Urgent COVID-19 Message from the Priest-In-Charge

Dear St. Philip’s Family, In the interest of preserving the common good and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, Bishop Susan Goff announced that we will continue to fast from all public worship services in The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia until June 10th. As our overall guiding principal is to take responsible steps to protect the most vulnerable members of our parish family, this means that we will not be physically gathering in the church and cancelling all in-person events, group gatherings, and classes during this time span. We apologize for the distress that this may cause among us and we invite you to contact me or a Vestry member should you wish to discuss this further.

Effective immediately and through June 10, the following measures will be enacted:

• Worship Services – All public worship services will be cancelled, and suitable worship alternatives will be provided.

• Pastoral Care – Clergy and Lay Eucharistic Visitors will refrain from visiting parishioners in person. Clergy will maintain pastoral contact via phone and electronic communications. Please feel free to email me directly at pastoralcare@stphilipsrva.org or at revmarlene@stphiliprva.org. If you have a pastoral emergency call the office or me directly on my cellphone (804)356-8216.

• Parish Life/Ministries - All non-essential gatherings are cancelled, including but not limited to: EFM classes, ministry and group meetings (Circle of Love, Rosary Society etc.), rehearsals and Lenten Program.

• Administrative –The church office will closed until further notice.

As we continue to serve God and our neighbor during this time, we are developing ways to better support each other and the broader community:

• Outreach- In order to assure that our brothers and sisters who are the most vulnerable continue to receive the services they need, we will continue, with heightened hygiene protocol, our St. Francis Food Pantry and our Community Breakfast.

• In-reach- We are working to develop telephone pastoral care ministry to check on those who are in need and may not have access to the internet.

• Pledges and Offerings- Please continue to pay your pledge and offer to God that which you have been gifted. Remember that your financial gift to the church enables us to continue to offer our wonderful Outreach Ministries and to serve God and the community. We ask that you reference the E-News on Financial Giving (https://conta.cc/2JzVINa).

Please continue to remember those in the parish and community vulnerable to the virus in your  prayers and consider how we might serve them - as St. Philip's seeks to bless the community of Richmond and the world with the light and hope of Jesus Christ.

As you are aware, this is a fluid situation so we will let you know as things change. Please stay alert for further announcements.

Let us keep our hearts full of prayer and love for those who are ill and all who are afraid. We pray for those who are sacrificially tending to the sick and those who are laboring for the common good in service to local and global health. We share in the uncertainty and tenuousness of this time, and we ask for strength of mind, body, and spirit.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Marlene E. Forrest, Priest-In-Charge

Almighty God, we entrust all who have been and will be affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as all who care for them, to your never-failing care and love, for this life and for the life to come, knowing that you are already doing for all of us more than we could ever imagine or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.