eNews For The Week of January 10, 2021
Changes to Zoom worship “credentials” begin this week:
As you may know there were a few difficulties with last Sunday’s (1.3.21) Zoom worship. I got mysteriously muted twice and un-hosted once. It is possible that this was due to a “Zoom troll” who somehow managed to get the Meeting ID number. Our ID# has been the same for months now and was publicly available on our website.
Here are the measures we’ve taken to hopefully prevent this from happening in the future:
- Going forward there will be a password required to join Zoom worship instead of the “waiting room” feature.
- Each week there will be a new Meeting ID number & password.
- The weekly meeting credentials (ID# & password) will only be available via the MailChimp eNews email distribution and/or the bulletin.
- If you have been “logging on” by clicking the link in the eNews email you may not notice these changes.
- If you have been manually entering the details on your device or calling in on the phone you will need to adapt to these new weekly changes.
- My apologies for any difficulties this may present and please call if you need help.
Response to the recent surge in the COVID-19 positivity rate in our area:
Upon the strong advice of the Diocese, the Epiphany office is closed for at least the next two weeks (Friday January 8th to Monday January 25th). Many other church offices/buildings in areas of the Diocese with extremely high COVID-19 positivity rates are also closed.
Jennifer Hooper and Fr. Jon will work from home.*
Pei-Yi, Kylie and Pat will continue to be on-site as needed with extra safety measures in place because their work cannot be done remotely. They are also able to be in totally separate parts of the building and/or not at the same time. Pat will be cleaning only on Saturdays for now.
We are working on plans to continue the Disciples Meals program with extra health/safety measures in place. The Bishop has urged congregations with meal programs to do this.
For now Pei-Yi, Jennifer Hooper and I will record our Sunday online services on-site one day a week while taking extra precautions. This is so we can continue to offer a Holy Communion Service* with music.
*’s (the details):
- As you may know the positivity rate in the Pittsylvania-Danville health district has surged to extremely dangerous levels from already very high levels in the middle of December (12.4% on December 14th to 20.1% on January 8th). The rate is likely to go higher still.
- Please call or text Fr. Jon (434-710-1933) if you need more world communion cups so you can participate in Holy Communion on Sundays.
- Jennifer and Fr. Jon each have their office computers at home, are working a more than full schedule and are available by phone. We are working on getting Jennifer a church cell number for this purpose.
- Office Phones: The current voice over internet office phone system (which is more than 10 years old) cannot be forwarded and it is difficult to check voicemails remotely. So until further notice please call Fr. Jon directly on his mobile number (434-710-1933) and leave a detailed message. His iPhone does have the ability to forward voicemails to others. He will forward messages for Kylie and Jennifer and anyone else to them.
- For now Fr. Jon will stop by the building every couple of days to collect/distribute the mail and check on the building.
- As a reminder the Bishop’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel stated months ago that at an 8% positivity rate it’s a good idea not to gather for in-person worship. At 10% or above congregations are not permitted to gather for in-person worship at all. When the prohibition against in-person worship went into effect on December 8th that announcement also said all indoor activity was suspended until further notice, which seemed plain enough. However, the next day on a Diocesan clergy Zoom call there seemed to be some confusion about whether or not this applied to on-site office work. That was clarified this week.
Here is a piece of joyful parish news.
As some of you may be aware Apple recently launched a new business line called Fitness+. Fitness+ is an online exercise program for home use that gives the user access to pre-recorded workouts with one of Apple’s twenty-one newly named professional trainers.
Our own Bakari Williams is one of them! As you know, Corliss is Bakari’s mother and his sisters are Folami and Monifa. In the world of professional fitness training this is a very big deal and we are so proud of him. Please join us in congratulating Bakari!
to a Virtual Town Hall on January 14
January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany – the day when we commemorate the journey of the Magi to Bethlehem, the culmination of their quest to understand planetary movements and stellar alignments in conjunction with prophecies about the birth of a Messiah King. The Magi were outsiders, Gentiles, learned men who practiced a craft or discipline that was not likely endorsed by Torah teachings.
Nevertheless, even though they were on the outside, they were earnest in their seeking and humble enough to seek the direction of people who practiced a religion that was not their own. They came to Herod and to the religious leaders around him to seek counsel and then went on their way to follow a star that led them to Jesus. After encountering Jesus, and paying him homage, they got up to return to their home. The Scripture from Matthew tells us: “And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.” (Matthew 2:12) And so they did…return by another road and in the end they did not become conspirators along with Herod to destroy the Christ child.
How often do we encounter the Christ child and then are invited to return to our lives “by another road?” During this time of pandemic, many of us feel like we are living in darkness. We long to return to “going to church” the way we did before the virus infected us. But have we not encountered the Christ Child even in our pandemic worship. Everywhere I “travel” in the Diocese, be it in a virtual zoom meeting, or a limited outdoor worship, I am hearing stories of people who have been introduced to the church through its technological offerings during the pandemic. In most cases, these offerings have come about when clergy and lay both extend themselves to learn a new way of doing things. We are coming to church “by another road,” and the Christ Child is honored by our travel.
As the pandemic continues to rage around us we are growing weary. We long for a place of rest, refreshment and rejuvenation. The Bishop and the Diocesan staff would like to invite you to a Town Hall meeting where you can do just that. This town hall meeting will be via Zoom and is scheduled for Thursday, January 14 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The meeting format will be a brief presentation by Bishop Susan and members of the Diocesan staff, followed by questions and answers. There will also be a time of scripture reading and prayer.
Click here to get the log in information for this Zoom gathering. We hope you will join us.
Update re: Positivity Rate and In-Person Worship: As of this writing the “7-day Positivity Rate PCR Only” was 20.1% for Pittsylvania-Danville Health District. This is well above the level at which Bishop Haynes’ Medical Advisory Team stated “ ... in-person worship should not occur.”
As previously announced we are now prerecording the services, which will be available to view on the parish YouTube channel, beginning 5:00pm each Saturday evening. Each Sunday morning at 10:00am this same service will be streamed via Zoom with brief “live” announcements from Fr. Jon. Instructions for logging-in or calling in to Zoom are below.
Watch Morning Prayer via Zoom:
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
Meeting ID: 861 1129 0919
Call into the Zoom Stream:
+13126266799,,86111290919# US (Chicago)
+16465588656,,86111290919# US (New York)
Key Fobs: Recently the computer which controls the programming of the key fob system had to be replaced. This required the reprogramming of all fobs. In this process we have discovered that some fobs which have been reprogrammed are no longer recognized by the system. If this happens to you please contact the office about getting a new fob.
New Mailbox: It is not widely know that Epiphany has a new and secure mailbox. You may drop pledge payments or other “mail” in the box if you wish. The box is located on the wall opposite the intercom call button outside the 115 Jefferson Street entrance.
- Tuesday 1/12: 5:00pm Disciple’s Dinner
- Tuesday 1/12: 7:00pm Contemplative Prayer with Drue via Zoom
- Thursday 1/14: 12:00pm Disciple’s Lunch
- Sunday 1/17: 10:00am Holy Eucharist via Zoom
Watch over your servant(s) (Name) O Lord as their days increase; bless and guide them wherever they may be. Strengthen them when they stand; comfort them when discouraged or sorrowful; raise them up if they fall; and in their hearts may your peace which passes understanding abide all the days of their lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Anniversaries this week: None
Gracious God, we lift up your servants (Name) And (Name). to in thanks for your love. Guide them as they grow and surround them with your grace, that they may walk close to you and to each other always; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.