From Fr. David Peck

Pastoral letters and messages to the congregation

April 3, 2020

Dear friends,
I was yesterday with some of the unsung heroes of our community. I was with funeral professionals who in their work and in their care for the bereaved, as well as our dead, are putting themselves in risk and danger as well as their families. And we together with them are able to pray and stay steady in our work despite our anxieties. As I said to them, I say to you now that we try to turn our fear into something more faithful. And as we do so, I hope to find in an acronym, something that shares for you how I have done that in recent days.

Fear itself: F-E-A-R I turn into facts, Easter attitude and resilience. Fear turned into different words into fact, Easter, attitude and resilience. Facts, for me of why it is that we’re staying at home and how to keep ourselves safe. Easter, because that is what our lives are rooted in, and with that hope comes our ability to have a different attitude–an attitude that is positive and hope-filled despite our fears. And finally the resilience with our own frustrations, our own mistakes that we make cooped up at home and frustrated by our own limitations and those around us.

In this time of seeking to be more faithful, I was able to say to them that Saint James will pray for them every day. I could say that because we are praying and meditating daily whereas there were small groups before who prayed on behalf of the whole parish daily that number has now become a hundred people praying daily. We do so in different ways and at different times but all of us together. We do so joined by those from Washington State, Utah, New Jersey, Louisiana as well as London. So thank you for your fidelity, your generosity and your sacrifice.

Your fidelity generosity and love is plain to see. I see it for example, in the Easter cards that our children and their families are making for those among us who are shut-in. I see it in the services that Alyssa is offering in greater number to more people in her own ministry of house church and Godly Play and the other resources from which we can all benefit as we use them. I see it in how we are joining in what we have lost with those who are homebound themselves and have been far longer than we will be. That our children are a means of connecting with them is a beautiful work and prayer.

As we prepare for a Holy Week in which so much will be changed and which we will miss many things about, we yet will find in our quest of Holy Week what it always is each year. To find the Holy One in our midst. To bow down before the God who saves us despite the injustice and betrayal of others or our own doubts and our own sins.

And we will find a risen Christ among the tombs. To do this, there will still be camp Holy Week for our children youth and families online. To do this, we will have a holy week of diocesan services with our Bishop and clergy leading us. So well as you can see from Headlines and Happenings there is Compline every night at nine o’clock with me by Zoom. And of course, there is the recorded worship that brings so much consolation to you and to me.

This weekend, Holy Week begins with our Palm Sunday liturgy which we share and we’ll be sharing with more people than have ever been at Saint James across our 275-year history. That is because we are doing church in a new way. This is the only Holy Week we will get this year, and it will be full of pain as well as loss, but I invite you to find with me in it that strength and consolation—that joy that will be there also because Christ is waiting. Christ is waiting in our hearts and he is waiting for us as that True Vine in which we find ourselves as his true branches. We await even now His resurrection and even our own. God bless you this holy week.

Archived Letters and videos from Father David