8:15 AM Holy Eucharist
in-person: indoor registration required
9:30 AM Holy Eucharist
in-person: outdoor registration required
10:45 AM Holy Eucharist
in-person: indoor registration required
Please visit our Grace@Home page for details, links, and to see all the ways we are staying connected to one another, to Grace, and to God!
422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Dear People of Grace,
Some seven months ago, on Sunday, March 8, we last celebrated Holy Communion together. These past several months have been a truly extraordinary time, filled with both grief and frustration as well as opportunity for focused, inner work. I have come to see an even deeper meaning of the core link between Communion and community, and I hope you have as well. While our rituals, our liturgies, are vital for our common life, we have learned a great lesson about the “inward and spiritual grace” to which the “outward and visible sign” of our sacraments point. Holy Communion is not a product or religious service to receive; it is a reality to be lived. I will never take Holy Communion for granted again.
In that spirit, I am grateful to share with you that we will hold our first Holy Eucharist this coming Sunday, October 18, at 9:30 AM. The services will be held outdoors for now, and we are working to set up our new Sanctuary Plaza as an outdoor chapel. It is a beautiful space, and I have no doubt that our dear friend Bob Fowler, whose family gave substantial funds to provide it, will be celebrating with us—along with all our loved ones who have died—in the Communion of Saints.
Following this initial Sunday, there will be a Eucharist on Wednesdays as well, replacing the current live stream service. So, the first Wednesday service will be on Wednesday, October 21 at 12:00 PM, there on the plaza as well.
Each Sunday and Wednesday, as long as we are able, we will have space for 50 people total to come together to share in the breaking of bread. At this point, we will use only bread, and I have worked to edit our normal Rite II liturgy to honor the situation we find ourselves in. We will share a spoken service on the corner of Washington and Boulevard, and we will give thanks to God. You must register to attend the service, since we need a list of names for potential contact tracing. Click HERE to go to the registration page and decide if Sundays or Wednesdays works best for you. Please make sure that every person in your family is registered separately, as we will only have enough bread consecrated for those who have registered.
In terms of details, masks are required, as is physical distancing. We ask that you bring lawn chairs. Spaces will be clearly marked for you to take your place, adequately spaced from those around you. We will check you in as you arrive, to keep track of all who attend. There will be no bulletins passed out; rather, a standard liturgy can be found HERE that you can print at home or access from a mobile device. If it rains, I will work to improvise the outdoor service, spacing folks under the covered walkway in front of the nave and parish hall.
Our Sunday service schedule will shift slightly. We will now have the Zoom Morning Prayer service at 8:15 AM, the outdoor Eucharist at 9:30 AM. The live stream Morning Prayer will continue at 10:45 AM. It has been a challenge to meet expectations in the parish, and we’re doing the best we can. I am suspending both the Sunday Evening Prayer services and the weekday nave prayer times to focus on our in-person worship. Regarding our entire service schedule, the weeknight Zoompline (Compline) services will continue Monday to Friday evenings at 8:00 PM, in addition to our weekly Children of Grace chapel service. You can find links to parish services in your newsletter and on the Grace@Home page.
In addition to the Sunday Eucharists, we are also working to offer in-person spaces for Christian Education. Our hope is to find ways for families, adults, and children to continue in your spiritual formation. If these seven months have taught us anything, is that we have all been pinched by our too-easy reliance on others to do our inner spiritual work for us. We can see clearly the invitation the entire Christian community is receiving to be more intentional about discipleship and practices of prayer, and I hope we can take advantage of these spaces.
Our Christian Education opportunities are scheduled to take place on Sundays at 10:10 AM, immediately following our 9:30 AM Eucharist, and you must register for them separately, since some will be able to attend the Eucharist and others will not. We need to keep the opportunities for worship and formation separate to track if need be. Click HERE to register for our available Christian Education opportunities. The many opportunities for online Christian formation will continue with their schedules, so know that those are available to you.
The video reflection below lays out some of these details for those who may want to listen.
You remain in my prayers, and I am so grateful that we will be able to gather as a community soon. Take care in these days that continue to be so stressful for everyone.
Blessings and prayers,