Since late Spring I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in these last few months about pilgrimage – that we think in new ways about those things that we once knew as constants in our lives. For churchgoers like you and me, that has meant regular in-person corporate worship, the sharing of Holy Communion, a parade of infants newly baptized every few months, and then catching up on what is happening in the parking lot or around a table in the Parish Hall over coffee and donut holes.
We hope and trust that in due time Baptism and Eucharist will return to ground our weekly and seasonal sacramental life, for it is through the waters of baptism we are formed and made Christians, and at the altar, we are nourished with Christ’s presence in the bread and in the wine.
During this extended Pandemic-tide (as I’ve heard it referred to in church circles) we might want to place another experience alongside these two foundational sacraments: pilgrimage. What is being suggested especially now is that we re-imagine what it means to be a part of the local church community. A church, a parish, a congregation is no longer a static thing contained by physical space. We are worshipping and meeting online – staying connected while physically apart. Until there is a safe vaccine available, the vision for our common life may be one where persons are more spread out, on a shared journey together, gathering in small groups. These are days when we make more of a solitary walk. A pilgrimage. This coming program year (September to May) I invite us to learn what it means to be a Christian pilgrim.
Rev. Mark Pendleton
We will spend four Monday evenings this fall to check in with one another on the ongoing work of racial reconciliation. Join Mark via Zoom at 7 p.m. beginning Monday, September 21. We will convene online again on October 5 & 19 and on November 2. We will reassess after those first four conversations. We will be looking through the resources provided by the Episcopal Church at https://episcopalchurch.org/racial-reconciliation and https://episcopalchurch.org/responding-to-racist-violence and the excellent Seeing White podcasts from Scene On Radio http://www.sceneonradio.org/tag/season-2/ This process and work will be ongoing – it is not a four-week project rather a place and a time to begin again. Join us to learn, pray, and act.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study
Join the clergy each Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. via Zoom to study the Bible readings for the following Sunday. It is an hour of conversation and reflection. As we continue to adapt and adjust our days, may this time be a source of spiritual grounding and insight. All are welcome.
Wednesday Morning Women’s Group
The focus of the Women’s Group is to learn and grow while deepening the faith in God, and developing bonds with one another so that we hold confidences and pray for one another. Recently the group has explored the ancient tradition of Centering Prayer, with a book by an Episcopal priest, Cynthia Bourgeault, “Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening.”
The group meets every Wednesday at 9:30 through Zoom.
Contact Cynthia Mariano for more information. Women of all ages welcome!
Soul Sisters- A Group for Moms with School-age Children.
A mom’s group that meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 7:00-8:30 pm. We will continue to meet either outdoors with social distance restrictions or via Zoom. The group has recently read books like “Educated”, “The Spiritual Child” and “The Giver of Stars”. We enjoy the books together but have also realized we learn from one another and have been sharing books that speak to us as well. It’s a great opportunity for moms to get together to gather and unwind. Location varies. Contact Sally Farrell for more information.
Saturday Morning Men’s Group
Meets the third Saturday of the month from 8:00 to 9:30, starting in the kitchen for a light breakfast and coffee.The Men’s Group gathers to create opportunities for men to develop friendships, deepen faith, and to support one another through life’s journey. The group is facilitated by the Rector Mark.
The Wonder Group
The Wonder Group is our Middle School aged youth group. In the past, we have read books together and during COVID time, enjoyed the book “Stamped” by Jason Reynolds. A timely book that discusses racism in our country. The group also participated in a COVID socially distant outreach by writing letters to elderly residents in RiverWoods. We meet on the second Wednesday of the month from 6:00-7:30. It is our hope to find an in-person get together before the winter weather hits and then be on Zoom going forward. We welcome any and all youth grades 6th and up! Contact Sally Farrell for more information. First meeting will be in October.
Chapel Time for Children and Families
In lieu of a weekly Zoom lesson (as I am sure many of you and yours are "zoom weary") We will be sending an email each week with a Youtube video of the lesson. It will give the families the readings of the upcoming Sunday and the chapel service that will look familiar to the kids. We will also provide some music to sing along with and activities for the family. It is our hope that using this format will allow families to worship as they feel comfortable and when they have a quiet moment to enjoy it together. We will also have a few Zoom lessons as the year goes on, maybe for the big feast days.
How Worship at Home looks during COVID:
Begin the worship time when everyone can sit together, preferably in a circle.
- Gather all the members of your household who plan to participate in one place. Get comfortable! Maybe sit on the floor or on cushions. Maybe sit in a circle. Take a moment to pause and breathe together.
- Invite a member of the household to lead the gathering prayer. Read line by line, with the rest of the household repeating back to them.
- Follow along using the service video provided.
- Enjoy a peaceful time together.
Welcome Chapel is an adaptive chapel time for special needs during the service. It meets in a classroom downstairs in Harris House. After a special time of fun and interactive Christian community, they return to the sanctuary during Peace to celebrate Eucharist.
Recently, our childcare leaders, Nancy and Irene, have been taking the children to the Welcome Chapel room to enjoy the lessons being done by Ali Watt, and joining her daughter Alexa. It’s been a wonderful time of formation and fellowship for the group.
“WELCOME CHAPEL”- WE WELCOME, WE WORSHIP
Please contact Ali Watt to learn more about this wonderful ministry.
The latest service of Confirmation took place on May 5th, 2019 when Bishop Rob Hirschfeld confirmed 17 youth, 7 adults and 4 reaffirmations.
2020-21 Confirmation for Youth Ages 13 & up. Classes begin November 2020
Confirmation, God willing, will take place in person on Sunday, May 2, 2021. In preparation, we will be offering confirmation classes for young people and adults. The youth classes will be on Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. We will start remotely via Zoom, though we realize that everyone is quite tired of this platform. We hope to build in some safe in-person activities as we monitor conditions. Plans for a weekend retreat are on hold due to all the realities around Covid-19.
We will use resources that expose youth to a wide range of topics, including Scripture, sacraments, creeds, church history, prayer, and serving others, and ask them to think through what they believe and why. We emphasize finding one’s own voice rather than simply conforming to an external standard. We trust that when people put in the effort to articulate what they believe and why they will make good choices about their next step in faith.