Wednesday, July 22 2020
Preparing for Live-streaming: The last month, we’ve been assembling the equipment needed to start streaming our Sunday liturgies live from church—a major step toward providing worship online that feels as much as possible like the liturgy as it would be experienced in person at our church. We’re finishing up that installation now, and we should be ready to stream the liturgy live this coming Sunday, July 26, in both English and Spanish. It’s almost overwhelming how much we’ve had to learn, and how many challenges we’ve had to think through, in order to get to this point! And we will no doubt have hiccups along the way—we have at every stage of this pandemic so far—but this change is worth making, so we can provide a better worship experience for each of our members.
Worship Schedule: Starting this weekend, we’re going to stream two Eucharist services each week from the church. The English liturgy will stream at 10:30 AM, and the Spanish liturgy will stream at 12:30 PM. Both liturgies will be available on our website as soon as they’re over, as well as being archived on both YouTube and our Facebook pages. While we’re not going to be streaming the 8 AM liturgy for now, I expect there will come a time in the Fall when we’ll start doing that as well. We’re trying to build to that, making sure that we have everything working before we take that next step and add to the schedule. And doing the Spanish liturgy at 12:30 instead of 6 PM makes it possible to have the same folks running the technical part of it, while also having the liturgy available at 6 PM when everyone is accustomed to it being. It’s not ideal; we’d prefer to have it be live at 6 PM, but this is the best way for us to balance staffing needs and pastoral needs at this point.
August & September: I’m going to be away from St. John’s starting July 31 until September 30, taking my vacation with my family in August, and spending time in retreat in September. I was originally scheduled to visit the ecumenical monastery in Taizé, France in the second half of September, but that appears to have evaporated along with so many things since Covid-19 began to spread in the US. I don’t know exactly what that retreat will look like at this point; so much has to be tentative, with the way everything keeps changing in response to infection rates, but I hope to spend some concentrated time alone, in reflection and prayer, and to come back on October 1 ready for the new program year.
While I’m away, Fr. Michael will be the clergy-in-charge at St. John’s | San Juan. Though he’s a relatively new deacon in the Episcopal Church, he has extensive ordained experience from the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Cuba and is fully prepared for this season of our common life at St. John’s | San Juan. I’m delighted to announce that Fr. Brian Gregory will be joining us each week to preside at the Eucharist, in both English and Spanish. Fr. Brian was a curate at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Sammamish, and most recently was a missionary working in Guatemala City, until he and his family had to move back to Washington on short notice at the beginning of the pandemic. Fr. Brian will work with Fr. Michael and our liturgical staff to provide a beautiful, engaging worship experience each Sunday.
The Tri-Parish Picnic: It has been our custom in the last few years to gather Labor Day weekend for a single worship service and picnic with our sibling parishes St. Benedict’s of Lacey, and St. Christopher’s of Steamboat Island, often with our bishop, the Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel, presiding. We still have that liturgy scheduled for September 6, and Bishop Rickel is still planning on coming to Tumwater Historical Park to preside at the liturgy.
At the same time this remains at best an aspiration rather than a firm plan. At over six weeks away, there’s no way to know what to expect for Labor Day weekend, so we’re developing backup plans with Bishop Rickel and the other congregations, so we’re ready if we need to shift plans at the last minute. Keep watching our two newsletters, The Messenger (weekly) and The Chronicle (monthly), for more information on what the plan is closer to Labor Day weekend.
I will be holding you all in my prayers over the coming months, and look forward to being with you again on Sunday, October 4! I am deeply grateful for this privilege of rest and renewal, and am eager to come back and tell you about my experiences, and to hear about all of yours once I return. Enjoy the rest of the summer!