Palm Sunday
Electronic Chimes
Dear Friends,

I continue to pray for you at the difficult time.

STAYING CONNECTED

If you have Facebook, I encourage you to follow Christ Church's Facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/christ.church.swansea.57
On the Facebook page you will find the most current updates on the parish, helpful articles, important ministry opportunities and our prayer list. Please go there as your first source of information. We all have friends t hat are older or do not have computer access. I invite you to reach out and share with them the news you find on Facebook and our website. https://christchurchswansea.org/

Our website has been improved tremendously. It is still a work in progress. However, you will gradually be seeing more pictures and ministry opportunities.

We have also establish an online giving portal on the website. Please consider this another way to support the ministry of Christ Church.


WORSHIP AT CHRIST CHURCH

Worship will continue to be livestreamed via Facebook and Zoom. This said, I strongly encourage you to participate in the service through our Facebook live stream or Facebook playback. We have been faced with a number of technical challenges with Zoom. Inorder to videocast through the Zoom application, we need to utilize our router, located in the Parish House. That means trying to send signals through solid granit block has been something that, at the present time, we are not able to fix.

Once again, please join Christ Church for Worship on Sunday's at 10am. Our plan is to continue to videocast from the church until a time that it is no longer safe or permitted.

Noonday prayer will Wednesday. That service will happen once a week from the Rector's study. That service will smaller in nature, an opportunity to share with each other and see each other via the internet. That service will be using the Zoom application.

Holy Week Services If any of the links are not working, simply cut and paste into your browser.   

Palm Sunday will be videocast from Christ Church . As suggested by the Diocesan Pandemic Crisis Team, Palms will not be distributed due to COVID19 contamination risk. You WILL find the palms on the labyrinth and surrounding the church area.

We will not be able to gather during Holy Week. You are invited to use the google document below to aid in your movement through Holy Week.


For Holy Week , worship will take place online through the Diocesan Website . Congregations have been asked to worship as a Diocese.

Videotaped worship services for Maundy Thursday , Good Friday and Easter Day  are offered as a diocesan resource for congregations. 
These pre-recorded services will be posted and available on the morning of each respective Holy Day. An order of service will be posted for each service. 


The Maundy Thursday service will be offered from the monastery chapel of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Cambridge; Brother James Koester, SSJE, Superior, will preach. 

The Good Friday service will be offered from the convent chapel of the Society of St. Margaret in Duxbury; Bishop Gayle E. Harris will preach. 

The Easter Day service will be offered from the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston; Bishop Alan M. Gates will preach.

In addition to these offerings, Easter Sunday will be a live videocast from Christ Church . Please use the Facebook format as your primary source. If you need to call in and listen, the only option at this point is to use the Zoom application.

Call-In Option : If you do not have a computer or a smart phone, you can call into any meeting with the phone number via Zoom: For a regular phone: +1 929 436 2866 US (New York) Meeting ID: 139 410 093
This is not a toll-free number.

Easter Flowers at Christ Church
It's still not too late to make an offering towards the flowers. Please contact the office before Monday.

Following the Easter Service I will set flowers outside the sacristy/vestry door for folk to pick up if they would like. 

The remaining plants, Tony will take them and plant them, as he always does. The location for those plantings will be in front of the Parish House. You can see the beautiful yellow daffodils are blooming from past plantings.    Please don't venture out of your homes specifically for the flowers.

Please continue to prayer for the sick, healthcare personnel, grocery story and drug store people, first responders, mortuary personnel, and so many others that are bravely there for the people in this horrible pandemic. 



Yours in the Living Christ,

   
Father Al
 
Desmond Tutu reminded us, 'Christianity is not a religion of virtue; it is a religion of grace.'
 
Sunday Worship
J oin us on for worship on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/christ.church.swansea.57
or Father Al's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alan.hesse.9
Christ Church - 10am Sunday


 
C all-In Option
If you do not have a computer or mobile device to use Zoom, you can call into any meeting with the phone number:
       +1 929 436 2866 US (New York) or+1 646 558 8656
You will be prompted to enter the meeting number that you have been provided.
Meeting ID 139 410 093


The Vital Ministry of Masks
Making Masks
If you are able to help sew masks for nursing homes, traveling nurses, our food preparers for our Meal Ministry, please help us. Here is a pattern you can use.   


Please contact the Parish Office if you have some to drop off. Thanks!


April 3, 2020
 
These are the times that try our souls.
     - Paraphrase of Thomas Paine quote
 
Guide My Feet Lord, while I run this race, 
For I don’t want to run this race in vain
      - Black Spiritual
 
Often in times like these of fear, disappointment, struggle and confusion, my mother would repeat the words from black spirituals, Scripture and tried-and-true platitudes. She did not distinguish between their sources. Indeed, growing up, I thought they were all from the Bible, because she rolled one into another, and said them emphatically, with the conviction of faith; and at times she told me they  were  from the Bible. 
 
I remember certain sayings she particularly used as her “scriptures.” When I asked for something, she would say, “ God bless the child that’s got his own. ” As an adult, I learned that that saying was not from the Bible, but from a song written and sung by the jazz singer Billie Holiday. When she wanted me to clean my room or wash dishes and such, she would say, “ Cleanliness is next to Godliness. ” That platitude can be traced to ancient Babylonian and Hebrew texts before and beyond the Bible. To me, that particular saying truly sounded “biblical,” until I discovered its origins. Also, John Wesley included that phrase in a 1778 sermon, which made it a little closer to a religious saying.
 
Another very familiar saying she often quoted comes to me now, as we are requested to be responsibly and safely sheltering at home, with the exception of those providing essential services. Again I wish to acknowledge my thankfulness and respect for those on the front lines of dealing with COVID-19 and putting themselves at risk: First responders, medical and scientific research personnel, state and local governments, the civil service and employees of other essential services still at work.  
 
Now, as I am isolated, and bereft of community, regular public worship and the sacraments, with no certain date of life resuming in the company of others, this familiar saying echoes inside me: “ Patience is a virtue. ” This, again, is not in the Bible but is from the third century BCE Roman orator and senator, Cato the Elder. 
 
To hold patience as a virtue, that is, a high moral and desirable standard of behavior, is commendable and helpful for individuals and society in general. I think it is only a part of what is necessary in these difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
I deeply yearn for corporate liturgy and the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, and to go about again in the world, embracing others. Waiting for the time when again I can engage with others and the real presence of Christ in bread and wine, I think patience is only a part of what is required of me. Patience is only a part of what I need; being patient is only part of what I think I should be.
 
Over the past few weeks I have watched and participated in liturgies of the Eucharist online, but I find a difference within me compared to when I participate in other liturgies such as the Book of Common Prayer  Daily Offices of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. I deeply feel in these services the power of prayer, song and connection with others around the Anglican Communion and the globe.
 
But I find myself somewhat uncomfortable with online Eucharists even though I have what is traditionally called a “high church” theology on the sacraments and liturgy. The sacrament of the Eucharist is vital to me: As St. Paul wrote, “ for as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  (1 Corinthians 11:26) Yet viewing and seeking to participate in online eucharistic liturgies, I feel restrained and constrained. Holy Eucharist is the most sacred and most intimate liturgy. 
 
In the elements of communion we are offered spiritual intimacy with God and each other. It is God’s grace coming to us, and in us, to empower us to go out into the world to proclaim and serve God. It truly is communal in its essence, which is why a priest may not celebrate Eucharist alone; Christ’s presence in bread and wine is a divine manifestation with humanity, not just the individual. It is not magic; it is the presence of the Holy One in us. But this is my own struggle. I realize many disagree with me, and find comfort, solace and strength from online Eucharists, and I am thankful for that, even if I don’t quite experience it online as others do.
 
That is why I know patience is only part of what is required of me. Waiting patiently for this time to pass is not enough. 
 
What I believe is required of me, especially as we approach Holy Week, Easter and the weeks beyond, is endurance.  While I am bereft of sacrament and community, endurance requires I process the loneliness and isolation within me, without giving way to it, in examining what truly is foundational and what principles and values I hold. To ask myself: Is this what God desires; is this following Jesus? To endure means I must sustain and lean into my trust in God and God’s love to continue in this time.  
 
Endurance is more than being patient and waiting; it is not passive but active engagement with a situation. During this pandemic, endurance demands spiritual stamina, which invites me to enter more deeply into prayer, Scripture, hymns, stories of the saints and the vast resources of spiritual writing through the ages. Endurance comes from realizing I am a part of something beyond myself and beyond this frightening season.
 
Endurance.  As the Apostle Paul wrote: “But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way by great endurance, in afflictions, hardship, calamities… as dying and behold we live, …as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing and yet possessing everything.”  (2 Corinthians 6:4,9-10 NRSV)
 
A dear longtime friend of mine shared with me the words that follow below, which give her more hope and endurance during this pandemic.  I also think these words of Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre echo what St. Paul wrote, a poetic inspiration during the COVID-19 crisis:
 
Nothing Left
 
And when there is nothing left to do but live,
let us retire the noise,
and build a home inside the stillness.
 
Grab a wrench and unfasten the parts of you
that have become mechanical;
rest your weary limbs in the bed of anomaly.
 
Outside,
the machine is powering down.
You can hear the birds when the gears aren’t grinding.
 
When there is nothing left to do but live,
make a vacation of your body;
each part explored, a stamp on your passport.
 
Begin with your heart, maybe?
Crawl inside and sightsee,
ask difficult questions about who it is, and why.
 
Outside,
the machine is powering down.
You can hear yourself when the gears aren’t grinding.
 
When there is nothing left to do but live,
simply show up;
that has always been enough.
 
And together in this sudden strangeness,
radical imagination will run wild;
tomorrow being built today.
 
Yours in Christ,
+Gayle
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris
Visit our regularly updated COVID-19 Updates webpage
for all bishops' messages, updates and resources .

To be Held in Prayer this Week

I n our prayers let us pray for those who are ill, troubled victims of violence, or in any need or adversity : Brian B., Tom K., Heather O., Janice & Bill T., Lawrence A., Charles O., Edith M., Susan P., Michael F., Joyce S., Kristin F., Deborah H., Missie S., Mark & Vicki W., Dale D., Brian V., Simone B., Nancy H., Bobby C., Anthony W., Beverly S., Mark A., Dylan B., Jenny, Ali, Donna T., Bob B., Richard S., Dorothy P., Claudine S., John C., Kathleen L., Mary Lou, Joan, Larry R., Barbara P., Jo-ann M., David P, Debbie M., Jody F., Robin S., Raymond & B. Joyce D., Gloria I., Christopher I., Waylon D., Cheryl A., John G., John B., Al B., Sue S., James S., Will H., Ashley, Theresa H., Steve C., Cherie B., Robert & Helen H., Robert S., Julie S., Jack D., Ann G., Marsha G., Simona X., Lisa E., Jeannette & Larry W., and Nancy B. & Bruce B..
In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer : Parishes of the Charles River Deanery; Grace Church, Newton; S t. John’s Church, Newtonville; St. Mary’s Church, Newton; Lower Falls Parish of St. Paul, Newton; and Highlands Prison Ministries.
 
In the Swansea Cycle of Prayer : We pray for our own parish at Christ Church.
  Let us give thanks for Birthdays: Cathy Antone, Darryl Doane, Peter Mitchell, and Mikalah Munro.
 
Let us pray for those that have died: Laurent Rancourt.
 
Aumbry Candle is lighted in memory of Wendell B. Pols , by Charles Otley.

Christ Church
57 Main Street, Swansea, Ma 02777
Office: Leslie Lemire; 508-678-0923 or Christchurchswansea@yahoo.com ,
The Rev. Alan R. Hesse, Rector; 508-505-5668 cell, Fralan@verizon.net ,
The Rev. Sue Correira, Deacon