Reflections on Church in Pandemic

by Sue Hawthorne-Bate

How can we worship during a pandemic?  How can we stay connected as a parish family?  How can we care for each other?  

If these old walls could talk! Parishioners at Church of the Ascension are trying new technologies while holding fast to our roots and to what makes us a parish family. 

Over the past 168 years, we’ve weathered many epidemics and pandemics from Typhus, Cholera, Spanish Flu, Polio, H1N1 … and now there is COVID-19.

How are we working to keep those important parish connections? We have done what we always do — we feed the hungry, care for the elderly, homeless or infirm. We make sure no one feels alone by using our phone tree. We help with life’s necessities such as groceries or food vouchers.  

Of course, we are also using new technologies!  Zoom coffee-time following Bishop Susan’s Sunday broadcasts on Facebook is only one way we are connecting as a parish family. Our new Interim Priest-in-Charge, The Rev. Dr. John Stephenson is using email and Facebook to offer Compline services and Stations of the Cross among other creative ways helping us to pray as a community. Our music ministry team has been recording music videos that have been shared on our website and Facebook page.  

On March 10, 2019 we were joined by the Reverend John. Talk about unfortunate timing! Just days after he joined us, we were in lockdown! He has not yet had the opportunity to lead worship on a Sunday morning or connect with most of our parish family face to face, but we pray he will soon. But for now, we must carry on and use the tools given to us by our Lord until we can meet together again!