This coming Sunday presents us with a number of firsts. It will be the first time since March 1st that we will celebrate the Holy Eucharist at the high altar with people present in the pews and able to receive. For Christians, the Eucharist is the principle act of worship. It is what Jesus commanded us to do in remembrance of him. It is not the only way, but it is a sure and certain way of receiving the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God. To remove the Eucharist from the ministry of the church is like removing egg rolls from the menu of a Chinese restaurant. Is it possible to carry on? Of course, but something essential is missing. So it will be that an essential ingredient of our faith returns this week. We will administer the Sacrament in bread only, observing strict guidelines to assure everyone’s safety. I will explain the procedure on Sunday.
The other first concerns our Assistant Rector, the Rev. Thomas Szczerba. It will be the first time that Thomas presides as the chief celebrant of the Eucharist. As you know, Thomas was ordained a priest on Saturday, September 12. Normally a new priest presides at the Eucharist the very next day, and that’s what Thomas would have done in normal times. But with our 9 am and 6 pm Sunday Eucharists suspended for now, this coming Sunday at 11 am will be his first opportunity. Thomas is young. By God’s grace he will have a long and fruitful ministry ahead of him. Who knows? He may wind up being the first American Archbishop of Canterbury. If so, you will want to be able to say to your unsaved loved ones: “I was there for Archbishop Szczerba’s first Eucharist.” So be here! If you’re planning to attend in person, please remember to pre-register by clicking here.
Finally, on a sad note, some of the economic realities of these challenging times are catching up with us. A good portion of our revenue derives from rental income, and as the city struggles to recover, vacancies are much harder to fill than they were in pre-pandemic times. Another factor is the ongoing legal expenses due to lawsuits that have been brought against us, and the effect that any eventual settlements will have on the endowment. Unfortunately, until the pandemic passes we need to become a smaller operation. Last week I had to inform two full-time employees that their positions were being eliminated. Cindy Drayton was the Parish Office Manager. Jennifer Metz was the Manager of Communications and Marketing. Both were valuable members of the team and will be missed. Jennifer had been with us for ten years, and in that time every bulletin you held in your hands was her work, as are the vibrant posters in the cases on the sidewalk fence. The good news is, the remaining staff is resilient and we have already worked out a plan for absorbing the essential tasks of the two positions we’ve lost. All will be well.
Join us on Sunday, either on the livestream or in person. See you in church.