Next steps in worship in a season of viruses
Update: March 14 - worship will be virtual tomorrow. More details coming soon!
This Sunday we will have (virtual) worship at 5pm, and whether or not you are able to join us can I continue to encourage you to reach out to your neighbors - make sure they know you are available to them. Look for opportunities to serve. This is where the church comes into its own.
Worshipping at home….
However, over the next weeks or months there is a moderate chance that you will all have some days at home - whether by choice or compulsion. And indeed, we are also preparing for the time when we may be unable to gather for worship for a time. Please know you are so loved whatever you choose to do. Our staff have also been told to stay home when they need to, and to make careful decisions about what is best for their households.
So, can I encourage you to consider carefully whether you would like to worship corporately this Sunday evening at 5pm? If you are healthy and want to come, do so with a full heart as we worship, wonder and welcome the Holy Spirit. Read here about changes to the way we greet, pass the peace, give, and take the Eucharist. We will have a ‘normal’ service, taking time to pray for our neighbors around Arlington and around the world, for all who are frightened and vulnerable, for those who are isolated, for those who are serving others and making difficult decisions every day with limited resources. Come with soft and prayerful hearts ready to pray and sing your hearts out.
And then, we will re-evaluate. We will also prepare for home worship.
But first…. connecting
If you are housebound please let us know: text, email, WhatsApp - or even an old-fashioned phone call! Email us for our phone numbers and store them in your phone!
Then, why not make a resolution to make a real phonecall to someone each day? To pray for them first, then tell them that... and then chat!
After you’ve done that, how can you prepare for home worship?
If you don’t yet have a copy of the new 2019 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) we would love to give your household one. Ask Liz or Amy at the prayer retreat tomorrow or on Sunday. Equally, we have some copies of paper ESV bibles - we’d be delighted to give you one if you don’t already have one. You can also access the BCP 2019 online here, and the ESV here.
To get started - here is a great summary of how to use the BCP 2019.
Noonday prayer: Would you be willing to set an alarm on your phone and pause at noon to pray for a few minutes? I’d love us to all do that as possible! Praying for our friends, neighbors, communities; for scientists and medical staff; for our local hospitals and clinics; for peace and hope. Again, look out for more details but I’m wondering if we could do this by zoom once a week? I’m upping my tech-y capacity …
For the moment, we will continue with Lent Morning Prayer on Wednesdays at 7.30am in the chapel.
Whilst we are still meeting this week, we are still working on various ways to make the service accessible to you if you can’t physically be with us. We will make week by week decisions as the situation unfolds. We are paying very careful attention to the news, CDC, the advice of doctors, public health officials as this season unfolds. We are in new territory and so walking slowly.
Our initial intention this week is to record the service. If you are following along in your BCP 2019 to the audio (or video if we can manage to get that fancy), this Lent we are using the Anglican Standard text starting on page 105. You will find the decalogue on page 100 and the Lent collects are on pages 605-606.
If we cannot meet together on a future Sunday, we will prepare a podcast and blog to offer suggestions for worship.
Music: Beth and our musicians are planning on putting together a weekly setlist so you can sing along.
Kids: Josie is thinking through how to provide some ideas you can use with your children as you gather to worship in your homes. Watch out for news. And again, please let us know if you are interested in these materials.
Announcements: these are generally all linked through the Friday email (if you don’t get that, sign up here) but we will aim to include them on the audio file too.
Giving: Now is as good a time as any to start to give online if you don’t already!
When our small group season restarts I hope this is all over and we are in a new phase of life! BUT we will likely have on-line options for all small groups. If you are stuck at home and can’t make it - you'll be able to ‘zoom’ in so you don’t miss the discussion! Your small group leader will have details for each group as to how to do that when the time comes.
Some of the things we would love to help with if you are quarantined or unwell:
Can we help with grocery shopping? Let us know…
Can we help with collecting prescriptions? Let us know…
Can we help with visiting, perhaps bringing eucharist? Let us know…
How can we help? Send us an email or text or call us and let us know!
How can YOU help? If you would like to be on a list to respond to needs please let me know.
Our focus remains steady and sure. We are confident that God is with us, and that we can be a light to our neighborhoods! Let us know not only how we can help you - but also your neighbors as we seek to bring calm and hope to places of anxiety.
A couple of weeks ago I preached on this verse: One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 reminding us to look for God’s beauty in the midst of ‘war’. As we head into this next season make sure you are developing good habits of seeking God’s beauty!
AND FINALLY: As we watch the world struggling to come to terms with a new challenge, and as we too are making adjustments in our worship and habits, every change we make is done as thoughtfully as we can out of love for our neighbors and our community but every change affects us each personally. And, inevitably, change generates thoughts and ideas and questions. Over this next season I would LOVE it if you would take some time to reflect on how you are processing these changes. Read the first in the series - Becky (who is a PhD student at Catholic University) reflecting on taking just the bread at communion last week... then how about you send me #2 or #3 ... keep them coming. Could be a reflection, a picture, a poem, a song... you are only limited by YOUR imagination. :)
Why not send me an email or text now and let me know how you are doing?
Your pastor and friend,