O give thanks to the Lord, and call upon his Name; make known his deeds among the peoples. Psalm 105:1 ~ Opening Sentence for Morning Prayer
Here are this week’s announcements, especially:
- Worship via Zoom this Sunday (Worship)
- Bible Study (Christian Formation)
- Statements of Contribution (Stewardship)
- Progress on Guidelines for Resuming In-Person Worship & Meetings (What’s Next?)
This Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost and we’ll be trying something new…. we will have our service of Morning Prayer at 10 am via Zoom. Why are we doing this? It will enable us to interact with one another in real-time. It will also allow us to have live music! Our director of Music Alison Siener Brown will play a hymn (appropriate for the Independence Day weekend) that we can all sing, and two cantors will sing the psalm for us. Additionally, we’ll be able to play a pre-recorded video of a solo anthem. We’ll also have three different people participating as readers in the service. The link for the service will be e-mailed to parishioners, as well as a copy of the service leaflet. If you are not on the parish e-mail list and would like to have the link sent to you, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you need to download the Zoom app to your computer, phone, or tablet, you can find it here. The basic version (which is all you need) is free: https://zoom.us/download and then click the orange sign-up button in the upper right-hand corner. At the end of the service, you can leave or stay on for some coffee hour social time. Hope to see you then!
Daily Compline at 9:30 pm. You don’t need a Facebook account (“Be on Facebook”) to participate; just follow this link: fb.me/allsaintsmillington. This community of daily prayer and worship includes people from our parish, from other places in New Jersey, and even from other parts of the globe! All Saints’ parishioners and clergy take turns leading the service. Compline is offered every evening and is a wonderful way to pray for your own concerns and for the well-being of the world. Come join us.
Thank you to all of our readers and musicians and worship leaders for the beautiful pre-recorded service last Sunday – especially to Alison for her leadership and creativity, and to Shawn for his wonderful sermon! It’s all on the home page of the website in case you missed it.
Virtual Coffee Hour via Zoom on Sunday at 11:00 am. How does this work? It’s just a nice social time with others from church. It’s an opportunity to see one another, check-in, share news and fellowship. The link for this was e-mailed to the parish (see above) If you didn’t get the link and would like to join us, e-mail email@example.com. Come and spend time with your fellow Saints!
Bible Study meets Wednesdays at 10:15 am. This week, July 8, we’ll discuss the Letter of James, chapter 5. This is a short book of the Bible – five chapters. James focuses on practical aspects of Christian living. If you haven’t been part of Bible study before, this is a good way to start, and we’ve recently added some new folks, so the group is always evolving. We meet via Zoom. If you would like to participate or want more information, please e-mail Mother Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Statements of Contribution for the first half of 2020 will be coming out next week. Please be sure to look them over and email the Parish Office if you have any questions. Thank you for all of you who have continued to keep current on your pledges and have even made contributions above and beyond to help us with the loss of our rental income! Please know that you can also fulfill your pledges and contributions via the blue “Donate Now” button on the home page. This goes to our secure Vanco account and then directly into our bank. It is an easy and helpful way to donate. Whatever you are able to do, we are very grateful. Thank you!
Buildings and Grounds – there have been a number of people who have been continuing to make sure our buildings and grounds are in good repair. Bill Smullen has been working on the read front doors, which became cracked and weathered from standing open in the rain so much. Janice Lettitieri, Barbara Barbeau, Steve Kowalik, and Bill Smullen have repaired and re-painted our church sign (which blew over and broke in a February windstorm). Jean Bettler and Jane Hayden have been doing gardening, weeding, and planting. Bonnie McGrath and Barbara Barbeau have been keeping the plants in church watered. Thank you all!
WHAT COMES NEXT?
Guidelines for Returning to In-Person Worship – the Vestry has begun work on the necessary procedures for All Saints’ to resume in-person worship, in accordance with the guidelines for the Diocese of Newark (can be found here on the diocesan website: https://dioceseofnewark.org/resource-general/journey-forward-guidelines-person-worship-diocese-newark).
They are also taking into close account the responses to our parish worship survey. We received 48 responses to the survey. The great majority of parishioners said that what they have missed the most during this pandemic time has been the people – gathering with of Saints for worship and fellowship. The second largest group’s answer was music or singing (sometimes singing with others). A number of people said the missed Communion/the Eucharist. And a few said the thing they missed the most was being in the church building.
Nearly everyone said that they learned how much their faith meant to them, or that they were surprised at how their faith could be sustained in a variety of ways. Some said they appreciated the slower pace of the last months for personal and family time, and learned anew how to be grateful for what they had – despite the challenges we have all been facing. Many people were grateful to be able to stay together and worship with our on-line services. There was also a strong appreciation for the new daily Compline service on Facebook Live.
When asked how likely a person might be to attend in-person worship with appropriate restrictions and precautions for distance, cleaning/sanitizing, mask-wearing, and service modifications, here is how people responded (1=not at all, 2=probably not, 3=possibly, 4=somewhat likely, 5=definitely):
Indoor worship: 1=13%; 2=21%; 3=27%; 4=19%; 5=19%
Outdoor worship: 1=2%; 2=17%; 3=32%; 4=30%; 5=11% (there were several fewer outdoor answers. Numbers may not add up to 100% because of rounding).
Quite a number of people said the thing they would need to feel safe in returning to in-person worship was a vaccine. Many people responded that if they did not feel safe about in-person they would participate via a live-stream broadcast of the service from the church.
As was mentioned last week, the process from here is that the Vestry will take the guidelines and implement them in a way that is sensible for our own parish of All Saints’. We will be taking the necessary time to do this thoughtfully and safely. We will also need to take into consideration parish staff and clergy vacation time. Please keep the Vestry in your prayers as they discern and make a plan to move forward – safely, with gratitude to God, and full of faith.
A Collect for the Nation on Independence Day
Lord God Almighty, who hast made all the peoples of the earth
for thy glory, to serve thee in freedom and in peace: Give to
the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength
of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance
with thy gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen. ~ Book of Common Prayer, page 207