Update - March 17, 2020
We pray that this message reaches you in good spirits, despite the unique challenges of this day. Yesterday, we received word of a new step being taken for the sake of our health and safety. San Francisco County and neighboring counties have ordered all residents to shelter-in-place, avoiding leaving their homes unless for essential needs. All elders are encouraged to remain home under any circumstance. Let us receive this news with patience and determination to do whatever necessary to ensure our well-being and that of our communities.
What does this mean for St. John?
Given this new challenge, effective immediately, until at least April 9, Maundy Thursday, all services will be conducted without the participation of the faithful. This includes our weekly Lenten Vigil prayers services, as well as Sunday services. This is consistent with the guidelines set forth by our Diocese and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.
These services, as we have for the past week, will be made available via our live-streaming feed, which can be found on our website or Facebook. We also plan to be offering other online experiences as well that we will announce in the coming days.
What can you do?
There are many ways for you to exercise your Christian duty during this time, and I encourage you to so as it will strengthen your spirit and bring blessings to your life.
- Be responsible, and respect the restrictions that have been put in place. Prepare for this period of time in a sensible way, but do not give in to fear and anxiety, by over-buying or making rash decisions.
- Observe a healthy schedule by moderating your days to include work and rest. This means also respecting the time, which should be set aside for prayer on a regular basis. Do so by participating in our online prayer services, but also in your personal time as well. This will bring you peace and comfort. It will remind you that others are truthful in greater need than us.
- Stay in touch with friends, family, and community members. Be mindful of the reality of their situation, and provide encouragement and support if necessary. If you need support, be honest and reach out to others who can help, including myself.
- Cherish the time you have with your family. As much as we love one another, the rhythm of our daily lives has been disrupted and this can cause tension. Think of this as a new time, that requires a new you. This new you can do many of the things the old you could not. Let's give thanks for that!
Last Sunday I preached a special sermon about this new reality, and how we can overcome. I encourage you to listen to it on our podcast page.
Please remember that though we are not together in the material sense, we are united in spirit.
Fr. Mesrop Ash
March 10, 2020
In our previously released statement, we reassured you that our parish was remaining informed and educated about the evolving collective response of our community regarding the COVID-19 virus. At this time consistent with the recommendations being made by our civic leaders, we are going to cancel or postpone certain special activities organized by our parish. Please read below to find out details.
However, we would like to reassure you that all religious services will continue according to our liturgical calendar, including Sunday services and Wednesday evening Lenten Vigils. All are welcome to participate, but we echo the caution expressed by myriad health departments and organizations.
- All those who are elderly, and are currently sick or have preexisting health conditions, are strongly encouraged to avoid gatherings, and limit the chance of exposure to the Coronavirus, until such time as the potential threat has passed.
- Wash your hands thoroughly (20 seconds or more).
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid kissing or shaking hands when in public.
Understanding that some would like to attend our services, but may not be able to while exercising caution, we plan on streaming our services online during this time. The live stream can be found at stjohnarmenianchurch.com/stream.
During this season we encourage you to remain prayerful and hopeful. The onslaught of news about the closure of institutions and cancellations of eagerly awaited events can tempt us to be overcome by frustration, fear, and anxiety. However, with God's blessing and support the measured proactive response of our governmental, medical, and community institutions will protect our health and wellbeing. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us at (415) 661-1142.
Fr. Mesrop Ash
- All services will only be available via online stream
- All fellowship gatherings following services are suspended
- Parish Assembly (March 15): Postponed until further notice
- Sunday School: Suspended until further notice
- Winter Shelter Service Dates (March 17, 18): Canceled
- Fun, Fashion, and Lunch with Ladies Society (March 19): Canceled
- Gate to Heaven Film Screening (March 22): Postponed
- Lenten Vigil with Isabel Bayrakdarian (March 25): Postponed
- Service Trip to Armenia (June 6-20): Canceled
Note: All liturgical activities will continue as usual, unless otherwise announced. Services will be streamed at stjohnarmenianchurch.com/stream