Restoring Full Liturgy
I like being a part of the sacramental and liturgical church because the Sunday services emphasize Christ’s presence in both word and sacrament. Meeting with God using the liturgy is participatory and experiential. Rather than observing something, we are doing it. The changes forced upon us by COVID19 have really diminished the experience and joy of worship. I have especially missed having communion at the kneeling rail. The space between heaven and earth feels thin there.
I have been asking the Lord for wisdom and guidance to lead well in this season, especially in keeping people safe. It feels to me that the time has come to restore the rest of our liturgy. Beginning on Sunday, August 1st, we will make the following changes.
CHANGES TO WORSHIP IN PERSON
A quick way to know what to expect is to think of how worship was before COVID19, with the exception of serving wine in chalices. Here are the specifics:
A song of praise will be added before the Collect of the Day.
We will exchange the Peace.
The offering plates will be passed through the pews during an offertory song.
The plates and communion elements will be processed forward during the Doxology.
Acolytes will again assist with setting the Table.
Communion wafers (with dried wine) will be served at the kneeling rail.
Clergy serving will not continue wearing masks.
We will not say a prayer for “spiritual communion” (of course, those at home can still do so).
CHANGES TO WORSHIP ONLINE
One improvement that came with this pandemic was the addition of the camera system. Our Sunday attendance is increasing weekly and the number watching online is decreasing. The broadcast now will be more for outsiders who are considering a visit or parishioners who are traveling or homebound.
We will no longer broadcast the 9:00 service, but instead broadcast the 10:45 service.
Live stream participation will only be available through our website (live.graceanglican.church), which offers a higher resolution image and seems to suffer fewer buffering delays.
The 10:45 service will be uploaded to Facebook immediately after the service ends. We will no longer offer the livestream on Facebook.
Pre-consecrated communion elements will be made available upon request for pickup.
There are two primary reasons for these changes to online worship. The first is that it is much easier to get a quality audio mix from a band than it is from a choir and an organ, which is not wired into the sound system. The online experience will be higher quality for the listener and true high definition image. The second reason is to aid visitors in getting an initial feel for the worship space and styles. A first-time watcher can guess what the more traditional service will feel like once they’ve seen the Contemporary service, but the reverse can be more difficult.
Although we are not at the end of this pandemic, I thank God that we have come as far along as we have. This has been an exhausting and frustrating year for all of us. Thank you for your steadfast commitment to our church and to the Lord. He is not surprised by any of what we’ve been through. Jesus is Lord!
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