Good morning folks.
We’ve had some movement in our regathering efforts and I want to share that with you today so that we’re all on the same track. Several of you have come to me recently and reminded me that it’s been six months at Epiphany since we’ve offered the sacraments. And if you come from a tradition where that is important it has really become an issue for you. I know I’m feeling it too. I haven’t gone six months since I was confirmed at 12 years old, so I’m really missing it also. We are still operating under the Bishop’s advisement that congregations within the 757 area code keep their buildings closed and we have been faithful to that.
But as I watch the newspapers and see that our numbers in Norfolk and and the Hampton Roads area have continued to go down as of this recording, the last two days have been no new cases in Norfolk, I thought maybe this is an opportunity for us to do something. We don’t know what these numbers are going to be doing but this is a window of opportunity. So I wrote a letter to the Bishop and in that letter I asked her if we could do an outside Eucharist on Sunday, September 6th, which is Labor Day weekend. She approved it and so we’re scheduling the service for September 6th. It’ll be a very much simplified Eucharist at 10:00 AM on the lawn at Epiphany. Now that’s not this Sunday but September 6th – the next Sunday. It’ll be an identical service to what we will be posting online. We’ll still be doing the online service except that will be a Spiritual Communion and the one outside will be a real Eucharist. It will be the same homily, the same music, the same readings. Everything the same except we will offer communion in bread only. I think it’ll be a long time before our congregations receive the wine again.
There’s some things you can do to help if you plan to attend. We anticipate it’ll be about a half hour service, maybe a few minutes longer. Just about the same length that our online services go. You will definitely need to have face coverings. That is a must. We will have to turn you away if you don’t. If you can bring your own lawn chairs that will be a tremendous help to us. We’ll have some chairs out there, but anything that you use that you don’t take back with you will have to be sanitized and so bringing your own lawn chairs will really help us.
We’ll be using a sound system so you can space yourself if you don’t want to be around other people so you can go as far away as you want set up your own chair and make your own space. There will be a registration table. You will need to sign in and we will need to keep that in case somebody informs us that they do have the virus, we will know who to notify that they’ve been around someone.
We’ll be printing the service and have those available. It’ll be helpful if you take them with you when you leave because they will be contaminated material if you leave them for us. There will be an offering plate sitting probably at the registration table. It will not be passed. If you can drop your offering into that plate, it’ll be helpful.
Remember it’s just setting up your chair, two arms length is about 6 ft so if you and your neighbor can reach out and touch each other you’re a little bit too close and move over a little bit.
So this is what we’re going to be doing. In terms of weather, if it’s nice, of course that’s great – we’ll all pray for that. If it’s just maybe a little misty you may want to bring an umbrella. If it’s stormy we will do it the following Sunday or the first/next Sunday that the weather is decent. I’ll be at church and you can call or somebody will be there that you can call and find out if the weather’s bad.
I do have to report back to the Bishop. I told her I would report as to how this goes. And Buddy is going to be trying to record that outside service so that we can put it online. We’re not sure how that will work. So we will be evaluating where we go from here, but this is a first step for us and I hope you will find it helpful.