Volume XXXI February 2021
PARISH NEWSLETTER
Please send news items to Tom Wrausmann at thomaswrausmann66@gmail.com, or the Church Office at epialton@episcopalalton.org by the 20th of the month. Schedule changes, Updates, and other emails will happen throughout the month in addition to our Angelus and can be sent in at any time.
Upon receiving this email, please check the bottom of your email provider and click "View entire message". We are receiving reports that some people are not receiving an entire Angelus, and it is due to the inbox clipping it short to save space in the initial viewing. -Jenn
Happy Valentine's Day
From the Rector:
Dear Parishioners,
A word about worship, home Communion, and office life in the age of COVID-19 and post fire...
OR Boy have we been busy!

You might know all or part of this information, but I thought it would be interesting and informative to remember all we’ve done and experienced since the onset of the pandemic and the fire. I also thought some of you might like a behind-the-scenes look at parish life. Diane Martin and I wrote this together.

As we have suffered from both a COVID-19 pandemic and a destructive fire at St. Paul’s, Diane and I have been incredibly challenged to assure that our worship continues in compliance with both state and diocesan mandates plus common sense. One might naturally assume that there would be much less work to do during a pandemic, but there has been much more! It’s been an exhausting time characterized by trying to juggle governmental and diocesan mandates, news coverage of the pandemic, efforts to stay connected with parishioners in every possible way, pastoral care, ZOOM meetings, the need to record and broadcast services, and the liturgical life of our parish, without allowing any of the balls to drop.

When the pandemic first began with orders to shelter at home, Diane Martin and I immediately began holding daily Morning and Evening Prayer services broadcast from my house on YouTube and Facebook Live. We then went to closed eucharistic services broadcast from St. Paul’s, with curbside Communion following. Holy Week and Easter provided quite a challenge, because I wanted all of you to be able to experience those special services to the fullest extent possible. Little did I suspect when I was in seminary that I would have to add broadcasting experience to my resume!

The next configuration came when there was a lessening in the number of COVID-19 cases. We held closed masses and allowed seven people into St. Paul’s at once to receive Communion. That arrangement didn’t continue for long, as the terrible fire destroyed the office wing of St. Paul’s and heavily smoke damaged the remainder of the building, leaving us temporarily “homeless.” The fire happened on Tuesday, June 23rd, and with much logistical help from Vestry and others, we put a prayer service together for Thursday evening in the garden. We then began regular masses out in the garden. They were beautiful and somehow healing in that setting, and it was wonderful to gather together in one place (with masks and proper social distancing of course!) Many parishioners have expressed a desire to continue garden masses once-in-a-while every summer. Great idea!

While we were adapting to masses in the garden with the help of so many parishioners, the fire made it necessary to simultaneously set up our office in the parish hall of Trinity Chapel. We began from scratch with no equipment or supplies. Diane and I set up, cleaned, stocked, and organized the office. Jenn and I chose new equipment, and Jenn set-up her computer and the printers, and worked to reestablish computer files as best she could, while a computer specialist recovered the files from the charred computer hard drive. My computer and most of its files were totally lost. We received a brand-new hard drive containing the files from the secretary’s old office, which promptly crashed! Much work has gone into restoring lost files to keep the parish running.

Diane recopied every heavily smoke damaged file from the fireproof file cabinet in the former office and placed them into new hanging file folders in plastic file boxes. This took several weeks!

When cold temperatures drove us indoors for worship on Sundays, we began with closed masses broadcast on Facebook Live from Trinity Chapel, as the severity of the pandemic had worsened once again. We distributed Holy Communion from the parking lot at Trinity. Christmas was beautiful at Trinity! Holy Communion was distributed twice on Christmas Eve, once in the afternoon to accommodate those who don’t like to drive in the dark, and once after the service was over that evening.

Once the pandemic again waned, I was “heavily persuaded” into establishing indoor worship at Trinity. We are only allowed 25% occupancy, which at Trinity Chapel equals 10 people. We marked off the pews and indicated where parishioners could sit and purchased anti-viral, anti-bacterial spray to effectively treat the inside of the Chapel between worship services. Very few people attended these services in fear of the virus. This arrangement only lasted a few weeks before the virus was once again on a sharp rise. So we’ve returned to closed masses broadcast on Facebook Live and curbside and Home Communions.

On January 16th, we were privileged to conduct a funeral mass for Sam Hutchinson at Trinity. It took all week to figure out how to host a funeral at small Trinity Chapel during a pandemic, but Gay Anderson, Diane and I managed, and we were all so grateful to be able to share that time with his wonderful family.

This brings us right back to planning for Lent and Holy Week! Lent will begin with Ashes to Go from noon until 1 p.m. in the parking lot at Trinity. Adapting to the pandemic, ashes will be imposed with a fresh cotton swab for each recipient. Lent will continue with an educational program via ZOOM based on the book, The Gifts of God for the People of God.

I’ve been actively involved with the Restoration Committee for the rebuilding of St. Paul’s. I’ve begun the planning of new and renewed programs and ministries with Vestry members and other committee members, for once the pandemic has lifted and St. Paul’s has been rebuilt. Our future is bright!

Beginning in mid-March, Diane and I hit the road as soon as curbside Communion was over to bring Communion to the doorstep of anyone who wished to receive. We sometimes also make visits on another day of the week in addition to Sundays. We often traverse three counties with as many as eight stops along the way from Brighton, to Godfrey, Alton, East Alton, Wood River, Granite City, and then home again! “Home” Communion does not imply that we entered anyone’s home; we’ve met people in their front yards, porches, open garages, back yards, doorways, and even gazebos! Consecrated hosts untouched by ungloved hands are offered at appropriate social distances with all wearing masks.

Home Communion is not offered just to “official” shut-ins, but to anyone uncomfortable leaving home during the pandemic. There’s a lot of travel time involved, but also a wonderful opportunity to forge closer relationships with one another. A special kinship has developed in our sharing of the Body of Christ in this way. These visits have been a great blessing to me. I LOVE coming to parishioner’s homes and having a chance to visit some with each person. We have found Christ in all of the ways we have needed to adapt to the pandemic and the reality of the fire. The home visits have continued weekly. I’ve decided that home visits will continue as a regular fixture on Sundays, even once the pandemic has ended.

If you would like Communion brought to you at home, please note that the wafers are placed into a clean container without being touched and are blessed in that container with the lid tightly closed. The wafers are distributed with a gloved hand, and the Eucharistic Minister or I will always wear a mask and social distance. Please call me or Diane Martin if you would like us to bring the Body of Christ to you at home.

I joined Bruce Bayer, Christina Butler, the Drennan's, Patty Wright, Diane Martin and Tom Wrausmann in helping out at the Saturday Café at First Presbyterian Church when it was our turn to host on January 23rd. I went to help and to see how the program has run successfully for the past fifteen years. I encourage everyone to get involved with this excellent program in some way!

I hope you will all thank Diane for all she does for us the next time you see her; her help is invaluable! She donates hundreds of hours every single year to make our parish stronger.
May God bless you richly as we continue this journey mid-pandemic and post-fire together!
With much love,

Mother Cindy+
I offer the prayer once again for those of us who would like to make a Spiritual Communion during this time of rising COVID cases. If we cannot receive Holy Communion either in Christ's Body, Blood, or both, we can still receive the benefits of both, if that is our intention. I hope you find this useful!

Making a Spiritual Communion for those who cannot physically receive Holy Communion

Act of Spiritual Communion, composed by St. Alphonsus Ligouri

My Jesus, I believe you are present in the Most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already come, and I unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
No Curbside Communion for Three Sundays
There will be no curbside communion for the Sundays of Feb. 7, 14 and 21. It will resume Feb. 28 following the 11:30 service at Trinity Chapel. The wafers are blessed within an enclosed container and handled using strict safety precautions. Home communion continues as usual every Sunday. If you would like to receive home communion in February, please contact Diane Martin at 225-2676.
Vacation Time for Recuperating
Dear Parish Members,

It’s not news to you that I have a great deal of difficulty with my back. I am in awful pain and my mobility is greatly affected. I have done absolutely everything that has been recommended by my doctors including having an electronic spinal cord stimulator implanted. I had my gastric bypass “redone” to account for the stretching that occurs over time and lost 50 pounds over the past year. I’ve had several rounds of spinal cord injections, and I’ve undergone extensive physical therapy. But the fact is, that I have severe stenosis (narrowing) of the spine at two levels and surgery can fix that problem.

I’m having surgery on February 5 at St. Luke’s Hospital. My surgeon is a very talented and kind neurosurgeon at the Brain and Spine Center at St. Luke’s. This all came up so suddenly because my surgeon hurt his knee very badly and has to have surgery himself in a month. After that he will need two-three months recovery. He does not want to leave me in pain for four months, so he is fitting me into his schedule before his own surgery. I think this is the best plan for me and for us as a group for several reasons:

  1. I want to recover now so I can hit the ground running (or at least walking a little faster) when St. Paul’s is finished being renovated, we have much good ministry to do together!
  2. I’m using ¾ of my vacation time so that it costs the church nothing. Plus, Tim McNutt will fill in for me on Sundays while I am away. Once Tim becomes a Deacon, he will most likely be assigned elsewhere. Warden Patti Wright and Diane Martin will carry on with bringing Holy Communion to shut-ins and anyone who wishes to have it while I’m out.
  3. Although I will be on vacation and recovering from surgery, I will do my very best to be present for Ashes to Go in the parking lot of Trinity Chapel. I am moving our next Vestry meeting to Thursday, February 25th at 7 pm via ZOOM so that I will be better able to be present.

I am certain that this is the best path forward for me and for all of us. I hope you will drop me a message to let me know you support this plan.

Call me any time for any reason. I am here for you always!

With love,
Mother Cindy+
A little holy humor…
A Successful Saturday Café Ministry

On Saturday January 23, we had the honor of sponsoring and being part of the preparing of warm lunches at First Presbyterian Church on the corner of 4th and Alby. As the name suggests, lunches are prepared and distributed there every Saturday. This ministry has been happening for well over 15 years. With the help of other area churches, volunteers have been feeding all people who come to the door...no questions asked. Thanks to our Bruce Bayer and Patti Wright, the EPA has become involved. We plan on taking our turn in helping with this outreach monthly. We had a wonderful and fulfilling experience as we supplied and distributed approximately 40 meals at the Alby Street door to the building on Saturday.

Thanks to all involved, especially Bruce and his special homemade chili and all who came to prepare and offer the meals: Patti, Tom Wrausmann, Mother Cindy, the entire Drennan clan, and Chrissy.
Quote of the Month
Saint Francis said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

From The Gifts of God for the People of God, our Lenten Program
Lenten Program!
Submitted by Diane Martin
Please join us beginning Wednesday February 24th from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM for our Lenten program The Gifts of God for the People of God, followed by the Office of Compline (about 10 min).

During Sunday masses there is not a lot of time to ponder what we are saying and doing. Fr. Fuhrman L. Buchanan goes step by step through the mass and writes about the “what and whys” of the words and actions we repeat during the service of Holy Eucharist Rite II.

This is not a dry textbook look at our worship but a joy-filled and sometimes humorous closer look at the Liturgy of the Word (scriptures, sermon, praise, prayer) and the Holy Communion (the blessings and sharing of the Lord’s supper) – the two parts of the Holy Eucharist… “a perfect picture of God’s love.”.

A few books are still available from the Bookstore at $11.50 (price includes tax) and from Amazon. Kindle is available as well. It will also help to have your book of Common Prayer during the sessions. However, no books are necessary – everyone can participate.

Once Patti Wright has the Zoom format set up, we will send you the link you need to “join a meeting” using Zoom.
Please join us as we delve into “The Gifts of God for the People of God.”

Diane Martin
618-225-2676
-For the Education Commission
Looking to Upgrade Service Technology
Submitted by Tom Wrausmann
Instead of using a cell phone to broadcast services on Facebook Live, the church is researching ways to upgrade the technology to dramatically improve the quality. A more permanent set up could be used at St. Paul's and a portable system at Trinity Chapel. At its last meeting, the Vestry gave the go ahead for Mother Cindy+ and Jenn Grassle, church administrator, to look into possible video and sound equipment. Mother Cindy pointed out it would not be too expensive, but still professional. It will be paid for with money from the Book of Remembrance, a memorial fund that people leave to the church.

At the last Vestry meeting, Member Jean Downey suggested everyone in the parish should be sharing the Facebook services to possibly reach out to other people in the community. Vestry members agreed this was a good idea in order to expand our reach. Hopefully, with the continuation of the broadcasting of our services, even after the pandemic restrictions, we will be able to grow our outreach and be better able to serve in Christ.
Book Club
From: Jean Downey
The next meeting of Book Club will be Wednesday, February 24, at 10:00 a.m. Our meeting location will be determined by the Illinois State guidelines at this time. The selection for this month is The Unseen, by Katherine Webb. If you are interested in joining us for a lively group discussion or have any additional questions, please let Jean Downey know via email jldowney1@charter.net or phone 466-2253. 

All are welcome and we would love to have you join us!
"Occult happenings, romantic passion, and murder disrupt the peace of a Berkshire village in 1911 in this hauntingly good novel.”
—Marie Claire (UK)

Katherine Webb’s The Unseen, is gripping, thrilling, and unforgettable. In this compelling story of love, deception, obsession, and illusion, the arrival of two dangerous strangers in a small village in England in the early 1900s disrupts the quiet lives of a vicar with a fascination with spiritualism and his naïve young wife, and ultimately leads to murder. The Unseen is literary suspense at its most entertaining and enthralling, truly superior. 

Our Prayer List
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Please keep these people in your daily prayers:

Ariana, Victoria, Cindy, Connie, Andrew, Cheryl, Kay, Daniel, Michael, Tina, Marie, Pam, Brad, Tiffany, John, Patrick, Myrnelle, Dana, Richard, Barb, Frank, Rod, Jane, Sarah, Boyd, John, Charles and all those affected by the viral pandemic.
If you would like to have a name added or removed from our prayer list, please contact the office or Mother Cindy+ at 618-465-9149.


UPCOMING CALENDAR
Should information change as far as service times and availability for curbside communion, an update will be sent out to parishioners immediately, via email.

February 7 - 11:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer at Trinity Chapel, Live Streaming on the Episcopal Parish of Alton Facebook Page
Home Communion Available. Please contact Diane Martin*

February 14 - 11:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer at Trinity Chapel, Live Streaming on the Episcopal Parish of Alton Facebook Page
Home Communion Available. Please contact Diane Martin*

February 15 - The church office is closed for Presidents Day.

February 17 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. - Ashes to Go at Trinity Chapel Parking Lot
Drive up or Walk up

February 21 - 11:30 a.m. - Morning Prayer at Trinity Chapel, Live Streaming on the Episcopal Parish of Alton Facebook Page
Home Communion Available. Please contact Diane Martin*

February 24 - 10:00 a.m. - EPA Book Club (Location TBD)
7-8 p.m. - 1st Week of Zoom Lenten Program:
Gifts of God for the People of God followed by the Office of Compline

February 28 - 11:30 a.m. - Mass at Trinity Chapel, Live Streaming on the Episcopal Parish of Alton Facebook Page
12:45 a.m. - Curbside Communion


A PDF of our Service Bulletins can be accessed on the Home page of our website. Please click here.

If you have not seen it yet, please join our private Facebook Group to stay connected and share with the immediate members of our congregation. The name of the group is Members of EPA.


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Celebrating You!
With the Angelus being unpublished in the past couple of months, we have missed acknowledging many birthdays. We would like to take a moment and give a shout out to everyone we have missed, as well as those coming up! We love you and and look forward to seeing your lovely faces again!
February 2021
4 Donna Fisher
6 Sean Downey
10 Rev. Cindy Sever
18 Bruce Bayer
25 Bill Moyer
The office of the Episcopal Parish of Alton is operating out of the Parish Hall of Trinity Chapel while St. Paul's is being restored after a fire caused extensive damage to our office wing.
The office hours are from 9am-1pm.
We are working on limited time, and occasionally have to run errands, and due to Covid-19, we sometimes work from home. If you plan to stop by the office, it is recommend to call ahead to be sure someone is available to let you in. We hate to miss visitors!
Or you may email:
Rev. Cindy Sever - cindysever210@gmail.com
The Episcopal Parish of Alton |618-465-9149| | epialton@episcopalalton.org | www.episcopalalton.org