Grace Church in New York

This Week at Grace

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The Weekly Epistle


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September 27, 2020

Dear Friends,

One of the more obscure sayings of Jesus occurs at Matthew 13:52, when he said to his disciples, Therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”  I’ve never known quite what to make of the verse, but it came to mind this week as I was reading an article about the encouraging progress toward developing a Covid-19 vaccine.  The world is anxiously awaiting the “householders” of the scientific community to bring out of their laboratories a treasure that is new.  Until they do, life together cannot return to any semblance of what we knew it to be in pre-pandemic times.  But once again, the news is optimistic that safe, effective vaccines are not far off in the future.  When they are available and widely distributed, I would be so bold as to call it a win for the kingdom of God.  I believe that whenever a disease is vanquished on earth all of heaven rejoices.

In the meantime, the church has been finding new ways to carry on the work of God’s kingdom.  But in addition to the new, I note we also have been bringing out of our treasure what is old.  One of these old things is private baptism.  Prior to the liturgical renewal movement of the 1960s and 70s, private baptism was the norm.  Families would make arrangements with the clergy for a convenient time, usually after the main service on any given Sunday.  Then came the teaching that since baptism is about being welcomed into the church family, the gathered community ought to be present to witness the rite.  So the sacrament of baptism moved into the service, and ideally only on four specified dates per year.  The result was multiple baptisms at once, and a big crowd around the font.  That’s a no-no in pandemic times, so we are back to private baptisms after the 11 am Sunday service.  Call us if you want to make arrangements!

A second old thing coming out of our treasure is The Hymnal 1940.  As you know, we’ve removed all Prayer Books and Hymnals from the church to eliminate things we might handle in common.  These days we have been preparing a bulletin for the livestream and now the in-person 11 am service that contains everything we need, including the hymns.  But many hymns as they are laid out in The Hymnal 1982 do not fit our format.  We need them to stay on one page.  The culprit is often the inclusion of a congregational descant (a terrible idea from the outset, but that’s a rant I’ll save for another day.)  The result is that some familiar hymns take up two pages in the 1982 edition and we can’t use them.  But in the old hymnal they fit neatly onto one page.  Welcome back, old friend!

Finally, Morning Prayer as the principal Sunday service is an old thing made new again.  Actually, it used to be the norm, but about the same time the church began discouraging private baptisms, liturgical reformers declared that the Eucharist should be the main event every Sunday.  The earliest Christians gathered to break the bread and pass the cup, and so should we.  Grace Church never bought fully into the logic; Sunday Morning Prayer has flourished here, and we have been considered something of an oddity in the Diocese because of it.  But now in pandemic times, certain Eucharistic actions, such as passing the cup, are considered unsafe.  So Morning Prayer is making a comeback in Episcopal Churches across the country, at least for now.

The kingdom of heaven presses in on earth in ways that are grand and small, new and old.  Join us on Sunday, either on the livestream (the new way) or in-person (the old-fashioned way) to give praise to God even in these times that try our souls.

The Rev. J. Donald Waring

Rector

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Sunday, October 4th – The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

9:45 am Children’s Chapel (over Zoom) – Join Mother Julia and Father Thomas from 9:45-10:10 am to say our hellos, read and discuss the story of the day from our Children’s Bible, and then say our prayers together. For Zoom access, please see your recent Weekly Epistle (Friday enews) or email the Rev. Thomas John Szczerba Jr. well before the event.

 

10:15 am Sunday Forum Book Group (over Zoom) – How to Be an Antiracist – at 10:15 am.  On 10/4 we’ll continue the conversation. We’ll join the Diocese of New York in reading How to Be an Antiracist by acclaimed author, Ibram X. Kendi. Read more about the book and this compelling community experience, including an exclusive online gathering with the author, at the Diocesan website. Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review • Time • NPR • The Washington Post • Shelf Awareness • Library Journal • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews. For Zoom access, please see your recent Weekly Epistle (Friday enews) or email the Rev. Thomas John Szczerba Jr. well before the event.

 

11 am Worship Service (Church is OPEN for in-person worship. Before coming please register. Service continues to be video streamed every week.) New this week: outdoor Childen’s Chapel, with masks and social distance, during the sermon, weather permitting. Service followed by fellowship in the Rectory Garden. Service details can be found on the Worship Services-Events page. All are required to wear a covering over their nose and mouth, and to observe posted safety guidelines.

 

4 pm Hymns from Grace (on Facebook Live) 45 minutes of your favorite hymns, solos, anthems and voluntaries played on the Bicentennial Organ. Requests taken! More details on Weekend Organ Meditations here.

Weekday Events

Monday – Centering Prayer (via Zoom) 12:15-12:45 – Christian silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence. Led by Currie Estreich, MA, Spiritual Direction, the General Theological Seminary. For Zoom access, please see your recent Weekly Epistle (Friday enews) or email the Rev. Thomas John Szczerba Jr. well before the event.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – Enter, Rest, Pray (Church is OPEN) Tuesday, noon–3 pm, Wednesday, 4-7 pm, and Thursday, noon–3 pm. Tuesday and Thursday Noonday Prayer at 12:05 pm. Wednesday Evening Prayer at 6 pm. All are required to wear a covering over their nose and mouth, and to observe posted safety guidelines.

Tuesday, Thursday – Bach at Noon (Held in the church during open hours and on Facebook Live) 12:20 pm – 30 minutes of music by J.S. Bach, played on the Bicentennial Organ.

Wednesday – Women’s Bible Study (over Zoom) – 10:30 am-noon – Long-running program of guided Bible study and discussion for women. For Zoom access, please see your recent Weekly Epistle (Friday enews) or email the Rev. Julia Macy Offinger well before the event.

Wednesday, Friday – Bach at Noon (on Facebook Live) – 12:20 pm – 30 Minutes of music by J.S. Bach, played on the Bicentennial Organ.

Wednesday – Evening Prayer with Homily at 6 pm (Church is OPEN for in-person worship. Service also available over Zoom, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live. Service details are posted each week under Services-events. For Zoom access, please see your recent Weekly Epistle (Friday enews) or email the Rev. Thomas John Szczerba Jr. well before the service. All are required to wear a covering over their nose and mouth, and to observe posted safety guidelines while in the church.

Saturday – Weekend Organ Meditation (on Facebook Live) 4pm – 45-minutes of diverse music played on the Bicentennial Organ. More details on Weekend Organ Meditations here.

Worship Services:

Sunday 11 A.M. in the church and video streamed, Youtube, Facebook, and Vimeo.

Recordings of previous worship services are also available.

Grace Church

802 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-2000

An Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York

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802 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, (212) 254-2000