Worship Opportunities Update
It has now been seven weeks since we've returned to in-person worship as an option at St. Philip's Episcopal Church. We've learned a lot within that time and we are continuing to provide a safe place to gather to worship Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to receive the nourishment of Christ's Body in the Holy Eucharist by God's grace and mercy, our spiritual food for this Christian journey we find ourselves on.
Our Sunday morning numbers have understandably been lower than our attendance numbers prior to COVID-19's arrival for both the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services of Holy Eucharist. In fact, our 8 a.m. service has seen an average of five persons, including myself as the Celebrant and someone assisting as a reader and server, meaning we are having three people join us each Sunday at 8 a.m. on average. Making that service happen has required several things, a separate comprehensive bulletin must be prepared and printed, a volunteer must serve as a reader and server, our Altar Guild team for the week must come in and thoroughly clean and reset for the next service at 10:30 a.m., and we are required to have our Sexton in each Sunday morning to clean and sanitize our worship space and nearby bathrooms so that they are clean and ready for the 10:30 a.m. service. This is of course a lot more work between services than we were accustomed to, prior COVID-19.
These current conditions have brought up the feasibility of continuing the 8 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist at this time. This was a topic of discussion at a regular meeting of our Vestry yesterday evening. A motion was made and received an unanimous vote to suspend our regular 8 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist for the time being and to revisit it's viability at a later date, especially when COVID restrictions ease and allow for more members to safely worship in-person. This effectively means that we still have two Sunday morning worship opportunities, 10:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist in-person and continued live-streaming at fb.com/stphilipspalestine. We also will continue providing Wednesday Evening Prayer streamed-live at 5:30 p.m., also at fb.com/stphilipspalestine.
I appreciate all of your efforts to stay safe and to keep others safe, loving your neighbor as yourself. I also appreciate your flexibility during this time in which things seem to change on a daily basis. In fact, I can think of no better time than now to lean on the unchanging nature of our God and of his everlasting and infinite grace and mercy!
I look forward to worshipping Our Lord with you at St. Philip's, however you choose to join us!
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Fr. Justin Briggle +, Rector
St. Philip's Episcopal Church