b'Church. Slowly, though methodically, we reshaped our ministry in the age of this pandemic. Millions have died in our world, hundreds of thousands in our country and tens of in Texas. Many more have contracted the virus, and while some have lived through having the virus, many survivors have lingering effects on health of mind and body. Despite the disheartening picture of life over the last year or so, there is a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel. Several FDA-approved vaccinations are making their way into the arms of waiting recipients. Businesses, schools, restaurants and theaters are slowly opening back upthough clearly with strict and careful health guidelines.At St. Martins, as we monitored the[ This guide will touch on the importance of Christians numbers, we too opened our doors, but gatherings were strictly limited, and weactively being present at, and in, Church, and will givereplaced many of the things that are partyou tools to encourage loved ones and friends whoand parcel of coming to Church, suchmay be reluctant to join you in coming back.as handshakes, hugs, meals, singing and sharing communion with seemingly sterile and, frankly, sometimes, and you cannot do them on your owngreat return. It is not a long, nor heady stifling substitutes.now. For the same reasons our ancientdocument. Think of it instead as havingUntil we see the full impact of a widelyforebears came together, we 21st centurya very important conversation with your Christians need one another, and weClergy team over a cup of coffee or tea. vaccinated population and widespread need to be with one another.evidence of herd immunity, it is likelySo, please read this document. If you that we will not return to life as weMany of us have, honestly, becomewant copies to share with friends knew it before COVID-19. However, ascomfortable participating in manyor family members, contact our we see the bright promises on the roadthings from the comfort of our ownCommunications Department at ahead of us, now is the time for us tohomes; we can dress as we like, eat whencommunications@stmartinsepiscopal.org, begin thinking about Coming Home we want, manage our own schedulesand we will get one to you pronto!to Churchto St. Martins.and when we do not want to connect On behalf of all the Clergy atThe quote from the Book of Actswith others, we can just unplug! ManySt. Martins, we look forward to that day, describes the earliest days of the Church.of us have enjoyed the kind of freedomwhen we can all come home together! Often found in your Bible under thethat has been an odd collateral benefit heading The Fellowship of Believers,of such a difficult chapter in history. Yet,Faithfully and Most Sincerely, Luke describes what Church looksas we look to the months ahead, now is like. It is not people huddling privatelythe time for us to begin thinking about in their homes; instead, it is thereturning to Church in all of its many gathering together of Jesus followersformsworship, education, fellowship,The Reverend Dr. Russell J, Levenson, Jr.to teach, to pray, to learn and to shareministry, service and so on. This isRectorthe Eucharistic Feast. You could nota guide to help you, we hope, begin do those things on your own then,thinking about the why and how of this - -03'