Big, BIG News!

Big, BIG News!

The St. Andrew’s Search Committee and Vestry make a major announcement in the video below! You won’t want to miss it.

April 5 Liturgy of the Palms

Holy Week Begins with Liturgy of the Palms


After some camera-focus glitches, many hours of edits, and more hours in exporting, we are pleased as punch to present our first-ever digital service … This Holy Week is all the more special on so many levels because we get the opportunity to discover our spirituality, our worship, and each other in brand new ways. Thank you so much for your encouragement and support through these unique (and steep) learning curves, but above all else, thank you for being part of this amazing community. 

Click the video below to watch St. Andrew’s Liturgy of the Palms Sunday Service for April 5, 2020. You can download a bulletin HERE to follow along. 

Pastoral Thoughts and Resources

Pastoral Thoughts From Your Interim Rector

Dear Friends of St. Andrew’s,

I truly hope this message finds you well. I know that for some of you this can be a very trying time. Isn’t it ironic how so often we say that we wish we could slow down and catch up on things at home? But, of course, not under these circumstances. Also, I find it interesting how we talk about how we should expand our definition of “church” such that we don’t automatically associate it with a place or building. So here is our chance to stretch our imaginations and find new ways to support each other in a time of real need and find creative ways to express our ministries given the strange circumstances we find ourselves in. Our Administration and Communications Council will be coordinating these efforts. We are inviting you to give us your ideas and let us know what might be helpful. Whereas our weekly newsletter has primarily been about sharing information, we may feel the need to broaden its use to include pastoral care messages or even virtual worship services if you would find this helpful. We welcome your suggestions.

As you can see further down in this message how our Pastoral council is making an effort to stay in touch by phone or mail to all our congregation especially those who may have a particular need. We hope this will be supportive.

Also, I asked Tabetha to include this Poem entitled “Pandemic”  I think it speaks to how we may take what we all face as an opportunity to enrich our spiritual lives.  Please know that we all are never alone even though we may feel like we are on our individual journeys. Together was can find our way through this.

Yours in Christ,
John

PANDEMIC

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
 
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
 
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
 
–Lynn Ungar 3/11/20

From the Pastoral Care Ministry

The Pastoral Care Ministry is committed to keeping in touch with our Parish members during this time of uncertainty.  We may be separated physically but our aim is to stay connected via phone, email, text, and postcards!  So expect some form of communication from our Pastoral Care team and vestry on a weekly basis.  We just want to check in, see how you’re doing, update you on what is going on with our schedule (as much as we know) and have some good old fashioned conversation!  I know that I’ve been anxious these past few days and I believe we can help each other temper the anxiety by staying in touch and checking in with each other.  We’re looking forward to talking to you!

Virtual Services

We have two resources for you this week that might be soothing to the spirit …. 

  • The Washington National Cathedral will webcast their Sunday am services at 11:15 am EST. You can watch it live from Youtube here: youtube.com/wncathedral or from their Weekly Services page here: 
    https://cathedral.org/worship/weekly-services/
  • Habits of Grace: An Invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry. Live mediations posted HERE every Monday at 6pm through May, 

Note from the Communications & Administration Ministry

It is especially apparent during strange times like these how much we need fellowship and connection. As we begin exploring what church looks like outside of the church (digitally, virtually, etc), we really want to encourage you to share your ideas. Our goal is not only to support your faithful practices but ensure that you continue to feel connected to the Parish community as we walk these new pathways. Please email Tabetha at tabismiles@gmail.com or hit reply to this email to share your thoughts. 

Also, please note that we will continue to update our website and Facebook with the latest information. 


Big, BIG News!

An Update on COVID19

March 15, 2020 UPDATE:

As a precautionary measure we will be closing the church office as well as ALL church activities until April 5th. If you have any questions, concerns, or pastoral needs please feel free to email the church office, or call or text one of us at the following numbers:

Fr. John Dukes- (770) 356-1958
Louise Stevenson- (352) 262-6306
Adam Wilson- (423) 715-7055

We will be sending out periodic updates during this time. Please let us know if you have any questions.

March 14, 2020 UPDATE:

Following the directive of our Bishop and out of deep concern for our friends and neighbors, I along with your wardens and in consultation with members of the vestry have decided that the Sunday Morning and Wednesday Noon services will be canceled for the next three weeks.  The Lenten Wednesday evening gathering will also be suspended. Family Promise will also be rescheduled. Hopefully, this health crisis will be under control by then and we can resume our normal schedule.   

Normal office hours will be maintained and so will communication.  Please know that if there are any pastoral concerns let the church office know and appropriate action will be taken. 

Finally, let me encourage everyone to be even more vigilant in your prayers for each other and the world.  These are unusual times and so we should be resolved in our trust in God and in our faith that all, in the end, will be well.

Yours In Christ,

John

Please read the following statement from Bishop Cole.

Dear East Tennessee Friends,

When St. Paul wrote to the Christian community in Philippi, he did so with thanks even as he was imprisoned. I write to you today with thanks even in the midst of the storm of the COVID-19 outbreak in our country and across the globe. As the facts on the ground have changed daily and hourly, I write to you now, hoping that this letter will remain helpful to you in uncertain days ahead.

As Christians, we are a body and we cannot say we have no need of each other. As the Body of Christ, we are called to care for the least of these, to help those who have no help, to look out for the most vulnerable, to bear each other’s burdens, to be for each other. It is not enough to know that I am currently healthy and whole. I also am touched by anyone in my community who is suffering and broken.

With the current facts on the ground as we know them from public health officials and medical experts working to combat the worst impacts from COVID-19I humbly ask you to forego gathering for large public worship, meetings, and social events in our churches for the next two weeks as an act of keeping faith with those friends and neighbors in East Tennessee who are most vulnerable to this virus. I realize you may choose to gather this Sunday and then begin a two week suspension after the 15th.  It would be my hope and prayer that large public worship would resume on Sunday, April 5th for Palm Sunday.

As Episcopalians, our common life together in prayer is vital to who we understand ourselves to be. The Diocesan website has a variety of ways for us to maintain connections of prayer. I would commend those resources to you, which are attached to this letter.

This also is a time to pray for a renewed sense of creativity and imagination. In the days ahead, how the Church offers pastoral care may change for some time in order to protect against the spread of the virus. So, we may bring back older ways of maintaining connection, such as phone trees and handwritten letters mailed to the most vulnerable and elderly. In maintaining social distance in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, we do not want to create gaps in care and concern for each other.

I understand that this potential outbreak will have impacts upon our parish communities in ways that we have not yet anticipated. Our Diocesan leadership is now making plans to stay connected to every parish and worshipping community to hear how our communities bear this and how we can best be present and for each other in this time. At the end of this outbreak, we will want to be able to say that during this Lent we did not give up on each other even as our common life required us to stretch together in new and potentially painful ways.

If you discern that it remains appropriate for to hold services in your particular parish setting, I urge you to follow the guidelines attached to this letter.

On Ash Wednesday, we were all invited to keep a season of a holy Lent, which included “prayer, fasting, and self-denial…” Today, what it means to pray and fast and practice self-denial has a new and more profound meaning for me.

Peace,

+ Brian

Big, BIG News!

A Statement from the Bishops of The Episcopal Church in Tennessee

Dear Clergy and People of the Dioceses of East Tennessee, West Tennessee, and Tennessee,

We understand the news of the spread of the COVID19 virus (Coronavirus), on top of an already difficult flu season, raises concerns and anxieties. Our respective Dioceses are working together to stay informed and supportive of our faith communities across the state. As new information which may be helpful arises, we will post it on our websites and share it with our congregations. We are regularly reviewing guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as consulting local medical professionals. When you receive information about Coronavirus and other infectious diseases from the media and other sources please consider carefully whether the source of the information is trustworthy. 

In the meantime, we commend these effective practices to you, especially to clergy in charge of congregations and those who may lead congregations in worship:
●     The most important way to minimize the spread of infectious diseases is for people who have symptoms such as fever, upset stomach, or frequent coughing or sneezing, to stay home and to seek medical attention as symptoms warrant. This includes clergy. Please notify the appropriate person at your congregation if you will miss a worship service or event so substitutes can be found. The clergy or lay ministers can bring the sacraments to those who cannot attend a service and/or provide pastoral care by phone as appropriate.
●     Frequent handwashing is another important way to minimize spread. Hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (about as long as it takes to sing the Doxology). Handwashing is especially critical after going to the bathroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; or if hands are visibly dirty. Plenty of soap and paper towels should be provided in restrooms and kitchens. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Place containers of hand sanitizer in the pews, near doors, and beside tissue boxes to be used when handwashing is not readily available.
If an infectious disease, such as the flu or Coronavirus is spreading in your community, your congregational leadership may consider whether some or all of the following would be appropriate:
●     The Peace: You may want to invite worshipers to remain in their pews/seats and greet one another with a bow at the Peace, acknowledging each other while avoiding physical contact.
●     The Holy Eucharist: Receiving the sacrament in one kind has ancient precedent in our spiritual life. We believe that those who receive only the bread (or wine) have fully received. The bread may be distributed by Eucharistic ministers who have cleansed their hands. Ask the altar guild to clean handrails and the altar rail before and after each service.
●     Avoid Intinction: Because hands are a common source of infection, Intinction by the communicant is not a sanitary substitute for drinking from the chalice.
●     The Receiving Line: Following the service, the receiving line should include conversation but omit physical contact.
●     Coffee Hour: Food may be served by individuals who have washed their hands, put on serving gloves, and are using tongs to minimize the touching of food. Either paper plates and napkins or a dishwasher with a water temperature setting hot enough to kill germs should be used for cleanup. Similarly, beverages should be served by individuals who have washed their hands and are wearing gloves to minimize the number of people handling beverage containers.
●     Large gatherings or events: Consider rescheduling if possible or canceling if necessary.

Whatever steps are appropriate in your context, it is essential that you communicate your decisions to the congregation. Explain the steps you are taking and why. Clear and open communication can be both informative and calming.
Episcopal Relief and Development has provided more resources on the ways your community of faith can respond to epidemics. Please visithttp://bit.ly/erd_response for more information.

Please keep those who are ill with infectious diseases, their families and caregivers, and our medical care providers, in your prayers. The Episcopal Church in Tennessee has a strong history of caring for one another and for our communities in times of illness and health. With God’s help, we will continue that tradition together.
The Rt. Rev. Phoebe Roaf, Bishop of West Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. John Bauerschmidt, Bishop of Tennessee
The Rt. Rev. Brian Cole, Bishop of East Tennessee

Please visit the www.dioet.org for the most up-to-date information.