Letter from Our Minister

Letter from Rev. J. Carr Holland III

March 2020

Dear Friends of the Chapel,

I once had a friend who would say every time we had to adjust something, in a way that pleased him, “New occasions teach new duties.”  At times that statement annoyed me.  Over these last months that phrase has played repeatedly in my mind as a helper.  As we open the Chapel this season, we are living into a new occasion brought to us by COVID-19.  Many of us are returning to a place that has been ours by the rhythm of the changing of seasons.  Others who live here year-round also have a rhythm associated with the “season” now opening.  This year many pieces of that rhythm, that dependable sameness, are under significant shift.  I don’t need to innumerate that as we are living it in many places.

What we may not have in the front of our minds is how much we depend on rhythm, how sacred it is in our lives.  We inhabit our lives, our world by rhythms. There are the simple rhythms of sleeping and waking, the things we do as we awake, as we close the day.  There are other ways we mark times of inner focus, daily duties, familial love, play and pleasure, neighborliness. There are sacred rhythms of stopping, praying, reflecting, engaging the Holy and the secular, connecting both.  Just as we have daily ways of this, we have a weekly, a yearly calendared sense of this engagement with the Holy and the secular and how they speak to each other. We grow to depend on these rhythms and how they help us shape meaning.

It troubles us when these patterns are disrupted or need to shift.  They will be this season. Even now as I write we do not know when we can publicly gather in the Chapel or if we should.  The Board and I are actively engaging planning for what is or might be possible. “New occasions teach new duties” fits this moment in time. What is clear is we will need rhythms to continue to shape our days and weeks.  As they shift new possibilities open.

Here is what you can depend on.  While we will not initially gather publicly, we will Sunday by Sunday, Thursday by Thursday worship.  Sunday will be virtual, by live feed from the Chapel, certainly at first.  On Thursday we will find a way to adapt in a more distant, less intimate form.  We are planning Beach services, but we will have to see what is permissible and wise.  As social occasions diminish in the secular arena, perhaps we will birth some additional sacred ones.  The wise will wear masks to protect their neighbor from the less known. Information about all this will appear on the website and be adjusted as the summer progresses.

When our rhythms are disrupted, we are offered an occasion to review and revalue them.  Rather than abandon them, we can reacclimate and reclaim what gives meaning to our days, our week, our lives.   It is in this creativity that peace and steadiness are created.  Many of us will slow down. We will find new ways of sensitivity to one another.  We will surely experience limit which is not a bad thing.  By God’s grace, we will grow in new ways perhaps deeper ways of care in our daily lives and in this season.

We welcome you anew to the Chapel and the gift of this particular summer.

In Christ’s love,
The Rev. J. Carr Holland III

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