THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, SHELBY, NC


Covid safety protocols July 2022


These measures use the CDC County COVID system. There are all sorts of metrics but this one combines several and is easy to use. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html



Green Low Community Spread Business as usual with an awareness of the comfort level of others. Safe seating available in Church and the choice between sip and dip at communion.



Yellow Modertate Community Spread



  • Masks mandatory in worship

  • Masks optional in other settings by consensus (ie if one person wants to mask, we mask)

  • Greater awareness of needs of the other in terms of physical proximity (ie. do not sit too close to people or hug them without checking that is OK)

  • Shepherd’s Table is fully masked


Red High Community Spread As above plus


  • 6ft social distancing

  • Masks mandatory for everything

  • Use yellow markers for communion

  • Alternate pews are closed

  • Peace is “no-touch”

  • The option to “sip” is removed

  • Food events are limited to pre-packaged and wrapped individual portions

  • Social events are rescheduled

  • no yoga

When the CDC estimation of risk reduces we will wait to make sure the situation has stabilized before stepping down our precautions. This will help to prevent confusion and a lot of changes.


Caroline+


7 views0 comments

Whenever I write a blog on this website the space where the title goes says, "Add a catchy title" - sorry it is not catchy and clever but this is a topic which has caused no little distress to many Episcopalians over the past couple of weeks as Bishops from around the world have been meeting in Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference.


The Lambeth Conference meets every 10 years (although COVID pushed it off schedule) and is made up of all the Bishops in what we call the "Anglican Communion". This is a coalition of Churches which have their roots in the Church of England. The Episcopal Church in America, despite the fact we do not have the word "Anglican" in our name, is the official sister Church to all the Anglican Communion Churches around the world.




















The Bishops attending the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury Cathedral in England.


Notice I use the word sister. That is what we are, sisters and brothers. As with any family get together there are times when conversations are heated. We have all been at a family Christmas or Thanksgiving where we wish we had stated home and eaten the cold pizza in the fridge in our pyjamas instead of attempting to engage with difficult and angry relatives. The beginning of Lambeth was like this and it all came down to human sexuality.


Many of you will know that the Episcopal Church is very liberal on the issue of gender and sexuality. We don't build barriers against full participation (including ordination) against anyone, regardless of who they identify as and who they love. Most of our sister and brother Anglicans around the world disagree. They are not stupid, they have read the Bible and prayed about it as we have and have come to a different conclusion. Do I agree with them? No. Am I going to stomp off and eat my gluten free, dairy free pizza, no.


Why? Simply put we live in a world of faction and division and the more we refuse to sit at the same table with people who, frankly, annoy the crap out of us with their views, the worse this gets. Our Bishops are not selling out by staying, they are behaving as adults should behave, they are modelling for the rest of us what tough conversations look like. Bishops on the other side of the argument are having to do the same.


The story of the family meal, of the table, is especially important for Christians because it is at God's Table where we are most ourselves. We cannot claim God's Table as our own, no matter how much of an issue of justice we believe such an action to be. We could choose to separate, to find corner of the world which is quiet and where we can believe what we want inside our Churches. But where is the message in that? If we are confident in what we believe we will sit at the table. People who are confident in their beliefs have the ability to listen, to understand, to walk a mile hand in hand with those with whom they disagree.


This is not just true at Lambeth but in our communities throughout America. I live in the South and sometimes hear things which raise my hackles. Not so long ago someone asked me what Episcopalians believed, after mentioning God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and their respective work for us and in us, I eventually found myself talking about sexuality. The other person was from a conservative Pentecostal Church and immediately launched into Genesis. I told her that I did not want to argue and that for every argument she put forth I would already have a counter argument. We should agree to disagree. She agreed. We both firmly believe what we believe and arguing would only entrench her more and, possibly, ruin any chance of future conversation.


The Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the focal point of the Anglican Communion but has no executive power over most provinces (areas), issued a statement which acknowledges the split and affirms that we Episcopalians are in the minority. But it also affirms that we are sisters and brothers at the table and that no one gets kicked out because of what they believe and no one is forced to say anything which they do not believe.


The Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks on Human Dignity



In a response, Michael Curry, our Presiding Bishop said


"My friends, I've been a bishop 22 years. I’ve been a priest over 40 years. And I have to tell you that as far as I know that is the first time a document in the Anglican Communion has recognized that there is a plurality of view on marriage. And that these are perspectives that reflect deep theological and biblical work and reflection. That they reflect and respect the context in which we live and seek to address the pastoral needs of our people, of all the children of God—that’s why I say today is a hopeful day".


I understand for many this will not be enough, this will be painful and will feel like we are selling out. Some will feel abandoned and less safe in a place they have recognized as home. You have not. However, I am not going to write this off as mere political maneuvering because to remain in relationship we have to remain in conversation and to remain in conversation we have to stay at the table".



I was worried a few days ago that the Episcopal Church would show itself to be the recalcitrant teenager at the family get together, we have not. In a space where we are the vast minority we have shown and garnered respect. We need to think and pray about this model of conversation because in our own divided and angry land we cannot simply refuse to engage with everyone whose views we find objectionable. Even within the Episcopal Church we do not all agree.


I have been in parish ministry for 25 years. During that time I have come to realize that we are never all going to agree on everything but neither should we silence voices. My bottom line in our Church is that you are welcome, no matter what you believe, and this is hard, journeying together can be painful. What is not welcome, and I will not tolerate, is hatred towards any of God's children, no matter which end of the spectrum of belief that it comes from, and no matter what forms its expression takes.


Difficult conversations are not new. From slavery and race, to the place of women in the Church and human sexuality, we have always tried to engage in tough places. Sometimes we have done that better than others. At each juncture, at each call for justice, some have walked away from the table and these conversations are not over. Let's be courageous enough to listen to those who disagree with dignity and strength. Let us notice those amongst us who are tired and bent low, and carry some of their burden for a while. Let us understand that, sometimes, strength is in silence and not angry retort. Most of all, in prayer and community, let us work diligently for God's kingdom to be here on earth where justice and peace shall reign and each and every person be honored as one who God finds beautiful and worthy of God's everlasting invitation to Love.


28 views0 comments

Some of you may have heard that there is a big meeting of Bishops going on in London called the Lambeth Conference.



There is a bit of a hoo-ha because not everyone agrees on everything, especially around human sexuality, and there is some upset from this side of the pond about how that is being handled.



We can get back to that. The Lambeth Conference meets every 10 years in London and all the Bishops in the Anglican Communion are invited.


The Anglican Communion? I hear you cry. The Episcopal Church has sister and brother Churches all around the world and we are Anglicans because we all started in one place - the Church of England. We are called different things around the world - some, like us, are Episcopalian, others are Anglican.


Just to be super-confusing there are a couple of groups in the USA which use the word “Anglican” - this is a long and complicated story. Suffice to say the Episcopal Church is “in communion” with the Worldwide


Anglican Communion, that is we have the blue checkmark of authenticity as the official Anglican church in the USA.


Confused? Don’t worry - it takes a while to wrap your head around all this.


The Bishops all go to England and meet at Lambeth Palace which is the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In some places in the Anglican Church the AofC can say what is to be done or not - but not in the Episcopal Church. Some here see him as a figurehead, some as a gathering point and others as largely irrelevant.


So what about the hoo-ha. Well, first it is a shame that we are getting pulled into it because there are lots of interesting things around Evangelism and Anglican Identity which are on the agenda. Whoever did what, why, where and when at the end of the day the Lambeth Conference is like Christimas dinne


r with all the relatives. There are those you agree with and those you don’t, some drive you totally crazy but you are also tied together by something bigger than the sum of your differences.


I do not mean to belittle the very real hurt and danger experienced by LGTBQ folk in many areas of the Anglican Church (most especially in places like Uganda). Neither do I want to take away from the fact that the Lambeth agenda has changed at the last minute to include a conversation around sexuality which is highly divisive and can be hurtful. All of this is true.


I do wonder whether the motive for the change is more benign than it appears, but time will tell.


The question the Episcopal Church will have to ask itself (again) is whether taking the pain of being a liberal voice at the table is something which we wish to continue doing. The last time things nearly blew apart compromise was reached, not a compromise about what we believe but about how we relate to our wider Church family.



Lambeth is a challenge, it always has been, It pulls together men and women from so many places and cultures with so many expectations and beliefs that there are going to be frictions. Learning to live in the discomfort of disagreement instead of cutting off from people is important for all of us but if that is just too damaging I understand that there are times when we have to leave the table. I hope this is not one of them.


The opinions expressed above are not universal, some folk at Redeemer will not agree with this analysis. Feel free to comment. As usual, abusive replies will not be tolerated.





8 views0 comments
Do you want to keep up to date on new posts - subscribe and you will always know what is going on!