Responsible Worship Practice

Dear Holy Trinity Church,

Greetings in the name our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the midst of many concerns and questions surrounding COVID-19, I want to encourage you, my dear brothers and sisters, to see this situation within the larger story of God’s creative and redemptive purposes.  This is still our Father’s world; he remains its Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer from beginning to end (Gen 1-3).  We belong to God, our good Shepherd and gracious Keeper (Ps 23, 121), who will see us through every valley.  We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, placed in the world by God to enhance the flavor of life and bear witness to the hope of the gospel (Matt 5).  And Christ, who reigns over us and all the world, will make all things new (Rev 22).  The Church has been here before, and God has seen her through.  Many seasons of unrest and uncertainty have come and gone, and throughout each season the Church has sought to serve the most vulnerable with wisdom, compassion, and sacrificial love.

I remind us of these foundational realities so that we may inhabit the concrete difficulties of the present situation with a spiritual and missional posture.  Yes, we should definitely take appropriate medical and social precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19, and yes, we should definitely be heeding the advice of government and health officials.  But we are also called to live in the present circumstances with a spiritual posture of trust, hope, and wisdom rather than anxiety, fear, and panic.  We are called to relate to one another and our neighbors with a missional posture of love and compassion, preparation and practical aid, rather than self-protection (caveat: those in the vulnerable population should take appropriate measures to ensure their safety).  Our beloved bishop, Todd Hunter, put it this way: “If you cease gathering for a period of weeks, you have not stopped being the church; you are ever more poignantly the church, serving others by denying yourself.  Love (2 Cor 5:14) and service for the most vulnerable (Rom 15:1) are the reasons we are changing our behavior, not pressure or fear.”

Given what we know now and our spiritual, missional posture, how is Holy Trinity Church moving forward in the days ahead?  I am working with the Vestry and the pastoral staff to implement the following items…

Sunday Worship: Live-Stream on YouTube

Given that our local authorities and bishop have recommended we cease large group gatherings and that health officials are now recommending ‘social distancing’, we are going to implement a live-stream format for Sunday worship, beginning March 22nd.  On Saturday evenings, you will receive a YouTube link for Sunday’s worship service via email, along with the liturgy we will be going through together.  We encourage you to download and print the liturgy beforehand, as it will make it much easier to follow along.  If you are not currently on our emailing list and would like to be, or need technical assistance, please contact our church office at 949-631-2820 or

admin@myholytrinitychurch.com.

Care Team: Pastoral Calls & Practical Aid

Given that COVID-19 is having a physiological, sociological, spiritual, and financial impact on many in our community, I will be working in conjunction with Bill Ditewig and the HTC Prayer Team to form a Connect and Care Team for this season.  We will be focused on providing holistic support – pastoral phone calls, prayer visits, practical errands, etc. – especially for the most vulnerable in our community. 

Communication: Consistency & Clarity

Given that we will be the ‘church scattered’ for a number of weeks, it is important that we maintain unity and spiritual rootedness as the people of God.  Therefore, clear and consistent communication will be key.  We will be providing frequent updates on our website, Facebook page, and mail chimp letter regarding HTC’s response to COVID-19 as things develop.  In addition, I will be sending a weekly letter and meditation to encourage us along the way and to invite us to see this as a unique spiritual and missional moment in the life of our church and country.

Leadership Team: Wise Decision Making

Given that this situation calls for Christian leadership and shepherding that is wise and discerning, I have decided to gather a support team and follow clear evaluative guidelines.  I will be working in conjunction with the Vestry, our pastoral staff, and the pastoral oversight of our bishop to foster wise decision making in the days ahead.

These actions items are geared towards the next couple weeks, but in anticipation that they may be required for a longer period.  We will analyze and respond as things develop.  Meanwhile, the pastoral staff and I are here to support you in whatever way we can.  May the Lord bless you with peace and courage.

I leave you with a prayer from W. David O. Taylor:

Oh Lord, you who are the refuge of the poor and needy, we ask that you would save us from the pestilence that stalks in the darkness and the plague that destroys at midday. Be our sun and shield. Be our fortress. Be our comfort this day. May we not fear any evil but rather trust in your might to save and your wisdom to guide, so that we may rest always in the shadow of the Almighty. In the name of the One who heals our diseases.

Amen. 

Blessings,
Rev. Jordan Senner