March 17, 2020, 8:00 AM

St. John’s Episcopal Church - Sunday, March 22, 2020



Last week Sr. Warden Mike Fielder, Jr. Warden Jane Hornor, and I began notifying members and friends of St. John's that we will not be holding Sunday worship services or any other church meetings through the end of March.  At that time we will re-evaluate this decision in light of new information and directives from Bishop Benfield and the medical experts with whom he is in close communication. On Saturday, I forwarded an email from Bishop Benfield to everyone for whom I had an email address. His message included several opportunities for online worship. If you did not receive this email from the bishop, please contact Marjie in the church office and we will send it to you.  Other things you can do during this time is to read the Daily Office for Morning or Evening Prayer.  The daily offices begin on page 75 in the Book of Common Prayer.


If you become sick or for other reasons cannot leave your home, please call the church office and we will work together to meet your need for food, medicine or other necessities.  As always, we will join together as the Body of Christ to care for each other.  Over the course of the next few weeks I will not be visiting sick or home bound members because I do not want to unwittingly expose anyone to anything that might make their condition worse than it already is.


I look forward to the time we receive the "all clear" and can return to our usual activities.  Until then, we rejoice in the good news that our oneness in Christ does not depend on being together physically.  In Him we are bound to one another by a love that transcends space and time.  In the meantime, pray for each other, our community of Helena-West Helena and especially those nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers who are on the front line of this unfolding medical crisis.



Fr. Ray+





Please keep the following in your prayers:   Debra Richardson, David Henderson, Kathy Sullivan, Larry Bryant, Lynn Jordan, Ray Worley, Jim Howe, Nancy Howe, Parker Pace, Heather Treat,  Courtney Turner,  Rita Merritt, Jo Boone Wild,  Gloria Higginbotham,  Vivian Wright, Al Martin, William Brandon, Cedric Franks, Jr, Jeannie McCabe, Karen Foster, Kathleen Gibson, Susan Worrell, Jeffery Mink, Cole Jefferies,  Pat Wheeler, Carol Spencer, Pat Jeffries,  Tommy & Carrie Galloway, Bonnie & Charles Rowland, Rickey Johnston, Joe Tom Cunningham,  Pat Delk, Duncan Highet, Gibson Turley, Lee McCarty Boyd, Jo Liddy, Maureen Jones, Riley Kate Haas, Danny Hutchens, Carl Myers, Katrina Justice, and Kathy Turley Bush.



An Update from Bishop Benfield

All Congregations Urged Not to Meet

Each day public health authorities are either mandating or urging additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In many jurisdictions, large gatherings, including church services, have now been prohibited. So far that sort of prohibition is not the case in Arkansas. It is apparent, though, that people want appropriate actions taken to ensure that as many people as possible remain healthy.

On Thursday I strongly urged Episcopal congregations in central Arkansas to institute virtual worship until March 31 rather than gathering physically in church buildings. After reports from other parts of the state, I am now strongly encouraging ALL Episcopal congregations in Arkansas to participate in virtual worship until March 31 rather than physically gathering.

One way to worship is for anyone with internet access to join one of the congregations that offer live streaming. (By the way, St. Andrew’s in Marianna has been offering a digitally focused liturgy for years). A list of the congregations that I know of that offer some sort of digital worship is at the end of this message. A second way to worship could be for the clergy or lay leaders to offer prayers (such as Morning Prayer) in church at the regularly scheduled time, while encouraging parishioners to say their prayers in their homes at the same time. Or you may think of another creative response. These are all ways that we can still be a part of supportive Christian communities in this challenging time in which we need one another more than ever, but may not able to be with one another physically.

As I go about my daily life this week, I see much fear: fear of illness, fear of others, fear that there will not be enough of whatever it is that we think we need. In response, I am reminded of what we read in the first letter of John: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). What the writer is telling us is that where there is fear, we will act lovingly so that fear can be overcome. I encourage you to take loving, thoughtful actions in the coming days and weeks that recognize the needs of others; doing so will help overcome the fear that so many people now have. It is an important way to live out our Christian lives.

Faithfully yours,

Larry Benfield

Here are some links to online services and sermons:

Angels of Grace and Anchor Mission ministries: Choose any items from their wish list which includes:  paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, laundry detergent, bleach, dish soap, and cleaning supplies.

Humane Society of the Delta:  Donations needed include puppy, dog, cat & kitten food

Please place all of these donations in the red wagon in the chapel to be blessed.

Grace Food Pantry: plastic bags go in the labeled container in the narthex.

Thank you for your donations.  They are all greatly appreciated and needed.





Contact info for Fr. Ray: 

Cell: 501-291-6262    


St. John’s Church Office:

Phone:  870-338-8115    


Mailing address:  P.O. Box 770, Helena, AR 72342

Street address: 625 Pecan St., Helena, AR

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Awareness and Response There are basic steps each of our communities can follow to minimize risks of COVID-19 (the “coronavirus”) to all of our people and the ministries to which they contribute or by which they are served.  First, the best advice on precautions to take is provided on the website of the Centers for Disease Control (  Information is available in English and Spanish. CDC recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures:

*Hand Hygiene Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60–95% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

*Respiratory Etiquette Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw it in the trash can.

*Environmental Health Action Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.

*Voluntary Home Isolation Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms. At the present time, these symptoms are more likely due to influenza or other respiratory viruses than to COVID-19–related virus. Routine use of these measures by individuals and their families will increase community resilience and readiness for responding to an outbreak. With a reasonable amount of caution we can keep our people, our communities, and those we serve healthy—and continue to minister to those who are ill and in need of our care.