Bible 101

This Summer Holy Communion is going to take some time with Scripture. Each Sunday, after our livecast worship service, we’ll invite the congregation to explore the Bible. Each we will be different. We might pick a specific chapter, a book, or even a theme that flows through many of the Bible’s books. There is no sign up. Just sign in for virtual coffee hour, the link will come to everyone on our email list. 10 or so minutes into coffee hour, the host will ask folks who would like to join in the class, and the online chat will be divided into groups.

  • June 28: Encountering the Bible today with the Rector: Mike will lead a wide-ranging discussion looking at the composition of the Bible, modern scholarship about the origins of various parts of the texts, and ways to approach the Bible prayerfully.
  • July 5: In Recess for the Holiday Weekend
  • July 12: Gardens and Creation Karen Flotte, leader of Central Reform Congregation’s “Mitzvah Garden” will be with us to talk about Scripture and Creation, especially from a Jewish perspective.
  • July 19: An Introduction to the Psalms with the Rev. Marc Smith with a focus on their role in history, prayer and worship.

More dates will be announced in the weeks ahead!

Bishop-Elect Deon Johnson’s Statement on the Killing of George Floyd

Dear sisters and brothers,

The last few weeks have been painful. We have watched in disbelief, anger, horror, sadness, shock and outrage, the public lynching of George Floyd in the street of Minneapolis, MN. Those emotions were further exacerbated by the actions of the President of the United States and the escalation of violence in cities across our nation. All the while peaceful protesters have taken to the streets to demand justice and to call our nation to live more fully into its ideals.

These past few weeks I have ranged from profound sadness to a simmering anger; sadness that this is happening in 2020 and anger because I am George Floyd, my eight year old son is George Floyd. I have marched with clergy of our diocese to call for justice and I have lamented the countless men, women, and children whose names and lives have been sacrificed to racial inequity. We have been here before.

While I do not condone the use of violence, I know that at the heart of the protest and acts of vandalism lives the festering sins of racism and white supremacy, the legacies of chattel slavery. At the core of racism and white supremacy, lives fear. Fear often masquerades as conviction and certainty. Fear would tell us that dignity belongs to some and not to others. As followers of Jesus, we must live and know that perfect love casts out fear. We must, in the words of the Prophet Micah, “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.”

As we see through the glass of this time dimly, we as followers of Christ are called to defend the rights and dignity of all God’s children, seeking and serving Christ in all people, even those with whom we disagree. We must be about the mission of working for justice and showing God’s love in this time and place. We must be about the mission of speaking truth to power and making no peace with oppression. Lest we get distracted by the schemes and gimmicks of those who peddle in fear, we must be about the business of the loving our neighbors as ourselves in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore, my sisters and brothers in Christ, let us work tirelessly to eradicate from ourselves, from our churches, from our neighborhoods, and our nation the fear which denies, divides and destroys. May we work towards the beloved community and together pray that God might, “grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour.”

May God’s peace be ours today and always.

Yours in Christ,

The Rev. Deon K. Johnson 11th Bishop-elect

View the statement in pdf form.

I invite congregations in the Diocese of Missouri to pray for the healing of our nation and an end to the sin of racism and white supremacy:

God of justice, in your wisdom you create all people in your image, without exception. Through your goodness, open our eyes to see the dignity, beauty, and worth of every human being. Open our minds to understand that all your children are brothers and sisters in the same human family. Open our hearts to repent of racist attitudes, behaviors, and speech which demean others. Open our ears to hear the cries of those wounded by racial discrimination, and their passionate appeals for change. Strengthen our resolve to make amends for past injustices and to right the wrongs of history. And fill us with courage that we might seek to heal wounds, build bridges, forgive and be forgiven, and establish peace and equality for all in our communities. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Updated Policy on Worship and Gatherings at Holy Communion

Dear Holy Communion,

Jesus emphasized love of neighbor and care for the vulnerable as central values in the life of his followers. Out of that love, and out of care, I share with you the following news:

For the foreseeable future, Holy Communion will continue to worship and gather exclusively online and over the phone. After June 1, a small group of clergy and musicians will broadcast Sunday Morning Prayer from the church. Some readings, sermons, and music, will continue to be streamed from homes. Small groups will also be convened online and on the phone. This decision will be revisited before mid-July, as the situation with the virus develops.

There are minor but important exceptions to the rule. Groups of less than 10 will be allowed to gather for outreach work, in our parish garden, food ministry at Trinity, and for Laundry Love. Sacramental needs will be evaluated on a case by case basis. We may need to host a small funeral in the church. Clergy may officiate a small wedding in a park. And the clergy may make pastoral visits to folks who feel a strong need for Eucharist. In all cases, these gatherings will carefully adhere to guidelines around mask-wearing and other safety practices.

I made this decision after receiving results from our survey, and after consultation with our Worship Committee and Vestry. The decision was informed by prayer and input from our bishop-elect; and our other clergy and staff. It doesn’t make the decision easier. I long to stand together, to sing together. I want to be able to exchange the peace, and hugs, and share food. We simply can’t do this safely at this time. So we will walk forward slowly, and carefully. We will trust God will continue to be with us.

In Christ,
Mike

Jane Popham Service Details

Jane Nyvall Popham, a longtime member of Holy Communion, died peacefully at home on May 12 of complications of pneumonia. (Her death is not attributed to COVID-19). Jane was an active member of the Parish Guild for many years, an avid traveller, and friend to many. 
A Memorial Service will be held online for Jane on Thursday May 28 at 11am (Central Time). You will find the service broadcast on this page, Youtube, and Facebook
A digital reception will be held on Zoom after the service. To register for the reception, or to leave a message in the online guest book, click the link below. 

Our rector wins the “John Hines Preaching Award”

Our rector, the Rev. Mike Angell, has been named recipient of Virginia Theological Seminary’s 2020 John Hines Preaching Award. The award is given annually to the outstanding preaching entry “where prophetic voice is central within the sermon.”

Named in honor of the former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, John Hines, the award celebrates the ministry of preaching and its importance in our Church by recognizing outstanding sermons that are deeply grounded in scripture and focused on the seen and unseen needs of the worshipping community, the nation, and the world. 

“The prophet is the person who brings a word from God to a moment. This is an obligation on the church,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president.  “It is exciting to see sermons that are clearly doing this hard work. Rev. Mike Angell is a worthy recipient of this important prize.”

The sermon from November 19, 2019, is entitled “Moral Courage” and can be found on our Youtube Channel here.
A transcript is available on the rector’s blog here.

Holy Communion Playlists

Getting Through Together

This playlist was made collaboratively. All of the songs were chosen by members, or friends of members. The songs in the list are an eclectic mix. What else would you expect from a church as diverse as Holy Communion? We may not have the same musical taste, but I sense a common through-line. These are songs of hope. These are songs persistence.

Playing the playlist on our website will only give you short samples of each song. To hear the whole song, click through to the list on spotify.

NO-CONTACT KIDS’ CLOTHING EXCHANGE

As the seasons change and the weather warms, you may notice that your child’s clothes from last summer don’t fit! Here’s what we know: 

  1. people should not be entering stores to purchase spring/summer clothes while we are on stay-home orders.
  2. budgets are tight with 22 million Americans filing for unemployment.
  3. kids are still growing!

To address these needs, we want to invite you to participate in our No-Contact Kids’ Clothing Exchange.

UPDATE: We have decided to make May 7 the deadline to sign up for “round one.” (With another round later in May). Please sign up soon!

Here is how it will work. This link takes you to a Google form to fill out. You can list clothes you need, clothes you have to offer, or both. Once we have this information collected, we will connect people based on needs and donations, and share contact information so you can arrange porch drop offs. Grandchildren, friends, and neighbors are welcome to participate!

Questions? Contact our office.

Practicing the Heart of Christianity

Join Holy Communion each Monday from 6pm-7:15pm for Practicing the Heart of Christianity.

This virtual class will open with contemplative prayer and then move into reflection on the practice of the Christianity faith. Individuals have the opportunity not to learn particular content, but to re-conceptualize familiar beliefs and reinvigorate a life of faith.

Each week, participants will read one chapter from The Heart of Christianity by Marcus Borg. But reading isn’t required. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Recommendations for further learning:

This Episode of the Way of Love Podcast, with presiding bishop Michael Curry features an interview with Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber
This podcast episode features Brené Brown talking with Sue Monk Kidd and Jen Hatmaker on
Longing, Belonging and Faith.
make a sacred space at home

Making a Sacred Space for Holy Week at Home

Many of us have been worshipping virtually via social media sites and while this is a wonderful way to stay connected and maintain community bonds, we also recognize that our homes can be places of prayer and deeper connection to God and each other. Creating a designated sacred space, in this time of physical distancing, is a wonderful activity to help connect to the wider community at prayer while we are not able to gather in our regular worship spaces. Sacred space at home can be something as simple as a window sill or as elaborate as a dedicated room, it can be permanent or moveable. No matter where the sacred space is located or constructed the purpose is the same; a space for prayer, meditation and reflection.

HERE ARE A FEW SUGGESTIONS ON CREATING YOUR SACRED SPACE:

  • Keep it simple, elegant and uncluttered. Clutter is the enemy of sacred space.
  • If young children are a part of your household, have them help as much as possible.
  • A place mat or fabric can be the base of your sacred space.
  • Set-up your sacred space in an area readily accessible.
  • A large tray makes a great sacred space that can be moved as needed.
  • Add a cross as a focal point on the sacred space.
  • The cross can be large or small but should be relevant to the space.
  • Crosses can be made using material commonly found at home or out in nature.
  • A simple wooden cross works best and elaborate crosses that have significance can be used also.
  • A bible. A bible connects us to our spiritual ancestors and reminds us that we are part of a wider
  • story of salvation. Reading from the bible during times of worship also reinforces the connection to our regular pattern of worship.

Add additional symbols.

  • A CONTAINER WITH WATER. Water reminds us of our connection to each other through baptism. (This will be used especially at the Easter Vigil).
  • ROCKS/STONES. Rocks or stones make wonderful sensory objects that can serve as tangible symbols of prayer.
  • CANDLES. There are a variety of candles, including LED candles that can be incorporated into the sacred space. Candles also help connect us to the spaces we normally gather for worship. (Also used at the Easter Vigil).
  • ICON OR PHOTOS. Adding photos of loved ones, your worshipping community, icons of saints or other meaningful photos give a sense of connection outside our regular worship space. Icons can also be made as an individual or family activity.
  • FLORA. During Lent dried grasses or twigs help remind us of the season. Adding fresh flowers during the Great 50 Days of Easter is a great way to celebrate at home.
  • Set aside “Ritual” time. Create a ritual around using the sacred space. Lighting the candles can be a very powerful and meaningful activity (especially for younger children).

YOUR SACRED SPACE WILL SERVE AS THE FOCAL POINT FOR VIRTUAL WORSHIP AS WELL AS FOR THE LITURGIES ESPECIALLY THOSE OF HOLY WEEK AND THE EASTER SEASON.

Making an Altar at Home – Sharon E. Pearson, Rows of Sharon
Creating A Lenten Prayer Space At Home – guidance for creating sacred space at home How to Set Up a Prayer Table – from the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
Holy Week At Home: Family Practices For The Triduum by Jerusalem Greer (Building Faith)
Maundy Thursday At Home: Stripping The Table by Jerusalem Greer (Building Faith)
Easter Sunrise Breakfast at Home by Traci Smith (Building Faith)