Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
- Divine Liturgy will be served tomorrow (March 22) as usual. Everyone is invited to attend except for those who should stay home in accord with Diocesan and medical guidelines. Please follow the guidelines outlined in my previous letter if you plan on attending Divine Liturgy tommorow. If you are a visitor from another parish and I do not know you, please let me know ahead of time if you plan on receiving holy Communion. Otherwise, I will need to question you at the Chalice if I don't know or remember you. Please do not be offended by this.
- Services after tomorrow will continue to be served at St. Basil’s. The schedule will be kept up to date on our parish website.
- After tomorrow, except for myself (the priest), an altar server and the choir director, no one else is permitted to attend the services for the time being. If you would like to come to church in order to receive Holy Communion on any given day, please contact me. If you would like to come to church in order to go to Confession on any given day, please contact me. We will need to set up an appointment, and only one person at a time will be permitted to come to church in order to either receive Holy Communion or to go to Confession.
- You are encouraged to still say your prayers at home. In fact, you should try to increase your prayers. Services are being sent to you on a periodic basis which you are encouraged to read with your families at home in lieu of attending church services.
- Some churches are offering live stream services which you may view on your computers. Christ the Savior in Ballston Lake will be offering livestream services (https://www.xcsavior.org). Holy Trinity Church in East Meadow, Long Island, offers live stream services (http://www.htocem.org). There are others. We are working on offering Church School via the computer for the time being.
- Remember, tomorrow we will have Divine Liturgy as usual and everyone excluding those who are ill or vulnerable may attend.
- It is absolutely necessary that you still send in your regular donations as usual. We have existed as a church for over 110 years, and your financial stewardship obligation should be treated with no less if not more importance than all of your other usual weekly and monthly bills and expenses.
- We are reaching out to the homebound and others in order to comfort or help anyone in any way that we are permitted.
- Tomorrow will be the last printed bulletin while this curfew is in effect. After tomorrow I will still be offering a weekly bulletin, but it will only be posted on line on our parish website. If you would like a hard copy sent to you, I will be glad to do this on an individual basis.
- And last but not least, let us not forget our children. Comfort them and allay their fears if they have any. Use your parental instincts to answer any of their questions or concerns.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
God's blessing be with you always!
We greet you during this sacred period of Great Lent, our spiritual journey towards the great feast of our Lord's Resurrection. With the current pandemic associated with the coronavirus, as Orthodox Christians and members of the Body of Christ we must take reasonable precautions in order that we care for one another. Based on recent guidance from the Holy Synod of the OCA in conjunction with the Guidelines of our Diocese, we offer these guidelines to the parish. Our Church is cooperating with and following fully the directives of our government and the civil authorities in taking preventive measures. Each local and state government has its own set of guidelines, some more severe than others, depending upon the particulars of the situation in each locale. Remember, we Christians have weathered many storms: wars, revolutions, terrorist attacks, anthrax attacks, epidemics, pandemics, earthquakes, floods, fires, hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, school killings, persecutions, etc.etc. I know that the current situation can cause anxiety, confusion and fear. Our Savior warned us about catastrophes such as these, so they should not come as any surprise to us. Christians trust in the Lord in all things and accept all crises with faith, love, hope and strength in our Lord and even gratitude that God has not abandoned us in our sins but always finds ways in His wisdom to bring us to repentance and salvation. "I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Please check our OCA website www.oca.org and our Diocesan website www.nynjoca.org for periodic updates. And let us not forget our children. This can be a scary and confusing time for them. For your information, I have attached the latest Guidelines from our Diocese, a recent letter from His Eminence Archbishop Michael, as well as resource material to help with comforting and allaying the fears of our children. God bless all of you!
1. Personal Care: If you are not feeling well or have any cold like symptoms, pleaase do not come to church until you feel better. Wash your hands often for 20 seconds and use hand sanitizer. Minimize and avoid physical contact with others. Try to maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, especially in church and even while standing or sitting in the pews. If you have a pre-existing medical condition that makes you more vulnerable, stay home and do not come to church.
2. Parish Care: All sacred items that are in contact with people will be throughly cleaned before and after each service. The Chalice, Diskos and Spears are always washed with boiling hot water after every Divine Liturgy. This is just normal practice that we always follow. Other than the priest and deacon, only one server is allowed in the altar. Other than the choir director, only one reader and two singers are allowed in the choir at this time. Antidoron (the holy bread) will be placed flat on a tray. Please only touch the piece or pieces that you will take. Children especially will need supervision with this.
3. Holy Communion: As directed by the Holy Synod and His Eminence Archbishop Michael, "we do not permit changes to the practice of giving Holy Communion."
Again, our Diocese takes this situation very seriously and is committed to helping guide our rectors, parishes and people in a rational way, informed by both physical and spiritual concerns. To this end, we are seeking counsel from medical authoroties and from the profound teaching authority of our Church. Our first duty, as in all things, is to seek guidance through prayer. Let us pray as a Church for our Lord's mercy for the sick and the vulnerable and for souls of those who have succumbed; and for the brave professionals who are ministering to the afflicted and doing research to develop treatments. In offering this prayer, we ask our healing Lord, the Physician on high, to guide, protect and fortify us, now and always. May we all use this time wisely and increae our love and patience with each other. Let us choose not to live in fear, but find wisdom and solace in the truth of the Word of God.
With love in Christ,
Archpriest Peter Olsen
- ST. BASIL'S CHURCH WILL STRIVE TO GLORIFY GOD THROUGH
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN WORSHIP,
SINCERE LOVE AND CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER,
AND SERVICE TO THOSE IN NEED AROUND US
St. Basil's Orthodox Church is a Christian community of people from various ethnic and social backgrounds sharing a common commitment to the Lord, each other, and the Apostolic Faith. We warmly welcome all families, couples, and individuals who are looking for a deeper experience of the salvation offered in Jesus Christ. Come and see!
His Eminence Archbishop Michael of NY and NJ
We encourage you to visit the official website of the Diocess of NY and NJ, www.nynjoca.org
It includes information about the Diocese, the Bishop’s schedule, “Lessons in Our Faith,” a series of highly recommended videos of instructional talks given by His Grace Archbishop Michael on matters of faith, belief, and the teachings of the Church, and the on-line edition of the Diocesan publication “Jacob’s Well.”
Capital District OCF meets every Tuesday evening at 7:30 pm at the home of Priest Matthew Markewich, 213 Sunset Ave, Ballston Spa NY 12020. Contact James Boffa at 862-485-9955 or Fr. Matthew Markewich at 518-212-7845 for further information. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend! It is suggested that you call ahead before attending in case the location of a meeting is changed.