Sunday morning worship at Grace Episcopal Church remains online. Evening Prayer is offered outdoors on Sunday evenings for a congregation of 50 or less. All are welcome, however registration is required. Please visit our Grace@Home page for the registration link and to see all the ways we are staying connected to one another, to Grace, and to God!
422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
Sunday, May 17 is Picnic Sunday! While we can’t be together in person this year, if the weather is nice we are encouraging you to attend Morning Prayer from the outdoors. (current forecast for Sunday looks good, “generally sunny despite a few afternoon clouds, high 87F”) Spread a blanket on your lawn or sit out on your back deck/patio/screened in porch. Wear picnic clothes, sunglasses, and a big straw hat.
If you decide to enjoy your own picnic lunch (fried chicken and potato salad? yum!) following the service, please send us a photo or post it on Instagram or Facebook (tag @gecgainesville) for us to share!
For those who can’t get outside during the service, or if the weather is bad, a couple of past picnic photos have been added to our virtual background photo album if you’d like to use one. Click here for instructions on how to use a virtual background in Zoom.
After listening with the Liturgy Cluster team, which now includes a phenomenal group of medical advisors who are helping us all navigate the weeks and months to come, I will be giving my sermon from the chapel on Sunday. We are trying to balance the many dynamics in the parish’s life at this time: realistic concern for safety, inability to gather for even small group in-person worship, longing for some semblance of familiar worship, and a willingness to use our imaginations within the confines we are living. The staff needs time to manage a multi-laptop approach in the nave since we do not have an installed live-stream system at this moment.
I will “zoom in” from the chapel, with Will in the loft. Cynthia will remain at home until at least the June 15 time frame. The readers and intercessors will all share from their homes, along with my family who will be gathered around Evelyn’s screen. After this Sunday, we will listen again to see how this felt and where we go from here as a community.
You will hear more in my sermon about what I think the Spirit continues to invite us to see and share in these days, but for now, I encourage you to spend time reflecting on this Sunday’s Gospel text, from John 14:15-21. Pay special attention to the image of community that is laid out in this remarkable text.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
Fr. Stuart Higginbotham
This week’s playlist finds a lot of inspiration from our Psalm text. We start Psalm 66 on verse 7 this week, but verse 1 begins with “Be joyful in God, all you lands…”. Psalm 66 and Psalm 100 have a lot in common, but musically, Psalm 100 is the one that often gets quoted and is referred to as the Jubilate Deo. I think we can reflect on the theme regardless of the text belonging to Psalm 66 or 100! In the Anglican Tradition the Te Deum and Jubilate Deo are the two canticles that are typically set to music for a sung Morning Prayer service. Some of you cradle Episcopalians may remember this from when Morning Prayer was the principal service on Sunday mornings. Today, we are more familiar with the evening canticles – the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Evensong. Nearly every Anglican composer has settings of both morning and evening canticles, and the respective morning and evening preces and responses. The repertoire of service music is massive in the Anglican tradition!
Our playlist starts with a marvelous setting of “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Mack Wilberg, then transitions to four settings of the Jubilate Deo (there are many many more!), and then moves to Maurice Greene’s setting of Psalm 66 verses 14 and 17. You might enjoy knowing that the Grace Church Parish Choir was going to sing the Walton Jubilate Deo on Easter morning and you would have heard the Howells setting this Sunday for the parish picnic! Next, the playlist turns to four settings of our Gospel reading from John: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” For many of us, Thomas Tallis’s setting comes immediately to mind, but we have also sung the Philip Wilby setting at Grace too! Our playlist makes a nod towards the reading from 1 Peter with two excepts from Handel’s Messiah. We close with two hymn settings, “Come Down, O Love Divine” is a great response to our Gospel reading from John as Jesus says, “he will give you another advocate…the Spirit of truth.” Lastly, “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” brings us right back to where we started – being joyful in praising God….but, also pay close attention to verse two. Our Gospel says “I will not leave you orphaned” and our hymn says “Alleluia! Not as orphans are we left in sorrow now.” What a great hymn text to tie together both our Psalm and Gospel today!
Director of Music/Organist
This post highlights some events and news pertinent to the upcoming week.