COVID-19 Information

March 16, 2020
 
St. Barnabas Members and Friends,
 
First, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
 
Last week, we informed everyone about precautions we were taking around our church campus and during services. Last night, we received a directive from Bishop Jake Owensby that all face-to-face church activities and services across the Diocese of Western Louisiana are to be suspended through March 29. Bishop Jake made this difficult decision based on information from the Center for Disease Control. His letter in its entirety is below.
 
St. Barnabas will follow this directive, which includes our Little Lambs MDO program. The Clergy and administrative staff will keep regular office hours this week and will make decisions weekly as more information becomes available. We ask everyone respect this social distancing and communicate with staff and clergy by phone or email for the time being, rather than coming by the church unless absolutely necessary.
 
We are working on a way to stream prayer services on Sunday and will get that information out to you once it is available.
 
We recognize that the suspension of church activities and our daycare puts many individuals and families in inconvenient situations. As Bishop Jake says in his letter, "We are not doubling down on self-preservation at the expense of loving our neighbor. On the contrary, the social distancing we undertake by suspending public gatherings will help us flatten the curve. We can slow the spread of the disease so that our medical system is not overwhelmed with too many patients at one time. This makes it possible for those needing a hospital bed and life-saving equipment to have access to them. We will literally be saving our neighbors’ lives. That sounds like love to me."
 
Our collective prayers are will you all during this time, along with those who are more directly impacted by this pandemic. Do reach out if you have any questions or needs with which the church might be able to help. Please know that we are available by email during this time and will respond as quickly and thoroughly as we can.
 
God's peace and love,
 
The St. Barnabas Clergy and Staff
 
St. Barnabas Phone - 337-984-3848
Fr. Michael Bordelon, Rector - fathermichael@saintbarnabas.us
Fr. Brooks Boylan, Curate - frbrooks@saintbarnabas.us
Etienna Wright, Dir. of Cmcn and Youth Formation - etienna@saintbarnabas.us
Carolyn Kane, Dir. of Finance - carolyn@saintbarnabas.us
Kelly LaBry, Dir. of Little Lambs MDO - littlelambsmdo@saintbarnabas.us
Shawn Roy, Dir. of Music - shawn@saintbarnabas.us
 
March 16, 2020
 
St. Barnabas Members and Friends,
 
First, we want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the ever-changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
 
Last week, we informed everyone about precautions we were taking around our church campus and during services. Last night, we received a directive from Bishop Jake Owensby that all face-to-face church activities and services across the Diocese of Western Louisiana are to be suspended through March 29. Bishop Jake made this difficult decision based on information from the Center for Disease Control. His letter in its entirety is below.
 
St. Barnabas will follow this directive, which includes our Little Lambs MDO program. The Clergy and administrative staff will keep regular office hours this week and will make decisions weekly as more information becomes available. We ask everyone respect this social distancing and communicate with staff and clergy by phone or email for the time being, rather than coming by the church unless absolutely necessary.
 
We are working on a way to stream prayer services on Sunday and will get that information out to you once it is available.
 
We recognize that the suspension of church activities and our daycare puts many individuals and families in inconvenient situations. As Bishop Jake says in his letter, "We are not doubling down on self-preservation at the expense of loving our neighbor. On the contrary, the social distancing we undertake by suspending public gatherings will help us flatten the curve. We can slow the spread of the disease so that our medical system is not overwhelmed with too many patients at one time. This makes it possible for those needing a hospital bed and life-saving equipment to have access to them. We will literally be saving our neighbors’ lives. That sounds like love to me."
 
Our collective prayers are will you all during this time, along with those who are more directly impacted by this pandemic. Do reach out if you have any questions or needs with which the church might be able to help. Please know that we are available by email during this time and will respond as quickly and thoroughly as we can.
 
God's peace and love,
 
The St. Barnabas Clergy and Staff
 
St. Barnabas Phone - 337-984-3848
Fr. Michael Bordelon, Rector - fathermichael@saintbarnabas.us
Fr. Brooks Boylan, Curate - frbrooks@saintbarnabas.us
Etienna Wright, Dir. of Cmcn and Youth Formation - etienna@saintbarnabas.us
Carolyn Kane, Dir. of Finance - carolyn@saintbarnabas.us
Kelly LaBry, Dir. of Little Lambs MDO - littlelambsmdo@saintbarnabas.us
Shawn Roy, Dir. of Music - shawn@saintbarnabas.us
 
 
From Bishop Jake Owensby
March 15, 2020
 
Dear Friends,
 
As I have said previously, the COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation presenting new challenges to us on a daily basis. Researchers are still learning about the virus itself, how the virus is spread, who is most vulnerable to infection, and the various ways in which the disease progresses for those infected.
 
Once again our landscape has changed late this afternoon. The Centers for Disease Control altered its guidelines for large gatherings. Crowds are hubs for spreading the coronavirus. And given the increase in numbers of those testing positive for the virus, the CDC has called for a suspension of gatherings of 50 or more people.
 
How shall we continue to be the Church under such circumstances?
 
For starters, we will remember that the people are the Church. Not a building. Not a specific church service. The Body is the Church. Where we are and how we live and move and have our being is the Church being the Church. So the question is simply, how will we be ourselves as Jesus-followers in our current situation?
 
Just last week I issued a set of guidelines for worshipping together. However, based on the new CDC guidelines I direct that all public, face-to-face services of the congregations in this Diocese
be suspended immediately. This suspension will be in effect through at least Sunday, March 29. The CDC urged eight weeks. However, I will watch how things unfold. As information becomes
available I will communicate to you that I have either extended or lifted this suspension. Those congregations equipped to offer virtual worship should do so, making certain to clearly publicize when such services will occur and how they can be accessed. I advise the use of Morning Prayer using the Sunday Lectionary including a short sermon. A simple how-to link for
 
I will offer Morning Prayer each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. CDT using Facebook Live. My own first attempt taught me several lessons and I look forward to a much better result next time. Thank you to all those who participated. To join me for Morning Prayer next Sunday go to this link: https://www.facebook.com/bishopjakeowensby/. Or, just search for @bishopjakeowensby in Facebook. If you like this page, you will receive a notification in Facebook that I’m livestreaming.
 
Worship strengthens us for service in the world. In a time of pandemic I call your attention to checking in by phone or other electronic means on each other. Reach out to the sick, the lonely,
the frightened, the bereaved, and the overwhelmed. Seek ways to lighten the financial burden on those who lose income because of this outbreak. Some will struggle to pay the rent or the
mortgage. Money will run short for utilities, grocery, and medications. We are all in this together. Be generous and be mindful of the needs of others. Do not forget that your congregation
continues to need your financial support. Even with suspended services, they too must meet salaries and pay light bills.
 
Finally, let’s remember why we are taking the measures we are taking. We are not doubling down on self-preservation at the expense of loving our neighbor. On the contrary, the social distancing
we undertake by suspending public gatherings will help us flatten the curve. We can slow the spread of the disease so that our medical system is not overwhelmed with too many patients at
one time. This makes it possible for those needing a hospital bed and life-saving equipment to have access to them. We will literally be saving our neighbors’ lives. That sounds like love to me.
 
In Christ’s Love,
 
+Jake
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
4th Bishop of Western Louisiana