Dry Desert
St. Paul's Manna Blog

He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

In light of the recent changes announced by the CDC, some of you have asked me whether St. Paul’s will be changing our masking requirements for indoor worship.

The short answer is: no, there will be no change for now.

We will continue to require masks in the sanctuary at all times.

The CDC has announced that, in parts of the country where COVID-19 hospitalizations are low, masks can be optional. For some of us, that’s exciting and welcome news. For others, it’s disturbing and feels too soon.

Wherever you fall on that spectrum, I get it!

A child wears a light purple shirt, dark glasses, a tiny green sparkly hat, and a pink mask. She's stretching a green slinky in front of her.

And, masks are a small but powerful way we can continue to care for our neighbors.

As you know, children under 5 still cannot receive vaccinations for COVID-19. Thanks be to God, our St. Paul’s congregation is blessed with many children under 5 years old. For them, we will continue to wear masks for now.

Additionally, our St. Paul’s family is blessed with many people who live with immune compromise from all kinds of conditions—ones we know about and others that we don’t. Immuno-compromised people, even if fully vaccinated, are at higher risk for infection from COVID-19 and for worse outcomes if they do get infected. For them, we will continue to wear masks for now.

This is an ongoing conversation among the St. Paul’s leadership, and we welcome your thoughts. Please send me an email or talk to a vestry member at church.

How have you been celebrating Black History Month?

I have to admit that, with COVID and school and transitioning back to in-person worship, February has been flying by. At the very least, I usually try to read a memoir or history book about a Black person or Black history in February. (The book has to be written by a Black author, as well.) Even that hasn’t happened this year.

But! We have more than a week left in the month. It’s not too late!

And this week I happened across a resource from an Episcopal parish not too far from us.

Christ Church Trumbull (CCT) has formed what they call the CCT Anti-Racism Alliance. It’s led by five young women in their parish who’ve been inspired to take transformative action in their context. I’m really moved by the work they’re doing.

Luckily for us, they created a Black History Month resource full of information, prayers, reflections, and resources. You can download their Black History Month Reflection Guide, created by Vanessa Woods, here.

Celebrating Black History Month isn’t a box for us to check or something we should get credit for. Instead, it’s one of many small commitments I make, one part of my work to undo the systematic racism that’s instilled in me by our world.

What are you doing for Black History Month this year?

Oh, and by the way, I’m still going to read a book. I just downloaded the audiobook for Dear White Peacemakers by Osheta Moore.

Updated: Feb 17

As you know, we're worshiping in person again. Thanks be to God—and to everyone who makes worship happen every week.

And! Starting this morning, our worship will be streamed on Facebook Live, as well.

A photo of a dozen teens with their parents. The heading says: Join us for worship every Sunday! in person and on Facebook Live. Facebook Live stream starts 10:05am, worship starts 10:15am, facebook.com/stpaulct

Here are some FAQs to help with the transition:

How do I join worship on Facebook?

Visit the St. Paul's Facebook page at 10:15am on Sundays. The page will show you that we have a live video starting. Click the video and join us. You can join from a computer, tablet, or phone.

Be sure to "like" St. Paul's on Facebook, too. Then you'll get notifications when our live videos begin, if you're already on Facebook at that time.

Remember that you're not just "watching" worship like you'd watch TV; you can pray and worship at home. Sing along to the music, and pray along with the words. Type to each other in the chat to share your prayers and your reflections.

If you don't have a Book of Common Prayer at home, please email Rev. Helena and ask for one so you can better worship with us.

Do I need a Facebook account?

Nope! No Facebook account is necessary. If you want to leave comments, though, you will need to sign in to a Facebook account.

Why the change?

The sound on our Zoom/YouTube setup was sometimes very difficult to hear. We've been making technical upgrades, and we're excited to share this new way of worshiping together online. (We also streamlined the sound within the sanctuary, which should make it easier to hear in person, too.)

Can I still join on Zoom?

No, this setup means we're moving away from Zoom for now. Please ignore any Zoom link you have and use the Facebook link instead: https://www.facebook.com/stpaulct/live

Will it go perfectly the first few times?

Maybe not! We're doing our best to make sure the transition goes well. Please bear with us through any technical difficulties.

I have thoughts about this. Whom should I tell?

Please contact Rev. Helena with your feedback about the new setup! She wants to hear from you as we "try on" this new way of connecting online. Hopefully it will mean even more people can connect with us and with each other on Sunday mornings.