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COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITY

ALL SERVICES/EVENTS CANCELED
ALL PARISH BUILDINGS CLOSED
GRACE UNDER QUARANTINE BLOG

 

GRACE UNDER QUARANTINE

Click here to view Grace under Quarantine, a blog for the people of Christ Church, Georgetown, and the wider community as we face uncertain times. To submit material for consideration, contact the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Wonderful News
Friday, March 27, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

It is with great thanksgiving that I write to let you know that Father Tim was discharged from the hospital late yesterday and is resting comfortably at home. He, Lorraine, and young Tim are ever-grateful for your thoughts and prayers during these long and trying weeks. Father Tim has been asked by his doctors to remain semi-quarantined for a period of time and to continue to get as much rest as possible. For that reason, the Coles ask that you refrain from visiting or calling so that Father Tim can continue to heal and gain strength. Father Tim wants you to know that you all remain in his prayers.

Faithfully,

Chad Thorley, Senior Warden

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Difficult times, uncharted waters
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
– The Book of Common Prayer, p. 188

We are all living in difficult times, navigating uncharted waters. For some of us, this looks like trying to teach our children while also working from home. For others, it looks like coping with the prospect of job loss or financial insecurity. For still others, it looks like loneliness, worry for a sick relative we cannot visit, or concern for a friend who won’t answer the phone. Friends, let us be gentle with ourselves, certain that through the highs and lows is the abiding presence of Christ our Lord. And, let us lean on our community of faith, the Christ Church, Georgetown, family. We are all in this together.

We hope you had the opportunity to participate in Virtual Morning Prayer today. As one community member noted, the readings and readers were particularly powerful on this, the Feast of the Annunciation. This Virtual Morning Prayer offering is just one of the many ways that we are creatively and faithfully coming together as a community. We can stay emotionally and spiritually connected, even while practicing the social distancing called for in order to keep the most vulnerable safe.

Father Tim remains hospitalized. A letter from him follows. The rest of the Christ Church clergy and staff are healthy. Our Organist and Choirmaster, Tom Smith, and the four other people who initially tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered and been cleared by their respective health departments.

The Connecting Christ Church initiative is well underway. Under the leadership of parishioners and vestry members Page Smith and Isabel Kunsman, and in consultation with the Reverend Mother Crystal, our membership rolls have been sorted into groups. Each of these groups has been placed under a volunteer who will be in charge of making initial contact with each member. The primary objective of Connecting Christ Church is to make sure that no one is left without contact, check-ins, and help where help is needed. If you have not yet received a phone call from one of our Christ Church volunteers, you should receive one shortly. Of course, please continue to let us know if you are unwell or if you need care. The Reverend Mother Crystal and Father John are available for pastoral calls. We have a team of volunteers ready to deliver meals, groceries, or other necessities. Do not hesitate to let us know your need.

Please remember that the Church and Parish Hall remain closed until further notice. Please do not attempt to enter either building - even if you have a key. We appreciate your cooperation.

On this, the Feast of the Annunciation, our prayer is that we might all find a moment of stillness to wonder, “What is God doing today, in our midst, and how are we invited to participate in it?” As the Annunciation makes clear, God wants humanity to be part of his efforts. Nothing is impossible with God, so surely he could do all and more by himself. And yet, he invited and invites us to participate in his saving work. What a gift. May those moments of grace shine for us all this day and always.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

A Message from Father Tim

My dear friends,

I just wanted to say a few words and offer my greetings from the hospital. I am so hoping to be home in a few days, but I continue to wait for the after-effects of the virus to pass. Being in the Rectory with Lorraine and Tim will be such a wonderful tonic, but first I must continue to rest and regain my strength.

I hope we will continue to find ways to worship God, even as our parish home is closed. The notion of the Christ Church family praying on its own and yet together in spirit is a powerful one. May we all be strengthened by the knowledge that we will, indeed, be together again in due time. What a joyous day that will be!

God is with us and we will pass through these troubled waters with him by our side.

Every blessing to you, to your families, and to those for whom you care,

Father Tim

The Reverend Timothy A. R. Cole, Rector

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Worship Opportunities
The Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 22, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Many of us will experience grief today due to the absence of our usual Sunday worship experience, which not only includes beautiful liturgy and music, but also social interaction, as we welcome each other to another week lived under the grace of God. Grief is a natural response in times such as these. Know that none of us is alone; we have each other. And, God is with us.

We hope you will take advantage of one of the following opportunities for worship online:

Although Washington National Cathedral remains closed, the Dean, clergy, and staff of the Cathedral invite all to join them for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11:15 a.m. Our bishop, the Right Reverend Mariann Edgar Budde, will serve as preacher. To view the webcast, click here. Another option for virtual worship is a Festal Eucharist at Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City. The liturgy, which begins at 11:00 a.m., will feature the Gentlemen of the Saint Thomas Choir and a sermon by Father Adam Spencer. To view the webcast, click here. In addition, the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin has prepared a homily for the Fourth Sunday in Lent. It has been posted on the parish blog, Grace under Quarantine.

Despite our physical distance, let us find some time to hold one another in prayer today.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Habits of Grace
Saturday, March 21, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

In a new weekly meditation series offered by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, it is suggested that we cultivate “habits of grace.” In his first installment, Bishop Curry notes:

One of the things that I’m aware of is that consistent habits, what some have called habits of grace, can really be helpful especially in unsettling times. I was watching television and saw where in Milan and throughout Italy apparently, a movement has begun. . . at six o’clock every evening everyone who is in their apartment is socializing by coming out on the porch and at six o’clock they begin to applaud. They just start clapping. And everyone claps and applauds as a way of saying thank you to the medical folk who are working, the first responders who are working. Just a way of saying thank you. And then the applause moves into or morphs into a song. And they sometimes sing their national anthem or sing some other song, every day at six. A habit of grace.

Do you have a habit of grace? How might you cultivate such a habit in these trying times? And, how might you bring along others, strengthening (or developing) bonds in potentially isolating times? If you feel called to share your habit of grace, we would love to feature it on Grace under Quarantine (which is, in many ways, our community’s own attempt at a habit of grace).

As you may have seen on WJLA on Saturday, Father Tim Cole continues to make good progress and is in good spirits. In addition, our Organist and Choirmaster Thomas Smith has made a full recovery and was released from isolation on March 19. Both remain grateful for your outpouring of care, concern, and prayers. The rest of the Christ Church clergy and staff remain healthy, and parishioners who tested positive for COVID-19 either have recovered or continue to recover at home.

Please remember that the Church and Parish Hall are currently closed until further notice. Please do not attempt to enter either building. We appreciate your cooperation.

We leave you with words from Psalm 23 (KJV):

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

May the peace of God be amongst you now, and remain with you always.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Making progress and in good spirits
Friday, March 20, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

I just learned that the District of Columbia is reporting its first death from the Coronavirus. I know many of you are concerned about Father Tim. I spoke with him earlier today and, while he is still in the hospital, he is making good progress and is in good spirits.

I know you join me in prayer for Tim’s full recovery and for all those affected by the virus.

Faithfully,

Chad Thorley, Senior Warden

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Let us love one another
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Even as many of us come to the end of our periods of self-quarantine, we remain physically distant in an act of solidarity with our most vulnerable neighbors. Care for the most vulnerable is a primary tenet of our Christian faith. As such, we must continue to follow CDC recommendations, complying with social distancing and other necessary methods of slowing this outbreak.

If this time of crisis has taught us anything, it is how interconnected we all are; we are all in this together. Now is the time to think creatively about how we are to be the church in the world and to be the church for one another. To that end, we are initiating a new pastoral initiative: Connecting Christ Church. Under the leadership of parishioners and Vestry members Page Smith and Isabel Kunsman, and in consultation with the Reverend Mother Crystal, our membership rolls will be sorted into groups. Each of these groups will then be placed under a volunteer who will be in charge of making initial contact with each member. The primary objective of Connecting Christ Church is to make sure that no one is left without contact, check-ins, and help where help is needed. Volunteers will report back to Page and Isabel, who will then connect with clergy and other pastoral supports. We all need to know that we have someone to lean on, even if we just need a conversation or a helping hand. If you are willing to volunteer in this effort, please email pastoralcare@christchurchgeorgetown.org as soon as possible.

Please continue to let us know if you are unwell or if you need care. The Reverend Mother Crystal is available for pastoral calls, and we have a team of volunteers ready to deliver meals, groceries, or other necessities. Do not hesitate to let us know your need. Continue to reach out to your neighbors, particularly those whom you might not have contacted previously. Let’s care for one another and continue to hold our community in prayer.

Many of you have asked about maintaining your financial commitment to Christ Church, which will be essential during the next weeks and months. The majority of our staff is still quarantined so mail is being held at the Post Office. Until we’re able to get the buildings thoroughly cleaned and resume some limited office hours, it’s best to not mail checks. In the short term, you can make electronic payments via our website. Click on the “Donate” button in the top right corner. We’ll get word out once normal mail delivery resumes. Please know how grateful we are for your continued financial support.

Remember to check our blog, Grace under Quarantine, daily for new content and for Virtual Morning Prayer. As always, we welcome your submissions. Do you have a story of hope to share? A reflection on being quarantined? A prayer (written by yourself or someone else) that is meaningful to you? A funny story? Please send it to the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin for consideration. Please note that the blog is public. If you do not wish your name to be shared with your submission, please let us know. Otherwise we will assume that it is okay to share your submission as we believe appropriate.

Christ Church, let us continue to love one another, because love is of God.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
A Difficult Decision
Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

We write today to share the news that, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde has made the difficult decision to extend the suspension of public worship and church gatherings until May 16. This is not surprising; the health and well-being of our community must be a top priority.

Since this news is fresh, your wardens, clergy, and staff are just beginning conversations about how we can continue to be in community with each other and how we can celebrate our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection without being together in one place. There will be more to come in the days ahead.

One way of staying in community is to say Morning Prayer together. As a reminder, daily Morning Prayer can be found on our blog, Grace under Quarantine. We hope you will gather your Book of Common Prayer (or use BCPonline.org), find a quiet space, and join us.

For more than 200 years, Christ Church has been a beacon of God’s love at the corner of 31st and O, and beyond. And while our doors may be closed right now, be assured that the light of God’s love still shines brightly.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

VIRTUAL MORNING PRAYER
Monday, March 16, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As we journey through these tumultuous times together, let us continue Christ Church’s commitment to the Daily Office in a new way.

Beginning today, you can find Christ Church, Georgetown’s, Virtual Morning Prayer Service posted each day on our Grace under Quarantine blog. We hope you will gather your Book of Common Prayer (or use BCPonline.org), find a quiet space, and join us.

If you are interested in participating as a reader in this offering in the future, please contact parishioner Lain Wilson.

Many thanks to the Reverend Gini Gerbasi, Rector of Saint John’s, Georgetown, for lending her time and talents to this effort. We are so grateful.

Faithfully,

The Reverend Crystal J. Carpenter Hardin, Assistant to the Rector

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Holding our community close in prayer
Sunday, March 15, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

We wonder how many of you joined in worship today through the National Cathedral’s live-streamed special Eucharist with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaching. Or, how many of you worshipped in your own way, but holding your Christ Church community close in prayer. We hope that, wherever you are this Sunday, you know the love of God and of our church community and that you continue to find ways of observing a Holy Lent.

To that end, our Virtual Daily Office will continue tomorrow. We hope that you will find it uplifting and spiritually nourishing. Look for that email shortly.

As we communicated yesterday, in an attempt to try something new and to capture some of the creativity and faithfulness of our community, we have started a blog for the Christ Church community by the Christ Church community. Today there is a reflection offered by a Christ Church parishioner on the experience of worshipping at the Cathedral this morning, albeit remotely. You can read that here.

Do you have a story of hope to share? A reflection on being quarantined? A prayer (written by yourself or someone else) that is meaningful to you? A funny story? Please send it to the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin for consideration. Please note that the blog is public. If you do not wish your name to be shared with your submission, please let us know. Otherwise we will assume that it is okay to share your submission as we believe appropriate.

We are sorry to report that late this afternoon we were notified of one additional member of our community testing positive. Other than Father Tim, who remains hospitalized but reported this afternoon that he is “fever free and feeling pretty good,” all members of our Christ Church family with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are resting at home and continuing to improve.

Please let us know if you are unwell or if you need care. The Reverend Mother Crystal is available for pastoral calls, and we have a team of volunteers ready to deliver meals, groceries, or other necessities. Do not hesitate to let us know your need. If you wish to volunteer, please let us know by replying to this email. Continue to reach out to your neighbors, particularly those whom you might not have contacted previously. Let’s care for one another and continue to hold our community in prayer.

Please note that these emails will no longer go out every evening, but will, from this point forward, go out on Wednesday and Sunday (unless a development in need of immediate sharing arises). Know that, even where there is “silence,” we are holding you close in prayer. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need us, and continue to reach out to others where you can. We are all in this together.

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I love you above all things, and long for you in my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
As though you have already come, I embrace you and unite myself entirely to you;
never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

- St. Alphonsus de Liguori, (1696–1787)

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Reaching out, checking on, and bringing joy
Saturday, March 14, 2020

O 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 Christ our wounded healer. Amen.

- Sam Wells, Vicar, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Dear friends in Christ,

We continue to be uplifted by the stories coming from our community of reaching out, checking on, and bringing joy where we can. Truly the Holy Spirit is bringing out the best in so many of us, and we remain in awe of the Christ Church community's resilient and compassionate response. Continue fortifying connections previously established and forming connections previously lacking. Keep caring for one another. We are all in this together.

In an attempt to try something new and to capture some of the creativity and faithfulness of our community, we have started a blog for the Christ Church community by the Christ Church community. You can view it here. Do you have a story of hope to share? A reflection on being quarantined? A prayer – written by yourself or someone else – that is meaningful to you? A funny story? Please send it to the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin for consideration. Please note that the blog is public. If you do not wish your name to be shared with your submission, please let us know. Otherwise we will assume that it is okay to share your submission as we believe appropriate.

Response to our offers of the Daily Office, including the Virtual Daily Office, continues to be positive. We are encouraged to know that so many took comfort in the rhythms of this ancient practice done in a new way. The Virtual Daily Office will continue on Monday, and our hope is to offer it Monday through Friday. If you are interested in participating as an on camera reader, please contact parishioner Lain Wilson.

Sunday Worship: Although the Washington National Cathedral will remain closed, they invite us and the rest of the Diocese to join them online for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11:15 a.m. this Sunday, March 15. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach. Watch that here.

Finally, an update on our health:

Father Tim continues to receive good reports from his doctors, and his family remains grateful for your prayers. A message from Father Tim’s wife, Lorraine, follows.

In addition to Father Tim and our Organist and Choirmaster, Tom Smith, three other members of our community have now tested positive. Please join us in praying for their recovery.

The rest of our office staff, including Mother Crystal Hardin and Father John McDuffie, remains symptom free and in good health. They appreciate your continued care and concern.

Please let us know if you are unwell or if you need care. The Reverend Mother Crystal is available for pastoral calls, and we have a team of volunteers ready to deliver meals, groceries, or other necessities. Do not hesitate to let us know your need. If you wish to volunteer, please let us know by replying to this email. Continue to reach out to your neighbors, particularly those whom you might not have contacted previously. Let’s care for one another and continue to hold our community in prayer.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

A Message from Lorraine Cole

Dear Christ Church Family,

Words cannot express how appreciative I am for the outpouring of warm wishes for my family and most importantly for Tim. I am simply overwhelmed by the support and love that has been shown. I have received countless emails, texts, cards, phone calls, gifts on my doorstep – indeed, so many packages I could open up a mini store! How truly blessed we are! Thank you.

Who could ever have thought we would receive such notoriety, and for such a reason. Throughout this time, this community of faith has demonstrated a unique depth of love for each other and for our family, who came to serve you with all that we have, only a few years ago.

I am so very thankful that I have had young Tim by my side over these past days. He has been a source of much comfort and company. Just the other night we decided to prepare a simple fish supper together. Even then, thoughts of the wonderful people of Christ Church were ever-present as we prepared the meal in a fish kettle I had purchased from our beautiful thrift shop. I had not known how to use one before, but we learned and reflected, as we did, on yet another wonderful ministry that our church shares with others.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my gratitude for the Wardens, Vestry, and church staff. The leadership shown by Crystal, Chad, Rusty, and Paul has been indispensable, and together we should all be thankful for the uncountable number of hours they have spent making sure the church remains on a firm footing and that we are all well informed.

We love you all, and know we are held secure in that love, and in God’s love and mercy for the Cole family, and for the precious family of Christ Church, Georgetown.

With God’s Peace,

Lorraine

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Finding God in silence and community
Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

An Order for Compline (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 127) provides a perfect pattern of worship for times such as these – as day turns to evening and we look for much-needed rest. We commend it to you during these days of quarantine and closure. Gather your family or call a friend and pray Compline together, or pray it alone knowing that someone, somewhere, prays it with you.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering,
pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Response to our offers of the Daily Office, including the Virtual Daily Office, has been so positive. We are encouraged to know that so many took comfort in the rhythms of this ancient practice done in a new way. The Virtual Daily Office will continue on Monday, and our hope is to offer it Monday through Friday. If you are interested in participating, please contact parishioner Lain Wilson.

Although Washington National Cathedral will remain closed, they invite us and the rest of the Diocese to join them online for a celebration of the Holy Eucharist at 11:15 a.m. this Sunday, March 15. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will preach. Watch that here.

As you observe a Holy Lent in these days of quarantine and closure, we invite you to share your reflections, observations, and/or favorite prayers and practices with our Christ Church community by emailing them to the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin. Please put “submission” in the subject line. These may appear in our community emails or on a blog that is currently under construction. If you do not wish your name to be shared with your submission, please let us know. Otherwise we will assume that it is okay to share your submission as we believe appropriate.

In case you missed it, Sojourners, one of the nation’s leading Christian news outlets, just published a reflection on recent events at Christ Church by the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin. Please take time to read that here.

Finally, an update on our health:

Father Tim continues to receive good reports from his doctors. A letter from him follows. As we reported yesterday, Father Tim’s wife, Lorraine, tested negative for the virus. We are also happy to report that Father Tim’s son, Tim, has also tested negative for the virus, as has Father John McDuffie. In addition to Father Tim and our Organist and Choirmaster, Tom Smith, three other members of our community have now tested positive. Please join us in praying for their recovery.

We are all in this together. Please let us know if you are unwell or if you need care. The Reverend Mother Crystal is available for pastoral calls, and we have a team of volunteers ready to deliver meals, groceries, or other necessities. Do not hesitate to let us know your need. If you wish to volunteer, please let us know by replying to this email. Continue to reach out to your neighbors, particularly those whom you might not have contacted previously. Let’s care for one another and continue to hold our community in prayer.

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping;
that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

A letter from Father Tim follows.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

A Message from Father Tim

My dear friends,

These last eight days, cut off here in splendid isolation, have been surreal – not least because I have been cut off from Christ Church and all of you at a time when so much is happening and when there is so much need.

Fortunately, we have in our Wardens, Chad Thorley and Rusty Lindner, two very level heads indeed, and I know Chad has worked tirelessly with Crystal, Paul, Tom, and the staff, along with the Diocese and the Vestry, to keep you all well informed about my condition as well as about the quite dramatic steps we have had to take to do our part to help get this outbreak under control. The staff has been simply outstanding and I can't thank them enough.

My biggest concern is the thought of all of you being stuck in your own homes for two whole weeks! Of course, having some extra time with your families and children provides some opportunity for doing things together, but it can still be tough being confined with your nearest and dearest. I will never forget when Lorraine and I almost bought a caravan, until we drove across the country with our two children behaving abominably in the back seat. We cancelled the caravan purchase the next day. It suddenly seemed like a lot of money to pay to be confined in a small space with our children for weeks on end each year!

Having been very largely on my own here the past few days, I also wonder how those of you on your own are managing. Of course, being on your own has its advantages too. It is easier to make time for God when you're on your own, but being on your own also means having to face all the fears and uncertainties alone. Please know I am there with you in spirit and do contact Crystal or a fellow parishioner should you need anything at all.

My prayer for all of you this Friday is this:

That you find God in some of this frozen, unexpected, and chaotic time that has been thrown your way. That those of you with families might find a quiet time to come together with God. And finally, to all of you who, like me, are spending these days alone, that you take a few moments to find God in the silence and when you can, phone a fellow parishioner to see how they are.

Lastly, I must thank you all for your overwhelming love and prayers. I have seen them and heard about them indirectly. I am sorry if I have not been able to reply to most of them, but they are much appreciated. I continue to receive good reports from my doctors, and they are taking fine care of me. For that, I am very grateful. Although I dream about being anywhere but here, I know each of you, and God himself, is telling me to follow their instructions!

Every blessing to you all. Easter Day is coming.

Father Tim

The Reverend Timothy A. R. Cole, Rector

 

JOIN US FOR VIRTUAL MORNING PRAYER
Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As we journey through these tumultuous times together, let us continue Christ Church’s commitment to the Daily Office in a new way. You can find Christ Church, Georgetown’s Virtual Morning Prayer Service for today, Friday, March 13, here. We hope you will get your Book of Common Prayer (or use BCPonline.org), find a quiet space, and join us.

If you are interested in participating in this offering in the future, please contact parishioner Lain Wilson.

Many thanks to the Reverend Gini Gerbasi, Rector of Saint John’s, Georgetown, for lending her time and talents to this effort. We are so grateful.

Faithfully,

The Reverend Crystal J. Carpenter Hardin, Assistant to the Rector

 

PRAYING THE DAILY OFFICE
Friday, March 13, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As you know, one of the unique features of Christ Church, Georgetown, is our faithful coming together for the Daily Offices in the Chapel: Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m., Noonday Prayer, and Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m. Few other Episcopal churches across the U.S. are able to maintain this constant, daily witness. During Lent, several of you have attended the Daily Offices at Christ Church more frequently as a Lenten Discipline. After each service, the Officiant, often a lay person, notes the number of attendees in a register. These logs are kept as a record of the prayers of the people of God at Christ Church.

With the quarantine, these services have not stopped. Although the church building is empty, the people — who are the real church — are praying in their homes. The lay Officiants are committed to saying the Daily Offices and invite all members to join us. As we say the beautiful words of The Book of Common Prayer, we know that we are joined together in spirit.

Please join us using your Book of Common Prayer (BCP) or the online BCP, which can be found here. The list of appointed psalms and readings is on page 953. We are in Year Two and Week Two of Lent. Christ Church is using Morning Prayer: Rite One, on page 42; Noonday Prayer, on page 103; and Evening Prayer: Rite One, on page 63. There is a time in each service for individual prayers (authorized intercessions); at this point, please pray for those on your heart, including the sick.

To make all of this really easy, you can use the Daily Office app, found here. The app diverges from The Book of Common Prayer by using different readings approved by the Episcopal Church to honor lesser feasts and fasts of the Church, but it is all good. The readings are also available here.

If you recite Daily Offices during this period of quarantine, keep a record of the service, date, and number of people praying in your house. When we get back together, I will collect your records, tally up the total, and enter it into the Church Register of Services as witness to Christ Church, Georgetown’s, constancy as a praying community. For additional information, please email me.

Faithfully,

Cynthia Efird, parishioner

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
These are the times that faith is for
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As Bishop Mariann so beautifully noted this morning in her letter to the Diocese:

These are the times that faith is for — times like this, when we and those around us need assurance that we’re not alone, and that together we will get through whatever lies ahead. Now is the time to draw close to God in prayer, and to one another in acts of kindness and love. Remember that we do not walk this road alone. Christ is, as the Celtic prayer reminds us, behind and before us, within and around us, speaking to us through the words of friend and stranger.

Continue to draw close to God in prayer. Continue to care for your neighbor, even if it be from afar. On that note, upon receipt of this email, we encourage each of you to reach out to three fellow parishioners to check in and to offer a word of love. And, thank you for the offers of assistance thus far. Please, if you are in need of groceries, a meal, conversation, a pharmacy run, or anything else, let us know by replying to this email. Many volunteers are ready to help. We really are all in this together.

Father Tim continues to receive good reports from his doctors. His oxygen levels are significantly improved and, although he remains in the ICU for isolation purposes, he no longer requires ICU care. This is wonderful news and sends clear signs that he is on the road to recovery. He continues to appreciate the outpouring of well-wishes and prayers for both himself and his family. We will continue to update you on his progress in the days to come.

Father Tim’s wife, Lorraine, has tested negative for the virus, and their son, Tim, still awaits his test result. In addition to Father Tim and our organist and choirmaster, Tom Smith, two other members of our community have now tested positive. Please join us in praying for their recovery. A letter from Tom Smith follows:

Friends,

I’m so, so grateful for your prayers, well-wishes, and offers of assistance in recent days. This has, without a doubt, been one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Knowing I’m not alone has been a huge source of comfort and strength.

Please be assured that I’m just fine and that my partner, John Barnes, remains symptom free. We are in close communication with the wonderful folks at DC Health. Although we don’t yet have clear guidance from the CDC, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be at home—me in isolation and John in quarantine—for at least two more weeks. I can’t wait to get back to work and to worship alongside you!

Being part of the Christ Church community is one of the great blessings of my life. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

With love,

Tom

Friends, let us love one another. The Lord be with you.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Being the Church in uncertain times
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be moved.

 - Psalm 46

Dear friends in Christ,

This afternoon, Bishop Mariann, in consultation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, issued a statement directing that all public worship services and normal parish operations be canceled within the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and that parish buildings be closed for two weeks, effective Thursday, March 12. On March 25, the situation will be assessed, with hopes to reopen for Sunday worship services on March 29. You can read Bishop Mariann’s full letter here. Of note are these faithful words:

We are indeed in uncharted waters—not just as a diocese, but as a country and as a global human family. As people of faith, these are the times for us to draw closer to God and to look to the Scriptures, where we can find comfort and reassurance:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:37-3

Please join us in praying for our Diocese as it takes in this news and rises to the challenge of being church in these uncertain times.

As for us, Christ Church continues to be “a warm and affectionate community,” as Father Tim is fond of saying. We are so fortunate to have received an outpouring of support and numerous offers to help from both far and near. Thank you for the care and concern each of you continues to show for our fellow parishioners. We have created a list of those who have offered to help and have asked a member of the Vestry, Isabel Kunsman, to serve as volunteer coordinator so that we may connect those willing to help with those who have requested assistance. If you are in need of groceries, a meal, conversation, a pharmacy run, or anything else, please let us know by replying to this email. Please do the same should you wish to volunteer.

Many thanks for all you are continuing to do for the church and for one another. Please do continue to check on your fellow parishioners. As we said in our email last evening, we are in this together, and all will be well.

At this time, we have no new cases of COVID-19 to report. Father Tim’s wife, Lorraine, and son, Tim, still await test results. In addition to our organist and choirmaster, Tom Smith, one other member of our community has tested positive. Please join us in praying for their recovery.

What should you do if you become ill?

First, know that influenza, the common cold, and seasonal allergies are all occurring now. Symptoms of these illnesses can mimic COVID-19. However, since many of us have been exposed to COVID-19, the CDC says to seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing).

Before seeking care — even going to an emergency room — call your healthcare provider and/or the medical facility where you plan to seek care to tell them that you have been exposed to COVID-19. The DC Health Department also recommends sharing their guidance that was included in this morning’s email. If possible, put on a facemask before you enter any health facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.

Please do reach out to one of us if you are sick or fear that you may have COVID-19. It helps us to know who in our community is being directly impacted in this way. And, it allows us to pray for you in an intentional way and to get you the support you might need moving forward.

Finally, a bit of levity might be due. If you haven’t seen it, we commend this to you: Doxology Handwashing Timer.

Friends, care for yourselves. Care for one another. God is with us.

Faithfully, 

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
New Guidance from DC Health
Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As you are aware, Organist and Choirmaster Tom Smith has tested positive for COVID-19. Tom played for the funeral liturgy held at Christ Church on March 6. As a result, DC Health has issued updated quarantine guidance, found below. If you know of anyone not affiliated with Christ Church, but who attended the funeral liturgy, please pass this information to them. No additional services were held at Christ Church after March 6, as the church was closed on the evening of March 7. As a result, we do not expect additional modifications to the quarantine period to be made. Should this change, we will update you again.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

Statement from DC Health

On March 7, 2020, DC Health was notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Christ Church, Georgetown, Episcopal. As of today, we are aware of additional confirmed cases among persons who attend the church. Based on these additional cases, we are now aware of more dates that visitors may have been exposed. All visitors to Christ Church, Georgetown, Episcopal between the entire period of February 24th and March 6th could have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Church during this period quarantine themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church. If you were previously self quarantining and have now learned of a new exposure, the 14 day period should extend from the most recent exposure.

Quarantining at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing. DC Health will be reaching out to certain individuals who are more likely to have been exposed with further guidance. We are currently still conducting our investigation, and DC Health will reach out to potentially impacted congregants and visitors as we continue to gather more information, to ensure the safety of public is protected. We appreciate your patience as we gather various important pieces of information to inform our communications to individual persons.

If you are not experiencing symptoms, please continue to follow the quarantine guidelines below. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time in the 14 days following your last exposure, please contact your healthcare provider and let them know about your exposure (you can share this letter with them), and to report to DC Health if testing is needed. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

Everyone is urged to stay informed about COVID-19 and follow the well-established prevention tips, like staying home if sick and calling ahead to a health provider if experiencing symptoms. More information about COVID-19, including guidance on symptoms, precautions, and FAQs, can be found on the DC Health (https://coronavirus.dc.gov/) or CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) websites.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
We're in this together
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As Presiding Bishop Michael Curry reminded us today, “in this time when we are all affected by the Coronavirus, whether directly or indirectly, whether physically, biologically, psychologically, spiritually, and for many economically, it may be helpful to remember that we’re in this together.”

We are praying for all affected, and we ask that you join us in prayer, which is a powerful gift in these uncertain times. In the coming days, we will be in touch with opportunities for study, reflection, and fellowship (from afar).

We continue to be in touch with the DC Health and await further guidance from them. Here is our latest news in regards to our community’s health:

- Now that COVID-19 tests are available, Lorraine Cole and young Tim have been tested. We await the test results.

- One parishioner of Christ Church has tested positive for COVID-19.

Again, we await guidance from DC Health and will communicate that to you as soon as we receive it. We want to assure you that we will not be disclosing the names of any member of the congregation who happens to be diagnosed, absent their permission.

We have had many questions about this fast-emerging disease. Here is information that we gathered from talking to the head of the American Public Health Association and the head of George Washington University’s School of Public Health:

1. Public health experts are fighting three epidemics simultaneously: COVID-19, rumors/misinformation, and fear. The latter two are spreading via social media and email faster than the virus itself. So one thing we can all do is to stick with credible sources of information. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched this new site yesterday, which offers information on how to keep workplaces, schools, and homes safe.

2. Most people—more than 80 percent—will recover fully from COVID-19. Those most at risk of more serious illness are people, aged 60 and older, who also have other health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, or asthma, or who may have a compromised immune system. That includes people who are taking steroids, such as prednisone, or who may be receiving chemotherapy or other cancer treatment.

3. Self-quarantine is the appropriate step to take if you have been in close contact with someone, such as our rector, who has a confirmed case of coronavirus. DC Health has asked those of us who were in contact with Tim, or now, with Tom Smith, to self-quarantine for 14 days. Most of us are approaching the end of that time period. But it’s not necessary for anyone who happened just to have been in contact with us to self-quarantine, unless we now show signs of the illness (fever, cough, difficulty catching our breath). If you do develop symptoms, please contact your health professional or DC Health for further medical advice and any questions about being tested.

Please know that we continue to do all we can to protect you and to hold you close. Look for daily updates each evening.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Crystal if you need care (no trouble is too small). And, please do be in touch to let us know if you are sick. We want to pray for you and support you as intentionally as we can.

Christ Church, we are all in this together. And, God is with us.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

A Message from Father Tim

Dear Christ Church Family,

I am sorry you have not heard much from me over the past ten days.  These last couple of weeks have been a strange up-and-down experience, and some days simply blur into each other. This virus has left me wiped out a lot of the time, but other days I have felt somewhat better.

I thank all of you so very much for your hundreds of prayers, kind wishes, and your love. I am so very fortunate to be part of the Christ Church family and to be surrounded by such good friends. I also very much appreciate the care and concern you have shown for my family, and I know they are well cared for.

As things stand, the doctors have seen improvements, but I have some road to travel before I am well. I hope very much to be back at Christ Church as soon as I can and after I am told it is safe to do so.

I am very sorry for all the disruption you have had to endure as a result of this. Being the first point of outbreak in Washington obviously required strong measures, but I fully understand the inconvenience, and I deeply apologize.

As I think of you all, in your homes, some on your own, some with your children around you, I suggest these days of self-quarantine might also give you an opportunity to do some things you don’t normally do. Please know that I am there with you in spirit and you all are in my prayers.

At the very least, I hope this may be a time when we can all get to know God and our fellow parishioners a little better, and in doing so, know that each of us is truly one of God’s children as well.

Every Blessing,

Father Tim

The Reverend Timothy A. R. Cole, Rector

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Monday, March 9, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Clear, transparent communication is one of our primary goals as we navigate this uncertain time in the life of our community. This holds true even when truth is hard to deliver. As such, we need to share with you that our Organist and Choirmaster, Tom Smith, was diagnosed with the Coronavirus this evening. DC Health is aware and is formulating guidance. When we receive that guidance, we will share it with the community. At this time, we ask that you respect Tom’s need for space and rest; Tom is quarantined at home and feeling well given the circumstances. We continue to do all we can to protect you and to hold you close. Know that we are here, and that God is here.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
An outpouring of support, encouragement, and love
Monday, March 9, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

First, gratitude. Isn’t that where we should always begin, even in the face of uncertainty? We are grateful beyond measure for the care and concern shown to us by this community of faith, our neighboring congregations, the Diocese of Washington, and the wider Episcopal Church. We have received an outpouring of support, encouragement, and love. God’s grace shines undeniably in times such as these, and we are the recipients of its abundance. Thank you.

Father Tim remains stable, in good spirits, and full of jokes he thinks are funny. He continues to get good care at a local hospital. Lorraine and Tim, Jr., are following the guidance of DC Health and remain in isolation at their residence. The entire Cole family is grateful for your prayers, well wishes, and offers of assistance.

We continue to be in touch with DC Health. Their guidance, issued late yesterday evening, can be found here if you have not yet read it. Please do follow the guidance and be in touch with DC Health and your personal medical provider with questions or concerns. CDC.gov has relevant, helpful, and up-to-date information.

We have been in communication with a large number of parishioners who have all indicated that they are self-quarantining. We appreciate your attention to the guidelines. We have not heard of a single instance where a parishioner is not following this guidance, and, at this time, we are not aware of other cases of the Coronavirus within our congregation. We will continue to send updates periodically as appropriate.

Not surprisingly, there has been great media interest in Father Tim and Christ Church. You may receive unsolicited media calls asking about the parish. Some journalists have also asked for parishioners to share our directory. We respect everyone’s privacy and will not release any parishioners’ names or contact information. We hope that everyone will follow suit, by not releasing any parishioner names or providing directories. As for speaking to journalists, that is up to the discretion of each parishioner. If you choose to do so, it would be helpful to know what media outlets have been in contact, should you be willing to share that information with us. It just helps us track what coverage may occur.

It is our hope to return to our regular schedule on Sunday, March 22. However, we will continue to access the situation and take guidance from health officials before making a final decision. We will follow the cleaning protocols provided to us by the CDC and will continue to comply with DC Health and CDC guidance.

Worship is at the heart of all we do at Christ Church, Georgetown, and we are eager to resume our common life together. Yet, we don’t want to put anyone at risk. We are working steadily to find other ways to keep community and will share them with you soon.

Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) Let us find a bit of stillness today. Let us turn our fears over to God. Let us pray for open hearts, so that we can respond to the world in these uncertain times with love.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Guidance from DC Health
Sunday, March 8, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Many of you have been asking for additional guidance in light of today’s events. At 10:47 p.m., we received the following from DC Health. Please read it carefully and reach out to DC Health with your questions and concerns about their guidance.

We will continue to send updates periodically, upon receipt of new information and as warranted. Let us hold one another in prayer and rest assured of God’s presence and grace, which abounds—always.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

A Statement from DC Health

On March 7th, 2020, DC Health was notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Christ Episcopal Church, Georgetown. Through DC Health’s investigation, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all visitors to Christ Episcopal Church, Georgetown on February 24th, and between February 28th and March 3rd could have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, and DC Health is recommending that anyone who visited Christ Episcopal Church, Georgetown on those dates isolate themselves at home for 14 days from the last time they visited the church. Isolating at home includes not going to work or school, and not attending any large or public gatherings, or using public transportation or ride-sharing. DC Health may also be reaching out to certain individuals who are more likely to have been exposed with further guidance.

Additionally, any person who has visited Christ Episcopal Church, Georgetown on the dates mentioned above, should call DC Health if they develop symptoms, or if they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days since they visited the church at 202-576-1117 or call their healthcare providers. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath. If you have any questions and are not symptomatic, you can also email DC Health at coronavirus@dc.gov.

We are currently still conducting our investigation, and DC Health will reach out to potentially impacted congregants and visitors as we continue to gather more information, to ensure the safety of public is protected. You can find more information about COVID-19, including guidance on symptoms and precautions, on the DC Health (coronavirus.dc.gov) or CDC (www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) websites.

 

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Coronavirus in our community
Sunday, March 8, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

As you are now aware, we have suspended all services and meetings at Christ Church until further notice in response to a presumed positive case of Coronavirus in our community. As we said before, we did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us. There is no need to panic. Following sensible precautions provided by the CDC will go a long way towards insuring the good health of our community.

I can now confirm that I am the individual who tested positive for the Coronavirus.

First, I want to assure you that I will be okay. I am receiving excellent care and am in good spirits under the circumstances. I will remain quarantined for the next 14 days as will the rest of my family.

Many of you will want to speak by phone or email; however, at this time, rest is what I need most, and it will be difficult for me to respond. Should you have any situations requiring pastoral care, please do contact the Reverend Mother Crystal Hardin or the Reverend Father John McDuffie. For matters concerning operations of the church, please contact one of the Wardens, Chad Thorley or Rusty Lindner.

The obvious question at this point is what you should do. First, please read the information provided on the CDC's website, linked here. If we are given any firm advice by public health officials, we will pass it to the Christ Church community as soon as possible. In the meantime, we have been asked to let parishioners know that should you experience any symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider.

Faithfully, 

Father Tim

The Reverend Timothy A. R. Cole, Rector

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
All services, meetings, and other events are canceled
Saturday, March 7, 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Beginning tomorrow, Sunday, March 8, Christ Church, Georgetown, will suspend all services, meetings, and other activities until further notice in response to a presumed positive case of Coronavirus in the Christ Church community. We did not make the decision to close our doors lightly, but out of an abundance of caution for the most vulnerable among us.

The person who has been diagnosed is receiving treatment and is in stable condition. As more information is gathered, we will update the community as appropriate and you can expect another email from the church tomorrow with additional details. The clergy and wardens are in conversation with Bishop Mariann, who is providing steady and faithful pastoral care and guidance in response to the situation.

Up-to-date information about the Coronavirus Disease can be found on the CDC website. We encourage any who are showing symptoms or who have concerns about their health to contact their health care provider.

Worship is at the heart of all we do at Christ Church. Although we will not worship together physically tomorrow, we can hold one another in prayer during these days of uncertainty. You may also wish to worship with the National Cathedral using its Sunday Live Webcast option. The 9:00 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 4:00 p.m. services are webcast on YouTube and Facebook Live.

As a practical matter, we ask that you consider those parishioners who might not use email. If you have a way of contacting them to let them know about the cancellation of services tomorrow, please do so.

Above all else, remember these words:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” — Isaiah 43:1-3

God is with us. And, God’s message is clear: “Do not fear.” Fear can be a right and natural response, one that can lead us to take appropriate actions to the benefit of those most vulnerable. And, it is a response that may be difficult to control. But, we cannot let fear overwhelm us or consume us. Not one of us is alone while we have each other. Not one of us is alone, because God walks with us.

Faithfully,

The Clergy, Vestry, and Staff of Christ Church, Georgetown

 

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