, daycares, tenants and community partnerships are allowed on church property. Appropriate arrangements should be made to have mail services temporarily held and essential business functions carried out remotely, to the best of a congregation’s ability.

In accordance with this directive, the church office is closed. Calls are being forwarded to Joan during regular hours (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 9 am – 2 pm). All building users, including recovery groups, scouts, and Jay Ray’s BBQ, have been informed that they may not enter the building.

Our Food Pantry is closed, in accordance with another part of the bishop’s directive. If you or someone you know needs food assistance, call Pastor Andrea (734-771-0618) or the church office (734-284-8777). We will have a Meijer gift card sent to you.

What’s continuing and what’s new

You can find live streams of Morning Prayer at 10 am on Sundays and Wednesdays on Facebook at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wyandotte. We also have Story Time live on Facebook at 7 pm every day, and will be adding Compline (a before-bed service) soon.

We’ll continue our Lenten study groups online. The Wednesday group meets at 12 noon, and they should call 408-650-3123 and use code 263316829. You will be asked to enter an “audio PIN” or press #. Just press # . The Thursday group meets at 7:30 pm and will meet by Zoom. 
If you have a smartphone or computer with a camera, go to https://zoom.us/j/510836781. You may have to download something to get started. The link will take you right to our meeting. If you have a non-smart phone, you can call in at 312-626-6799. If you call in, you will need to put in a PIN, which is 510 836 781 #. It will then say, "Enter your participant code or just press #." Just press #. 

We all need to pull together, not just to survive this crisis, but to thrive as the Body of Christ. To that end, we have started doing more reaching out to check in with each other. Both Pastor Andrea and the Vestry have been calling people to see how their doing, provide encouragement, find out prayer requests, and even pray with people. Thanks to all of you who’ve been doing this, too.

We've put our prayer list online. Please let Joan or Pastor Andrea know about updates.

We're having an online youth group! If you are a kid or know a kid between 9-17, please consider joining us on Saturday, March 28, at 2 pm. We'll talk and play games for about an hour. Click here to go to the Zoom meeting. For the safety of our kids, we can't allow anyone we don't know to join by phone or without video. If you would like information on how to join by phone, please call Pastor Andrea (734-771-0618).

We are expanding this with two new programs: Special Persons and Calling Circles. Here’s a quick description:
  • We started doing Special Persons through our Facebook page, and it’s been so great that we’re inviting everyone to participate! You will receive a sheet in the mail that describes the program in more detail.
  • Calling Circles are groups that Pastor Andrea organized to help us all stay connected. You’ve been assigned to a small group. Please pray for your group members every day. If possible, please call (or text) each person/family at least once a week. More details are on the sheet you were mailed.
Finally, please know that St. Stephen’s still has financial responsibilities in this crisis. Since we’re switching to cash assistance for food – and since we expect the need for all kinds of assistance to grow the longer people are off work – the need will be even greater. If you can, please convert to online giving. You can have your bank send a check each month, you can use online bill pay, or you can go to our website to see how to set up an account with our online donation service. Let us know if you need help with this. You can also mail in checks, but since the office will be closed, we ask that you mail them to Joan Rasnick at home. Her address is in the directory, or you can call the church phone to get it. Please continue to include your envelope number and make checks out to St. Stephen’s.

We will get through this, my friends

The church is not the building, it is all of us. God is with us, in all our fear and anxiety and boredom and irritation. God did not cause this virus to teach us a lesson or to test us, but God is walking with us through it. Remember, as we journey toward Easter, that God’s YES is always bigger than the world’s no. Tell God how you’re feeling – all of it, don’t be ashamed of weakness or pettiness or even anger. Once you’ve turned over your burdens, practice resurrection living in the midst of the chaos, doubt, and despair. Look for the ways to help and to be a light in the darkness. And keep praying this prayer written by the Rev. Sam Wells at St. Martins in the Fields, London:

God of healing and hope, in Jesus you meet us in our places of pain and fear. Look with mercy on those who have contracted the new virus, on any who are vulnerable, and on all who feel in danger. Through this time of global concern, by your Holy Spirit bring out the best - not the worst - in us. Make us more aware of our interdependence on each other, and of the strength that comes from being one body in you. Through Jesus Christ our wounded healer. Amen.

We’re keeping you all in our prayers. Please call, text, or email (aandrea@umich.edu, bcablejr@wyan.org) if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to talk.

In Christ,

The Very Rev. Andrea Morrow, Rector (734-771-0618)
Mr. Bruce Cable, Jr., Senior Warden (313-770-7182)