Saint Matthew Orthodox Church, Green Bay
Update: April 2, 2020
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
This week’s update once again concerns our service schedule and brings a slight loosening of restrictions. This coming Sunday, the last Sunday of Great Lent, I will be allowed to celebrate Divine Liturgy but only with one assistant. The instruction from the Holy Synod further states that the church is to be otherwise locked. While this may seem somewhat draconian, the response of our bishop and the synod is in keeping with love for their flock. Most of the experts agree that the coming weeks will be the most challenging with the coronavirus. For our community, and communities around the world, this difficult time comes during Great Lent and, as it looks now, Holy Week and Pascha.
Not yet knowing when the virus will peak, we must pray that at least some of our Holy Week services can be sung, even with only one assistant. As Bishop Paul puts it in his letter: No one can suspend our Lord’s Passion, Three-day-burial, and Resurrection from the Dead. There are many of our daily activities that can be restricted or denied us (most for good reason), but no one and nothing can silence our Lord’s Pascha regardless of our circumstances. Whether we are at church, or at home, or are far off upon the sea, we still proclaim our Lord’s Resurrection.
More will follow about our upcoming services. In a conference call with our bishop and fellow priests, we were speaking about some of the possibilities of how we can celebrate our Lord’s trampling down death by death when restrictions have been lifted. Indeed, we must, and do, have hope. Let us continue to pray for a rapid and peaceful end to this epidemic and that our loving and good God will disclose how this trying time will bring us closer to each other and to Him.
With love in Christ,
Update: March 31, 2020
The most recent Archpastoral letter from Bishop Paul can be viewed here.
Update: March 24, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are intensifying, we, as a community, are called on to suspend all of our services. This means that no services will be celebrated until further notice, not even by the priest with a small contingent as we did recently. Once again, this suspension is temporary and we pray to God that all of our churches will be open for the Eucharistic gathering and fellowship in the near future.
Our bishop’s message that lays out these restrictions can be found here. Please take a moment to read it in its entirety. We have desperately tried to preserve our liturgies but believe that a brief suspension done with love now will enable us to safely come together as a family sooner.
Though we find ourselves at home, we still must give glory and thanksgiving to God in our rhythm of services and prayer. Texts for at-home services can be found on our diocesan website here and soon on our Saint Matthew website. Please continue to say your morning and evening prayers, read the Psalter, and pray the Hours.
I will update you as I learn more. My heart grieves that our church will not be open to celebrate the Great Feast of Annunciation; but God has blessed us in so many ways. Continue to have hope and faith in our Lord and keep all of our faithful in your prayers.
With love in Christ,
St Matthew Orthodox Church is an OCA (Orthodox Church in America) parish and is part of the OCA Diocese of the Midwest. We serve Green Bay, the Fox Valley, and Door County. We are a diverse community of Orthodox Christians and seekers from northeast Wisconsin.
The Orthodox Church humbly claims to be the One Church of Christ, founded on the apostolic witness to our Lord, born on the Day of Pentecost, and for 2,000 years making known to men, women, and children the path to salvation through repentance and faith in Christ. The Orthodox Church is not a denomination (for it predates Protestantism by 1,500 years) nor is it “the Eastern branch of the Roman Catholic Church.” It is, quite simply, the Church of Christ.
Our calendar page will come back online when we resume our schedule of liturgical services. Thank you for your patience.