A Pastoral Letter from the Rector: May 21, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This past fifteen months has been a very trying time for all of us. We have all dealt with COVID restrictions in our own ways while trying to balance all the aspects of our lives, none of which, have gone untouched by this pandemic. For far too many, the past fifteen months have been marked by significant loss.

I, in consultation with the vestry, feel that it is time to begin to move toward a greater sense of normalcy (whatever that might mean). These decisions do not come easily, lightly, or without some level of frustration. However, I have been heartened to see Connecticut’s improving public health metrics. Connecticut was the first state to vaccinate more than 70% of adults (with their first dose), and we continue to see COIVD cases drop in our state. However, despite these public health improvements, we know that not all individuals within our community share the same vaccine status or comfort level. Therefore, we are tailoring our liturgical and community offerings to fit as many people as possible.

Beginning Sunday, Trinity Sunday, May 30, the 9:30am indoor service will be open to in-person worship, while continuing to be live streamed. That’s right. On May 30th and on each Sunday in June at 9:30am, you may worship inside if that’s the right decision for you. The 11:00am outdoor service will continue through the month of June or until it no longer seems needed (weather permitting). During the month of July, as of now, worship will be one service at 9:30am outside, and it will be live streamed. In August, we will reassess with the ultimate goal of returning to our pre-COVID schedule the Sunday after Labor Day. All services will include the celebration and distribution of the Eucharist. During all services, out of respect for our brothers and sisters who for reasons of age or physical health have not been able to get vaccinated, we ask that people wear their masks while mingling.

As for which service KFC (Kids for Christ/Sunday School) will be a part of that decision has not yet been made. We will let all the parents whose kids are involved in KFC know by Tuesday May 25th.

I know this is a lot to take in and possibly a little convoluted, but we are doing our best during this ever-evolving time. It is my sincerest hope and prayer that you will join us in-person at one of our Sunday offerings. As I began this letter, I understand how hard this has been for all of us. I pray that we will be able to move beyond it in a physically and spiritually healthy way. I know that spiritual and emotional healing takes time, and everyone’s process is different, but please know that we can do anything when we do it together and with God’s help.



The Rev. Robert C. Hooper III, Rector

Here is a resource from the Connecticut Department of Public Health that you may find helpful entitled What You Need to Know: COVID-19 Vaccination, Mask-Wearing, and Social Distancing. Here is the link: https://portal.ct.gov//media/Coronavirus/Community_Resources/Vaccinations/Print-Materials/Fact-Sheets/COVID_Rules_Vaccinated.pdf

The Reverend Robert C. Hooper III

The Rev’d Robert C. Hooper III (“Bob,” please) and his wife Priscilla married in 1988 and have three children and two Labrador retrievers, "Lilly" and "Theo." Bob received a B.S. in business/marketing from New England College in 1987 and a M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary in 1995. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1996 after seven years in the brokerage and banking industry in New York. He served parishes in both Northern Virginia and suburban Boston before coming to St. James’s in 2002 to serve as rector.