During this time of pandemic, as we experience a massive amount of change and uncertainty, and as many feel as if we are a scattered and bewildered church, we must remind ourselves that our mission remains the same: to share in the life of God for the life of the world. Deepening our life in the Trinity, our devotion to Jesus and his kingdom, our love for God and our neighbor—this is what we’re always about come rain or shine!
But what does this look like in such a time as this? What can we do as a church during this unique season to remain faithful to our calling? We believe that now is the time to give ourselves more fully to those central parts of our life with God—those things we are always called to practice, the essentials that stand at the heart of our faith: relationships, prayer, and worship.
Yes, the Christian life is broader than these three practices, but it is nothing less. As we endure this time of hardship, no matter one’s particular set of struggles, this is a path we can all walk along together. Therefore, we are calling each member of All Saints to commit to the following three spiritual practices as the baseline for our life with God:
Join a Group
Instead of offering our usual series of pastorates for the fall and spring, we plan to provide a variety of different types of small groups throughout the year. Some will start soon, others will start later. Some will meet outdoors, others over Zoom. Some will require preparation, others not. Some will meet for a few weeks, others for months. Some will focus more on care and connection, others on study. But all of these groups will prioritize relationships that offer encouragement, love, and hope for our journey ahead.
We join a group because the Christian life cannot be lived alone, because we are saved in and for community. In the months to come, make group participation a priority. Stay committed to your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ while we will do our best to offer a variety of different group options (click here for a listing of current groups to join).
Pray with Others
Prayer is the heartbeat of both a person’s spiritual life and a church’s vibrancy; like a central furnace, it connects and energizes all other ministries. Central to the Anglican tradition is our common prayer, that is, praying with others—others in our family, in our church, in our world, and throughout history. Praying with others will look differently for each person, but it is a necessary practice to grow in love for God and neighbor.
Some people will pray Compline with their spouses before bed each night, while others will go through Morning Prayer alone (though never really alone, for they are always praying with the whole Church). Some will do their best to have family devotions at home, while others will pray daily over the phone with a friend. Some will participate in a Zoom call for Morning Prayer, while others will immerse themselves each day in the Psalms. There are numerous opportunities to pray with others (click here for a listing of current opportunities to pray with others).
Worship of Sundays
Due to the fact that indoor gatherings are a high-risk environment for the transmission of the coronavirus, our Sunday services have changed dramatically: less fellowship, smaller crowds, social distancing, required masks, no singing or Eucharist, etc. We also offer a live feed of the 9:00 am service so those in our vulnerable population can remain home and still participate in our common worship. Unfortunately, this set of circumstances has created the temptation for some to participate less and less in Sunday worship. To combat this, we must remind ourselves that our weekly time of worship, even if diminished due to COVID, is central to our life with God and one another. We must not allow this pandemic to make our Sunday gatherings optional. Especially during times like these, it is vital for one’s faith to gather with the saints each Sunday for worship—whether in person, online, or as a family at home (click here for Sunday links and more info).
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What might these practices look like for you and your family? While everyone is in a different place due to this pandemic, we believe that we can continue to share in the life of God for the life of the world by walking along this path together.