In the midst of a rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic, vestry members met a week ago using Zoom video-conferencing software from our homes. Most of us used the video capabilities from our home computers, but many simply called in using their telephones. Every vestry member attended, including our newest member, Gary Jolly. One unexpected benefit of the governor’s state of emergency declaration and of our social distancing is that our engagement calendars are now radically simplified. We now have many fewer places to be, just those which can happen virtually, over the Internet or via a conference call.
SERVICES AND UPDATES ON-LINE
Here are items for your virtual social calendar. At our meeting, Father David told us he is streaming morning prayer services Mondays through Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. Those broadcasts began March 16. Also, Sunday services are streaming, times to be announced. His initial plan is for those services to include Music Director David Christopher and members of our professional singers, the Choral Scholars, perhaps eleven people in all, just over the governor’s limit of ten that went into effect on March 24. Technically, churches are exempt from that limit, but we remain eager to reduce the potential spread of this virus and will be adapting.
As it turned out, the video broadcast of the Sunday service on March 22 had a decent image and very good audio. As many as 53 people were logged in at any one time, with two or more watching some screens. Here is the link to SsAM’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/saintsandrewandmatthew
Also, Fr. David is sending out email updates, which can be found on the SsAM website. See: https://www.ssam.org/category/sermons/fatherdavidsblog/
COVID-19 ACTION TEAM APPROVED
At our meeting, Senior Warden Rachel Gaskell suggested the formation of a COVID-19 Action Team. Gary Jolly, Bill Kaufmann, Tom Angell, Yvonne Gordon, and Danny Schweers immediately volunteered, with Church Administrator D-L Casson offering to serve as a resource. The team’s mission is to assess how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the church’s personnel, ministries, and finances; and to suggest solutions to problems.
Of immediate financial concern is that, with church services cancelled, we are no longer passing the plate and no longer have that non-pledge income coming in. That makes it easy for us to empathize with the plight of restaurant owners who now can only offer food to go. Shall we offer drive-up communion on Sundays if this state of emergency persists? Better suggestions are welcome!
OUR RESTROOMS ARE OPEN, FRIENDSHIP HOUSE ADAPTS.
D-L Casson informed us that Saints Andrew and Matthew continues to keep its front lobby and restrooms open, something much appreciated by the homeless. That was D-L’s news a week ago. Here is what she emailed us yesterday:
“The FH coffee/donut grab and go just ended (it was from 7.30 – 9:00). One person at a time got a cup of coffee and a donut or piece of fruit. It went well. I see Anthony disinfecting the tables and all surfaces as I write this. Our location (1 of 2) is a place with a porta potty in the parking lot (near Orange Street). Greatly appreciated! Folks are thanking me as I walk around to check things out. We are making a difference even though we are closed otherwise.”
VESTRY TO MEET TWICE AS OFTEN
With so much going on, the SsAM Vestry will now meet twice a month, at 6:30 p.m. on second and fourth Wednesdays, not in person, but via the Internet for the time being.
SsAM ENDOWMENT FUNDS
With stock markets plunging worldwide, vestry members voiced their concerns for the health of SsAM’s endowment funds, especially since our budget is so dependent on interest from those funds and so dependent on drawing from the principle from those funds. Bill Kauffman noted that our endowment funds are being managed by the Episcopal Diocese of Delaware, which has a capital preservation philosophy when investing funds; that is, avoiding losses is more of a priority than making gains. In all this, we especially appreciate the advice and wisdom of our financial advisors, including SsAM members Yvonne Gordon, Bill Kauffman, and Janice Teemer.
VESTRY NOMINEES WANTED
The Vestry has begun collecting names of individuals willing to serve on the Vestry for three-year terms that begin in June. If you feel called to serve, or want to recommend someone, please contact the church! Those leaving the Vestry in June are Jenna Christy, Norwood Coleman, Nana Soto, and Linda Whitehead. What a pleasure it has been serving with them! Tom Angell, Rachel Gaskell (Senior Warden), Patty Greene, and Gary Jolly have another year to serve; Mary Morgan, Danny Schweers, Peggy Shane (Junior Warden), and Dan Young, two years.
Danny Schweers, Peggy Shane, and Dan Young
NOTE: This Vestry View article is our third. We want your comments! We are sending the Vestry View out by email, posting it on the SsAM website, and (if printing resumes) including it in the Weekly Vision.