Dear Faithful of Abune Aregawi,
We live in a challenging time. The outbreak of Coronavirus/COVID-19 has altered our lives unexpectedly without warnings. Our hopes that things will return to normalcy in a relatively short period of time have been dashed and we are forced to live in a new normal which is extremely taxing and challenging to say the least.
Debre Mihret St Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Illinois, to which Abune Aregawi is one of the Patron Saints, has remained committed to fulfilling the spiritual nourishment of its faithful during this trying time. When it was forced to suspend its in-Church services and activities as part of the mitigation and prevention measures of the State, our Church offered new alternatives to in-person services by offering online services and phone conferences. As the State progressively eased its restrictions on public and religious gatherings, our Church developed a detailed safety protocol and reopened the Church for in-person services. Because the Church has to operate at about 25% capacity in order to promote social distancing measures, the online services have to continue uninterrupted so that those parishioners who are unable to attend the Church in-person can partake in the mass and liturgical services.
From all accounts the coming three months are going to be extremely critical as a second wave of
widespread outbreak is registering across the country. Therefore, the resumption of the normative
practices of worshipping may not return to its full exercise in the immediate future. The implication of this is incredibly significant for our Church. As you know our Church is community funded through in-service offerings, donations, and fundraiser held during five major holidays. Because of the suspension of in-Church services for quite sometime and large gatherings to this day, we are unable to raise any money to help keep our Church running. Of course, we did launch one successful online fund-raising drive which enabled us raise adequate fund to help run the Church for the last 3 months. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for generously donating to this worthy cause. However, without our regular service offerings and donations unable to take full effect, we find ourselves unable to maintain the same level of donations we have had in the past to help pay our costs.
Already we were not able to organize any fun-raising events on three of the five major holidays which are the main sources of our Church’s annual budget. Still we have two major holidays are coming up soon. October 24, 2020, we do commemorate the feast of Abune Aregawi. Due to the limitations brought by COVID-19, we are not commemorating this Holy day in its usual and glorious
form. We are, however, decided to have a Church service where limited number of congregants will
participate per the safety protocol of the Church. At the same time, we are organizing this fund-raising drive to let members of our religious community to participate in the blessings of our Holy Father Abune Aregawi and help our Church as well. We know times are difficult for many, but we are grateful for any support you give to our Church.
We thank you from the Bottom of our Hearts.
The Debre Mihret St Michael Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church of Illinois