While non-essential workers are being asked to stay home, we’re receiving a lot of out of office replies. Someone from our team received this earlier:
Our parish offices are closed and our buildings are locked down until further notice in response to the Coronavirus crisis.
I do check emails periodically and will respond as I am able.
Let’s us pray for each other!* Email “out of office” response from a Pastor
Um … is that the message we really want to send?!
Now is when your parish is needed! More than Ever! So instead of sending everyone home and just waiting until it’s all over to pick back up, work safely and continue to provide for your people! Forward the receptionists’ phone to her cell. Change your voicemail message to say that you’ll check in for messages at the top of every hour (or ever few hours) and respond to calls. Email can be checked from everywhere. Even if you have to box up the desktop you use at the office and set it up at your employee’s house. I do think an Auto-Reply is helpful, it can direct people to where Mass is streaming, let them know that your email response time might be slower than normal because you’re out serving or working from home and you’re office isn’t set up quite yet.
How about something like this for an auto-reply:
Thank you for your email. We’re away from our desks at the office learning how to work remotely and provide help as we can.
We have a team of parishioners connecting with each registered household to see if they need anything. Will you be part of that team?
Finally, we are so grateful for your continued financial support via our Online Donation System. Your generosity is what is making all of these extra and new efforts possible!
If there’s anything I can do to help you, please let us know! Please Call. We’re returning messages (and emails) as quick as we are able. New information will always be on our website.
Thank you for your continued support!
Now is the time. What we do in these days and the coming weeks will define who we are as Church! It will be the marker of a generation, that’s for sure.
I saw this from the Archbishop of Detroit. It concludes with “What if this is time becomes our finest hour?” It made me think of Esther. While her situation is a little different, I love what Mordecai says to her: Even if you now remain silent, relief and deliverance will come to the Jews from another source; but you and your father’s house will perish. Who knows—perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen?” Perhaps this is the time in history when your parish is a Beacon of Hope and Light.
Perhaps this will be the season that makes you a saint; loving what my friend Meg posted this on Instagram: