On the Ecclesiastical New Year and New Beginnings
September 1 is the Ecclesiastical New Year! This past year has challenged everyone. Life during a pandemic is muted, cautious, and worrisome. The good news for our community is that our area is doing fairly well and our Holy Trinity Church family has been spared. Let us observe some challenges and the solutions.
Challenge – Multimedia usage
We were blessed to receive a good sound system via donation this summer. The challenge is that Facebook Live does not transmit the sound properly.
In the Ecclesiastical New Year (ENY) we will acquire a device that connects the sound board to the phone. The good news is we will be back on the air soon. This may take some adjusting, so please be patient.
Also, we have the opportunity to develop our multimedia presence online. Fr. Steven, who is an IT graphics design expert, has offered to help us set up a more permanent presence online! With just three cameras and a laptop computer dedicated to broadcasting our liturgical life, we can have a regular and very polished presence on UTube. This can be done with a minimum expense. If you are interested in helping donate or helping with this ministry, please contact me.
Challenge – Liturgical Life at home and in church
Liturgy keeps us connected to God in a profound and grace filled way. The new reality of Liturgical Life requires us to rethink and respond in a positive way. The only universally accessible resources for Liturgical life are agesinitiatives.com and the new Liturgy Hymnal. Thus, our participation at home and at church are very much needed.
In the ENY we are going to distribute a copy of the new Liturgy Hymnal to all who wish to have one. This will be your own copy in which you can place your name in the front cover. Please bring it with you to church or use it from home. Initially, we will give one book to each adult and one book for the children of each family. If we need to acquire more books in the future, please speak with me if you want to donate additional books. Over time we will come to love and appreciate the effort made to produce the books and become very familiar with the text and music. For those who must be at home, I have begun home visitations to bring communion to everyone.
Challenge – Sunday Church School / Youth Ministry
Covid19 has caused everyone to think of the safety and well-being of our youth. At this writing, it is not responsible to place youth in very close proximity to one another, even with a mask. Thus, Sunday Church School in a classroom setting is suspended until further notice. The Sunday Church School must be transformed to accommodate social distancing and learning the Orthodox Faith from home.
In the ENY, Stephan Kroger and I will be setting up hands on events with proper social distancing for youth and adults. Some of these will be field trips on Saturdays or after church on Sunday. Some will take place at church after Liturgy. Most of the events will be family events with youth and adults participating. All events will be announced and publicized ahead of time for maximum participation. The one mountain hike event we did in July with the GOYA youth was well received and a joy to participate in.
My hope is to prepare a list of resources for parents/youth to further their education in our Orthodox Faith from home. This can be a coordinated effort or self-paced study.
Challenge – Coffee Hour
In the ENY, we hope to spend time with each other in worship at Liturgy and in fellowship as well. The challenge here is resetting the church hall in a social distancing manner and also having appropriate items offered after Liturgy.
We should reset the tables in pairs to keep social distance, wear masks when not drinking coffee or consuming food. Our Holy Trinity church should consider acquiring healthy food items (no donuts) that are individually wrapped so we do not pass on contagious viruses or germs to another person. These can be donated by everyone. Some examples would be granola bars, small packages of nuts and healthy snack foods, individual breakfast bars, etc. We are seeking out a blessing from His Eminence to restart this. For the moment, let us continue to worship together and social distance in the parking lot. The weather is delightful this time of year.
Challenge – Spiritual Growth in the Ecclesiastical New Year
Each year we strive to grow in life, faith and spiritual understanding. The ENY we should seek out a good and reasonable goal to grow in Christ.
We can set a daily goal or a weekly goal that is easily placed into our schedules. Some examples include: reading the daily Bible readings in our church calendar, setting aside 10 minutes in the morning and/or evening to pray with your icons, reading a good Orthodox spiritual classic (I have suggestions!), participation in a Bible study from home (I am working on some ideas!), etc. This will bring joy and grace into our lives.
Happy Ecclesiastical New Year!
Love, Fr. Jon