Archives for March 2020

Redeem the Time

Greetings, Siblings in Christ,
“Redeem the time…” (Letter to the Ephesians 5.16a).
I had a very odd dream last night (Tuesday night).
I dreamt that I was looking at my wristwatch. Part of the band had been ripped apart so badly that I was not able to wear it. 
I began my day today (Wednesday) without wearing my watch. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t wearing it, until I came upon it, unexpectedly, beneath a pile of papers on my desk, this afternoon.
So vivid had my dream been, that when I laid eyes on the watch, I was briefly surprised to see the band was not torn, but rather in perfect working order. 
Right… I reminded myself. It was only a dream.
Our sense of time is undergoing a serious transformation.
Today (Wednesday) wasn’t the first day I forgot what day it was.
Today when the Governor announced that school openings would be delayed from April 5 to May 4, two teenagers of my acquaintance began to really hunker down. Bedrooms were rearranged for the long haul. Precious treasures, undesired furniture, art projects from long ago were dragged to the garage, the back porch, the attic. Jamie moved a bookshelf into the living room next to her favorite chair, as she prepared to teach on-line for the next six weeks (at least). People are nesting. 
Today, I learned that a medical professional who has been beautifully attending to my recovery from knee surgery has been laid off indefinitely. 
Today our Bishops directed clergy in the Diocese to extend the prohibition of public worship with more than 10 in attendance from April 19 the Sunday after Easter until May 31, the Feast of Pentecost. (Click here  to learn more about the Diocesan response to the COVID-19 outbreak)
Redeem the time.
This is how we redeem the time: Our Bishops write, “The season of Lent is always a time for returning our focus to those things which matter most. In these strange days we find ourselves doing just that--concentrating our every thought and prayer on health and security, petition and thanksgiving, life and love, God and neighbor.”
What will these ways of redeeming the time look like for you and those you love during this Lenten season?
Today, at Christ Church, redeeming the time today in part looked like Wednesday Morning and Evening Bible Study meeting as usual, by Zoom. It looked like parishioners and staff calling and checking in on one another. It looked like conversations between me and the Wardens and other lay leaders on the phone and online on matters pastoral, financial, liturgical. It looked like Ali and me emailing and texting back and forth as we prepared eBlasts and bulletins and planned for Zoom worship and Coffee hour this Sunday (yes, Zoom Coffee Hour. You won’t want to miss this! Put your best mug on.) It looked like me getting a lump in my throat when opening a handwritten note from the Very Rev. Amy McCreath, Dean of our Cathedral. She sent it to the rectory (not the church, because we may not be there!) informing me that the Cathedral Community was praying for us this Sunday as part of the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer. “What a blessing your parish is!” she writes. “I am so thankful for the generosity, faith, and collaborative spirit that you manifest.” 
Indeed, that is Christ Church, redeeming the time.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the staff if we may be service during this time. And reach out to one another.
More to come from our Wardens.
Faithfully,
Nick+

Try Wednesday Bible Study, via Zoom

If you’re looking for a way to interact socially and be spiritually lifted at the same time, try the Wednesday Bible Study which is now via Zoom.  Class meets at both 10-11:30am and 7-8:30pm, your choice. It’s discussion based, not lecture, so very lively.  Zoom is pretty easy to use – give it a try.  If you would like to participate, please email Tracy Rubin and she will send the Zoom link.  Please click here to email the office for the invitation.
We are looking forward to seeing many of you!
“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119.105)

How to make a Palm Cross

Click here to watch a tutorial on how to make a palm cross.  Thank you to one of our talented and craft college parishioners for making and sharing with us all!

Bishop Gates offers pastoral message

Bishop Gates, in his March 14 pastoral message to the diocese, reminds us that we are not alone during the coronavirus. He encourages us to find ways to be in community, including virtually. He reminds us to reach out to those who live alone and to contribute to the emerging needs of  those most vulnerable. Click here to read his message.

Rector cancels public services, meetings

Christ Church has decided to cancel all public services, beginning Sunday, March 15. Rector Nick Morris-Kliment made this decision after consultation with clergy in the Diocese and in Needham and based on public health reporting. We will cease public worship and all in-person gatherings in the church for the next two weeks. The rector and Vestry will re-evaluate the situation in late March. In lieu of public services, we will livestream the 10 a.m. service. (Info on linking to livestream will follow).

Nick’s full message to the congregation follows:

CORONAVIRUS: AWARENESS AND RESPONSE

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 
2 Timothy 1:7

Grace to you, sisters and brothers, and peace from God our Creator and our Savior Jesus Christ:

I have some difficult news to share, though news that is not likely to be a surprise.

After consulting with clergy colleagues in the Diocese and in town, perusing the Bishops’ several pastoral directives, noting the importance of “social distancing” to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic, I have decided in consultation with our Wardens that we will cease public worship and all in-person gatherings in the Church for the next two weeks, after which we will reevaluate the situation. We will be in regular communication about what comes next as we discern it.

Necessary Church business will be conducted by phone, email, or virtual meeting platforms. We will try our hand at livestreaming a virtual Eucharist-more on that below. I will be in touch with our “anchor tenants”-Expressions After School, Total Eclipse Dance Studio, and First Bridge Preschool-to work out safe and appropriate usage of their spaces. I will also be in touch with the other outside groups who regularly use our spaces, as they will likely need to find alternative places to meet.

Today, the staff and I will meet to decide how to proceed with work in the office-what tasks need to be done at Church, and what can be done remotely.  Lay leadership and I will be planning to make sure that those who most benefit from in-person contact at the Parish remain connected and cared for. While I will still take the vacation that I have long planned for (though those plans have morphed considerably and rapidly) I will be checking in regularly. The Wardens will be the first point of contact in case of pastoral emergencies, you will find their contact information below.

As an experiment, we will offer “virtual worship” from the Chapel this Sunday at 10am. (No 8.15 or 5.30 services) With a few helpers, I will livestream a Eucharist from the Church on the Christ Church Facebook page. The bulletin for the service is here, and the hymns here. More details to come later.

This was a hard decision, and I resisted it. Ultimately, we chose this course of action not only out of an abundance of caution, but an abundance of love. We do this to protect the most vulnerable among us. As St. Paul writes to the Romans, it is out of love that we refrain from actions that may be safe some for but harmful to others. (Romans 14.13-23)

We will also find that the God who makes a way out of no way will gift us with the creativity to remain connected and reach out to others. I invite leadership and the congregation to join me in pondering how we might do that. In the meantime, pray for one another, write notes, call. Pray especially for those who will bear the burden of this time-those for whom social isolation will be devastating, low wage and service workers, families who can’t afford to not have breadwinners earning a paycheck, those in the health care professions. Reach out personally to those in these situations as may be appropriate. For example, you might write your primary care physician to letter her know that you are grateful for her care. Take food to the Community Council. You might thank the checkout clerk at the grocery store for the extra energy needed to face anxious shoppers.

Together, with the Spirit’s aid, we will reimagine what it means to be the Church-loving God and neighbor as Jesus teaches- in a time of fear and anxiety. Together as the Body of Christ, in the power of the Spirit, we will make our way through.

Faithfully yours,
Nick+

Watch our inaugural live steam Sunday worship and read the sermon

Thank you to all who joined us as we shared our first live stream worship. We experienced some technical difficulties, and greatly appreciate you bearing with us as we worked through the glitches!  Here are the links to watch the live stream of the worship in 3 parts: part 1, part 2, and part 3.  The worship was streamed on facebook live, please note that you do not need a facebook account to view the video.  Some of the sermon wasn’t recorded; click here to read the full sermon.  We have notes on how to improve things next week. Email us with feedback or any tips and tricks!  As one of our parishioners says, “God was worshiped and she was pleased.”  Many thanks to Annie Russell, Ed Brailey, Stan Hitron, Abby Carr for their liturgical ministry, and to Ali Heard for her technical wizardry.  We’ll meet virtually again next week at 10 am, with our guest preacher, the Rev. Elise Feyerherm, PhD, preaching and presiding.

Blessings and peace to you all this week. Reach out to one another in prayer, phone call, texts, emails, using the blessings of technology to hold one another close.  Remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.” Ps. 46.1.

Faithfully,
Nick+

 

 

Participate in Palm Sunday Service … Zoom!

PALM SUNDAY SERVICE ON ZOOM AT 10 a.m.
 
Please join us for our modified Palm Sunday worship on Zoom at 10 a.m. You can join online on your computer or mobile device, or dial-in on your cell phone or landline.  Please email the office for the login info.
Please click here for a PDF of this Sunday’s bulletin.