Dear Faithful Friends,
I often refer to the "ninth" beatitude: Blessed are the flexible, for they will never get bent out of shape. The truth of these words are all too obvious given the events so far in 2020. If we don't get comfortable with changing situations and evolving guidelines, we are likely to spend a lot of time feeling bent out of shape--or worse!
This coming Sunday, we will move to another stage of "next normal." It will be closer to what we were used to, but still very different. We will have additional opportunities to worship, yet none will be completely satisfactory. If we remain flexible, we'll receive the blessing.
Here are the options for worshiping together on Sunday, June 14th:
1. Go to the St. Augustine's Facebook (www.facebook.com/staugustinesmet) at either 8:00 am, 9:30 am (espanol), or 10:30 am. The services at those times will be "live."
2. If you don't have access to the internet, you can dial in and listen live at those times by dialing (888)958-7272 and then entering one of these access codes (you can only listen while the service is "live"):
8:00 - 593653472
9:30 - 851722948
10:30 - 997575256
3. Go to the St. Augustine's Facebook (www.facebook.com/staugustinesmet) at any time and watch the recorded services.
These options are particularly appropriate for individuals 65 years or older and people of all ages with poor control of medical issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, or a weakened immune system. (Or those who have gotten accustomed to church in their pajamas!)
4. Come to St. Augustine's for in-person, indoor worship at 8:00 am, 9:30 am (Espanol), or 10:30 am.
If you decide to come, here's an idea of what to do and what to expect:
- The liturgy will be similar to the past few weeks, that is to say we will not celebrate Holy Eucharist. (Hoping for July 5th for that!)
- You'll need to wear a mask. If you don't have one, we will give you one.
- You will be "checked in" by Susan Scotton, our Parish Health Minister, so that we can have a roster of attendance should contact tracing be necessary later. The "check-in" will take place by the fountain in the gatehouse.
- We will skip a pew between congregants and ask people to maintain six feet of distance between family groups.
- If we run out of pew space, Byrd Hall will be set up as an overflow area to watch on Facebook Live.
- Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the church.
- You will need to print and bring the bulletin and/or your personal Book of Common Prayer. Printed bulletins will not be provided and all books have been removed from the pews.
- We will not "pass the plate," but the offertory plates will be set out for your donations.
- The church will be disinfected between services. This will be possible in part because Darlene Fisher, our Housekeeper, has agreed to adjust her hours to work on Sundays. She'll be assisted by members of the Altar Guild and Vestry.
- We will not have any music this Sunday, June 14th.
- We will not provide any shared food or beverages after the services.
- The Nursery will not be open.
We will continue with a Zoom "Coffee Hour" at 8:45 am. In addition to "checking in," I invite you to watch the film "Just Mercy" (based on the book by Bryan Stevenson) so that we can have a shared topic to discuss. More than just a story relevant to our national conversation regarding racism and justice, this is also a reminder about the redeeming potential of mercy. The film is widely available for free viewing. Here's a link: Just Mercy - Watch for Free
In closing, I'd like to thank our Vestry for their tireless flexibility and ongoing commitment to the well-being of our congregation. They lead by example--an example of loving, good-natured, and yes-flexible servanthood. At some point we will reschedule our Annual Parish Meeting at which time we can thank them all appropriately--and elect three more! For now, the three outgoing members continue in what we are referring to as their "overtime." For the good and faithful work of all nine Vestry members, and of all those staying flexible, thanks be to God!
Click below to download the bulletin for Rite I and Rite II services.