THE RECTOR'S MESSAGE SATURDAY, 4 JULY 2020
Included in today's update: A Message from Father Keith, Resuming In-Person Worship Details,
the Liturgy for Tomorrow's Worship, and other reminders...
FROM THE RECTOR
Saturday, 4 July 2020
First of all: Happy Independence Day! While this year's festivities may be a bit more subdued than in some years previous, I still hope you find ways to enjoy the long weekend.
And remember: Next Sunday, July 12th, we resume in-person worship services! . . . with a few restrictions and requirements that are necessary to ensure the safety of all who wish to begin attending worship services once again.
NEW SERVICE SCHEDULE
SUNDAYS - 9:30 am - Church and Parish Hall
WEDNESDAYS - 11:00 am - Church
Hopefully, you received a letter last week announcing the resumption of services and detailing some of the temporary changes we have instituted as required in order to be in compliance with governmental and diocesan guidelines. If you did not receive a letter, please notify the Parish Office and we will rush one out to you. I am repeating some of these guidelines here in order to make sure everyone understands how to reserve a spot for attending worship since only 25 are allowed to gather together. With 25 in the church on Sunday and another 25 in the Parish Hall, then 25 on Wednesday mornings, we will be able to accommodate 75 worshippers each week.
There will be ONE SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE, 9:30 A.M. The first date for this service is Sunday, July 12th. Due to restrictions limiting the number of people allowed to gather in one space – currently set at 25 individuals – the service will be held simultaneously in two locations: the church sanctuary, and the Parish Hall.
Another midweek worship service has been added: WEDNESDAY MORNING, 11:00 A.M. The first date for this service is Wednesday, July 15th. This is also limited to 25 participants.
As odd and somewhat inhospitable as it seems, in order to attend a service and not be turning people away at the door, A RESERVATION IS REQUIRED. On Wednesday and Thursday of the week before any service, reservations can be made by calling the church office (215-699-9204) between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Reservations will be taken on a first-call-first-reserved basis. For those requesting Sunday morning, we will fill the church first, then assign people to the Parish Hall until 50 spots are reserved. For those requesting the Wednesday service, we will accept reservations until the capacity of 25 is reached. As an example: Reservations for July 12th and July 15th services can be made by calling the church office on Wednesday and Thursday, July 8th and 9th, from 11:00 to 1:00.
The Rector will be the Celebrant and Preacher for the Sunday and Wednesday services. On Sunday mornings, I will lead the service in the church, while MaryJo Melberger will preside over the gathering in the Parish Hall. The service in the church sanctuary will be broadcast into the Parish Hall, allowing everyone to participate in worship together. At the time of Communion, the consecrated bread will be carried over to the Parish Hall and distributed by MaryJo.
A mask or facial covering is mandatory for all worshipers. Gloves are optional, except for the Usher, and the clergy while distributing Communion. Please bring a cloth mask from home. Disposable masks and gloves will also be available. The clergy will wear masks, except during the sermon and Eucharistic Prayer. When Communion is distributed, mask and gloves will be worn by the clergy distributing the bread.
Social distancing of at least six feet is also mandatory. In the church, alternating pews will be roped off and seating not allowed in these pews. In the Parish Hall, 25 chairs will be set up with a minimum boundary of six feet between chairs. Members of the same household may sit together; all others must be seated individually.
Upon entering the narthex or the Parish Hall foyer, all worshipers will be checked in by name and contact information. These attendance sheets, maintained by the Rector and kept in the office safe, will be used for contact tracing. Should a worshipper be later diagnosed as COVID positive, all others in attendance at the service will be contacted.
There will be no choir or congregational singing at any service since singing expels droplets even further into the air, well beyond the mandatory six feet social distance.
At the Passing of the Peace, hugs, handshakes, kisses and other forms of physical contact are prohibited.
At Communion, only the bread (no wine) will be distributed to the congregation. Communicants will approach the clergy one-at-a-time in order to maintain appropriate social distance. For those not wishing to accept the bread, a ‘no-touch’ blessing can be obtained from the clergy.
Following the service: the clergy will not be posted at the door, thus eliminating the ‘receiving line’ and back-up that always develops.
For the time being, Coffee Hour following the service is suspended.
Before the first service is held, a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the church and Parish Hall will be accomplished. And after each worship gathering or meeting in the Parish Hall, cleaning and disinfecting of the spaces and items used will be done before another service or meeting is held.
Perhaps most importantly – should you experience any of the following symptoms on the morning of a service, for your own health and the safety of all others, please do not come to church. We thank you for your compliance.
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
The response to the online worship services on the Messiah website offered over the past few months has been well-received, so the decision has been made that these will continue. This will allow those unable to be accommodated due to the 25-person rule, or those choosing not to attend for whatever reason, to still gather for worship at a time convenient for them. In addition to the Messiah online worship postings, Bishop Gutierrez will continue to post weekly services on the diocesan website: diopa.org.
The Vestry and I want to thank all of you for continuing to maintain your pledge payments. Your faithfulness has allowed us to pay all incoming bills promptly, as well as staff payroll, even in these difficult times. All payments can be dropped off during office hours, or mailed to the church: 1001 Dekalb Pike, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002-1941.
I am greatly looking forward to seeing all of you once again and gathering with you to worship together once again! But be assured that the decision of when to return and join in-person worship services is strictly an individual decision. I want to assure you that there is no pressure or expectation. Just know that I will be happy to welcome you whenever you feel comfortable with returning.
In the name of our Savior Jesus Christ,
and our God who wants only health and wholeness for his children,
I send you blessings, peace and grace in these uncertain, confusing and anxious times.
LITURGY FOR TOMORROW'S WORSHIP
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you. Alleluia!
And also with you. Alleluia! Alleluia!
COLLECT FOR THE DAY (Proper 9A)
O God, you have taught us to keep your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
COLLECT FOR INDEPENDENCE DAY
Lord God, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Zechariah 9:9-12; Romans 7:15-25a Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, *
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The Lord is loving to everyone, *
and his compassion is over all his works.
All your works praise you, O Lord, *
and all your faithful servants bless you.
They make known the glory of your kingdom, *
and speak of your power;
that the peoples may know of your power, *
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, *
and your dominion endures throughout all ages.
The Lord is faithful in all his words *
and merciful in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all those who fall; *
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of Saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Response: Hear us, O God.
PRAYER FOR NATIONAL HEALING AND UNITY
O God, who created all peoples in your own image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and peoples who have come together in this great nation, and strengthened our culture with the many gifts, talents, perspectives and flavors they have each brought and shared. Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, abolish all prejudices that separate us, open our eyes to recognize, and acknowledge, and celebrate your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
SUNDAY WORSHIP MUSIC
Be sure to check out the weekly music and carillon recordings. Go to the Gallery tab on the parish website; select videos; there you will find hymns selected for the day, along with Messiah's church bells ringing out the Good News of the Easter season. This music is presented each week by Hannah Albrecht and Sam Frenkel and friends. Thank you, Hannah and Sam - and all who contribute each week!
SUNDAY SERMON AVAILABLE EACH WEEK
Each week, the text of the Sunday sermon is posted to the website. Feel free to print it out if you find that helpful. And perhaps you might also print a copy and send to someone who doesn't have computer access. This would be greatly appreciated and provide a way for these parishioners to also stay connected.
BISHOP GUTIERREZ ON CBS EACH SUNDAYS
Bishop Gutierrez continues to broadcast on the local CBS station for Sunday morning Eucharist services. You can watch at 5:30 a.m. on Channel 3; or 9 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook.
PLEASE KEEP YOUR PLEDGE UP TO DATE
Thank you to all of you who have dropped off or sent in your pledge over the past several weeks! Your faithfulness has allowed us to stay current with payroll and bill payment. Now that we are in a new month - can it really be the end of June already? - please remember to submit this month's pledge. Thank you!