Christ Episcopal Church
Message from Father Pace

Dear People of Christ Church!

This coming Sunday will find us together once again and I am thrilled! I am excited to begin another chapter with you as the congregation moves forward under the direction of your very competent vestry. I can assure you that I will work closely with the wardens, the parish administrator, and the organist to make sure that the coming weeks are as orderly as they can be.
Should there be an emergency, or, if a priest is needed for whatever reason, please contact your Senior Warden, Nancy Lutsko. She will then contact me and I will follow up as needed.

There will be a few changes to this coming Sunday’s services that you might notice and I would like to briefly explain them.
  • The 8a Holy Eucharist will remain Rite I. During the summer there will be no hymns sung at the 8a service; the service will be a quiet time for us to reflect, pray, and celebrate Word and Sacrament.
  • The celebrant will wear a Chasuble during the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the 8a and 10a services. The Chasuble is the outer and last piece of the vestments that the priest may wear. It bears the color of the liturgical season and is worn over the Alb and stole. It is described in prayer as the “Yoke of Christ” and is often thought of as the symbol of the “seamless garment” worn by Christ when he was led to the crucifixion. The Chasuble is a solemn reminder that the Eucharist is a sacred event in our lives because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross. Next Sunday (June 20) I will be wearing a Chasuble that is very near and dear to me. It was made for me to celebrate the start of my service as a supply priest at The Episcopal Church of St. John in West Wilson County, Mount Juliet, TN. It dates to the late 1980’s! I am older than the Chasuble but you might not think so. Sadly, it has faded over the years so that it is no longer the brighter green that it used to be. Even so, it holds a lot of meaning and many good memories of a strong congregation. It will start us out well, too.
  •  The Gospel procession will also continue in both services. In time, I hope to add cross and candles as the pandemic’s safety procedures allow. The imagery is strong: The Holy Gospel is proclaimed amongst the people and its message rests in the center of our lives. The Gospel brings the life of Christ alive and it lights and leads our way forward.
  •  After the “Breaking of the Bread” (also called the fraction), there will be a brief time of silence (I have not lost my place!). You will notice the rubric in the Book of Common Prayer (p. 337 and 364) that proclaims: “A period of silence is kept.” One of the most memorable things that I ever heard one of my seminary professors say was this (paraphrased): The fracture of the host not only symbolizes that the many who come to communion are one body in Christ and that all are fed by the one bread, but it may also symbolize the fracture of the veil between heaven and earth when Jesus gave up his spirit when he died on the cross for us. It is a most holy time when all those who have gone before gather around to join us as we celebrate the presence of the risen Lord (the Communion of Saints). It is also the time when our prayers to those who have passed are most clearly heard because heaven has joined earth and earth joins heaven!
  •  Finally, the Sanctus Bell will be rung at the beginning and the end of The Great Thanksgiving. The ringing of the bells is yet another way that our senses invite us into the Holy Eucharist.

Please don’t let these changes scare you! I believe with my heart that they will be very meaningful.

I will see you on Sunday. The 10a service will continue to be live-streamed for those who are observing safety protocols by remaining at home. Many thanks to Larry Wisenbaker who will make this happen and who knows how important this is to several members of the congregation (and wider community).

Before I sign off, in regard to our continuing safety. With the administration of the consecrated wine in the chalice, many are choosing now to intinct (to dip the consecrated host into the chalice) rather than drink from the common cup. I understand your concerns. The Eucharistic Minister is specially trained to take the host from your outstretched hands, dip it safely into the cup, and then return it to your tongue (the preferred method). Should you choose to dip your own host (not recommended), be sure to only touch the tip of the host to the wine in the cup. Avoid at all costs touching your fingers or fingernails into the cup of wine. In these ways, we all remain safe.
 
God’s Peace! See you soon.

Fr. Jim


Christ Episcopal Church (Valdosta, GA) | christchurchvaldosta.org