|Closeup of Memorial Garden Beauty|
As some of the restrictions have begun to be lifted in NH I’ve thought at length about the pros and cons of returning to in-person worship. Here are some of my concerns about returning.
I believe we should make our decision based on when all, or at least the vast majority of us can return together. The more I think about returning before many of us are ready, the more strongly I feel a sense of inequity. It doesn’t feel morally right to me to offer in person worship when so many of us either cannot or should not return because of age or underlying health conditions or both. There is something to be said for the feeling that “we’re all in this together.” And, as we all know, the majority of us are over age 60. Some of you who are under 60 also have reasons not to return, such as family members who are at risk.
Aside from the inequity of it, I don’t believe “hybrid” worship (some of us in the church building and some watching on Zoom) will be as meaningful as what we are currently doing. If some of us are in the church the readers and I will by necessity be further away from the camera, and those in the congregation won’t be visible on the camera at all. Those watching on Zoom will have only have a distant view of some of us in the church. Those of us in church won’t be able to see those at home at all. I think this will significantly detract from the experience for all of us.
Returning to in-person worship will require following numerous guidelines that I also believe will detract from the experience. We are to appoint a “safety officer" who will monitor and encourage following the necessary conditions of returning: wearing masks, maintaining 6 feet between us and one way traffic, which necessitates entering through one door and exiting through another (when only one of our entrances has a ramp). In addition, there can be no Communion, singing, physical exchange of the Peace or Coffee Hour. So what do we actually gain? Not much, in my opinion. In fact I think more would be lost under these conditions.
The crux of it for me comes down to two things: the majority of us being able to return and sharing the Eucharist. When we reach the point where both are possible I expect I will feel entirely differently. We may still need to have various restrictions in place, but the benefits will then make them all seem minor.
So that’s where I am at this particular point in time. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts, especially if you see things differently. My sense is no one is in a rush to return, but I would really like to know if I’m misreading this.
An Update on our Contemplative Practice Gathering
God of mystery, who inhabits the silences and the spaces, who knows and is known by the creation you have fashioned, grant [us] courage to seek you in the wild, hidden places. Fill [our] vision with your wisdom, that [we] may perceive your holy dwellings.
A prayer by Jan Richardson, artist, poet, pastor
Throughout the ages, humans from all faith traditions have sat in stillness and silence in support of their spirit. There is an inner healing presence available to us when we stop, notice, and allow.
If you are interested in building a contemplative practice or are looking for silence in community, please plan to join us on Tuesdays in June and July at 10:00 am, except Tuesday, June 9, only, at 9:00 am.
Our time will begin with a brief sitting practice, facilitated by Christi Humphrey. Christi has lead other groups which gather to explore contemplative practices through meditation, teachings, and discussion. Guided meditations and teachings draw upon the Christian contemplative tradition, monastic spirituality, Buddhist meditation, and self-compassion practices.
If you would like to learn more or have questions, contact Christi Humphrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to sample Christi leading a guided meditation visit her blog https://watchingforgrace.wordpress.com/2020/03/21/bringing-compassion-to-these-anxious-times/.
via Zoom (see email for Zoom information)
or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/standrewsinthevalleytamworth/
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Introduction to the Readings
Our first lesson is the story of creation. As this ancient narrative opens, the Spirit of the Lord hovers like a great mother bird over the shapeless world. God then forms the heaven and the earth and all its creatures in six days. The seventh day is set aside as a day of rest. God’s ultimate creative act is human life, made in his image, to whom rulership and responsibility over all other life are given.
The psalmist glorifies the Lord, sovereign of the earth and the magnificent heavens, who has made human life to have mastery over all other earthly creatures.
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
In this passage Paul closes his painful letter to the Corinthians with final admonitions and words of peace and love. There have been disagreements between Paul and his new converts. They have shown tendencies to set themselves up as superior in faith and practice to others. But Paul ends on a hopeful note, and his last words have become part of our liturgies–a way of stating the three forms of presence of the divine graciousness.
In our gospel reading Jesus makes his last appearance to his disciples and gives them their mission to baptize and teach through all the world. These words end Matthew’s gospel. His mention of doubt on the part of some of the disciples reminds us that faith has never been an easy matter. But the closing charge is an authoritative commission to bring others to faith in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
PRAYERS FOR EACH OTHER
For those who are homebound: Joyce Gendron, Marge Hagerup, Elizabeth Pease, Susannah Keith, Alida, Dylan, Brian & Sara Kelley, Bob Wallace, Carl Mamigonian, Elizabeth Wiesner, Judy Grace, Audrey Berry.
For our First Nation people and those in this country who are living in impoverished areas of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and the inner city areas populated by some of our poorest citizens.
For all those who are on the front lines serving communities during these difficult times.
June 10, 24
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
BCP p. 824
16 Tina Quinn
photos and I will post each week!
send to email@example.com
Now that the weather is getting better and we are finding time outside
please share your pictures of what you are doing...
Getting your gardens ready? Going for a hike?
Planting flowers? Taking in a picnic? Wildlife encounters?
"Charlie and I enjoying another breathtaking spring day. So blessed."