In-Person Weekly Eucharist Services to Resume on June 13
No registration or distancing required
Masks required during worship
Live-streaming and other hybrid (in-person/online) fellowship opportunities to be phased in
Special Sunday Forum on inclusive language also scheduled for June 13
Volunteers sought to join technology team
I am overjoyed to announce that beginning on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, June 13, 2021, St. Margaret’s will resume weekly in-person services of Holy Eucharist at 10:30 a.m. Anyone may attend without pre-registration or distancing requirements. We will require that worshipers be masked for now, regardless of vaccination status. This is in the interest of making as many as possible feel safe, including families with children and those who are immuno-compromised. Clergy and lectors, however, will not wear masks during worship.
The Wardens and I feel strongly that our worship should be as inclusive and safe as possible. We therefore dismissed immediately any self-identification of one’s vaccination status for attending worship. We will require, however, that public-facing volunteers be fully vaccinated, including ushers, choir members, and lectors.
Here’s what else you should know:
- Communion in one kind (i.e. wafers) will be offered via the center aisle, with communicants forming a single-file line to receive. While we will discontinue the option to request the Reserved Sacrament at home, lay Eucharistic visitors may now resume bringing communion to those at home who are fully vaccinated.
- Also quite happily, masked hymn singing will be permitted, and singing will continue to be supported by a cantor for the time being.
- A simple coffee hour will take place in the Parish Hall after the service at which masks will be optional for those who are fully vaccinated.
I am also excited to announce a special forum, which will also take place after worship on June 13 and kick-off a 3-month series we’re calling Teach Us to Pray. Our first forum will focus on Inclusive Language in Worship, exploring the question: How does removing references to God’s gender reshape who we are as God’s people? To lead our conversation we welcome three guest panelists: The Rev. Dr. Vienna Cobb Anderson, sixth rector of St. Margaret’s; the Rev. Dr. Diann Neu, co-founder and co-director of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual; and the Rev. Emma Chattin, senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Northern Virginia (MCC NoVA) and executive director of the TransGender Education Association of Greater Washington. As we prepare to reopen our doors and welcome our neighbors and a new generation to worship, let’s take a fresh look at the history, theology, and real-world implications of seeing everyone–female, male, and non-binary–represented in our prayers and liturgy. You may attend the forum either in person at church or online via Zoom.
A Season of Experimentation
This continues to be a complex time for everyone. For as many people who will rejoice to return to in-person worship, just as many may feel anxious and more cautious. Many will also grieve the loss of a single, shared worship and fellowship experience on Zoom, which has been a lifeline for us these past 12 months.
As we transition back to an in-person option for worship, we will enter a season of intentional experimentation to discern how best to sustain an online congregation, as well as how to sustain community between those in the building and those online. This will take time to figure out, and so we ask for your grace and continued participation in this spirit of experimentation.
Plans are already in place to stream the service on June 13, and those who prefer may still join us that day via Zoom. We are still working on the details of how we will handle streaming thereafter, as well as how we will hold a hybrid (in-person/online) coffee hour. Until then, those on Zoom may continue to share in a virtual coffee hour.
A Call for Volunteers
Key to the success of our live-streaming capacity is identifying more people who are willing to serve on the technology team. Currently the team consists of just two people: Miranda Cooter and Nicholas Thompson. Please let Miranda know if you are interested in serving in this new way. (Please indicate your familiarity with technology tools related to video production.)
As we celebrate and live out the ministry for which the Spirit equips us, we do so setting our hope on the loving, liberating, and life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Rev. Richard Weinberg