Dearly Beloved,
 
The past couple weeks in our country have been pretty tough emotionally. Just as we were beginning to feel a bit of relief from the easing of some of the restrictions due to COVID-19, the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis sparked a wave of protests regarding racism, police brutality, and societal indifference to these issues. And, as we well know, violence and rioting have broken out across our country in the wake of the protests. On top of all of this, the extreme political divide in our country has only gotten worse. The sad consequence of this is that civil discussion of truly deep-seated problems in our country cannot occur. It seems that, in every argument or discussion, it boils down to “I am right, you are wrong.” In other words, “I know the truth and you do not.”
 
But for us, these words or attitudes must not be a part of who we are and we certainly must guard against it. We profess that we believe in God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that He only is the author of truth. When we decide only we are right about something and no one else is (except those who agree with us), we put ourselves squarely in God’s place as the arbiter of truth. This directly goes against the First Commandment of “having none other gods but me.” Bluntly put, we make ourselves god before Him.
 
With all these things in mind, this past Sunday we prayed together the Litany from our prayer book (p. 54) to not only help us focus and lay upon His shoulders the difficulties in our society but also to help us recognize that He is the center of our lives and that all things flow from Him, including truth. When we humbly accept this, and live it, then we have no other God but Him.
 
Sunday Worship
It has been a blessing over the past few weeks that we have been able to gather on a more normal basis for worship on Sunday morning. The vestry and I will be monitoring attendance to ensure we do not exceed our capacity to maintain social distancing in the pews.
 
Other In-person Worship
There are some who wish to maintain small group worship. At present, we are celebrating the “Sunday” on Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. with a handful of people. Please contact Dss. Cynthia if you would like to come at that time so we can “schedule” you in. Also, the weekly Wednesday evening Holy Communion is available to you. Since we don’t have Bible Study or Fellowship Dinner on Wednesdays during this time, Wednesday Holy Communion is always a small group. You do not have to sign up for this.
 
If neither of these times work for you, and you would still like to come to church for Holy Communion, please feel free to call me or Dss. Cynthia. We are more than happy to set up another time for you to worship and receive the Blessed Sacrament.
 
I have maintained from the beginning of this COVID-19 era that you are the one who decides what is best for you and your family regarding participation here at the church. We have been very flexible here in responding to the varying and changing circumstances surrounding this pandemic and will continue to do so. Just let us know what you would like to do.
 
Live-stream Continues & I Could Use Your Help
Our live-streams will continue for the foreseeable future. Please bear with us as we have the occasional “hiccup” in broadcasting. I would like to ask for some help in this, as it all falls to me right now. It is extremely distracting for me as I prepare for worship, especially if we have a glitch. If you are very comfortable with computers and are willing to learn how to live-stream, please let me know.
 
Congratulations to Andrew
Major congrats to Andrew Blankinship on his graduation from high school. We laid hands on him and prayed for him at the altar in church and then we had a simple graduation party for him out on St. Timothy’s Porch. It was the perfect occasion for us to gather safely together and enjoy one another’s company while celebrating this momentous accomplishment by one of our fine young men of the parish! I have included a few pictures below and you can see the one up in the header above of Andrew kneeling before the altar.
 
News of Note
Brian Greenwood was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday with difficulty breathing. Yesterday, he had a procedure to remove excess fluid around his lungs and that helped abate some of the breathing difficulties. I spoke with him today and he is in good spirits and believes he will be going home sometime over the weekend. Please continue to keep him in your prayers, as well as his wife Carolyn, since she is not allowed to visit him in the hospital.
 
Bells, Bells, Bells!
Our bells are complete and installation will begin on Monday, June 29. Installing the bells will take approximately three days. Be sure and stop by that week to witness this historic event for All Saints. We will be live-streaming the action on Facebook and the church website. The Blessing of the Bells will happen on Sunday, July 5 at the 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion. Please plan on being here that day.
 
Our Vacation Bible School Alternative
On Wednesday, June 24, All Saints will host an outdoor alternative to our traditional, week-long VBS for our church family and community. Now we need your help spreading the word! Please share our event with grandchildren, friends, and neighbors. Thank you to all who answered the call to volunteer! Volunteers will meet again on Sunday, June 21 at 10:00 a.m. in the parish hall.
 
Zipping the Gorge
On Saturday, June 27, our youth group, youth leaders, and I will go on a zipline adventure at the Gorge in Saluda, NC. Dss. Cynthia emailed the link to sign the appropriate waivers for the trip. If you have not yet for yourself and/or your son or daughter, please do so. 
 
Food Banks
Thanks to all of you for your generosity in continuing to bring food for our food banks. Please keep up the good work. The usual non-perishables and personal hygiene products are needed as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, and desserts for Bread of Life over in Brevard.
 
That is about it for this week. Thanks to all of you for your continued support as we navigate our way through these present circumstances. May we all, in the ways available to us, worship the Lord and live His Gospel!
 
Blessings,
Fr. Erich

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