Dear Grace and St Peter’s,
I hope you all continue to be well. I know that a couple of you have spent time dealing with coronavirus symptoms and I am delighted and grateful that you are now feeling better.
Today, I am going to wax a bit more practical than I have in my weekly messages. First, as Connecticut prepares for an initial stage of re-openings next week, I want to keep you informed about our parish timeline for gathering together again in person. Our bishops have recommended that we wait at least until the second stage of re-openings on June 20 to begin considering live gatherings either inside or out of doors. The Grace and St Peter’s officers and I feel that following the bishops’ directive is the prudent thing to do. Unfortunately, the rapid spread of the coronavirus is not at all a thing of the past and many, if not most, of us are members of vulnerable populations.
Further, premature live church services for which we would have to be careful to sit several feet apart and during which we could not sing, receive communion or exchange a handshake or a hug at the peace would only highlight the constraints, fears and frustrations with which we currently exist. Meanwhile, I and others are finding unexpected blessings and inspiration in our on-line format. As one parishioner has observed, there is much to be said for touring Hamden on Sunday mornings, seeing each other up close on virtual TV, wearing sweat pants to church, and sipping a cup of coffee during a sermon, etc. So, we will continue with our Zoom/Facebook services for now and will consider our options as the second round of re-openings approaches in June. Whenever we do get back together in person, please keep one of Bishop Laura’s favorite tropes in mind: “Don’t expect the church that we return to to look exactly like the church that we left.”
Second, Pentecost Sunday approaches. This is the day that we traditionally celebrate as the birthday of the Church. It is the day, as described in the Book of Acts, fifty days after Easter when the Holy Spirit roars into the house where Jesus’ disciples are hiding out and settles on each of them like a tongue of fire. The Spirit blows the disciples into the public square to proclaim the Good News of Jesus raised from the dead to those gathered in Jerusalem from around the ancient world to celebrate the Jewish festival of Shavuot/Weeks.
This year, Pentecost falls on May 31, so we will still be having virtual church. What a great opportunity for creativity! Let’s give the Church and our parish, a fitting birthday celebration. I’d like to compile a birthday video that we can present during the service and/or post on Facebook afterwards. Here are some ideas:
Take a picture or make a video of something that you have been working on during your social distancing home stay. Maybe you have knit something. Maybe you have been drawing or taking photographs. Maybe you’ve been gardening. Maybe you’ve been working on some dance moves. Whatever your creative expression, please share it with the rest of us.
Perhaps you’ve been writing poetry or prose, or perhaps you’d like to simply tell us about what you have been up to these past weeks. We could post these contributions as part of the video compilation or provide an online link.
How about a recording of you or your household singing a favorite song? Everyone’s iphone or smart phone has basic recording software, so you don’t need to invest in any equipment to make a clear, quality recording. Sing a joyful Happy Birthday to the church if that’s as complicated as you want to get.
Let me know what other celebratory ideas you might have for Pentecost and we will try to make them come to life.
I keep you all in my prayers and look forward to seeing you on Sunday.
Peace be with you,