by the Rev. Christopher Potter, Vicar
Two years ago this week, on Sunday March 15, I stood at the altar of St. John’s on that Sunday morning facing an empty church. For the first time in the life of most of us, we unwittingly entered the dark unknown of a worldwide pandemic. I remember standing alone in the sanctuary that morning with the Gospel book before me staring through tearful eyes at pews that cried out for occupation by you, God’s beloved people.
For what was widely anticipated to be a one-to two-month isolation, we were hardly prepared for what was to come. Two years later and after more than six million deaths attributed to COVID-19, the world still feels the subjugation and the weight of mask mandates, vaccine requirements, hospitalizations — even death.
In what many are cautiously calling “light at the end of this dark tunnel,” we walk tenuously torward greater in-person worship, living without masks, taking communion cups again, and more fellowship events.
This Lenten and Holy Week season brings up many questions associated with the newly (re)found freedoms. I share them with you disguised as announcements.
• Rev. Karen, the Wardens, and I are recommending that St. John’s will make a return to the sacred cup by using disposable paper cups (at least more environmentally sensitive than plastic) beginning on Palm Sunday, April 10.
• We look very forward to the children of St. John’s Church and School celebrating Palm Sunday with us. They will present a dramatized version of the Passion Story interspersed with music. There will be children singing throughout the service as they join the adults of the 10 a.m. choir.
• On Maundy Thursday, April 14, the planning team wanted to celebrate the hard-working ministers at St. John’s with a full meal in the context of a Eucharist. Initially planned for inside the church, we have come to understand the continued reluctance of some to be in proximity while not wearing masks. Instead, we will celebrate the meal outside, on the Learning Commons Courtyard, under the shade cloth. It will be a prayerful experience with discussions and good food. After the meal, we shall walk solemnly upstairs to watch the ceremonial stripping of the altar and the opening of the all-night vigil.
• Good Friday will find us celebrating the Solemn Collects (BCP, page 277) with reflections led by five members of the community. We shall all have the opportunity to raise our voices in prayers and to symbolically place them at the feet of Jesus at the cross.
• For the Great Vigil of Easter (the holiest, biggest, most ginormous celebration of the church year) we will celebrate with music from the weekly Saturday night musicians.
• Easter promises to be a glorious celebration of Resurrection, community, joy, and perhaps a little cheer. At both the 8 and 10 a.m. services, we’ll sing with the aid of the choir and instrumentalists. If you were a part of the choir pre-pandemic, this would be the ideal day to return to the choir and sing your hearts out! Along with the Easter Egg hunt, I’ve heard rumors that there may be mimosas for Easter parents.
There are a few weeks before we get to Easter. However, I wanted to get this into our common consciousness and to invite from you any suggestions for the celebrations of this greatest season of the year.
May our walk and work towards Easter be accompanied by loving companions and by the grace of Christ.
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We’ll see you at St. John’s this weekend:
• Saturday worship at 5 p.m. in the Chapel
• Sunday worship at 8 a.m. (in-person only)
• Sunday worship at 10 a.m. (in-person and ZOOM)
• Godly Play and Nursery at 10 a.m.
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Our March 27 Red Cross Blood Drive Needs Donors — Can You Help?
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Supporting humanitarian response
to the crisis in Ukraine
[Episcopal Relief & Development – February 28, 2022] Episcopal Relief & Development is mobilizing with Anglican agencies and other partners in order to provide humanitarian assistance to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
Working through the Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance), Episcopal Relief & Development will provide cash, blankets, hygiene supplies and other needed assistance.
“Ecumenical and orthodox faith networks are on the ground in the border areas of Poland and Hungary,” said Abagail Nelson, executive vice president, Episcopal Relief & Development. “We will continue to coordinate with these networks, in order to meet the needs of people who have been displaced.”
Please pray for all those affected.
If you would like to support this humanitarian effort, you may 1) write a check to St. John’s, memo note “Ukraine”, and send via mail or drop your check in the offering plate; or 2) donate through the church PayPal link on our website home page, and notate “Ukraine”. St. John’s will forward donations to ERD. Thank you.
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