Dear Friends of Grace:
I pray this finds you all well and hopeful as the season of Advent moves us toward Christmas and the celebration of our Savior’s birth. If you joined us for the Mass on ZOOM this past Sunday you heard the announcement that we will be suspending in person services until sometime after Epiphany.
This is not a decision we make easily. While the in-person attendance at Sunday Mass has remained low we had hopes of being able to return to some version of normal by Christmas. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 numbers in the state, and particularly in Jefferson County, have risen dramatically and it has been reported that there are very few ICU beds available in our local hospitals. Both the vestry and I have decided that in keeping with our responsibility to care for the vulnerable among us it would be unwise to continue to meet in person.
So, going forward we will make a few changes in our Sunday worship. We will have Church over Zoom as usual up to the Peace. In other words, the Liturgy of the Word will look very much as it usually does but with just enough people to make the service happen….priest, deacon, lector, 2 cantors and the organist (and the camera technician). Following the Peace we will have a short time of ZOOM fellowship to greet and check in with one another. After that anyone who chooses to can remain on Zoom for Holy Communion…this will be a shortened version of the Liturgy of the Table without music. It was brought to my attention that many of you are missing the fellowship at the end of the service. We decided to bring it forward to the peace so that those who do not find “ocular Communion” spiritually satisfying can still connect with the community even if they choose not to stay with us for the Lord’s Supper.
I realize that any of these “new” methods are problematic and not always spiritually fulfilling but in these difficult days we do the best we can. The point is that we continue to meet together…even if remotely…to worship and share fellowship. While we will not be having our usual Christmas observances please watch for announcements of opportunities for meditation and devotion. We are working on some creative alternatives.
Thank you all for your patience and our faithfulness in this time of tribulation. We will get through this together and I believe we will be made stronger by the challenges we have overcome. Be safe, be well….be blessed. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, you are called by His name and in his love you will find peace and the deep joy of knowing yourself beloved.
The Rev. Robyn E. Arnold, Rector