Icon: “Mama” by Kelly Latimore

We are honored to be the home of the original icon “Mama” by local iconographer Kelly Latimore. The icon was written earlier this summer, after the death of George Floyd.

Holy Communion, through our commitment to becoming Beloved Community, continue to work to reflect the diversity of our congregation and our neighborhood in sacred art on display in the church. We are so grateful to Kelly Latimore for choosing our congregation to be the home of this icon.

You can buy prints of the icon through Kelly’s store. All proceeds go to these organizations: Mothers Against Police Brutality, ArchCity Defenders, Inc., and the NAACP legal defense fund.

Rector’s Book

Our rector has written a new book: “How Can I Live Peacefully with Justice? It’s part of the “Little Books of Guidance” series from Church Publishing. The book narrates several stories from the life of Holy Communion, talking about how the rector first came to know the church at a Ferguson protest, the development of our Laundry Love ministry and our relationship with El Salvador.

The book is dedicated: ““to all the folks with whom I’ve marched (in church or the streets), and especially to Ellis and Silas.”

Purposeful Pause

At the end of July, four and a half months since our community ceased worshipping in person, we are going to take a pause. During the summer, life in church usually slows down. It is the time when clergy, staff, and volunteers have space to dream, to talk about new ministry possibilities, and to rest.

While Sunday worship will continue, as will the Wednesday Bible Study, in the month of August, you will notice quite a bit more space open in Holy Communion’s calendar. We’re going to pause Godly Play, Bible 101, Monday Night Studies. I won’t hold a Theology on Tap. We are going to pause. 

As we pause, we also invite you to be in conversation. Get in touch with me, the clergy and staff, with our vestry. You’ll likely hear from ministry leaders asking about your hopes for our community in the coming months.

In invite you to pray with me as we take some time to discern. This virus isn’t going anywhere for awhile. We will all need to continue to adapt. I invite you to take some time to breathe, reflect, and move with intention to the next steps.

In Christ,
Mike+

Trans 101 Training

Holy Communion partnered with St. Louis Metro Trans Umbrella Group (MTUG) to provide a Trans 101 virtual training. The archived video is available below and on our YouTube Channel. 

This training is part of our ongoing work as a congregation around building “Beloved Community,” safe and welcoming space for justice and equity. The MTUG Trans 101 presentation is designed to answer basic questions about Trans people and experiences, and to clarify terminology and define best practices for Trans cultural competency. It does so with plenty of time for personal narrative from the facilitators and Q & A for the participants. The training is presented by the Director of MTUG, Sayer Johnson.

The slides are available here. (Please contact MTUG for any permission to use slides beyond your own education)

Worship and Gatherings at Holy Communion (July Update)

Dear Holy Communion,

Jesus emphasized love of neighbor and care for the vulnerable as central values in the life of his followers. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic we are taking steps to keep one another safe.

As coronavirus cases continue to rise across Missouri, our bishop has suspended all in person worship until at least September 1. We will not be able to worship together physically in our building. In the meantime, we will continue worship online, and this month we will even worship from our cars. Small groups will continue to be convened online and on the phone. Just because our building must remain closed, it does not mean we cease being church.

Even in a pandemic, we have important work to do in Christ’s name. 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. 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.

Our office will remain open only on an “as needed” basis. The staff will be working from home as much as possible, to help them stay safe. Our church phone number has been re-routed and you will reach the staff during normal business operations in their at-home offices. We are receiving mail regularly. You are welcome to mail contributions or any other necessary correspondence to the church at 7401 Delmar Blvd, University City, MO 63130. You can also make a drop off in our mailbox (located just inside the office entrance on Jackson).

In the coming weeks, the vestry and I will be evaluating ongoing guidance from health authorities and the bishop’s office. 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

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.
  • July 26: The Rev. Marc Smith will conclude the discussion of the theology of the Psalms and their use in worship and prayer.

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.

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.