Newsletter: Sunday, June 7, 2020
June 3, 2020, 5:46 AM


St. John’s Episcopal Church 



The St. John’s vestry met on Monday, June 1 to discuss the reopening of our church building. While we want to reopen as soon as is safely possible, we are also aware that the presence of Covid-19 in our community requires a cautious approach that is rooted in our Lord’s call to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Our vestry considered two important resources that will guide us in reopening. First, we will adhere to the directives of Governor Hutchinson’s Executive Order 20-13 issued on April 4 of this year. You will find the Arkansas Department of Health Guidance on Reopening Places of Worship attached to this newsletter. Secondly, we will follow directives provided by Bishop Larry Benfield. This morning I sent Bishop Benfield a summary of our vestry meeting. Here is a copy of part of the email I sent him:

  • Like you, we want to reopen as soon as is safely possible.
  • We believe that even with some increase in Covid-19 cases in Phillips County we can reopen safely by following Arkansas Health Department directives. We have far more room than is necessary to adhere to physical distancing requirements.
  • The vestry affirmed their willingness to be involved in all aspects of reopening, including providing leadership in doing all of the things required by the Health Dept.
  • The vestry voted to buy the equipment needed to live stream services and will continue to live stream after reopening.
  • We would like to reopen by the first Sunday in July.
  • We recognize that a sharp increase in active cases would necessitate establishing a new date for reopening.
  • I, and the vestry as a whole, recognize and appreciate your leadership and guidance and will follow your directives. We respectively request that the thresholds for reopening be adjusted upward so we can go ahead and reopen sooner rather than later.

You will be receiving a survey within a day or two asking for your input regarding the reopening of our church building. It will not be long or complicated. I ask that you please complete it and return it. I am hoping we can do it online in such a way that you can respond online. Along with the survey, you will receive instructions on how to return it.

As I’ve often said, these are unprecedented times. As such, we are facing difficult decisions that not everyone is going to one hundred percent agree with.  As I told the vestry at the beginning of our meeting, regardless of our differences we are brothers and sisters in Christ who love one another and seek what is best for our congregation. Please continue to pray for our bishop, our vestry and for me.


Fr. Ray+


You will receive an email with the link to the pre-recorded video of the service for Sunday, June 7, in a newsletter by Saturday, June 6.



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, Jeffery Mink, Cole Jefferies,  Pat Wheeler, Carol Spencer, Pat Jeffries,  Tommy & Carrie Galloway, Bonnie & Charles Rowland, Joe Tom Cunningham,  Pat Delk, Duncan Highet, Lee McCarty Boyd, Jo Liddy, Riley Kate Haas, Danny Hutchens, Carla Myers, Katrina Justice, Joan Henderson, and Bob Wright.




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.



Readers this week: 


At least SIX FEET is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone please take care and follow the guidelines for this virus.  DISTANCING when you have to get out, WEARING YOUR MASK and WASHING YOUR HANDS when available or USING HAND SANITIZER.