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The Very Rev. Paul Donison
Rector & Dean of Christ Church
By God’s grace and goodness, we are weathering this storm together as the Church.
I am so thankful for the kind emails and letters we have received from many of you this past week. Though it is painful to be separated, the amazing silver lining of moving our services online is the evangelistic effect they are having. A couple in our parish wrote me a card this week and shared how they are “finally living into the evangelism you’ve been calling us to” as they share the links for our daily and weekend online services with their neighbors. They also included a special donation check along with their card to support us in “keeping up this Gospel work.”
Though our campus is closed, clearly the Church is not closed. We are fully in business: providing daily and weekend worship opportunities, preaching and teaching the Word, reaching out to parishioners to pray with them, and finding creative digital ways to stay connected in loving fellowship. We are seeing the truth of Jesus’ promise that as we continue to attend to his Word, even by digital means, our house stays strong.
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25).
Many have said they are praying for me as I seek to shepherd this parish through these strange days, and for that I am so thankful. Let me assure you that I am at the same time humbled and energized by this challenge, and I am so thankful for our amazing team of clergy and staff. Please continue to give generously through your tithes and offerings online or by mail, so that these vital ministries continue with strength.
May we all be growing in faith in this time, learning to sleep during such a storm, to the glory of God.
Sanctuary and Chapel Worship Services are closed the weekend of March 21 & 22. Please join us for worship online on Sunday at 9 a.m. All other midweek gatherings are closed until further notice. Our ministers will be in touch about specific cancellations.
My heart aches at the distance between us in this season of sheltering and social distancing. For this reason the staff and I are committed to providing innovative ways for us to stay connected as the Church.
Here are few ways to start:
On Sunday morning beginning at 9 a.m. you can join us for an online church service of liturgy, music, and preaching.
Please share this with your friends, as many people are searching for where they can be fed.
Watch Services & Sermons Online »
Subscribe via Apple Podcasts »
Tonight we are launching a daily podcast, Monday-Friday, where I will lead a shortened service of Evening Prayer and offer some short pastoral thoughts on God’s Word. You can download the podcast here as well as the liturgy sheet that corresponds to the service.
Again, we encourage you to share this with friends, as nothing speaks to seasons of uncertainly like prayer.
Listen to Tonight's Evening Prayer »
Download the Evening Prayer Liturgy »
If you wish to be notified by email when the Evening Prayer Podcast is available each day, please subscribe below.
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We have randomly divided up the list of all active parishioners so that each household will receive a short pastoral phone call. Our desire is to be pastorally available and to pray with you over the phone.
As we are a large parish, it will take a couple weeks to get through the list, so if you have a pressing need please do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling the church office.
Visit Our Prayer and Help Page »
Your entire church staff is still at work, creatively continuing our ministries, and those ministries need your ongoing generous support.
If you have not already made arrangements to move your tithes and offerings online, I am asking you to visit our giving page today and make those arrangements. This season will last for a time, and we want to make sure our church remains financially healthy through it.
We have so many opportunities to reach our community with the Gospel in this time of need. I am asking you to give generously for such a time as this.
Visit Our Giving Page »
With much prayer, and much love,
Worship Services Cancelled March 14-15.
In consultation with Bishop Todd, and the Rectors of some of the larger ACNA churches, I am expanding our precautions related to the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19) to include cancelling worship services this weekend.
We will be evaluating this situation through the week, and give further updates about when we will reopen.
I had prepared last night’s letter while traveling home from Rwanda. The letter went out before I was physically back in Dallas, but upon arrival I began to realize that in those 24 hours of international travel that the situation in Dallas had evolved, as is often the nature of pandemics. Several large churches and dioceses in Dallas have now reversed earlier decisions to stay open.
To quote Bishop Todd’s letter to the diocese (which I had not read before my letter was sent):
“I encourage you to see this as a missional opportunity. If we cease gathering...we have not stopped being the Church; we are ever more poignantly the Church, serving others by denying ourselves. Love (2 Cor 5:14) and service for the most vulnerable (Romans 15:1) are the reasons we are changing our behavior, not pressure or fear.”
We do not have live-streaming capabilities at this time, but we have a large sermon video library. I encourage you to watch the following sermon video this weekend on healing.
Watch “Courage for Healing” on Vimeo »
As your Rector, being away from you this weekend feels awful, but I echo St. Paul’s words to you, “Though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is” (Colossians 2:5).
Praying with you,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am continually praying for you, for our parish, and for our world during this extremely difficult season.
In consultation with our staff, wardens, and government leaders, we have expanded our protection measures at Christ Church during this health crisis.
For this coming weekend (March 14 & 15) and the week that follows, we will be enacting the following:
All midweek events are canceled. All midweek events and ministries will resume when the leadership determines it is safe to do so.
The church offices are closed. The staff and clergy will be reachable through their church office phone numbers and email addresses as we will all be working remotely from home.
Pastoral care will be offered as is safe and wise. As much as possible, our clergy will minister to parishioners over the phone and only make a visit when assurances can be made that both parishioner and clergy person are healthy. If you become sick, please let us know so that we can pray for you.
We are implementing these measures in love to keep everyone as safe as possible. If you choose to not attend worship services, you will still be able to watch sermons and give online through our website, and we will all gather again once this is behind us.
Let us pray that Jesus, the Great Physician, will guide our medical community to bring about a vaccine, effective treatments, and finally tread down this illness under his feet.