This year we still cannot observe Holy Week in its fullness together in the church. Marking Holy Week this year. will take creativity. Holy Communion will offer online worship and in person gatherings. We also have put together a series of resources, and a printable guide for you to use at home.
We encourage you to consider setting up a “Sacred Space” for online worship and prayer at home this Holy Week.
Our pandemic advisory committee continues to monitor the state of the virus. Until the numbers go down significantly in Missouri, we have postponed planning to worship together again in our building.
In the meantime you are invited to worship with us online each Sunday at 10:30am. Our homepage puts out a high quality stream from a service called Vimeo. If you don’t have the strongest internet signal the video may skip. If you’re having issues, try streaming from our YouTube or Facebook pages. (On facebook a number of our parishioners comment live, and it’s fun to say “hi” to one another and pass the peace virtually).
On the some Sundays and Feast days, in addition to our morning livestream, we have an outdoor Eucharist service. Registration is required, and there are limited spaces.Click here for more and to register.
I am pleased to announce, after a nationwide search, that the Rev. Julie Graham has accepted the vestry and my invitation to be our Associate Rector, effective June 1, 2021.
Julie brings over 25 years of experience in ordained ministry to her work, alongside a commitment to engaging with the freshest ideas of the church. In her work with us, Julie will have special charge for pastoral support for youth, children, and family ministries, collaborating with our Children’s Formation Coordinator Heidi Olliff. She will also support the work of our Grace Gathering initiative.
I’ll let Julie tell you more about herself in her letter below. Let me say how excited I am to have Julie join our team, and how thankful I am to our vestry and ministry leaders who helped in the process.
In Christ, Mike+
Dear wonderful people of Holy Communion Church,
I am thrilled to be called to serve with you in revealing Christ’s love in the world.
For the past 17 years I have been an associate at St. Paul’s in Burlingame, California. I worked first supporting Children and Family ministries and eighteen months ago expanded my role to full time associate rector adding responsibility for the healing ministries and establishing an Invite, Welcome, Connect ministry team to orient our church to the seeker.
I am that rare life long Episcopalian who grew up in Lubbock, Texas. I attended the University of New Mexico and right after graduating headed to seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. It was during an internship in Hawaii that my fire for young people and creating new kinds of Christian community ignited.
Creating an ever expanding community in Christ has been a constant thread in my years of ministry, and it’s what really attracted me to Holy Communion. When my husband Thomas discerned it was time for him to retire, I too was ready to start a new chapter. And now I had the freedom to go wherever the Spirit called me. And the Spirit has called me to St. Louis!
Thomas and I have been married 29 years. We have a son, Elliot, who is a freshman at the University of Missouri studying journalism and political science. My hope is to get a dog, but for now I have to be happy with a gecko named Skip.
It is just so clear that Holy Communion is a special, loving , expansive place. Working with your gifted staff and rector will be a privilege and joy. I look forward to getting to know you, to building and deepening relationships, and learning about this part of the world. I know we’re going to have fun.
Our pandemic advisory committee continues to monitor the state of the virus. Until the numbers go down significantly in Missouri, and we are able to see the effect of variants on our local infection rates, we have postponed planning to worship together again in our building on Sunday mornings. We are gradually opening to more in person and outdoor worship. We thank you for your patience as we work to keep everyone safe.
The Covid-19 pandemic has already killed 500,000 Americans, infected millions more and disrupted jobs and education across the country. There are only two ways to bring it to an end –allow 80% of the population to catch the disease and create “herd immunity” (but also have hundreds of thousands more die) or vaccinate at least 80% of us to create the same “herd immunity.”
Two highly effective and safe vaccines have been approved for use in the United States, and several more will be available soon. The scientific evidence is solid. The vaccines work. And, they’re available free-of-charge.
As both people and a community of faith, we have the responsibility to care for ourselves, as well as others. Getting vaccinated for the Covid-19 virus is an essential and tangible way we can each contribute to ending this plague.
Regardless of whether or when you receive a vaccination, remember that we’re still months away from any semblance of returning to normal. And although you may have been vaccinated, you can still be an asymptomatic spreader of the disease. So, continue to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and limit time “out of your bubble.”
In Christ, The Rev. Marc Smith Priest Associate
Holy Communion Members’ Getting out the word:
Paul Mensah on St. Louis on the Air
Paul Mensah, a chemical engineer and vice president of the bioprocess research and development group at Pfizer lead the team responsible for developing and manufacturing the vaccine’s DNA starting material and the messenger RNA drug substance that ultimately becomes the vaccine.
As part of Black History month: Parishioner Kim Hudson of our local Fox News station interviewed another parishioner Dr. Alison Nash about her family’s history as leaders in pediatrics in the St. Louis community. Dr. Nash also talked about the importance of getting vaccinated.
Dr. Nash is also presenting in the Links Inc. Webinar: The Vaccine, to Take or Not to Take? Linking Your Decision to Facts
Below are several web sites that will provide you with up-to-date information on who’s eligible for the vaccine, where it’s being distributed and how you can register for it.
This is the State of Missouri’s official Covid-19 web site which provides regular updates on the status of the virus by region, guidance to mitigate its impact, specific regulations governing public behavior during the pandemic and information on access to the vaccine.
This is the City of St. Louis’ official Covid-19 web site which provides regular updates on the availability of the vaccine, the locations where they’re being distributed and the process for registering for it.
This is St. Louis County’s official Covid-19 web site which provides regular updates on the availability of the vaccine, the locations where they’re being distributed and the process for registering for it.
We are seeking a full-time Assistant Rector who will work collaboratively with the Rector, clergy team, lay staff and parishioners to carry out the worship and ministries of this growing and vibrant community. The Assistant Rector shares in the planning, preaching and presiding of the full range of worship services and shares in pastoral visitation. In addition, this person will be a Clergy presence to our Children and Youth Ministries (coordinating with the Coordinator of Children’s Formation) and will have oversight for our nascent “Grace Gathering” community, a worshipping community embracing of neuro-diversity and open to all abilities. Our ideal candidate seeks to follow Jesus, thrives as part of a diverse community seeking justice and equity. They exhibit a desire to learn and grow, and a sense of humor. We seek a priest who is energetic, creative, flexible, organized, and who recognizes in the long term a ministry must belong to the whole church.
Deadline to apply: February 5, 2021
Interested clergy should submit a cover letter, resume, and “OTM Portfolio” to the rector:
The Annual Meeting on January 31 elected the following members of the vestry.
Listen in to the rector’s conversation with our new vestry members (recorded the week before the electing meeting)”
Elected for a first term
I come from a long line of Episcopalians on both sides, and the church has always been a central part of my immediate and extended family’s life. We sing the doxology before large family meals, and I’m related to a number of active and retired priests and vestry folk.
When I moved to St. Louis in the early 80s, my new “raised Catholic” husband and I were regulars at the 8:00 a.m. service at St. Michael and St. George. When our children were little, we attended Emmanuel in Webster and became active at Transfiguration when we moved to O’Fallon. I grew up knowing that if (when?) the going got tough, my church family would be there for me.
And it was. When my world fell apart, I could always find my place in the sanctuary, hear the comfortable words and be surrounded by people who knew me and could love me back to some kind of new normal.
But over time my connection to the church began to unravel. I had a meaningful spiritual awakening in entirely different context and found myself drifting away from my Episcopal roots. My children grew up, my 30-year marriage ended, and my career languished. In 2016 I pulled up stakes in O’Fallon, moved to University City and started over.
Still…I felt the need to find a church home. Even with ties that were tenuous, the connection seemed important. So I visited the Episcopal church closest to my house and, before we celebrated the Eucharist, I knew that I’d found a new place at Holy Communion.
What I find so attractive at HoCo is that together we walk the talk, we do the work, and we show up…not just on Sunday morning, either! We make a difference — to each other, but also to our neighbors and the community at large.
I am so grateful for this renewed appreciation of our church traditions, and I’m happy for the new relationships and opportunities to serve that I’ve found here. I look forward to our shared journey and trust that God is with us every step of the way.
Elected for a first term
In 1984 Courtney Dula-Pearson was baptized in Oakland, California at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church. Her family moved to St. Louis in 1989 and began attending All Saints Episcopal church with other family members. After spending nine years out of state for school, she began regularly attending services at Holy Communion in 2010. At Holy Communion, Courtney has acted as lay co-organizer of the Holy Communion Parents And Caregivers of Kids (HoCo PACK), joined the Grant Committee and in 2020 was a lay delegate for the parish at the 181st Convention of The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.
Outside Church, Courtney works as a research coordinator in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. When not working or learning a new hobby, she enjoys spending time with her husband (Adam), daughter (Vivi) and son (Phin). She is delighted to have been nominated to Vestry.
Elected for a second term
I wasn’t looking for a church home when I first visited Holy Communion in 1998. I was happy to be an occasional visitor. But it did not take many visits to recognize that this is the parish for me.
I was raised in a family that was faithfully Christian, and unchurched. Seeking something more, I started attending church as a young adult and was confirmed at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, where I served in a variety of roles there, including cook, vestry, Junior Warden, and representative on the diocesan task force on AIDS. Since joining Holy Communion, I have also served on a variety of committees including the Diocesan Search Committee for Bishop.
My vocation is in the field of diversity and inclusion. Currently I serve as Chief Diversity Officer for the Missouri Department of Transportation and as Executive Coach and head of Equity for the California based consulting firm, Evolution. I am fortunate to work locally, nationally and internationally on a variety of programs especially in the areas of racism and sexism. In my volunteer roles, I serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Deaconess Foundation, board member of David Dorfman Dance and I lead the equity committee of the Missouri Historical Society’s tribute to the LGBTQ+ community, Gateway to Pride.
It has been my privilege to serve as a member of the vestry and I am honored to serve a second term.
Today is the feast of the Epiphany, marking the end of the Christmas season. The word Epiphany means “to reveal” or “to uncover.” I had originally planned to go live today from Church to say some prayers to bless chalk, so that folks could come by our office entrance to pick up that chalk and use it to bless their homes, a centuries old tradition at the Epiphany. But today another house, the US House of Representatives is under siege by rioters who seek to terrorize our democracy.
For some of us today’s news comes as a surprise, a shock. For others, less so. Today is an Epiphany, an uncovering. What we are seeing play out on TV, and on the internet, is an uncovering of a sickness that has been festering on our shores for centuries. The current president and administration have emboldened racist, xenophobic, and other bigoted ideologies, and the actions of elected leaders that egged on and supported the rioters deserve to be condemned.
But these ideas didn’t start four years ago. These four years have been an uncovering of an ugly reality present in this land for centuries. We don’t need to simply reckon with what is happening today, but with the 400 years that have lead to this moment.
Before I moved to St. Louis, I served a church in downtown Washington. I still have dear friends and parishioners who live and work on capitol hill, as staffers, as reporters, as clergy. I pray today they are safe. I pray today for our country, for our nation’s capitol, and the people I know and love who make it their home.
The Epiphany is a day for an uncovering, but it is also directional. Friends, we get to choose which star we follow. I’ll say more about this in my sermon on Sunday. But as you see the scenes playing out today, if you are shocked today, I want you to get curious. Ask yourself, “what can I do to challenge our nation’s legacy and present reality of oppression?” How can I fight \the suppression of the votes and voices of black citizens, women, differently abled folks, queer people, immigrants, and people of different religious traditions? What can I do to enforce their voices and votes?” If you are angry, in the spirit of the Epiphany, ask yourself, “What road will I choose next?”
I’ve blessed the chalk offscreen today. It felt more important to use this video to say these few words. I’ll say more, we’ll pray more this Sunday. For now, would you pray with me this prayer from the The Book of Common Prayer?
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Annual Meeting is an important moment in the life of an Episcopal Church. As a denomination, we are governed by our members. At the Annual Meeting we make important decisions together. We elect our representatives to the wider church governance body: the diocesan convention. We elect members of our vestry, the board which governs the parish throughout the year.
Presenting the reports of the Annual Meeting that would usually have been given in person. If you click the arrow at the bottom, or the playlist lines in the top right corner of the video, you can select which presentation you’d like to watch: The Wardens’ Report, the Treasurer’s Report, and the Vestry Nominee Presentations are all included.