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Announcement: ONLINE WORSHIP ONLY through FEBRUARY 5

This coming Sunday, January 23, please worship with us here or on our Facebook or YouTube channels at 10:30 am ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The following Sunday, January 30, our annual meeting worship STARTS AT 9 AM online on Facebook, YouTube, and the website

The business portion of the meeting will be held via Zoom immediately afterward. Please look in your mailed giving statements for instructions on how to access the Zoom feed and how to read this year's ministry reports when they are posted. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Saturday 505 is postponed until February.

Beloved Members and Friends of St. Martin's,

Last week after praying all week and watching the COVID data trends for our county and our state continue to move in a distressing direction, I made the decision for our worship to be online only. I want to thank all of you who joined us online, and for the many kind messages supporting this decision. It was not made lightly.

Later that day, the Diocesan Offices sent an email to clergy recommending that we consider moving to online worship for the remainder of January. Due to planning needs, I had determined that the Annual Meeting be online only. I stated that the decision to be online only would be made on a week-to-week basis.

From an abundance of care for each other, I am extending our hiatus from in-person gathering through the end of January, including groups gathering in our spaces, such as Boy Scouts, Men's group, and so on, until Saturday, February 5.

It is obvious that it is still unwise to gather in person right now. Again and again, I am receiving reports of people in St. Louis county and connected to our parish who have tested positive for this disease. A dear friend lost both of her elderly parents within 30 hours of each other. Fathers, siblings, adult children, teachers, my husband's direct supervisor... and I know that many of you are hearing of or experiencing illness either among yourselves as well as among your extended circles of family, friends, and coworkers.

And it is not simply a matter of new cases and mild discomfort. Our hospitals are still being swamped, with reported new cases in the state up 39% and hospitalization rates in the state up 32% from 14 days ago. The Metro area is in the second-most-severely impacted tier in the state: the only places worse in terms of new cases and infection rates is in central Missouri near Columbia and our state capitol (Osage, Boone, Cole, and Miller counties) as well as near St. Joseph. However, given the number of hospitals in our area, our hospitalization rate dwarfs that of any other part of the state, probably because people are being sent here from Missouri and even surrounding states to receive hospital care.

If you are feeling ill, PLEASE contact your doctor and get tested so that the data will be accurate and so that you can get immediate access to treatment. I cannot stress this enough. And then please contact either myself or the Rev. Shug so that we can help you in any way -- and pray with you, of course.

As always, we are blessed to be able to offer online worship opportunities on our Youtube channel, Facebook Live page, and website.

(IF you are experiencing service flutters on Facebook, please try watching us on YouTube or the Website-- the platforms are much more stable. Please also remember that we can't control issues with signal strength or processing speed on your end of the broadcast. The good news is, you can always watch our broadcasts at any time!)

May we all extend care, grace, and compassion to those around us, and do all we can to flatten this current surge.

In Christ, Leslie+

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