09 Apr Update from Father Steve – Maundy Thursday
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
22 Cumberland Street, Clear Spring, Maryland
Update From Father Steve:
Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020
I Pray that this update from me finds you well, and your “Faith Remains in Check” during these trying times due to this virus pandemic.
Today the Triduum begins, and our worship ministry at St. Andrew’s is not taking any “Fast from the Mass” or any other breaks from worship, we are ST. ANDREW’S STRONG. I have been Livestreaming Morning Prayer Monday – Friday at 9:00 a.m., and of course, our Sunday Services. We were a Pioneer in Livestreaming, beginning in 2013. However, as you know, we have to modify many of the things we are used to doing. There cannot be anymore than 10 people inside the Church at one time, and Public Worship (Meaning Full Attendance, including everyone receiving Holy Communion.) has been suspended in the Diocese, at least for now, until May, 16, 2020. I am the only person allowed to receive the Holy Sacrament, and as you have been able to see in our Livestreaming, Deacon John is not at the Altar during the Prayer of Consecration. Deacon John’s restrictions at the Altar are for two reasons: 1.) Maintaining Social Distance. 2.) Limiting the handling of the Communion Vessels.
Last Sunday, April 5th, (Palm Sunday), after receiving Interpretive Guidance from the Office of Legal Counsel for the Governor’s Office earlier in the week about “Drive-In” Church, and how it was allowed to operate, I held a Drive-In Church Service in our rear lower parking lot of the Church. This was very successful. After the Blessing of the Palms, the Palms were place under the windshield wipers of the vehicles. There was no interaction between the folks inside the cars with either the worship assistants, or between each other. After the full Liturgy of the Word, including the reading of the Passion Narrative, I went inside the Church and did the Mass of Intention at the Altar (Consecrating & Representing Holy Communion for those who are not able to receive it.).
Today, Maundy Thursday, April 9th., the service will begin at 6:00 p.m.. There will be 4 worship assistants inside the Church, with Deacon John, and myself, assisting with the Stripping & Darkening of the Church. Since my wife, Melanie, lives with me, she will be allowed to break the social distance requirements with me, and represent the congregation with the washing of the feet.
Following the Maundy Thursday Service tonight, the Prayer Vigil will begin, and the Church will be open for anyone who wants to come in and Pray until 8:00 p.m. Tomorrow,, April 10th., Good Friday, the Church will be open at 8:00 a.m. for the Prayer Vigil to continue. Remember to use the social distance requirements, and there is hand sanitizer at the entrance.
At 12 noon, tomorrow, Good Friday, the Good Friday Liturgy will be held as usual, only with the social distance requirements, and limiting of the number of people allowed inside the Church, no more than 10. At 3:00 p.m., I will do the Liturgy at the Sacred Hour. This is a short liturgy. At 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, we will put the Church “back together”, and prepare it for The Great Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.
The Great Easter Vigil at St. Andrew’s: Saturday, April 11th. at 5:00 p.m. There will be 6 clergy at this service, and 4 Lay Worship Assistants. Our organist, Daniel Weatherholt will be “Live” at the organ.
Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 12th at 9:00 a.m.. Outside “Drive-In” Church service, lower rear parking lot. Please follow the same parking arrangements as Palm Sunday. Park in lower rear parking lot, with you vehicle facing the upper parking lot. The top rear lot will only be used for overflow parking. There will be Easter Hymns recorded from our organ for the Drive-In Service, and projected over our P.A. System.
REMINDER: EVERYTHING WILL BE LIVESTREAMED
I also want to end this update with a Special “Friendly Request”, and this will help you get through these hard times while being somewhat “Shut out of your Church”, and this is directed towards those who watch our Livestreaming. Please Do Not allow yourselves to get “Lazy”. What I mean by this: Before watching our Livestreamed Services, imagine you are actually sitting inside your Church. Come to the Livstreaming service prepared, and dressed as if you are actually inside your Church. Get up – Get Dressed – Come Your Hair: Thank You!