May 24, 2020

LETTER TO PARISH ON REOPENING

Photo: Stoney Stone

May 20, 2020

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Ascension Memorial Church,

Governor Charlie Baker announced this week that churches within the Commonwealth are allowed as of May 18th to open their doors as part of “Stage One” of the plan to gradually re-open businesses, churches, and schools provided safety guidelines (view here) are strictly observed.

In response, Bishop Alan Gates, in light of the logistical challenges parishes would be facing at this time to conduct services on campus, issued the following public statement on behalf of the diocese:

The four-phaseMassachusetts reopening plan announced by Governor Charlie Baker on May 18 permits restricted regathering at houses of worship right away, but Episcopal churches in Massachusetts will not be resuming in-person public worship or gatherings until at least July 1—a directive issued by the bishops of both Massachusetts Episcopal dioceses earlier this month. 

That directive remains in effect until further notice, despite allowances in the governor’s plan, which is focused on balancing the reopening of the state economy with public safety concerns amidst the still-active COVID-19 pandemic.

Anticipating that eventual and phased resumption of in-person public worship and church activities will be complicated and require careful preparation, the three bishops of the two Massachusetts Episcopal dioceses have jointly issued a detailed set of guidelines—“A Journey By Stages”—and they are urging congregational leaders to start discussing now what safe regathering will entail in their local contexts.

Context matters, the guidelines note, with church life being carried out in a variety of locales and facilities, and in communities affected differently and at different times by COVID-19.  “This is not a one-size-fits-all plan for regathering.  In each community and congregation we must consider how we protect one another and our neighbors, carry out the mission entrusted to us and offer our prayers and praises to God,” the guidelines say, also noting, “Just because it’s permissible doesn’t mean it will be desirable or sustainable, or that it will feel more like church!” 

The Vestry and I believe it is wise and advised to continue to worship online for the coming weeks, with no in-person gatherings until further notified by our diocese. Furthermore, we regretfully must discontinue the practice of having singers share their voices for our online services.  While research is rapidly changing what we know about COVID-19, mounting evidence strongly suggests that singing significantly increases transmission of the disease.  Scientists and medical professionals classify singing as a high-risk activity due to the manner in which singing encourages aerosol spread (read more here: singing in church). That said, our Director of Music, Dr. Frank Corbin, will begin integrating into our live services music recordings from the Ascension Memorial Choir.

In the days ahead, your parish leadership – wardens, vestry, and clergy – will be praying together, engaging in conversations with the diocese, and also seeking your feedback and concerns on what a gradual re-opening will look like. More on this to come.

As always, I welcome your thoughts as we work to chart the best and safest course for this our beloved community of faith.

God’s peace,

Brad+

SCHEDULE OF SERVICES, UPDATES, CHAT SESSIONS

Sunday Services of Holy Eucharist, 8AM and 10:15AM  

Live Streaming available here:  https://www.amcipswich.org/enjoy-live-feed/ and https://www.facebook.com/Ascension-Memorial-Church-123234117714573/ 

ICAM Public Channel
Comcast CH. 9 and Verizon Ch. 33
AMC SUNDAY SERVICE BROADCAST
Tuesday at 5pm
Wednesday at 2pm
Friday at 4:30pm

Tuesday thru Friday Daily Office Morning Prayer at 8AM and Daily Office Compline at 8PM

Live Streaming available here:  https://www.amcipswich.org/enjoy-live-feed/ and https://www.facebook.com/Ascension-Memorial-Church-123234117714573/ 

Wednesday Holy Silence/Holy Communion at 5:30PM

Live Streaming available here:  https://www.amcipswich.org/enjoy-live-feed/ and https://www.facebook.com/Ascension-Memorial-Church-123234117714573/ 

Wednesday Mid-week Greetings from The Rector at 12NOON

Live Streaming available here:  https://www.amcipswich.org/enjoy-live-feed/ and https://www.facebook.com/Ascension-Memorial-Church-123234117714573/ 

Wednesday Evening Parish Chat Session at 7PM

Live ZOOM Teleconferencing:  An email invitation will be sent to you with information for joining the conversation for sharing news, questions, reflections, and smiles.

CLOTH FACE MASKS FROM AMC

We have cloth face masks if you need some.  Email the church at amcipswich@verizon.net or call 978-356-2560.  Suggested donation $10 each.

NEXT BOOK FOR GROUP VIA ZOOM ON JUNE 3, 2020

The What and The When:  The Ascension Memorial Church Book Group begins discussion on a new book starting Wednesday, June 3rd from 6–7PM.

The How:  Watch for a parish-wide email invitation to join the book group discussion via Zoom teleconferencing.  

The Book:   Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy by Anne Lamott

(Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hallelujah-Anyway-Rediscovering-Anne-Lamott-ebook/dp/B01IOHQ9HI

MAINE WILDERNESS RETREAT WEEKEND, AUGUST 21-23, 2020

EPISCOPAL CHURCH #101 CLASSES ONLINE

Episcopal Church #101 continues TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 at 7PM.  

These discussion classes are designed to offer an overview of faith as practiced within the Episcopal tradition.

All are welcome to join CLASS 4 entitled “Bible Basics: The Holy Bible””

The ZOOM link to access these classes will be sent out to the entire parish.  Watch for the invitation in your email.

These FIVE classes are REQUIRED for those seeking to be Confirmed or Received into the Episcopal Church.   
Subject to change: Bishop Gayle Harris will preside at a Service of Confirmation and Reception on June 27th, 2020 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 138 Tremont St. Boston, MA.

CHORES FOR CHURCH

Thank you to those who have responded to our Chores for Church fundraiser. We appreciate your interest! We also want everyone to know that the Chores for Church fundraiser will go to the end of the month. We need your chore requests before May 31!

So far, our most popular chore requests have been cooking, jewelry repair and power washing. In fact, cooking has been so popular that some items have sold out! Please have a look at the updated Cooking attachment. Additionally, we’ve included a Pressure Washing info sheet.  

Here are some of the chores being offered, plus we have two new additions:

  • NEW: Chain saw work, tree clean up ($25 min.)
  • NEW: Woodworking Projects – repair, build, assemble
  • Landscape/Grounds – yard clean up, mowing, raking, trimming, clearing
  • Outdoor Projects – power washing, painting, car wash, walk dog
  • Cooking – meals, soups, treats (see attachment)
  • Jewelry Repair – fix, consult
  • Ebay Seller – sell your stuff with parishioner/Ebay seller; portion of sale goes to church and to donor
  • Fresh Fish Delivery
  • Request a Chore! *

How It Works: See a chore you would like to get done? If so, please email Ascension (amcipswich@verizon.net) with the subject line, “Chores for Church.” Or, you can call the Parish Office (978-356-2560) and leave a message. A Chore Volunteer will get in touch with you. Costs for chores vary according to the size and scope of the project. Rest assured, all suggested donations are reasonable! 

*If you have a chore in mind and don’t see it listed above, we will do our best to get it done for you. Please click on the link and fill out a form requesting a chore. https://forms.gle/CSiucat8cMacnWrv8

Here’s to getting some chores done!

The Special Events Committee

FAMILY PROMISE

We Can Help Our North Shore Families-In-Transition

Family Promise of the North Shore is supported by a collaborative of churches committed to keeping families together during their time of homelessness and to helping them through the process of finding support and housing.  Ascension Memorial Church is a member of this collaborative hosting families overnight in Boone Hall at least twice a year.  Even as COVID-19 has sadly limited the services we can provide to our families in transition, their need for our love and support remains urgent, if not more so.  

Here is how we can help.  Already our Outreach Committee recently contributed $500 to the Family Promise in response to a pledge matching opportunity.  

If you wish, you can also make a donation directly to Family Promise using this link:  https://familypromisensb.networkforgood.com/projects/95845-family-promise-guest-food-needs

We can work together to make our families’ situation of homelessness a little bit easier during this state-wide quarantine.

LATEST IMPORTANT “LEND A HEART” INFORMATION

Hope you are all well and staying sane and healthy during the continuing coronavirus stay-at-home social distancing period.

We’re now in the coronavirus phase where everyone is supposed to be wearing masks when they go outside and cannot maintain social distancing. All MA stores/businesses require that a mask be worn. While wearing a mask does not protect the wearer that much, it protects the people around them, which is a sign of respect to our fellow citizens. 

If you find that you need  a mask, you can call the Ipswich Council on Aging (978-356-6650) and they will get a mask to seniors. 

Or a call can be made to either Patti Gorman (978-500-1161) or Jody Huffcut (978-500-2722) from our parish to ask about getting a mask. 

Both Patti and Jody have been busy making cotton masks and they are easy to use and can be washed and used again.

Soon, our MA governor and local towns/municipalities will be lifting some of the stay at home orders. However, it will be wise to maintain our hypervigilance with social distancing, hand washing, and general cleanliness as COVID-19 has not gone away, we’ve yet to get adequate testing in place, and a reliable vaccination is at least months to a year+ away. We expect spikes of covid illness as people go back to work and get out more. It’s especially important that our most vulnerable population stay safe.     

If you have any questions, please contact Patti Gorman or me.

Last, THANK YOU SO MUCH to our volunteers for continuing to stay in touch with folks and keeping our ministry going during the pandemic as its effects have lasted longer than we could have imagined and the willingness of our volunteers to continue to reach out to members of our parish family is very much appreciated.  

Stay safe and healthy.

Kathy and Patti

*INFORMATION: IPSWICH COUNCIL ON AGING

978-356-6650

-Grab and Go Meals for pickup or delivery (there is a short waiting list for this at this point)

-Van for Grocery, Medical Appointments, Prescription Pick Up

-Volunteers for groceries, technical help with devices

-Supplies for elders if needed:  disinfection wipes, hand sanitizers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.

-Comcast Cable Channel 8 and Verizon Channel 32 offer the following classes daily:

    8AM        -Tai Chi

    9AM        -French Classes

    11AM      -Yoga

    4PM        -Aerobics

    5:30PM   -Self Defense

PLEASE NOTE:  Stimulus Checks from The Federal Government

    -will be directly deposited if you are receiving SS payments to your account

    -DO NOT respond to phone or emails regarding this subject

    -if you do not receive direct government payments then go to their website:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

-Finally, If you need some resources for ideas to keep you busy, try the Ipswich Library website:  https://www.ipswichlibrary.org/