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The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Messages from Bishop Mark

Shelter in Place

Posted by The Rt. Rev. Mark D. W. Edington on

A Pastoral Word from the Bishop:
When I was very young and growing up in Michigan, a frequent occurrence of the humid midwestern summers were tornadoes. They were very rare storms of ferocious and concentrated destructive power; in the unlikely event they visited your town, one home would be utterly demolished next to another that remained virtually untouched. Their capacity for destruction was at once complete, and random.
To my five-year-old self, they were, accordingly, extremely exciting.
We were taught from a very early age that when the public alarms sounded, it was time to drop whatever else we were doing and head immediately to shelter. My family had a lean-to tornado shelter against the southwest corner the southwest corner of the basement, built of sturdy oak; if the whole house caved in on us, we’d at least be protected. There was a first-aid kit, some air mattresses and blankets, a battery-powered lantern and radio, and a small stockpile of canned food for our family of three. 
I loved going there. When the clouds gathered darkness in the summer afternoon sky, I would secretly hope that the alarms would sound. On the rare occasions that they did, we’d head downstairs and sit, listening to the radio and playing cribbage. 
No one could work during a tornado—you had to be inside to be safe. But of course, my folks kept paying the mortgage—because it was the house that kept us safe.
It was fun—for about fifteen minutes. Then it wasn’t so fun anymore.
By now, we’ve been stuck in our shelters from this virus for fifteen days—and longer. It’s not even a little bit fun anymore. At first, our attention focused on preparing ourselves for the changed routines. Now we are simply enduring them—and they are chafing.
The church has been there for us in all of this. Our congregations have been incredibly inventive, resilient, and relentless in connecting us together, opening up new ways of being in faithful community, and inviting others in. Some of us (and I hope more of us soon) have visited other congregations in the Convocation through the instrument of video links. And in some ways, even our longing for being together is teaching us something about what the church is—and why it is so central to the lives of disciples.
But now, we need as well to be there for the church. The whole world may seem to have shut down in place—but the church must still pay its way. We cannot socially (or financially) distance ourselves from our obligations. Our bills still must be paid.
As you are joining services from home, please remember you can send your financial support to your church from home, too. Many of our congregations have ways of giving directly online, or will help you make a simple transfer from your bank. That’s what I'm doing—and because I know the demands for the ministries of our churches will be all the greater when this crisis is past, I’ve decided to pay all of my pledge for this year up front. 
We’ll come out of these shelters of ours. But even from here, we can offer support to the church as the church is offering support to us
The Right Reverend Mark D. W. Edington
Bishop in Charge
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Tags: wellness, stay home, financial support, online church, coronavirus