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The parish’s plans for Corvid-19 emergency

Familiarity, according to the proverb, breeds contempt. It is a saying which helps explain why many who have lived through the major epidemics of the past century—whooping cough, scarlet fever, Asian flu and polio—appear to be taking a somewhat phlegmatic approach to the neo-coronavirus, Covid-19.

Scorn is probably not an unreasonable reaction to the hoarders who—heedless of their neighbors’ needs—have stripped supermarket shelves bare of toilet paper, hand sanitizers and all manner of canned goods. The panic that greeted the advent of the epidemic in so many quarters is an absolute disgrace.

Disdain for the panic-stricken, however, is no reason to treat Covid-19 lightly. While 80 percent of those who contract the virus are expected to suffer relatively minor symptoms or, possibly, no symptoms at all, it presents a serious threat to the remaining 20 percent of those infected, notably the elderly, diabetics and others with compromised immune systems.

Measures prescribed by the authorities to counteract the spread of the virus seem almost draconian. Governor Lawrence Hogan’s order forbidding gatherings of more than 50 people makes it difficult for churches to remain open. Should further limits be imposed, it will be impossible.

On Sunday, March 15th, some 20 people attended the 9:15 AM Eucharist. Congregations at 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM were in the single figures. This encourages us to try to maintain—for as long as the law permits—the Sunday morning worship schedule for those who wish to attend.

However, people in high the risk categories—the over 60s and those suffering from chronic illnesses—would be wise to take careful note of the health care warnings. It is far better to be safe than sorry, especially as we are dealing with a disease about which so much is unknown. .

The parochial clergy will do their best to take care of the spiritual needs of those unable to attend church.

We will continue to post the weekly sermons on the Church website (www.ststeve.com), where the daily offices are also available for reading. In addition, Father John Novicki and Mr Peter Threadgill are exploring the possibility of streaming on the internet Sunday’s 9:15 AM Eucharist and 11:00 AM Mattins.

The parish office, moreover, will be open from Monday to Friday, from at least 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. People who are concerned about attending Sunday services are welcome to come by individually to receive the sacraments or simply to chat.

But as we also hope to continue to make sick visits, etc., we would be obliged if you would ahead to let us know you are coming.

Last, and regrettably far from least, the treasurer tells us that despite the governor’s actions. cost of running the church will not be measurably reduced. We would, therefore, be most grateful if you would continue your generous support of the parish during the emergency.

God bless you all,

The clergy and staff of St Stephen’s

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