Dear Friends in Christ—
Last week, I wrote to you about regathering for in person, indoor worship. I want to talk a little more about what we are going to do, and also how we are going to do it.
What we are going to do is to offer as much choice as possible in the experience of church. I am aware that members of this parish differ widely in their attitudes towards COVID right now. Some of you have a need to protect yourselves as much as possible; others have a need for connection, ritual, and community. My hope is that we can make Grace a place where we can all find comfort:
- As you know, we resume worship on our former schedule (7:30, 10:30, and 5:00, as well as 8:45 in Spanish) in the nave. This worship will look much like it did in December. Masks will be required. Alternate side pews will be roped off, to allow distance for those who seek it, but seating will not otherwise be restricted. We will be singing with a full choir. Communion will continue to be offered at stations in the crossing, although for certain days (like Ash Wednesday) we will make arrangements for distant communion at the altar rail. There will be no sign ups required.
- We will resume fellowship activities—like coffee hour—in the auditorium, where participants can spread out and the windows can be opened. Masks will be required when not actively eating or drinking. These fellowship activities, of course, are optional. If you are not comfortable with them, I encourage you to connect in a way that does feel safe for you. For example, if you want to come to our Lenten program, come after dinner has concluded, when the gathering will be masked again.
- We will make use of our hybrid set up in the Saint Mark Room as much as possible. Sunday morning adult forum will still be available on Zoom, as will our new Thursday morning bible study.
How we are going to do this? I’m not concerned with logistics but rather with the attitude of our hearts. Grace is a deeply loving place, and I remind us to draw on that love in how we interact with one another. We may have to talk frankly about masks, especially in light of the recent governor’s order and whatever effect that has at Grace School. We may see friends making different choices than we are making. We may have to say no, or hear no, when we are used to yes.
But the bonds of charity between us are strong enough for this time. I leave you with the collect for this coming Sunday, which is one of my favorites in the prayer book:
O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing; Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Yours in Christ,