A Letter from Mother Joanne:
Forgive me if I seemed abrupt, rigid or insensitive to the expressed desire of some for Holy Communion and seeking to find a way to make it happen. We are in a time of great upheaval, nightmare upon nightmare and changes that seem beyond counting. All change is about loss. Right now the losses are many. We have no control over the situation but we do have control over our beliefs about the situation and behaviors within the situation.
Losing access to the Sanctuary: What makes the building beautiful is the spiritual grace of a place of sanctuary for the soul, spirit, heart and mind.
Losing access to weekly face to face contact with each other: Social distancing and quarantine as we now go into month 3 leaves us shocked with a deepening sense of isolation from one another than cannot be replaced with phone calls, Facebook, zoom, emails.
Losing the ability to sing in church: Music allows our hearts to be lifted to God. We feel the grace of our spirits to be lifted up. The thought that once back in church choir will not be live or singing permitted is dispiriting however we need to appreciate and adapt for the present.
Losing access to Holy Communion: Jesus is the bread of life. From the very beginning as we see in the book of Acts the disciples broke bread in the manner Jesus did, One appointed person only, took the bread in their hands as did Jesus, blessed the Father for the bread as did Jesus, broke the one loaf as did Jesus and gave it to all disciples gathered as did Jesus. The bishops in all orthodox traditions, not just the Episcopal Church are wrestling with the challenge of preserving life and health which is forcing the issue of not celebrating the Eucharist. We are obliged to care for our bodies which are a gift and temple of the Lord. Until a way can be found to receive communion Spiritual Communion with Jesus is the path of life.
Losing the Rhythm of Sunday mornings: Our Sunday morning ritual and rhythm is completely lost and there is no help for it and the makeshift new behaviors certainly do not satisfy. We are all out of kilter.
The programming I am offer is a way to compensate for the losses and fan the fire of faith, generate and sustain hope and support Love. These are ways to stay Grounded in God, support each other and grow in grace through spiritual access points that are part of our tradition. Gathering for morning prayer, Meditation, A teaching series with evening prayer, Healing prayer, Bible study, discussion group with compline, Labyrinth or monthly mini retreat, gathering to name the graces of the week. All this is in addition to your own daily routines of prayer, activities, yoga, walks, music, art, beauty whatever is life giving. These virtual activities will continue after we open the building in order to limit exposure. Once the church is open it will be open a few days a week for a few hours a day I will be present for safety and security.