April 10, 2020
Yesterday was the strangest Maundy Thursday I've ever experienced. Our Bible Study on Romans began with a hearty laugh as we we read "I consider that the sufferings of this present time ..." (8:18). We seldom experience a reading so pointedly speaking to our present circumstance. The noontime Reflections & Prayers with our Bishops, +Ian Douglas and +Laura Ahrens, was an inspiring addition to the day. They were recorded; you can still watch them by clicking here.
Then the day departed from anything like our usual Maundy Thursday. Instead of leading worship here, I worshiped online with the evening service from Washington National Cathedral. My former D.C. colleague, the Rev. Jan Cope's, sermon had me in tears; the music was lovely throughout -- the closing chant of Psalm 88 particularly so, as the altar was stripped, the tabernacle emptied and the sanctuary lamp extinguished.
And then I went back across the driveway into our familiar, now dark and empty, house of worship, and repeated those actions here, by myself. Jesus had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and taken away.
Our Good Friday Vigil will take a simpler form this year, while still including Passion Chorales for organ that drive home a depth of feeling for the day as only music can.
1st Hour -- beginning at Noon, Liturgy of Good Friday
2nd Hour -- Silent Vigil before the Cross
2:15p.m. -- Passion Chorales for organ
3p.m. -- The Tower Bell will toll the death of Jesus.
This service will be livestreamed on facebook.com/cecguilford and available later on YouTube, as will the 7p.m. offering of The Liturgy of Good Friday with hymns and organ.
The service bulletins for the Noon-3p.m. Vigil is now available here; the bulletin for the 7p.m. Good Friday Liturgy will be available later today by clicking on the "printable PDF of our next service" link on our homepage here.
Our Easter prayers typically include a remembrance of those who rejoice with us "on another shore and in a brighter light." Please send me names of those you would like to have remembered this Easter. Although donations are always welcome, members of the Finance Committee have provided for Easter flowers.
Please also help shape Easter Sunday's Prayers of the People by sending me the people and concerns you would like included. This is the online version of the clipboard where you note people, concerns and thanksgivings for inclusion in our Sunday prayers. Please have these to me by 5p.m. on Holy Saturday.
Our intercessions, remembrances and thanksgivings will be sent out on Easter Monday (that's my goal!) with any particulars you'd like to share; so, please be specific about what you're sharing just with me, and what you'd like to share with the rest of the parish.
Digital Sunday School:
An unexpected delight in our current situation, is the opportunity for all of us to go to Sunday School with Tyler Jarvis, our Director for Children's & Youth Ministry. Each week Tyler sends an invitation to Digital Sunday School to the whole parish. Though intended for families with youngsters, the rest of us can benefit by "overhearing" what Tyler is saying to them. Perhaps you know of a child who would enjoy participating in Digital Sunday School; if so, please forward Tyler's invitation to them. We don't want to "hide" this splendid offering. Llinks to the Digital Sunday School offerings for previous Sunday's are also available on our homepage here.
Another inspirational offering for Holy Week and Easter are Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet's dances and reflections for each day's readings. You can find them here. Ekklesia had been scheduled to dance and lead a discussion with us during Coffee Hour on Palm Sunday. Physical-distancing cancelled that possibility; but these offerings almost make up for that missed opportunity.
Wednesday Evening Prayers:
Our livestream evening service of prayer and music on the past two Wednesdays have been a gift to me, and many of you, judging by your responses. We'll continue them April 15 at 7p.m. The service will again begin with the Order for Evening, but switch out the Great Litany for prayers more appropriate for Eastertide. An online bulletin will be available Wednesday morning.
Thursday Morning Bible Study will continue this Thursday, April 16, 9:30-10:30a.m. on Zoom. We will complete our discussion of chapter 8 of Paul's Letter to the Romans -- which includes Paul's stirring proclamation that "nothing can separate us from the love of God." Certainly a welcome reality in our life during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here's the link to our online conversation: click here: Participation by telephone is also possible; I'll send the connection number on request.
Mask making, is still going on with so many great people jumping in to help out. On Monday, our Outreach leader Rose Robinson wrote, "So far we have delivered 160 masks with another 70 or so out there being sewn ... We will continue to make these until the fabric, elastic, or the need runs out!! So far we have delivered to the Psych Facility, a VA doctor, Guilford Interfaith Ministries, and some senior citizens.
Thanks to all who have participated in this endeavor......cutters, sewers, people donating fabric and elastic, people putting together kits, people driving to drop off kits and pick up completed masks, and those who have made monetary contributions. We've even had donations of gloves and purchased masks.." If you'd like to participate in this ministry, please be in touch with Rose
Thanks to Palm Weekend Gardeners:
Thanks to all who came and worked on a section of the parish's grounds last Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Your efforts made our house of worship look well-loved! Thanks to Alicia Bacon and Donna LaFata for organizing this effort. While we continue to maintain physical distancing, please feel free to schedule a bit of "garden therapy." Just call ahead during office hours, to be sure you'll be alone and that a debris bag is available for you.
Thanks to all who are mailing in your offerings! God bless you, and may others be moved to follow your example! Although we are not meeting together in-person, the life of the Church continues online, in prayer, worship, education and service -- and in all the ways that support and maintain our common life. So, as you are able -- during the financial crisis caused by the need to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic -- please continue your financial support of the parish by sending your offerings to Christ Church, PO Box 574, Guilford, CT 06437. Your offering will be presented at the altar; it will be physically present, even while you remain safely at home.
And again, if you are sheltering-in-place and need assistance with picking up groceries or prescriptions, please be in touch with the Parish Office. Fellow parishioners would gladly do the go-fer-ing for you.
.In the faith, hope and love of Christ,,
p.s. Reminders for Christ Church's online worship:
We feature various authors from around our parish, commenting on topics of interest to our community. Enjoy! Comment if you are so moved!