Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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June 30, 2022

Sisters and Brothers,
 
As a parish, we’ve been talking about developing a manual of Standard Operating Procedures for some time, in fact, since before I arrived. There are several motivations for creating such a document. One of the first reasons that was shared was with me betrays some anxiety in our system. That reason could be best summed up as, “What are we going to do if so-and-so gets sick or dies. They’re the only one who knows anything about x-y-and-z.” That’s a good reason, but it betrays two kinds of anxiety: 1) a corporate anxiety that doubts that we know everything we need to know to function without an individual or individuals, and 2) individual anxiety that says, “if I don’t do it no one else can or will.” The Vestry and I want to use this manual as an opportunity to assuage those anxieties and to create a reliable and professional strategy and vision for our institutional life.
 
To that end, we’ve formed a draft outline that is comprehensive of our communal life and have tried to identify stakeholders in the several areas of our life together. In the coming weeks, the Vestry and I will be reaching out to many of you for your input in writing, compiling, and organizing this manual. And in the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to all of you for your ideas. We hope that at the end of this process, we will have more than simply a snapshot of how we currently operate. We hope this document will bring new opportunities for new leadership in new roles. We hope this document will bring new creativity to our worship, outreach, fellowship, evangelism, and formation. We hope this document will bring new and more professional efficiencies to our communications, finances, and administration. And we trust, that as all this hope is realized, our anxieties will be assuaged and a new confidence and joy in our life together will come to light. We look forward to your fullest participation in this process.
 
On a different note, Covid is still with us, but we are learning more and more about the disease, its mitigation, and how to maintain safety in our corporate life. Currently, we will still ask folks to mask while in the building and unable to maintain safe distances. We are still waiting to bring back the common cup. We expect and are planning to start Sunday School, an Intercessory Prayer Group, and post-worship fellowship in September. And we can immediately add and change some roles in worship as soon as folks make themselves available. These roles and changes include ushers to pass the offering plates and present the elements and gifts, a crucifer to lead the opening and closing processions, having the Lay Eucharistic Minister vest and process, and incorporating the Laying on of Hands and Anointing for Healing as part of the distribution of Communion. Please be in-touch with me if you feel moved to serve one another in any of these liturgical roles.
 
Finally, thank you. The way y’all have embraced Kate and me these past six months means so much. As many of you know, our family is facing some difficult adjustments and decisions around my folks’ health. To date, y’all have been interested and caring while also being gentle and discreet. In these matters, we covet your prayers and thank you again for them.
 
Your brother in Christ,
 
Michael