Message from Fr. Lawrence
November 19, 2020

My Beloved Flock:

My beloved flock. Glory to Jesus Christ. Alas, the concerns I expressed on Sunday about being demoted to the very restrictive purple tier in Santa Barbara County were both prescient and have now been realized. It means we are back to skeletal crews for Saturday Vespers and Weekday Feasts and back outside for Sunday Divine Liturgies. I am very grateful for the tent we placed over our courtyard. It helps us to have Divine Liturgy under some much-needed shelter. The main difference in our Sunday Liturgies in this second round of the purple tier is that we are now in the late Fall and going into the Winter season- and that means issues with Fall/Winter weather.

Here is what we will do: we will assume that the Sunday Divine Liturgy will take place: outdoors, under the tent, and on a weekly basis. Two conditions are particularly difficult and raise safety issues: they are high winds and hard rain. We have already determined through previous hard rain that the angle of the tent allows a fair amount of water onto the patio surface. That poses risks due to a very slippery patio and it also makes 6’ minimum spacing under the tent more of a challenge. We may be able to mitigate this with a shedding device, but it is not yet the case. Real hard winds present not only temperature challenges but challenges with my protecting the Holy Gifts in such conditions. We will therefore not serve Divine Liturgy outside when either of these conditions strongly prevail. Milder winds and drizzle or gentle showers may be conditions we can go forward with. Weather can develop fast, so my thought is that if it does and Divine Liturgy needs to be moved inside, I will email the parish with any last minute changes early enough to inform you of the shift to the inside, with distribution of Holy Communion at the doors. Please check your emails regularly, and especially when these conditions are in play. It pains me to think of the effects of the long pandemic on our church life. Back in April, I quoted a priest who wrote we “did not get the Holy Week/PASCHA that we wanted or took for granted, but we received the PASCHA that God gave us. It is hard to believe that now I’m thinking about the services of Christmas and wondering what we will be given by God.

On a final note, this is a holiday season of travel when we typically go to be with family. Everyone will, of course, make personal decisions about travel- mindful of their own safety and that of the people they love. The parish is a second tier of the people who are your “extended family” in Christ. You are already aware of the fact that if there is any exposure to Covid-19 we are obliged to close the church for two weeks. In the light of this fact, I need to remind you of our Archbishop’s directive about distant travel. His Eminence has asked that those who travel observe the characteristic two-week period of quarantine when they return home. I have appreciated your sensitivity in this matter. Without my saying so, several of you have already done the same. Of course, we do not have to travel to be infected, and we should exercise a good measure of caution in our own ‘bubbles.’

With Love in Christ,
Fr. Lawrence Russell, Rector