To the Beloved Parish Family,
As our fast from in-person worship continues, many Episcopalians are experiencing the longest absence of the Eucharist we’ve experienced in years, even our lifetime. Most of us, I suspect, long for the Eucharist. Interestingly, this desire to receive the Eucharist reflects a significant shift in the Episcopal Church during the latter part of the twentieth century. Before the introduction of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, it was typical for churches to have a service of Holy Communion once a month. Now, the Book of Common Prayer reflects that the Holy Eucharist is the principal act of worship on the Lord’s Day (Book of Common Prayer, p. 13).
For now, we will continue to have alternating services of Morning Prayer and Spiritual Communion. The Prayer of Spiritual Communion attributed to St. Alphonus gives us the opportunity to see the consecration of bread and wine on an altar and allows us to express our deep desire to receive the spiritual benefits of Communion when we cannot receive it in a physical form. The Rite of the Ministration to the Sick in the Book of Common Prayers underscores that the benefits of Communion are received even if the bread and wine cannot be consumed. We still receive the benefits of the body and blood of Christ even when we cannot consume it physically.
I miss not being able to receive the Eucharist, but I do think that Christ is revealed to us in other ways as well. And I long for the day that we can receive Holy Communion together in our churches. That will be a glorious day with much rejoicing from us all, I am sure! In the meantime, we continue to adapt, remembering that we the people are the Body of Christ.
SHRINE MONT CAMPS
Shrine Mont summer camps have been cancelled. While this is sad, the love being shown for all the campers and staff by making this difficult choice is commendable. In the same vein, our usual Summer Shrine Mont Picnic in July has been postponed until next year. While this is a tradition we’ll all sorely miss, we’ll look forward to it even more in 2021.
By the way, if you would like you can order chicken dinners from Shrine Mont for Saturday, May 30. Curbside pick-up will be available from 12-2. You can order online at https://shrinemont.com/
Though the camps have been cancelled, Shrine Mont will have cottages available for summer rentals. There will be no meals served; all cottages have kitchens available for cooking. Please call Shrine Mont if you are interested.
Every Thursday, 2 to 3 p.m., the kids of the parish are meeting up via Zoom to hang out together.
SUNDAY SPIRITUAL COMMUNION SERVICE
This Sunday I am leading a Holy Eucharist Rite II service online at 10:15 a.m. on Zoom and Facebook Live followed by a Coffee Hour on Zoom.
To join the service, click the Zoom link to join, the password is embedded. For Facebook Live, click the link to be taken to our Facebook page to view the live stream. A Zoom usher is allowing people into the service from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. when the service begins. If you try to join after that, you won’t be able to enter and will need to watch on Facebook Live.
The weekly bulletin is available on our website so you can download it Sunday to follow throughout the service. It is absolutely safe to download as it is coming directly from us.
Zoom Tip to make sure you are muted during the service: There should be a RED line through the microphone icon on the Zoom screen. If there isn’t, you are not muted so if you make any sound, Zoom will switch the video and audio of the service to you.
Every week, I am leading:
Mondays, 9 a.m. Morning prayer on Facebook Live
Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m. Evening prayer on Facebook Live
Wednesdays, 12 p.m. Noonday prayer on Facebook Live
Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Bedtime story with Mother Kathy, invite your friends! Facebook Live
All of the weekly and Sunday services are available to view on Facebook and our website after airing.
DROP-IN OFFICE HOURS
Virtual drop in office hours with me are Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Zoom. I hope you will take a few minutes to stop by to chat, as I miss each of you dearly. (If for some reason you aren’t able to get into the Zoom meeting, please send me an email. Sometimes, technology refuses to cooperate.) Sometimes urgent matters do come up, so please forgive me if I need to duck out.
There’s no need to worry about privacy — Zoom has a waiting room so I allow folks to enter one at a time so that we can meet with me privately. Or, if folks would like to meet as a group, we can do that as well during this time.
Thank you for continuing to send your pledges. Your generosity supports us in our ministries and ability to operate. I appreciate your mailing your check to our church office, or using the special online portal established through our diocesan office (available here) for electronic giving (be sure to mentions which church and the location in the memo). I particularly encourage folks to send contributions directly to each church.
Emmanuel Episcopal 122 E. Court Woodstock VA 22664
St. Andrew’s Episcopal P.O. Box 117 Mt. Jackson, VA 22842
CONTACTING MELISSA AND ME
As directed by Bishop Goff, we are working from home. If you have a question, concerns or would like to check in with us (we would love that!) please email us.
I observe the Sabbath Friday and Saturday while Melissa is off Thursday after 1:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While we may not reply immediately, we absolutely will get back to you.
EMMANUEL’S TABLE FOOD PANTRY
This week, Emmanuel’s Table fed 234 people (74 families). Next Tuesday, it is open at the usual time.
For now, the prayer list can be found online (scroll to the bottom of the page). Melissa is updating it as names are added or removed so it stays current.
I offer prayers every day for our parishes and for all those for whom prayer has been asked. It is nice when we can offer those prayers with one another. If you would to pray with me for physical, emotional, or spiritual healing for yourself or a loved one, please reach out to me by email. We can set up a time to speak via phone or even via Zoom. Please continue to pray for Bishop Goff. She is now cancer free, however, the genomic markers of her tumor indicate chemotherapy is recommended. She is beginning the treatment next week.
Finally, I ask us all to keep perspective on what is important in our lives. A short essay is making its way around Facebook and I want to share some of it with you.
“Imagine that you were born in 1900. On your fourteenth birthday, World War I begins and lasts until you turn 18. 22 million people perish in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic descends and lasts until you turn 20. 50 million people perish during those two years. On your twenty-ninth birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25 percent. The country and the world economy nearly collapse. When you turn 39, World War II begins. By the time you are 45, 75 million people will have perished in the war. When you turn 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. When you turn 55, the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. On your sixty-second birthday, the Cuban Missile Crisis introduces the threat of nuclear war. When you turn 79, the Iranian hostage crisis changes the world, as do the Oklahoma City bombings when you turn 95.
Life after each of these unprecedented events would never again be the same.”
And yet somehow, many people born in the year 1900 managed to live through all of these events. They had the gift of perspective and that perspective is what I pray for in these times.
The gift of perspective does not mean we minimize or dismiss the things happening right now. It does not mean we fail to prepare or fail to live responsibly. It does mean that when we catch ourselves feeling anxious or depressed that life will never again be the same because of these times, we stop. We remember. We believe. God’s got us.