Thoughts from the Senior Warden
(December 29, 2020)

Not enough can be said for the pivotal role our pets have played/are playing during the pandemic. I know from having photographed numerous “Blessings of the Animals” at Grace that we have dogs and we have cats, but we also have fish, hamsters, rabbits, chickens and horses (perhaps not as pets, but as riding companions). I will tell you from my own experience, our house would not be the same without our beloved cat (a 12 year old rescue from the North Shore Animal League). I’m sure that many have stories. Bless the beasts.

I want to congratulate Father Adolfo and the members of La Gracia for being able to preserve a valued tradition of celebrating the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe this past Sunday. My understanding is that this is one of the most important celebrations in La Gracia’s calendar and the pandemic came very close to making this an impossibility. Father Adolfo shared with me how important it is to understand what is culturally important to the members of the congregation and to meet expectations (where you can). Congratulations.

Father Chip preached about passion leading to mission this past Sunday. I hope that you all got a chance to hear his sermon. It’s on the website and it’s worth listening to (or re-listening to). Our young people gave me another jolt of energy this morning with a Zoom call that we had about a project that they’re working on. I won’t steal their thunder, but it’s something that is absolutely a winner (once we get the necessary green light from the city). Please consider your own passions and how they can work within the context of what we can do as a church. You might be surprised with what you come up with.

There’s a core group of parishioners who closely monitor our virtual services and text (or email) comments on how things might be changed to enhance the viewer experience. Camera angles, sound enhancements, lector positioning, the inclusion of acolytes (and the use of incense) are many of the ideas and suggestions that have been implemented. An anonymous donor just ordered us 10 shields for the lay readers to improve the clarity of the voices as they read. I will speak for Father Chip and Father Adolfo when I say that we are grateful for your thoughtfulness – and keep the feedback coming. We’re shooting for the stars.

Blessings to you this holiday season.

Michael Heffner
Grace Episcopal Church/La Gracia
Senior Warden