Holy Week and Easter--The Days Ahead
Dear St. Philip’s Parishioners,
We are very much still in the midst of attempting to do our part in flattening the curve regarding the spread of COVID-19. As of yesterday, within our diocese, several clergy, a clergy spouse, and multiple church members have tested positive for COVID-19. Again, if you test positive please notify me immediately.
If you are staying at home, with the exception of traveling to work necessarily, getting gas for your vehicle, attending medical appointments, and picking up needed groceries or medicine, then you are doing your part in caring for other human beings, created in the same image of God as you! If you are not, you are unnecessarily jeopardizing the well-being and health of others you come in contact with—you need to reconsider your actions and approach in the days ahead.
Many counties within the Episcopal Diocese of Texas have called for the closure of offices and suspension of public worship services through May 10th. This is therefore our tentative timetable before returning to public worship according to our Diocesan Bishop, Andy Doyle. If things change, and improve more rapidly, we may yet have the chance to gather publicly sooner than this. So, as it stands our office will be closed to the public, but we will carry on with some essential business while we are allowed, having less than 10 people present, keeping our social distance, and continuing to clean and sanitize. St. Philip’s staff members are continuing to receive their standard pay to date, it is most fair and just to continue to do so while we have the means available to us. This naturally brings me to the topic of contributions to St. Philip’s. It is imperative that you continue to do your part to financially support St. Philip’s. To that end, you may continue to mail your contributions or use our new online giving found by clicking on “Donate” here or on our website at www.stphilipspalestine.com.
This new timetable means that our worship for Holy Week and a good deal of the Easter season will continue on virtually. I know it is far from ideal, nonetheless our Lord Jesus Christ will be worshipped during this time regardless of what goes on around us, perhaps especially because of what goes on around us. Should I be required to stream all services from my home, I am prepared to do this even now. As we approach the holiest of weeks together it remains important to join me in these rich and meaningful services. And to think, we have the opportunity to let the world into our celebration of Holy Week and Easter! By all means invite your friends and don’t miss this monumental chance! Here’s the schedule:
Worship Opportunities (streaming live at www.facebook.com/stphilipspalestine):
5th Sunday in Lent, March 29 at 10:30 a.m.
Palm Sunday, April 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Maundy Thursday, April 9 at 6:30 pm.
Good Friday and Stations of the Cross, April 10 at noon
The Great Vigil of Easter, April 11 at 8 p.m. (Most important service of entire year—DO NOT MISS THIS!)
Easter Sunday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday Evenings (not during Holy Week) at 5:30 p.m.
Last Wednesday evening after concluding Evening Prayer, I suggested setting aside a holy space within your home, especially as we approach Holy Week and Easter, in order to more fully enter into this holy time and to provide a space of sanctuary during these uncertain and stressful times. We often do this with nativity scenes for Christmas, why not do so for Holy Week and Easter. Decorate that space with things that you identify as holy. If you don’t have icons in your home, print some images of icons and add some candles to light during times of prayer and devotion. As we make our way through Holy Week, find appropriate ways to mark that space with each special liturgical day: Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday with the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.
I can’t wait to come together physically again as a community of believers—it will be a grand and glorious occasion when we arrive! Until then, we are fostering a deep and meaningful holy desire, indeed something appropriate to this introspective season of Lent.
As always, I am available for pastoral council and conversation, even for Confession before our celebration of Christ’s Resurrection. I am happy to set a time, especially during the day Monday through Thursday, to converse with you either over the phone at (512) 799-9365 or to have a face-to-face virtual meeting with you using Zoom (I can talk you through this). If you need me for a pastoral emergency do not hesitate to reach me on my mobile number.
Continued Lenten blessings,
Fr. Justin Briggle, Rector
St. Philip's Episcopal Church
P.S. Don’t forget to ration those snacks during self-quarantine! Also, enjoy this organ piece from our own, very talented Josh Lang at https://www.facebook.com/josh.lang.754/videos/10221613125140538/