Beloved Friends and Colleagues,
We are writing to introduce ourselves as the newly formed Bishop’s Liturgical Commission in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and also to offer our prayers, support, and encouragement to you in the midst of this challenging time. We would like to work for you and with you! Please consider this a warm introduction and invitation, with the hopes that we can continue to be in conversation about our shared life of prayer.
The Commission Members are:
The Rev. Dr. Michelle Baker-Wright, Chair
The Rev. Canon Susan Russell, Staff Liaison
The Rev. Dr. Randall Day
The Rev. Norma Guerra
The Rev. Dr. Gianluigi Gugliermetto
The Rev. Yein Kim
The Rev. Judith Lyons
The Rev. Brent Quines
The Rev. Kay Sylvester
The Rev. Jeffrey Thornberg
The Rev. Fernando Valdes
The Rev. Liz Williams
As we enter the fifth week of Lent and approach Holy Week, it is critical for all of us to remember that Bishop Taylor and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry have wisely directed us to diligently observe national and local health policies that have been set for the protection of our communities. This means that, even as we enter into this holiest of weeks, we must continue to conscientiously observe social distancing measures. Holy Week and Easter services must solely occur in livestream and virtual forms.
Our presiding bishop will not authorize remote consecration of bread and wine, and has instead advised that we emphasize prayers for spiritual communion. Below, you will find a liturgy that makes use of the language that our presiding bishop has provided. For more information, please see Bishop Taylor’s
. In addition, Bishop Taylor requests that you not send palm crosses to parishioners by mail, because they can't be properly sanitized.
We are all eager for this situation to end, so that we can worship together in shared physical spaces once more. But to do so prematurely puts all of us at risk, especially the most vulnerable among us.
Another logistical area that social distancing impacts is that of musical performance, which provides special challenges in Holy Week! Bishop Taylor has given permission for under-65, healthy organists to go alone into their churches, sanitizing everything before and after, to record music that can then be integrated into virtual worship. This idea can apply to a range of instrumental and vocal soloists as well. Some musicians have home recording studios available to them, and this is a good time to make use of this resource, and possibly help musicians who have lost critical work that is usually connected with the Easter season, and who are struggling with the financial impact this pandemic has had upon the gig economy.
Many of us have already begun the task of planning Holy Week services with social distancing and exclusively online parameters in mind. Following the lead of Bishop Taylor, Bishop Bruce, and Canon McCarthy, we want to support you as much as possible in your efforts to protect the health of your communities while also providing liturgies and prayers that will support your Holy Week observances.
To that end, we are offering resources that we have begun collecting that we hope will be helpful. These liturgies are not intended to be comprehensive or definitive. However, they can serve as templates that can be rapidly adapted, and can help all of us quickly yet prayerfully prepare for Holy Week in this busy and unpredictable time.
Please see what is offered here as a springboard to help make these weeks more prayer-filled and less stress-filled. Adapt what is useful to your contexts, and set aside things that do not fit.
These resources are but a starting point, and we want to hear from you! We are especially seeking liturgical resources in a greater breadth of languages. Please be in touch with us with your ideas, resources, and suggestions. Send photos if possible! We will walk through this time together!
Grace and peace to you in your preparations for Holy Week,
The Rev. Dr.
Michelle Baker-Wright, Chair
The Rev. Canon
Susan Russell, Staff Liaison