Letters from Fr. Jeff

May 22

Dear Faithful Friends of St. Martin’s by the Lake:


I’m feeling a bit anxious to get back into our Sacred Spaces to share in the Lord’s Supper with you all.  How about you?  


Yet, as you all know, Jesus spared few words for those who put religious observance ahead of love of neighbor.  They were the “Pharisees”, and we are in jeopardy of following their path if we put our earnest desire for ritual making ahead of the health and welfare of our family, friends and neighbors.  Because I believe in the real presence of Jesus in the sacrament of his broken body and spilled blood, how could I possibly insist on receiving the Lord of Life on my tongue while putting my neighbor at bodily risk?  Pharisees demanded devotion to law keeping even if it meant a callous disregard for the sick and the suffering.  But Jesus? He healed on the Sabbath. He loved on the Sabbath. So if my Sunday ritual observance inflicts the opposite, how can it be holy?


So if it’s not clear already, I hope you understand that the leadership of St. Martin’s by the Lake is not only being guided by the wisdom of public health authorities, diocesan leadership and certainly not by allegiance to any political party, but by a theological conviction that faithful Sunday observance must never inflict harm but always promote life.  


Jesus said we will be known for our Love.  Let our community sacrifice of giving up worship in our Sacred Spaces, abstaining from the Eucharist, and foregoing face to face companionship be a sign of our sacrificial love to a world which so desperately needs it.

Fondly,

Jeff+


St. Martin’s COVID19 Response as of 5/21/2020

 

We are currently taking direction from both the Episcopal Diocese of MN, our Bishop and Bishop-Elect and the State of MN guidelines.

 

Worship:

  • We will continue using a virtual platform for worship on Sunday mornings.

Building:

  • Weddings and funerals that cannot be postponed may take place, as long as they are gatherings of 10 people or less and follow the physical distancing and the wearing of masks.
  • Only staff is currently permitted in the building with no more than 3 staff at any one time.
  • All other groups and gatherings continue to be suspended until further notice.

Other precautions:

  • Those who are sick, those who have underlying health conditions, and those who are over the age of 65 should not re-gather in any form or fashion during this phase.

We will reevaluate our procedures and policies on the following dates:

  • June 1
  • June 15
  • July 1
  • July 15
  • August 1

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April 8

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

 

If Ash Wednesday’s call at the beginning of Lent sometimes feels like a stretch of our imagination to embrace the truth that we are merely “dust and to dust we shall return”, not so this year. Within days of beginning our Lenten observance, we were suddenly plunged into a Lenten experience…not merely a symbolic observance. Signs of our “dust status” were everywhere: frightening news from near and far, stores with empty shelves, streets empty of people.  Holy Week is much the same: we are living Lent not merely observing it as a global crisis erodes our hubris and self-reliance.  If in prior years Holy Week was an imaginative exercise of re-enacting the suffering of Christ, this year we truly suffer with him. 

 

Perhaps we’d prefer a religious vision of redemption, salvation and triumph as Easter bids us to contemplate.  But if it wasn’t clear in prior years, it is this year: there is no Easter triumph, no Resurrection victory without the Lenten loss of self-reliance.  If we wish to be raised with Christ, we must die with Christ.  This has always been true but for me and others of you perhaps it takes a global pandemic in order for us to really get it.  Therefore, maybe this will go down as one of the Holiest Holy Weeks we’ve every observed…a Holy Week forged in personal experience not mere intellectual assent and sanctimonious religious duty.

 

BREAKING NEWS…As I’m writing this letter Blyth and Ben just dropped off FIVE full bags piled high with meals, treats, gifts and love from so many of you…and this after last week and the week before that Aimee Guidera and Susan Enlow brought bags and coolers full of the same!  These outpourings of love and sincere acts of kindness make a huge difference to us in our suffering with Carmen’s cancer saga.  WE ARE SO HUMBLED AND TRULY TOUCHED.  YOU are an example of Christ’s consolation in suffering…how Jesus meets us in our suffering…not always with healing and deliverance but with compassion, love and solidarity.  Thank you for reminding us of this.  We feel so loved!!

 

See you Good Friday and Easter morning.  With love and gratitude:

 

Jeff+


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March 17

Dear Friends at St. Martin’s by the Lake:

Only a few weeks ago I was a privileged to be called as your Transition Priest and it’s been a joy to worship and serve with you. This initial excitement has quickly evolved into a moment of crisis for our globe that eclipses almost everything in our daily life including our devotion to community and worship. I miss you already and I especially miss receiving with you the nourishing body and blood of our Lord on the shores of Lake Minnetonka.


Exiled as we are from our building, I’m resolved not be exiled from all of you. To that end, I and your church staff will be engaged in a number of digital endeavors to stay connected.

Please join us:

1. YouTube Scripture Readings and Devotionals will be released on Wednesdays and Saturdays so Deacon Cindy and I can remain connected with you in Worship. 

2. Secure HIPAA compliant video conferencing for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Care are available by appointment. Please call/text me to schedule at 952-446-6115. Once scheduled, log in here at the appointed time. https://doxy.me/jeffh I have already used this service for my therapy practice and was heartened by the emotional connection accomplished through video.

3. Worship from the National Cathedral will be linked to our website for easy access. Though our local worship will be hindered during the outbreak, a silver lining is the opportunity to connect to the wider Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion via digital methods. As appropriate, we may link to other opportunities for online worship from local and global sources.

Until We Meet Online:

The Lord bless you and keep you,

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you,

The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Jeff+


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March 13, 2020

Dear Beloved Community at St. Martin’s by the Lake:

Now is the time to Love Our Neighbors as Ourselves and join our fellow Minnesotans in arresting the rapid spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  Already national and local governments, business and civic organizations are banding together to prevent our healthcare system from being overrun.  So that the most vulnerable in our state and local community are able to get the care they need when the virus strikes, I along with the Wardens and Staff of St. Martin’s by the Lake have agreed to implement multiple changes to do our part in slowing down the spread of this outbreak.


Changes:


  • Effective immediately our church buildings will be closed and all meetings, gatherings and worship will be cancelled until April 1st.  Only clergy and staff will have access to the property during this time. 
  • To maintain community during this closure, I will be offering video recorded homilies/devotionals along with a Gospel reading by Deacon Cindy twice per week. An email will be sent with instructions on how to access this spiritual resource.
  • Clergy and staff will be telephoning to check in on you and we will provide email communication to keep you up to date on any further changes as they arise.


Requests:

  1. Please let us know how we can help you during this extraordinary season via email or telephone.  If you wish to speak to me directly, please call my cell phone rather than the church voicemail: 952-446-6115.
  2. If you become ill, please let us know.  Furthermore, we ask that you follow the advice of Minnesota Public Health Officials and your Healthcare Providers concerning your safety and the safety of our community.
  3. If you are aware of anyone in our community who may not have access to email or internet, please either let us know to call them or make a call yourself letting them know about our changes.
  4. Remain in contact with each other.  Call each other for a short chat and check in.  Send notes of love to those you may not see for the next few weeks.  Hold each other in your hearts with prayers of thanksgiving.
Holding you in my heart - Father Jeff Hupf