Letter to Parishioners – we send our greetings, prayers and love

April 11th, 2020

Lazarus Saturday 

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, 

all ye that hope in the Lord.”

Psalm 31:24

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

We hope and pray that this letter finds you all in good health and spiritual state amidst the new pandemic, Covid19 (Corona virus) that has affected our lives on many levels. 

In the midst of our battle against this pandemic, there are some things that bring us together and some that keep us apart. Those factors that bring us together are our faith in God, the faith that sustains us and sees us through this and many other struggles. We are also united in prayer and have a common goal for a quick end to this virus, as well as healing of the sick and for strength and guidance of all medical workers. Indeed, our doctors, nurses and the first responders are our heroes fighting on the front lines at this time. They and those who’ve fallen sick are in our daily prayers! 

What are some things that keep us apart at this time? Well, we all know that love brings us together, but the reality is, that out of love for each other, we are refraining from coming together in worship and fellowship, at least physically. This common invisible ‘enemy,’ the Corona virus is just that, our enemy that can be stopped from spreading by simply distancing ourselves and by frequent washing of our hands (and by following all other guidelines set forth by the CDC or the SD Health Department). Here at St. George we’ve been following all those protocols.

We’ve never stopped having our regular services and most of the other activities that do not require your physical presence. Our services have been livestreamed on our parish Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/stgeorgesd/). We’ve also been having some Sunday school gatherings on the Zoom video conference platform, Church Board meetings, etc. 

Also, we have a Good Samaritan team assisting some of our seniors and those in need of shopping or any other help necessary. We also have a Good Samaritan fund that can assist with emergency food or other necessary needs. We are here to help each other as a community of faithful people united in one faith. We are also happy to learn that some of our parishioners have been donating blood in response to the SD Blood Bank appeal. Some of our parishioners have mailed in their Pascha-Easter donations. We are grateful and proud of all of you!

Finally, let us look ahead to the forthcoming church services. By the time you receive this letter in your mailbox, we will have celebrated Palm Sunday (this year on April 12th) and have entered the Great and Holy Week leading us to the greatest Feast Day in our Holy Orthodox Church, Pascha – Resurrection (this year on April 19th). No services can be attended in person at this time (you can just view via livestreaming). This includes all Great and Holy Week services, Pascha-Easter and Church Slava; in other words, until further notice. You can visit the church individually, outside of services of course, but to make that arrangement, please first contact Fr. Bratso directly at frbratso@sbcglobal.net or 619-316-2362. 

We will continue sending emails, posting regular updates on our Facebook page and website about our services and activities. If you do not receive email from our parish, please, visit our parish website (StGeorgeINSD.org) and subscribe today. Once you are on our website, please go to the bottom of the page where you will see a subscription form.

When watching the livestreaming of our Divine Liturgy (hoping that you are doing it with some degree of attentiveness [standing]), please, know that we livestream just the first part of the Liturgy. This part is called the Liturgy of the Word. The second part of the Liturgy, called the Liturgy of the Faithful, is not livestreamed as it is for those who are baptized. (Since it is being livestreamed on Facebook, accessible to everyone worldwide, we feel that the best thing to do, for liturgical and theological reasons, is not to have that part of the Liturgy livestreamed.) We look forward to coming back together in our cherished St. George parish. We truly miss all of you!

In closing, please, pray for two of our parishioners who have been diagnosed with the Corona virus. We will not share their names at this time out of respect for their privacy. Instead, we ask for your prayers for their recovery, trusting that the Lord is with us in this life where we are united with each other, especially our loved ones. Our Orthodox Faith teaches us that our departure from this life will bring us even closer to our Lord and with all those who’ve gone before us, our relatives and parishioners. 

Praying that the Lord’s will be done in our lives, that you stay healthy and in a good spiritual state, we assure you of our prayers and greetings of the season: Glory be to God for all things! Christ is risen! Hristos Voskrese!

Keep the Faith! Remain steadfast!  

With love and prayers,

Father Bratso Krsic

Protodeacon Paul Germain

Kathryn Thickstun, Church Board President and all the Members