Beginning on June 7, we are offering two in-person worship services each week: Sundays at 9am and Wednesdays at 6pm. These services are weather-permitting outdoor Eucharist services that will be held in the parking lot near the basketball court. Read more details about these worship services in Dean Michael's May 29 email below.
We will also live-stream a Eucharist service each Sunday at 11am. Click here to participate.
We are continuing to host daily Midday Prayer each weekday at noon. Join in here.
Below are some pastoral emails from Dean Michael.
29 May 2020
Holy Cross Family,
The Chapter and I have been prayerfully meeting and processing what we believe to be the best course of action for Holy Cross regarding gathering in person for worship. We are excited to move forward, and we will do so with caution. The Chapter has decided on a course of action - a first step - to begin implementing in June.
We are well aware that at this time every aspect of these decisions is politically charged. The Chapter agrees that we will make all our decisions based on what we believe is best for the Cathedral members, the best data we have, our specific situation, and guidelines from public health officials as well as our diocese. We know that there are some in the congregation that would prefer a more bold approach, while others believe an even more cautious one is needed. The Chapter is committed to keeping our members safe while also moving forward in our God-given call of worshiping together in person as the Church.
We have prayed together. We have processed through a wide variety of options. We have looked at what other churches and businesses are doing. And we have decided as a team on this course of action as our first step.
No one should feel pressure to attend in person at this time if they are uncomfortable or especially vulnerable. Everyone should abide by the applicable executive orders, and of course, no one with any symptoms may attend.
Beginning Sunday, June 7, our plan will be the following:
- Sunday Morning @ 9:00 a.m.: A weather-permitting outdoor Eucharist service in the parking lot near the basketball court will be offered (a bit shorter than our typical services, but still a full service). In following our diocesan requirement and public health recommendation, masks must be worn covering nose and mouth by everyone age 2 and older. (Remaining in one's car with windows rolled up no mask is required.) People may sit in their car or bring their own chair. Six feet of physical distance is required at all times between people not of the same household. As much as we may want it to, this cannot become an extended time to hang out or hug your church family. We know that's hard, but this is what we need for now.
- Sunday Morning @ 11:00 a.m.: Our online streaming service will continue, but it will move to 11:00 a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience of changing the time, but this is necessary for us to be able to continue to incorporate both traditional and contemporary music. Dean Michael will begin a new sermon series following our lectionary, preaching through the book of Romans.
- Wednesday Evening @ 6:00 p.m.: An exact duplicate service of the outdoor Sunday 9:00 a.m. service will be offered outdoors again - same leader, same sermon.
A note about masks: We know that the issue of wearing masks has become political and all-around confusing for many. There are very strong opinions on both sides. We recognize that, but we are also being clear that at this time for our gatherings together (in keeping with diocesan directives and public health recommendations), masks are required. Wearing them is a way that we can show love to our neighbors. Our masks are to protect others, not ourselves. We do not do this in fear, but we can love our neighbors in this way.
The Chapter will continue to discuss and continually evaluate. We expect to take this month by month, so a plan for July will come in the next few weeks as the situation continues to unfold. Of course, our goal is to worship together as the whole Church gathered in our building, but we will continually monitor the feasibility and what steps can be taken toward that end.
We are thrilled to be gathering together again, even in an unusual way. We look forward to seeing those who can participate. We won't give you hugs, but please know we want to!
Yours in Christ,
22 April 2020
Holy Cross Family,
By now most of you have heard that the Governor's executive order from April 20 permits churches to gather for worship under certain very strict guidelines. I want to inform you of how this impacts Holy Cross Cathedral and how we will move forward at this time.
Thankfully, we are seeing a slow-down in the number of new cases in Georgia, but it is important to remember that not all communities in the state are at the same point in the journey through this pandemic. Each area will have its own peak, and our local community is not as far along as some other regions. Walton County has certainly not reached its peak. Gwinnett is closer but likely has not reached its peak either.
The executive order from the Governor emphasizes that all of the same principles of social distancing must continue. Holy Cross would have a significant difficulty maintaining the required and wise distancing precautions at this time. Requirements for constant deep cleaning would also prove unattainable. The Governor's Office is even encouraging that churches close bathrooms and not permit their use in the building.
- For the time being we will continue to worship together online only. Our weekly service is streamed each Sunday at 10am: https://www.hcanglican.org/live-streaming-of-services
- Since we cannot safely administer communion to a gathered congregation, we will continue to provide consecrated communion bread in advance for you to use during the live-streamed services.
- Everyone who can, but especially those who are over age 60 and those who are medically fragile are to continue to shelter in place.
We long for the day when we can safely be together in person again. Personally, I'm tired of not being able to gather on Sundays, but we're in this together and need to remain safe and wise. Of course, we will continually monitor developments and reevaluate our situation. We look forward to gathering for worship in person when it is safe to do so!
17 March 2020
Holy Cross Family,
As you know, the situation with the coronavirus continues to change daily. But no matter what changes, we will trust in our Lord to see us through. We do not turn to fear; we put our faith and hope in Jesus.
In light of the CDC and governmental recommendations and requests, we are making some temporary changes to the regular schedule around Holy Cross. As citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven as well as of this earthly country, we will continue to worship our Lord without fail as we also work to obey our governmental leaders. I'm reminded of Jeremiah 29:7 when God instructed his people, "Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you." One of our callings as Christians is to seek the good of our earthly community. Of course, that should never get in the way of our duty to worship and glorify God, but we are also to promote the welfare of our local city. This is part of our witness for Jesus.
In this time when we are requested to avoid large gatherings, we believe that to continue to gather in person for worship could actually damage our witness to the community. We believe that we will have a better witness by making some necessary changes at this time.
So, the Chapter and I have discussed and are implementing these changes:
- For at least the next two Sundays (March 22 and 29) we will livestream a full Morning Prayer service at 8:45am only. We will not gather together in person that day, but we encourage everyone to participate online. The necessary bulletin and/or app will be made available so you can fully participate from home. If a few people truly desire to come in person, we will permit it, but we do not intend for this to be a large congregation gathered. We have a new livestream program up and running, which is now available on our website: HERE.
- Effective today, we are canceling all on-campus meetings and programs. This includes men's groups, women's groups, bible studies, business meetings, Wednesday Eucharist, etc.
- All spiritual growth classes are temporarily suspended.
Our staff and clergy continue to be available to you. We have a few ways for you to stay connected:
- Those who need help (groceries, etc.) and those who would like to offer to help others can email Virginia Smith (email@example.com). We are working to connect volunteers with those who need support.
- We will be offering a brief daily prayer service on Facebook Live at noon Monday-Friday. Please mark your calendars and join in. Go to our Facebook page to participate: https://www.facebook.com/HolyCrossAnglicanChurch/
- Our HCC Kids will be providing a daily devotional that will be sent out. This devotional will be appropriate for families with PreK/elementary children.
Especially in this time of change, please remember to make it a non-negotiable commitment to worship every Sunday. This is an especially important time to lean in more. Read your Bible more. Pray more. Call your church family more to offer support and love. My hope is that each member of Holy Cross will grow closer to Jesus as a result of this situation.
We will get through this-both as a church and as a country. Lean into Jesus. Call your church family. Offer help to neighbors who need it. Pray without ceasing.
May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
14 March 2020
Holy Cross Family,
The Dutch Christian writer and Holocaust survivor, Corrie Ten Boom, said, "Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength - carrying two days at once...Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."
I've written to you twice this week about some of how Holy Cross is responding and protecting ourselves in regards to COVID-19. I have no new information or changes to report, but I want to write a bit more pastorally and personally at this time. I know that there is anxiety, uncertainty, and fear among many in our church family-from the virus itself as well as the implications of the steps being taken to avoid its spread. At Holy Cross we are doing everything we can to protect the congregation, while also continuing what we safely and reasonably can. In light of the choices many are making in regard to how they will personally respond, I have six pastoral encouragements for you:
- Be Wise: To be clear, the Archbishop has not ordered everyone over 60 years old to skip church. However he, as well as Holy Cross leadership, encourages you to be wise and make smart choices in your specific situation. If you are in a certain age bracket, or otherwise especially susceptible to the virus, please use caution and care for yourself and your family, including staying home if you need to.
- Worship EVERY Sunday: Set your alarm, get dressed, grab your Bible, and go to church-even if church for you at this time means tuning in to the livestream at 8:45am (Click here). Do not let the enemy trick you into believing that you can take some time off from church! It only takes a couple of weeks for a new habit to start-and don't let a bad habit of skipping worshiping with the Church creep in. Make it absolutely non-negotiable that you worship with the church on Sundays, even if you can't make it to Holy Cross in person.
- Don't Judge: Different churches, and different individuals within those churches, are making various decisions regarding what is best in their situation. Don't judge others for what they choose to do. Please remember that Holy Cross is following the best advice we have from the CDC and medical professionals.
- Look Out For Others: This is a fantastic time to intentionally check-in on neighbors and friends. Reach out to make sure your neighbors have what they need. Check on those who are especially impacted by the changes taking place. Call those who may be especially isolated. Connect with others in your small group and ministry areas. Make phone calls. Show them you care in Jesus' name.
- Let Us Know: If you are unable to attend church in person at this time, please let us know. Please email our new Associate Pastor, Drew Haltom (firstname.lastname@example.org). We will make sure that we call you and pray with you each week.
- Trust and Pray: We trust in God Almighty, who made heaven and earth. We trust his providence and care. We trust him to see us through anxious times. And we turn to him in prayer-for ourselves, for our community, for our medical and research personnel. Pray for God to strengthen and heal those who are affected. Pray in faith to our gracious Lord Jesus.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ went about doing good, and healing all manner of sickness and disease among the people: Continue in our hospitals and research centers his gracious work among us especially those ministering to people affected by the novel coronavirus; console and heal the sick; grant to the researchers, physicians, nurses, and assisting staff wisdom and skill, diligence and patience; prosper their work, O Lord, and send down your blessing upon all who serve the suffering; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Oh, and wash your hands!)