E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 26, 2020

Holy Eucharist, Lectionary Bible Study New SJE Swag and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 26, 2020 – Available in full online here.

Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia. 

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
 
Dear *|FNAME|*

Since we resumed the celebration of Holy Eucharist a few weeks ago, it has been a deep joy to have the sacrament return to our shared life. 

As the catechism of the prayer book reminds us, in the section about Holy Eucharist, "The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again." Those two key descriptors—"commanded by Christ" and "continual remembrance"—underscore how central the Eucharist is to our life as a church. Being unable to follow Christ's command to celebrate this rite, being unable to become present with our Lord in the sacrament as a continual remembrance… all of that being taken from us due to this pandemic… it has been painful and difficult.

I hope that the prayer for spiritual communion we have included in the liturgy has been a helpful focusing experience, with you at least spiritually participating in the sacrament even if you cannot yet physically. There was a powerful and well-written essay published in Earth & Altar in May about Spiritual Communion, drawing from the insights of that great Anglican Divine, Jeremy Taylor. I commend it to you.

And I'm grateful this week that a few of you have reached out to take me up on the offer of a Eucharistic Visit. Both of the Visits I did this week were in the St. Francis Garden of the church, but they can also be done outdoors at your home. And either I can offer the visit or one of our licensed Eucharistic Visitors can schedule one for you. It is not the same as attending the liturgy, I know, but it does give you the opportunity to receive the sacrament you watched consecrated on the live-stream. Please reach out to me if you would be desirous of a visit, either in the St. Francis Garden here at church or outside at your own home. 

And I'm keenly aware, as I celebrate the Eucharist at the church while most of you watch on the live-stream, that your longing for full physical presence and participation in our worship is very real. I look forward to the risk level in Ottawa County and our region of the state both decreasing to Medium so that we can begin to allow in-person worship once more.

The numbers do seem to be heading in a positive direction. In Ottawa County, the rate of daily new cases is in the medium risk range and the infection rate is almost back to a medium level of risk. The remaining risk factor in our county is our ICU headroom capacity, which is currently full and makes the risk of not being able adequately to treat infections very real. In our region of the state, we are still at a high risk level. However, our positive test rates a little over 3%—which would actually be low risk. And our new cases count has been declining since July 8 and is almost back to a medium level. 

This means we are indeed still not allowing attendance at worship—other than the scheduled worship ministers and their households—and we are not yet offering Daily Eucharist. However, if these trends continue—which they will, if we all continue to practice social distancing and wear our masks!—I am hopeful that we will be able to resume in person worship in August. While next Sunday, August 2 is unlikely, it is possible that daily services could begin as early as Monday, August 3.

I'm grateful for your patience as the leadership of our parish continues to try to make wise decisions that are in the best interest of our congregation, particularly the most vulnerable among us. And I hope to see you again in person soon. If we all work to stay safe, we can do this. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 26, 2020 online here

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