Responding to the Coronavirus
Information by date can be found below.
The newest information is always at the top of this page
Click HERE for our Weekly Online Offerings
Begins July 5
July 5 will be the first Sunday when Holy Communion will be celebrated.
Do I need to register to come to church or can I just show up?
You will be required to register to come to church at either the 8 or 10 am services. The link to the weekly sign up is https://reopen.church/r/4qlpaiQn
Will services still be available online?
Yes. Live and recorded online services will remain available for the foreseeable future on our Facebook page.
Will precautions be made to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus?
Yes. We will follow the Diocesan directives and CDC guidelines. After each service, there will be the sanitizing of the church and bathrooms.
Will I be required to wear a mask?
Yes. Everyone will be required to wear a mask. If you do not wear a mask, you will not be allowed to come into the church. Masks will be available for you if you do not have one or forget to bring one. Children under age 2 should not wear masks, as the American Academy of Pediatrics has deemed this a choking hazard.
Additionally, we will practice social distancing of 6 feet as we come into the church and when you are seated. Finally, your temperature will be taken upon arrival at the church and if it is 100.4 or higher, you must leave the campus.
Does this include families?
Families will be required to wear masks but will not socially distance within the family, only from other families and individuals.
How will we know if we are far enough apart?
Chairs are spaced out in the church and ushers will lead you to your seats.
How many people will be able to attend a service?
Although guidelines say you can have a capacity of 50% of a full space, we will only be able to accommodate approximately 40-42 people at a time due to social distancing.
What should I do when I arrive at church?
Ushers will be there to guide you.
What should I bring with me to the service?
You should bring your face mask and hand sanitizer.
Printed service booklets will be provided for your use and will be in your chair. There will be no prayer books, bibles, or hymnals in the chairs. And please bring hand sanitizer to use before receiving communion.
When we celebrate the Eucharist, will we be able to consume bread and wine?
No. At Diocesan directive, the chalice will not be used.
How will I be able to receive bread?
At Diocesan directive, the bread will be contained in small cups. It will be consecrated at the Altar on a tray and moved to a table at the rail. Families and individuals will be instructed by the ushers when to move to the table. You are then to take one cup, return to your seat, consume, and dispose of them at the direction of the Celebrant after the service as you exit. Please use your hand sanitizer after consumption.
Will there be the usual congregational singing at each service?
Unfortunately, no. Following Diocesan directives and CDC guidelines, there will be no congregational singing. Maria or another person will sing on behalf of the congregation.
What about an Offertory?
There will be no passing of the plates. There will be a designated location to place your offerings near the entrance of the church.
What happens when the service concludes?
After the Dismissal, you must remain in your seats. The ushers will direct you when you may exit your pew.
Will there be in person coffee hour before or after the service?
Again, unfortunately there will not be an in-person coffee hour.
Will childcare be available?
Currently, childcare will not be available as the Nursery will not be open.
How long will these guidelines and precautions last?
Until we receive new guidelines from the Bishop.
When will there be other church services and meetings on campus?
Stay tuned. Watch for emails and check the church website as we will be starting other services and meetings as soon as we can.
We understand this is not the optimum situation. But we feel it is important for everyone to be able to come to church and share in Holy Communion as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. And please, if you are not feeling well, please stay at home!
If you have any questions, please contact the Warden or Rector.
Fr Tommy O'Dillon offers a St Patrick's Day prayer and the children of the Matt family offer their art show.
March 16, 2020
Dear Beloved of St Margaret's,
Much will change in the upcoming weeks, but the essentials remain the same: we pray, and we care for one another. You can expect that the news will continue to change and be updated, so please keep checking your email, our Facebook Page, and our website.
We are in a time of unknowns and unknowing, and many are trying to figure out quickly how best to respond. While I know this could be a time of fraying nerves and short tempers, I bid you to use some of your time that will be made free due to cancellations as a time for prayer, for resting in God's presence and for prayers of intercession for those affected in this time. After all, we belong to that great cloud of witnesses, the communion of saints, and nothing—not time nor distance—can separate us from one another and, assuredly, nothing can separate us from the grace and love of God.
Although we will not meet in person for a few weeks, our costs at St Margaret's continue. Churches need to pay the bills whether people come on Sunday or not, and innovative ministries that adapt to the crisis (Zoom meetings, streaming services, etc.) require resources, too. If you do not already, please consider making your Sunday offerings or other donations HERE through our secure system or mail checks to the church office (12663 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810). Coronavirus has changed everything for us, but faced with this difficult situation, St Margaret's can still be the incredible place we know and love if you act now. I look forward to your generous response.
I want to share some wonderful things that have been happening at St Margaret’s. Yesterday, we had a very successful online worship experience. We had over 50 people watching it live. A couple of people came for a drive-by blessing and communion before the 10 am service. We had two people show up to join Julie Parrish, Fr Dan Puchalla, Maria Curry, and Marsanne Goldsby, and me for the live feed. As of right now, we have had over 500 people engaged in our online worship! WOW! We will continue having online worship experiences for at least another couple of weeks. Click HERE to view the service.
I was so proud of our SPIN Team, who, under the leadership of Tiffany Riggins, fed over 20 people under the Mississippi River Bridge while doing their best to serve the food in a sanitary way.
It warmed my heart to have messages from parishioners letting me know how happy they are that we reached out to most of you via a phone tree. We had five people (Jeanette Bourg, Julie Parrish, Cheryl Duplechain, Paul Allman, and Catherine Buck) call everyone we had a telephone number for in our database on Saturday. If you did not receive a call, we might not have your telephone number in our database system. Please email your information to Austin Clark, our Parish Administrator, at [email protected], and we will make sure you are on our phone tree list.
Please check our Facebook page frequently for updated messages and information. They also automatically show up in the web site feed.
I hope you can join our online gathering tonight (Monday) about Reducing Stress at 7 pm. Click HERE to find out how to join this online meeting with Sonja Fritts of Seattle.
Maria and I will periodically get together to offer evening prayers for people to watch on Facebook. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to watch our broadcasts.
I invite you to join me at 6 PM at St Margaret’s on Tuesday afternoon around the Memorial Garden, keeping a safe distance of 6 feet from each other, for some evening prayers on the Feast of St Patrick. I hope we can live-stream the short service on Facebook. Since we will probably have rain on Wednesday, we will offer Stations of the Cross via Facebook as well.
I offer all of this to you this as we move forward in the mission being the Church in a new way. Please reach out anytime.
With love and deep peace,
The Rev'd Tommy J. Dillon II
Saint Margaret’s Mission: St. Margaret's Episcopal Church is a joyful community, grounded in the love of Christ that welcomes and includes all with meaningful worship, service to our community and commitment to growing as faithful Christians.
March 15, 2020
You can watch our 10 AM Service on March 15 by clicking the following link
March 14, 2020
Message from Rector to Families with Young Children of the Parish
Dear Families with children at St Margaret’s,
We know families are experiencing necessary disruptions to their lives and schedules because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to do what we can to help support you. So I wanted to share a couple of resources with you to use with your children. These resources are from Illustrated Ministry. I connected with them at a conference recently and I love their work.
Faith Formation Resources for the Third Sunday of Lent
We will be offering worship online tomorrow on our Facebook page, so join us online as a family at 10 AM. https://www.facebook.com/StMargaretsBR/
If you would like for me to be on a zoom meeting with you and your family during the week, please let me know and I will set up a time to have conversations with you.
Please reach out anytime.
With God’s love,
March 14, 2020
Dear Beloved of St Margaret's,
I wanted to give you a few updates. Please know that we will be live-streaming church on Sunday via Facebook at 10 AM on March 15 from St Margaret's. I will be at the church on Sunday to provide a pastoral presence between 8-10 am.
Updates will be made via Facebook, our website and through email. We will also try to engage with a phone tree to get information out. Please be patient with us as we are doing our best to make informed decisions.
I also want to direct you to an online gathering about reducing stress on Monday, Match 16 at 7 PM led by my friend Sonja Fritts who is a HeartMath instructor. She will be live from Seattle. To find out more click HERE.
Last night the Senior Warden, Julie Parrish and Music Director, Maria Curry, joined me for a short prayer service at my house. Here is a link to view the short service.
I ask you in this time to pray. Pray for the aged and infirm. Pray for the clergy, vestry, and staff of St Margaret's. Pray for your fellow parishioners. Pray for our city, our state, our nation, and our world and remember the words of the Lord "Be not afraid".
In God's love and deep peace,
The Rev. Tommy Dillon
Rector, St Margaret's Episcopal Church
A Prayer Amid and Pandemic
By Kerry Weber
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love. Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care. Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another. Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders. Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow. Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace. Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace. Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace. Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth. Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace. Jesus Christ, heal us. AMEN.
March 14, 2020
COVID-19 Information from the Louisiana Department of Health
Please see the attached guidance from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) for steps community- and faith-based organizations should take now to prepare for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus). Also, if there are residents that have any questions pertaining to COVID-19, LDH Office of Public Health's Bureau of Community Preparedness has established an information telephone line for the general public: 1-855-523-2652 (8:00am - 4:30pm Monday through Friday).
Lousiana Department of Health Update: Attachment
Resource Flyer on COVID-19 for East Baton Rouge Parish: Attachment
Additional resources can be found via the following links:
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site: http://www.coronavirus.gov
- CISA Website: https://www.cisa.gov/coronavirus
- Louisiana Department of Health Website: http://www.ldh.la.gov/Coronavirus
- Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP): http://gohsep.la.gov/
- East Baton Rouge Parish Red Stick Ready Website: http://www.redstickready.com/coronavirus
- Louisiana Statewide 211 Network: http://www.la211help.org
March 13, 2020
Dear Beloved of St Margaret’s,
As leaders of our congregation, our highest priority is the health, safety and wholeness of our people, with particular concern for those who are vulnerable and marginalized. As people of St Margaret’s, we are especially called to be good neighbors, protecting the weak and vulnerable in our larger communities. After consulting with the Wardens of the parish, we have decided to take the precautionary step of moving our worship from in-person gatherings to online gatherings until at least the end of March as a way to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading in our community. This is a practical and spiritual way that we can truly love our neighbors as ourselves.
Here’s what all this means for our St Margaret’s community:
▪ On Sundays, St Margaret’s will worship online only at 10 a.m. with a service of the Holy Eucharist. On Sunday click HERE. We’ll send out a reminder link via email and post it again on Sunday morning on Facebook and on our website. Fr Tommy will be at the church on Sunday, March 15 between 8-10 to provide a pastoral presence.
▪ We are asking St Margaret’s ministry leaders to move all gatherings, meetings, and formation to online Zoom meetings for the foreseeable future.
▪ We are preparing to regularly check-in with people of St Margaret’s who are 60+ to keep in frequent touch with our more vulnerable members.
Here’s what we’re asking of you:
▪ Help us stay connected together as a community of faith. Worship with us on Sunday morning by clicking HERE at 10 a.m. on Sunday March 15 as we pray for all who are affected by this crisis, especially those who face economic hardship because of job wage loss. And join us for pop-up online gatherings throughout the week…we’ll announce those via Facebook and email.
▪ Please continue to support the ministries of St Margaret’s with your tithes and offerings. You can make an online gift by clicking HERE We are mindful that there are some people of St Margaret’s who prefer to give their gifts through check and cash. You may mail a gift to us at 12663 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70810.
▪ Pause, give thanks for your blessings, and pray. If you need a handy prayer, here’s one: God of the present moment, God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart; bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty. Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead. Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you. This we pray in Christ our Lord. Amen. –A New Zealand Book of Common Prayer
▪ Reach out to check on neighbors and loved ones and let us know if there is a way St Margaret’s can be of support to you or someone in need as we love, serve, and include all people, no exceptions.
Every time God or angels appear to humankind in Scripture, especially as Jesus appears at the empty tomb on Easter morning, the message of God is consistent: “Do not be afraid!” As followers of Jesus, we are called to model Christ’s loving, non-anxious presence in and for the world, even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty.
As this virus escalates, Fr Tommy will be as available as possible for pastoral care and prayer, primarily by phone (225-933-3288), text, and email,
I will be leading Compline on Friday night at 9 PM via Zoom. This will be a test run for our Sunday experience. To join us for this just click HERE at 9 PM.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
In God's love and deep peace,