YOU BELONG HERE . . . and we want you to know we are praying for all in the community during this time that we will not be gathering together. All in-person worship services will be suspended for the time being due to COVID-19. We will be live-streaming our services at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday on YouTube. Prelude Music precedes the service at 10:15 a.m.
You can access the live-stream right here on the website or you may use either YouTube or Facebook for the live-stream, whichever you prefer. Links to both sites are below. If you choose to use the live-stream here, just click the play button below. Once you are taken to the live-stream, you can make it a full size screen. We hope you will join us for worship every Sunday.
This Sunday, July 12, is the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. We are deeply concerned about the increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 all across the country and the now rising numbers of deaths. We pray that God will strengthen us to put the needs of others before our own and that we may do everything we can to protect others.
We also pray for open hearts and minds as we work more earnestly for racial and economic justice. May our leaders show courage to do those things that will be for the common good.
Today, we hear in the gospel on of Jesus’ most famous parables, the Sower and the Seed. As we listen to the reading today, let us examine where God’s word is landing. Do we get excited about doing God’s work but then grow tired of it and start to neglect it or just give up? Are there any thorns in your life (people, places, things, desires, habits, etc) that choke out God’s word and prevent you from flourishing? Or are you good soil where the word of God has taken root. Are you fully flourishing or can you grow more fully into the life of Christ. Let us pray today that we may be able to receive God’s holy Word and be faithful witnesses to the world. Let us pray for one another and all who are suffering in this country and around the world.
The Worship Bulletin can be accessed here:
LIVESTREAMING – FACEBOOK: St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church
You also may access the live-stream on our Facebook page. Just click the picture for the Third Sunday after Pentecost and you will be taken to the live-stream being hosted on YouTube.
In addition, our Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry has asked all of us to pray for all who are mourning due to the coronavirus, keeping in mind that we have crossed a major threshold with over 100,000 people having died because of it. In addition, we are keenly aware of the pain and anger that is being experienced across the country by African Americans and other people following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Rayshard Brooks and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, among many others over the years. Included is a link of the Presiding Bishop praying A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit among the People of God. We are asked to continue to pray this prayer from Pentecost Sunday through the first Sunday in September. “This prayer – crafted by a team of Lutheran and Episcopal prayer leaders in light of the COVID pandemic – is meant to unite us in common prayer and revive us for common mission, wherever and however we may be gathered.”
A Prayer for the Power of the Spirit among the People of God
God of all power and love,
we give thanks for your unfailing presence
and the hope you provide in times of uncertainty and loss.
Send your Holy Spirit to enkindle in us your holy fire.
Revive us to live as Christ’s body in the world:
a people who pray, worship, learn,
break bread, share life, heal neighbors,
bear good news, seek justice, rest and grow in the Spirit.
Wherever and however we gather,
unite us in common prayer and send us in common mission,
that we and the whole creation might be restored and renewed,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
You can find us regularly on St. Christopher’s Church YouTube. Subscribe to our channel, check out what is live-streaming or watch videos that have previously been aired. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1EwdTY0RpDjU9O1cdg1aTA
Whoever you are or for whatever reason that you are looking at this website, we want you to know that in the Episcopal Church and particularly from the people of St. Christopher’s you will receive the Welcome of Christ.
As all of us are aware, COVID-19 is radically reshaping how that “Welcome of Christ” looks during this time of national and global crisis. I never thought that I would ever write that perhaps the clearest way to show Christ’s love and welcome is to distance ourselves from sisters and brothers in order to protect them and those they love from a novel virus that has overtaken our world. Yet, that is what we are being advised by national health officials to do. This is a time like none other.
In the Scripture readings of March 15, we find in the passage from Romans 5: 1-11.
“Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
This is indeed a time of suffering but it is in this time of darkness that we can see the light of hope. It is already happening with people caring for one another, sacrificing our wants and needs for the common good. Who would have ever thought that March madness would not refer to the fun of basketball being played and the millions of people gathered to enjoy the games, but rather to the unbelievable rise of a novel virus and a global pandemic sweeping not only our country, but disrupting lives and upending everything as we have known it. Who would have ever thought that during the holy season of Lent we would be fasting from gathering for Holy Eucharist and finding creative ways to remain connected to community worship through the wonders of online resources. Who would have ever thought that we would celebrate the holiest days of our liturgical year, not physically present in the church, but through the wonders of live-streaming over the internet, and that we would have people join in the prayer from all across the country and in even larger numbers than celebrated in previous years.
We are being encouraged to self-isolate and if ill to self-quarantine in order to “flatten the curve” and slow the progression of the virus. In our isolation, we perhaps are becoming more connected with others and more unified. We know that in New York City at 7PM each evening, people come out on their balconies to make noise and acclaim the health care workers and others on the front lines. It was said that you could hear the unified voice of the people being raised across the city. We are raising our voices and through our unified actions we are putting others first. While we cannot gather in common places, we can continue to connect with other people by phone or through electronic means. I invite you to pray for one another. If you think of someone, please consider that a nudge of the Spirit and give them a call. Follow the guidelines that are being set forth, but if you are able to help another with groceries or other needs, it could be a blessing. I understand some grocery stores are also delivering or packaging food so that it can just be picked up when you arrive.
The most important thing to do for one another, however, is to pray. Please know that each of you and all of you remain in my thoughts and prayers.
May this be a time of grace and unity and may we use it to learn how to more deeply love and offer our lives in service to the common good.
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus, and may the blessing of God rest upon you this day and always.
Because we want everyone to be included, St. Christopher’s is so happy to be able to provide a hearing loop to those who wear hearing aids. Just switch your hearing aid to ‘T’ to access the loop. If you do not wear a hearing aid and wish to have the benefit of the loop, you may ask the ushers and they will give you a headset to use.
And now, the sound system has been connected to a professional live-streaming camera so that we may have high quality sound and picture when live-streaming our services.