Dear Good Shepherd Parish Family,
Greetings to each of you!
Here’s hoping that you and yours are healthy, happy, and looking forward to joining your parish family- in person- as we worship the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit this coming Trinity Sunday.
Our Sunday morning attendance numbers have been increasing, as more and more of you have followed the lead of our Governor’s declaration that Church services are “essential”, not “non-essential”. Hence, no one is breaking the law of the land by attending worship- in person- on Sunday mornings. In fact, I would make the case that there is no safer place to be on Sunday than in the House of the Lord. Of course, each of us must decide whether it is wise for us to take the risks of being together in public at this time.
CAREFULNESS AS WE RE- OPEN OUR SUNDAY MORNINGS:
The following is a list of suggestions for how to be wisely observant of the suggestions made by the authorities as we gather in public worship this Sunday:
1. Thanks to Mr. Jim Randle and Mrs Yvonne Finley, all the pews of the Main church have been wiped down with disinfectant. So: should you decide to come to church on Sunday, you may sit in any pew and know that it is as clean as it can be! Thank you, JIm and Yvonne.
2. If you come as a group (family or neighbors) please feel free to sit as close as you care to sit. There is no need to practice “social distancing” with those among whom you live. To be courteous, try to keep a pew between your group and the closest individual or couple nearest you. This is a courtesy requested…not a demand requirement.
3. There will be disinfecting hand cleaners and wipes available near the entrance. Help yourself.
4. When we move over to the parish hall for Refreshments and Christian Formation, please practice the same suggested social distancing as in “2” above.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7TH BRINGS BACK “COMMUNION IN BOTH KINDS”. “INTINCTION” (by Priest or individual communicant) is no longer practiced at GSAC. Our new policy, as of the middle of March, has been this: Communion in both kinds? Yes…at your discretion. Communion in one kind? Yes…again, at your discretion. “Intinction”…the dipping of the Host into the Chalice …is no longer available.
You may remember in a previous Friday Fanfare, I quoted Bp. Reed‘s recommendation for Communion during the Covid-19 emergency. He asked- at that time- that we receive only the Sacred Body of Christ…not the Body and the Blood. He mentioned, as well, that Intinction is less healthy than receiving in either one or both kinds. In fact, the Customary of the Diocese of Ft. Worth states that we do NOT practice intinction in our Diocese. Some congregations’ priests have permitted Intinction (as I did prior to our Bishop’s declaration of the comparative un-healthiness of the practice). However, back in March, I stated that we were no longer going to offer “intinction”. That is the policy that is now in place. I will be informing our wonderful group of Lay Eucharistic Ministers (who administer the Chalice each Sunday), that they will no longer be permitted by me to participate in intinction during Communion. I will be reminding the congregation before the Procession on Sunday that this change has been made.
So: if you are one of those who have routinely received by intinction, l pray that you will graciously accept the pastoral decision l have made, and receive either in one Kind (and then cross your arms over your chest), or receive in both Kinds. Please know that I have discussed this policy with Bp. Reed, and he has given his blessing to it for use at GSAC. This policy will continue after the Covi-19 emergency has passed.Most of all, remember what we believe about the Blessed Sacrament. What we receive is the very Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And, by invariable Anglican/catholic teaching, each of us receives the fulness of the Sacrament if we receive only in one Kind. Perhaps, in the months to come, I can conduct a Christian Formation class on the Sacraments, and so review what we believe, and why.
God bless you. I hope to see you all on Sunday. Until further notice, we will continue to record the Mass on Saturday for posting to our YouTube site for Sunday morning viewing. If you are not intending to be publicly present for worship at this time, I hope you will utilize the YouTube Mass, and consider including the “Spiritual Communion” prayers as you view the Mass.
Love in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Stuart Smith