Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
There is Good News to share. First, as our Treasurer, Leslie Amtmann, closed the books on 2020 she reports that our income last year was greater than our expenses. In addition, this was achieved without financial assistance from the Diocese of Maryland which we received the three prior years, and without drawing down money from our remaining two investment accounts! Thank you, everyone, who made this achievement possible! It is the first time in at least 15 years that Christ Church has achieved this sort of financial stability. Your pledges, your contributions, and the fiscal management of our Officers and Vestry made this possible.
Next, the case numbers and the positivity numbers in Maryland, and specifically, Harford County, allows the Diocese to give us the green-light to re-open for in-church public worship. There will still be limited socially-distanced seating, masks (not bandanas) required, and the no-singing prohibition in place. We will continue the instrumental preludes at 9:45am, and some sorts of music during the services. We will continue to Live Stream the services as well. The plan is to begin on Palm Sunday, March 28. Detailed plans for Holy Week will be on the next page. We have already allowed outside groups back into the Parish Hall, also with the same Covenant Restrictions that were in place before the Diocese went into total “lock down.”
In addition, I propose that with Palm Sunday and Easter (April 4) we “flip” the weekly schedule such that beginning in April we will have Holy Communion on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays, and Morning Prayer the 2nd and 4th Sundays. We will also continue Noonday Prayer & More Monday-Friday Live Stream at 11:55am.
As I have shared on our Sunday Morning Live Stream services, I will complete the 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday, March 16. At present, it is still best practice to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, and washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds throughout the day. It is worthy of note that during these past few months, there have been few reported cases of Flu nationwide. No doubt this is due to the vigilance of following the best practices for the Covid Pandemic. This is concrete evidence that these measures, as well as limiting one’s time spent indoors with crowds of people, greatly reduce viral infections from spreading.
I want to take this opportunity to once again thank our Officers, Vestry, Altar Guild and Women’s Group for all the hard work that has made our continued Live Stream Worship safe and possible. In addition, we have been blessed to have the musical offerings of Marianne Kidd and Robert Hitz every week! Our experience of “being church” has in fact deepened during the Pandemic, and our appreciation of the many gifts God in Christ has bestowed on Christ Church, Forest Hill, Rock Spring Parish are many and very rich. Stay Calm. Stay Connected. Stay Church. Stay Safe. And please, when your turn comes, get vaccinated if that is at all possible for you. We will continue to work through this together and return to Church stronger for it.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Kirk Kubicek, Priest in Charge
We are those People who Celebrate the Octave of Holy Week
Beginning with Palm Sunday, it has been the practice of Christians from the Church’s earliest days to observe the Eight-day Festival (Octave) of Holy Week – the Days of our Lord’s Passion and Resurrection. Centuries before there was a Christmas Holiday, Holy Week was, and remains, the primary Festival of the Christian Year, with many people returning to Jerusalem to walk the Stations of the Cross, and mark the days of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter. Last year we marked the Octave of Holy Week virtually with Live Stream Worship on Face Book and on our website, christchurchforesthill.org. It is with great joy that it appears we will, in limited numbers and with our Covenant Restrictions in place, return to worship in our Historic 1805 Church while still offering the services Live Streamed.
We can only accommodate between 17 and 25 people, depending on the number of pairs of people from the same household. And we will still wear masks (no bandanas or neck gaiters), and sit at least six-feet apart, with no singing allowed. The windows will be open and the ceiling fans will be off. Marianne Kidd will play instrumental music to accompany our worship. The plan for Holy Week looks like this:
Saturday, March 27: 11:00am-12:30pm those who wish may Pick-up Palms drive-thru in the parking lot.
Sunday, March 28: A limited number of people may arrive in the church at 9:45am to listen to the Instrumental Preludes followed by the Palm Sunday Service.
Thursday, April 1 Maundy Thursday: A limited number of people may enter the church at 7:00pm for the Stripping of the Altar and Holy Communion.
Friday, April 2 Good Friday: At Noon we urge you to view the Good Friday Solemn Liturgy at the National Cathedral. Click here, then scroll down to the Good Friday Service.
Sunday, April 4: 9:45am Easter A limited number of people may arrive for the Instrumental Preludes and Holy Eucharist.
As we are back in Phase Orange, we will continue to offer only the Bread, the Body of Christ, at Holy Communion when we return to church. Our new “No Touch” approach will be a tray with small paper cups, each with a consecrated wafer, that you may take off the tray yourself. Remember, all services will continue to be Live Streamed on Facebook and the Christ Church Forest Hill website. On Facebook they remain available for at least a couple of weeks, and on our website they remain available for at least 24 hours, so you may watch at any time.
If you would like a resource booklet for individuals, families and children, I suggest you download this Booklet from the National Cathedral website: Pray, Reflect, Rejoice.
Lent and Holy Week invite all Christians to Pray, Reflect and Rejoice – reflecting on the mysteries of the Last Days of our Lord’s life and death, and his glorious Resurrection on Easter Day. Observing the services of Holy Week can be the most rewarding spiritual experience of the Christian Year for those who enter into the deeper meanings of each service. As we continue to live in this Time of the Coronavirus, we are urged to take the time day in Holy Week, beginning with Palm Sunday, to reflect and pray upon those events in Jerusalem that gave rise to our being those people who belong to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. When we do, the following Great Fifty Days of Easter become even more meaningful, reminding us not only who we are, but whose we are. We call ourselves Christians because we know that we are in Christ just as Christ is in us!