In-Person Worship Begins June 20th
Dear Friends and Parishioners,
As more and more of our fellow citizens are vaccinated, there is a palpable sense of excitement here in New York City, that life is returning to normal. Restaurants, theaters and sporting events are beginning to see their doors opening and their spaces filling with patrons, customers and fans. Even as caution is still the word of the day, a joyful optimism is becoming increasingly manifest.
Our Church is also eager to welcome people back to in-person services. Our Bishop has offered his encouragement along with safety protocols, similar to what we instituted last fall while we were open for a few months. With some slight modifications, we are almost ready.
In light of the above, I am happy to announce that we are planning to return to in-person Eucharistic services beginning on Sunday, June 20th at 11:00 AM.
We are working on ways to incorporate the Zoom congregation into the live service so that worshippers at home would have almost the same access and participation in the service as those in attendance. Heather, Calvin, Jim and I, are working to make this happen. This will take a while to get up and running. There is equipment to be purchased and installed as well as software to be learned and implemented, but we expect that we will have it all running smoothly within a month after our first in-peson services, probably by mid July.
What this means is that we will have a transitional period of two services, one Zoom and one in-person, from June 20th until sometime in mid to late July. When we are ready for a full “hybrid service” we will go back to one main Sunday service.
During this transitional period to a “hybrid service,” (having listened to some of the feedback we received last fall) I am proposing that we have the Zoom service first at 9:30 AM and then the live service at 11:00 AM. I am hoping that the later starting time for the in-person service will prove more attractive to visitors and those needing to get ready and travel on a Sunday morning. Perhaps we will learn otherwise, but I think it is worth trying for a few weeks.
In the meantime, I wanted to thank all of you who have volunteered, worked and worshipped with us through these trying times. We have managed to keep a lively sense of worship through our computer screens; we have developed an active weekly Evening Prayer service on Thursday nights; a centering prayer group on Monday evenings; we have developed an active and dedicated anti-racism group eager to do more; and we have continued to feed the hungry hot meals throughout the pandemic lockdowns.
But I do think all of these ministries truly find their center in the regular worship of the community. From the worshipping heart springs compassion for the poor and a righteous zeal for justice. St. Paul instructs us not to neglect the gathering of the community. It is meet and right that we safely begin taking steps to move forward together in this direction!