Monday, March 23, 2020
Shelter in Place from Midnight 3/24/20
Governor Whitmer has just announced a “shelter in place” order for Michigan beginning at midnight tonight. This will have an effect on the Divine Services at St. Vladimir’s. There seems to be an exception for houses of worship. Thank God for that – this will allow our Divine Services to continue so that we can broadcast on the internet and so the church will not be without the Divine Services. According to Archbishop Peter’s directive when a state establishes “shelter in place” public services are no longer held. I am discussing details with the Parish Council now, but I expect that we will hold the Divine Services with a “skeleton crew” of not more than 10, including the clergy. The breakdown would likely be:
2 Readers/Altar Servers
We are working on these details now and I will share more as I know more. Most certainly Holy Communion will take place for the faithful only outside the times of the Divine Services. Exactly how that will work (families come to the church to commune, or the priests visit people at home, or both, or something else entirely) is not clear yet. More to come as we figure that out.
For now, let us be an example of good citizens of our state, whether we agree with the Governor or not. At every Divine Liturgy we pray for our civil authorities, and Christians have done this since the time when the Roman Emperors were seeking to completely destroy the Church. Clearly the Governor is not seeing to destroy the Church here - she is trying to save the lives of our friends, neighbors, and of us as well.
We should never be seen as having contributed to the spread of this disease by violating the law or the guidance we are being given on how to best contain this contagion. We must never been seen as selfishly putting our own needs above the needs of the society as a whole in such a dire situation! Let us pray now that the Lord will strengthen us and our society in our war against the coronavirus, and that He will grant us peace in our struggle. This will come to an end some day. And when it does, let us Orthodox Christians be known as those who did good, those who helped, those who were unselfish, those who put the welfare of their neighbor above the welfare of ourselves, those who exhibited Christian Love and Christian Wisdom in the face of danger – and, if need be, even in the face of death.
May the Lord bless you all and keep you safe! If you have questions or concerns please reach out to me. DO NOT PANIC! God is with us, and that should give us great peace no matter what is happening around us. There will be many more detailed instructions coming later today and throughout the week.
With Love in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Update 3/23/20 4:00 p.m.: we are working on assignments for singing and reading at the services based on family groups (to minimize spread of the infection) and will have that information available soon. If you would like to volunteer to help at the servcies please visit this link to do so:
VOLUNTEER FOR PANDEMIC DIVINE SERVICES
Update 3/23/20 7:00 p.m.: after a closer reading of the governor's executive order it is clear that if we want to follow the spirit of the thing we should be reducing our gatherings to less than 10 as a rule. We will continue to work on this and share more information as we have it.