Here are the announcements and the links for Sunday’s worship.
You will notice that there are quite a number of new names that have been added to our Sunday prayers in this week’s service bulletin. There has been a lot of illness and death in our extended parish family – some COVID-related, but most not. Please be gentle with yourselves and with one another and keep each other in prayer.
- Fifth Sunday after Epiphany Worship
- Narnia Book Group
- Parish Office News
- Ash Wednesday
- Christian Practices
- Lenten Opportunities
- In-Person Worship Timing
Sunday Worship – Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany Feb. 7th –10 am
Service of the Word, followed by Coffee Hour.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom log-in. The service bulletin is on our home page.
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Parish Office News – All Saints’ has signed-up with a church management software program called Breeze. This allows us to have a database of our parishioners and visitors, which we did not have before. All of our previous records were on Word documents and required multiple updating for new e-mails addresses, phone numbers, etc. The new system is also a donor management program which tracks pledges and donations and creates easily produced giving statements. It doesn’t replace our QuickBooks accounting system but works in tandem with it. Breeze also has some communications and scheduling features that we are learning to use. You’ll be hearing more about this new tool for our parish ministry as we get more adept at it.
Ash Wednesday Worship will be held on Zoom on February 17 at 7:30 pm. The link will be sent next week. How will we do Ash Wednesday this year?
- The most important aspect of the day is the start of our spiritual preparation for Easter. Please read and meditate on the Invitation to a holy Lent at the bottom of page 264 in the Prayer Book. Please note - ashes are optional (and always have been).
- Small containers of blessed ashes may be picked up in the church Bell Tower starting Feb. 12. You may impose ashes on yourself or on other members of your household during the service.
- You may also read the service on your own, starting on page 264 of the Prayer Book, or using the service leaflet that will be e-mailed to you.
- If you can’t get to church to pick up ashes, you can make your own from palms (if you have them) or use wood ash from your fireplace or fire pit.
Bible Study is on Wednesdays at 10:15 am. Our current study is Ephesians in the New Testament. This week we will read and discuss Ch. 6 to finish the book.
The following week we’ll start our Lenten series. We’ll look at the Gospel reading for the Sunday to come (either from Mark or John) and also at the Collect (theme prayer) for the day and look at the way the Gospel and the Collect connect with each other. To participate in this Zoom class, or if you have questions, please e-mail Mother Vicki at email@example.com .
Narnia Book Group: The Silver Chair - this group will meet on Zoom Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm starting on 2/21 and continuing for eight sessions (skipping Easter Day). The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis is the fourth book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. The group is open to anyone; you don’t have to have read the previous Narnia books, or been part of the group before. To sign up, please email Mother Vicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stewardship – Please remember that you can fulfill your pledge by setting up auto-pay with your bank or by electronic fund transfer (EFT) through the secure giving portal on our website. If you are interested in making a gift of appreciated stock, please call David Thursfield. Until we can have the safe and full use of our buildings for both worship and building use rental our parish income will be challenging, so your timely, heartfelt and generous support will be essential. Thank you!
Opportunities Around our Diocese - Lenten and Otherwise
There are several opportunities for prayer, study and conversation between now and Easter. Here are several that may interest you:
Book Study - Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubled Times by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Wednesday evenings during Lent on Zoom with St. Peter’s, Livingston, St. Paul’s, Chatham, St. Gregory’s, Parsippany, and All Saints’ starting Feb. 24 at 7:00 pm. Here is the description of the book from the Amazon page. Please e-mail Mother Vicki at email@example.com if you would like to participate.
“As the descendant of slaves and the son of a civil rights activist, Bishop Michael Curry's life illustrates massive changes in our times. Much of the world met Bishop Curry when he delivered his sermon on the redemptive power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. Here, he expands on his message of hope in an inspirational road map for living the way of love, illuminated with moving lessons from his own life. Through the prism of his faith, ancestry, and personal journey, Love Is the Way shows us how America came this far and, more important, how to go a whole lot further.
The way of love is essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God. This book will lead readers to discover the gifts they need in order to live the way of love: deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity.”
Daily Morning Prayer with the Rev. Susan Sica at St. Gregory’s; Monday-Saturday; 8:30-9:00 AM on Zoom. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the log-in.
Convent Corner: Centering Prayer, Thursdays 7:15-8:15 pm on Zoom - the Community of St. John Baptist Centering Prayer Group has been meeting for many years and is one of its most popular ministries. Guests can gather on Zoom. Please e-mail Sister Monica Clare at email@example.com if you are interested in joining. A description of this silent contemplative practice can be found here.
Faith Groups - learn more about this new opportunity in our diocese by reading the material on our diocesan website here: Faith Groups. It’s not just for Lent. If you are interested in starting or being part of a Faith Group here at All Saints, please let Mother Vicki know.
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When Will Churches in the Diocese of Newark Open for In-Person Worship?
At present Bishop Hughes has still not lifted the restrictions on in-person worship. Our diocesan guidelines are tied to the metrics of the CovidActNow website https://covidactnow.org/us/new_jersey-nj/?s=1578518 . As long as Morris County is red or dark red (which all of NJ currently is) we will remain fully on-line.
This may seem confusing because different denominations have made differing decisions about what is safest for their parishioners. For instance, both St. Vincent’s and the Shrine of St. Joseph are holding in-person worship under limited conditions. First Presbyterian in Stirling and Meyersville Presbyterian are fully on-line.
Adding to the variety of worship decisions is the fact that All Saints’ is part of the Diocese of Newark, which includes Morris County. Other nearby Episcopal churches in Basking Ridge, Bernardsville, and New Providence are in the Diocese of New Jersey, which has a different set of guidelines and has left more decision-making up to the parishes. Currently St. Mark’s in Basking Ridge is doing a hybrid of in-person and on-line. St. Bernard’s in Bernardsville is only on-line.
Once we are able to proceed cautiously with worshipping in-person we will still need to be quite limited in our gatherings because of the need for distancing. We have measured out the minimum of at least 6 feet distance between our pews which are small and close together, with narrow aisles. The measurements give us 10 of our 36 pews to use at any given service. If 10 families of four or five people each register for a service, we can have 45 people. If 10 individuals from different households register for a service, we will have a congregation of only 10 people for that service.
We will also continue to need to wear masks and will not be able to sing together in person until public health officials tell us it is safe and prudent to do so. We know that once we can be fully back in-person we will continue to live-stream our services for those who are at a distance or can’t attend for some other reason.
The process of moving from fully on-line to fully in-person will take time, work, and patience once the public health conditions and the Bishop allow.
The full diocesan guidelines can be found here; in particular, look at the quick color-coded overview page: https://dioceseofnewark.org/sites/default/files/resources/Journey%20Forward%20Guidelines%202.0%202020.12.14.pdf
+ + + + + + + The Parish Office is generally staffed Mondays and Thursdays but with limited contact for the public. Please call ahead if you need to do in-person parish business.
Parish Schedule this Week
Sunday Worship & Coffee Hour – 10:00 am; Zoom, posted later to YouTube and our website
Compline - daily, 9:30 pm; Facebook Live
Finance Committee - Tue, 7:15 pm; Zoom
Bible Study - Wed, 10:15 pm; Zoom
Office Angels - Thu, 11:00 am; Zoom
Junior Choir – Thu, 5:30 pm; Zoom
Adult Choir - Thu, 7:30 pm; Zoom
Parish Office - Mon & Thu, 10:00 am-5:00 pm (usual hours).
Please call ahead if you need to do in-person parish business.
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Christian Practices: Intercession
Intercession is the practice of praying for someone else – for their well-being, guidance, encouragement in faith, healing, whatever the concern may be. We most often think about this in connection with people we know and love, but as Christians we are also called to pray for the good of the world, or at least our neighborhood or community, however the Holy Spirit leads us.
How do we intercede and pray for others? God certainly knows the needs of others and knows what is on our hearts and minds even before we can form the words of our prayer. We do well to trust God even when we don’t know “the right thing” to pray, or what the best outcome might be for a person or situation.
Equally, it is important for us to spend time with our intercessions, to visualize the person or concern for which we are praying, to sit with them (metaphorically) in the light of God’s love. Perhaps the Spirit will give us some wisdom or insight that will help us to pray more directly or effectively. Perhaps that insight will lead us to speak with the person we are praying for in a way that is helpful to them.
If we are praying for something beyond an individual or family, try to picture the situation from the perspective of the Kingdom of God – where God’s wholeness, goodness, purpose, and right relationships are a reality. Another term for this is what Martin Luther King, jr called “The Beloved Community.” This type of prayer is not about giving God a list of tasks, it is about envision and inviting God’s best for God’s world.
For whom do you feel called or moved to pray this week?