As part of the Prayers of the People on Sunday mornings, we are invited to name before God “the losses we have suffered during this pandemic and those things we long for in our lives.” Not being able to receive the sacraments is a common lament we share. This Sunday, through the ministry of our Licensed Eucharist Visitors (LEV’s), we are making Communion available to our parishioners by conducting neighborhood outdoor house church services. Typically, Licensed Eucharistic Visitors are commissioned to take the Eucharist to the sick and shut-in immediately after the Sunday morning Service. Because none of us can get to church now, we are extending the ministry of the LEV’s to include anyone who wishes to receive Communion. Beginning this Sunday, at the conclusion of our 10:30 a.m.online service, our LEV’s will be commissioned to take the Eucharist to the faithful who desire it (and who identify as low risk for contracting or transmitting the COVID-19 virus). The LEV will meet folks (no more than 10 people) in outdoor settings such as backyards and public parks, where he or she will lead a brief service of worship and share the Eucharist (in the form of bread only). At these house church gatherings, we expect that folks will wear masks and observe physical distancing. If you want to participate in one of these house church groups, it is your responsibility to call the LEV geographically closest to you. Their names and phone numbers are listed below. Once the LEV has received requests for Communion, he or she will arrange a time and place to meet. Once each LEV receives 10 requests, they will refer you to the next closest LEV. It is hoped that each house church group can meet in the same location at the same time. It may be necessary for each LEV to have more than one gathering. That decision will be made by the LEV.
We are not sure how many people will choose to participate in these services. Given the demographics of our congregation, along with data from a recent survey, approximately 70% of our members do not feel comfortable venturing out until we get a vaccine for COVID-19. This is perfectly understandable and wise. If you are not able to participate in these gatherings, our online worship service includes a Prayer for Spiritual Communion which assures us of the grace, comfort, and blessings of the sacrament when we cannot physically receive the Eucharist.
House Church services are a new ministry for us. Inevitably, there will be some glitches we need to work out. As with all ministry, we ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and your prayers, patience and support.
I am excited to announce that this Sunday we will commission the Search Committee for their ministry to assist the Vestry in finding the person to call as St. Paul’s next Rector. They have already begun the tremendous work necessary to fulfill their charge. Please keep the members of the Search Committee in your daily prayers. Although these are anxious times, fear not. St. Paul’s has a bright future ahead. Always remember that we serve a God of love. God empowers us to do the unimaginable. God gives us joy and peace in believing. I close with a verse of one of my favorite hymns of faith: “God is working his purpose out ”
March we forth in the strength of God,
With the banner of Christ unfurled,
That the light of the glorious Gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world;
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free,
That the earth may be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Arthur Campbell Ainger (Hymn 534)
Keep the faith! Stay safe!
Contact the LEV geographically closest to you if you want to participate in a House Church Group this Sunday
• Don Brainard (678) 521-1046 – Zip Code 28403
• Chip Carter (919) 616-1330 – Zip Code 28451
• Herbert Gant (910) 398-4089 – Zip Code 28401
• Kathryn & Royster Hedgepeth (910) 399-5905 – Zip Code 28409
• Matthew Langley (910) 352-4628 – Zip Code 28405
• Richard Laudati (910) 520-3210 – Zip Code 28403
• Joan Rosko Miller (910) 398-0301 – Zip Code 28451
• Cynthia Smallwood (914) 318-7762 – Zip Code 28451
• Susan Sramek (408) 781-9123 – Zip Code 28451
• David Tousignant (484) 883-9594 – Zip Code 28451
• Cheryl Wagoner (910) 386-9019 – Zip Code 28409