Dearly Beloved,
As you know, events in our country are rapidly changing regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. While we do not have any reported cases in western North Carolina, it seems inevitable that the virus will find its way here. Last week, I wrote to you about anxiety and panic and I encourage you to read that again. You can click here to pull it up on your phone or computer. Yesterday, I posted an article here on the website about the receiving of Holy Communion when you come to church. It is below in this post or you can click here to read it. Remember, we abide in the Lord Jesus and “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). The vestry and I will be meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 14) at 11:00 a.m. in order to discuss how we as a faithful congregation will respond to this virus and how we will help one another through it. Our normal worship services will continue as usual. In fact, they really should continue for our number one response to such an outbreak must be prayer, as well as the fellowship that lifts up our hearts so we can go forth to be the light of the world that our Lord tells us we are (Matthew 5:14). Part of being the light of the world entails being sensible and encouraging others to be so as well. Wash your hands frequently. If you are sick, stay home. If you go out when you are sick, you are likely to engender panic in someone else, not to mention the probability of passing on to others from what you are suffering. Be certain to get your information about what is happening from some place reliable. The CDC website is probably the best bet in this regard. Click here to go there. Please do not rely on Facebook news feeds. I have seen so many contradictory things there and on other social media. The cable news channels are not much better. One thing is certain is that the reporting on this also has been politicized. I try my best to avoid listening to anyone who is blaming someone else. Now let’s catch up on the news for this week. Lenten Project/WorkdayThis past Sunday, I told you that tomorrow morning would be a mulching day for our Lenten projects and should be our last project day! Please bring your pitchforks, shovels and wheelbarrows. We have 12 yards of mulch that need to be spread over all of our planting areas in front of the church. We begin with Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m. and then enjoy breakfast together. If everyone shows up, we will definitely be done before 11:00 a.m. See you in the morning. First Friday Youth NightTwenty-one of our young people gathered together last Friday night for food, fun and games. A splendid time was had by all. The highlight of the evening was when they all joined us in church and walked the Stations of the Cross with the congregation, as you can see in the picture above. It was a particular joy for me having all the kids following me around the church “making station” as we followed our Lord’s path on Good Friday. Check out all these pictures.
As you know, events in our country are rapidly changing regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. While we do not have any reported cases in western North Carolina, it seems inevitable that the virus will find its way here. Last week, I wrote to you about anxiety and panic and I encourage you to read that again. You can click here to pull it up on your phone or computer. Yesterday, I posted an article here on the website about the receiving of Holy Communion when you come to church. It is below in this post or you can click here to read it. Remember, we abide in the Lord Jesus and “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). The vestry and I will be meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 14) at 11:00 a.m. in order to discuss how we as a faithful congregation will respond to this virus and how we will help one another through it. Our normal worship services will continue as usual. In fact, they really should continue for our number one response to such an outbreak must be prayer, as well as the fellowship that lifts up our hearts so we can go forth to be the light of the world that our Lord tells us we are (Matthew 5:14). Part of being the light of the world entails being sensible and encouraging others to be so as well. Wash your hands frequently. If you are sick, stay home. If you go out when you are sick, you are likely to engender panic in someone else, not to mention the probability of passing on to others from what you are suffering. Be certain to get your information about what is happening from some place reliable. The CDC website is probably the best bet in this regard. Click here to go there. Please do not rely on Facebook news feeds. I have seen so many contradictory things there and on other social media. The cable news channels are not much better. One thing is certain is that the reporting on this also has been politicized. I try my best to avoid listening to anyone who is blaming someone else. Now let’s catch up on the news for this week. Lenten Project/WorkdayThis past Sunday, I told you that tomorrow morning would be a mulching day for our Lenten projects and should be our last project day! Please bring your pitchforks, shovels and wheelbarrows. We have 12 yards of mulch that need to be spread over all of our planting areas in front of the church. We begin with Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m. and then enjoy breakfast together. If everyone shows up, we will definitely be done before 11:00 a.m. See you in the morning. First Friday Youth NightTwenty-one of our young people gathered together last Friday night for food, fun and games. A splendid time was had by all. The highlight of the evening was when they all joined us in church and walked the Stations of the Cross with the congregation, as you can see in the picture above. It was a particular joy for me having all the kids following me around the church “making station” as we followed our Lord’s path on Good Friday. Check out all these pictures.
As you know, events in our country are rapidly changing regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. While we do not have any reported cases in western North Carolina, it seems inevitable that the virus will find its way here. Last week, I wrote to you about anxiety and panic and I encourage you to read that again. You can click here to pull it up on your phone or computer. Yesterday, I posted an article here on the website about the receiving of Holy Communion when you come to church. It is below in this post or you can click here to read it. Remember, we abide in the Lord Jesus and “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28). The vestry and I will be meeting tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 14) at 11:00 a.m. in order to discuss how we as a faithful congregation will respond to this virus and how we will help one another through it. Our normal worship services will continue as usual. In fact, they really should continue for our number one response to such an outbreak must be prayer, as well as the fellowship that lifts up our hearts so we can go forth to be the light of the world that our Lord tells us we are (Matthew 5:14). Part of being the light of the world entails being sensible and encouraging others to be so as well. Wash your hands frequently. If you are sick, stay home. If you go out when you are sick, you are likely to engender panic in someone else, not to mention the probability of passing on to others from what you are suffering. Be certain to get your information about what is happening from some place reliable. The CDC website is probably the best bet in this regard. Click here to go there. Please do not rely on Facebook news feeds. I have seen so many contradictory things there and on other social media. The cable news channels are not much better. One thing is certain is that the reporting on this also has been politicized. I try my best to avoid listening to anyone who is blaming someone else. Now let’s catch up on the news for this week. Lenten Project/WorkdayThis past Sunday, I told you that tomorrow morning would be a mulching day for our Lenten projects and should be our last project day! Please bring your pitchforks, shovels and wheelbarrows. We have 12 yards of mulch that need to be spread over all of our planting areas in front of the church. We begin with Morning Prayer at 8:00 a.m. and then enjoy breakfast together. If everyone shows up, we will definitely be done before 11:00 a.m. See you in the morning. First Friday Youth NightTwenty-one of our young people gathered together last Friday night for food, fun and games. A splendid time was had by all. The highlight of the evening was when they all joined us in church and walked the Stations of the Cross with the congregation, as you can see in the picture above. It was a particular joy for me having all the kids following me around the church “making station” as we followed our Lord’s path on Good Friday. Check out all these pictures.
Lenten StudyIt is not too late to join our Lenten study. There are two class times offered weekly, Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m., so that everyone in the parish can participate. Please remember, our Wednesday dinners during Lent are meatless. Donations of $3-$5 per meal are appreciated. All Saints Library is Now OpenA library for our church has been re-established in the second classroom in Simcox Hall. We would like to offer a special thank you to Dani and George Hanson for all of their work in bringing back our church library and making it user friendly. Please stop in and use your newly reopened library! Easter FlowersEnvelopes have been placed in the pews for Easter Flowers. Your gift in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a blessing will be noted in the Easter Day bulletin, April 21. The suggested donation is $25.00 and allows us to purchase lilies and special flower arrays for Easter Day, the Queen of all celebrations for Christian people. Lenten Fish FryNext Friday, March 20, we will hold our Lenten Fish Fry. Tickets are $9.00 each in advance ($10 at the door) for breaded tilapia filets, roasted potatoes, hush puppies, coleslaw, and iced tea or lemonade. Take-out will be from 5-6 p.m. and dine-in will run from 6-8 p.m. Kids under 12 eat free. Lenten Fish Fry Desserts—Sign Up!We know everybody loves desserts when coming to the Fish Fry but we need your help to make this happen. Please sign up on the bulletin board to let us know what you can bring! Desserts need to be brought to the church by 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon. Raffle BasketsTo help offset the cost of transportation during our Provincial Synod in August, hosted this year by All Saints, we are doing a raffle basket fundraiser. Raffle tickets are $4.00 each or 3 for $10.00. The drawing will be held during our luncheon and fellowship hour next Sunday, March 22 at 12:45 p.m. We will also broadcast the drawing live on Facebook that day. Take tickets and sell them to your friends! A special thank you to Verna Shipman and her daughter Melanie for creating these beautiful baskets. That is about it for this week. Please keep praying for one another. And don’t forget to read what I have written about receiving Holy Communion below. See you at church! Blessings,Fr. Erich

Holy Communion, the Common Cup & COVID-19

The receiving of the consecrated wine, the precious Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by the Common Cup at Holy Communion is the proper sacramental act whenever we gather together, for in this way we truly “Do this in remembrance of me.” One of the profound outcomes of the Reformation was the restoration of the Cup to the laity. In fact, before the Reformation, people were actually executed for attempting to restore the Cup to the people. Our Anglican Way of Christianity enshrined this restoration of the Cup in the very first Book of Common Prayer in this way:
“Then shall the minister take so much Bread and Wine…putting the wine into the Chalice. Then shall the Priest first receive the Communion in both kinds himself, and next deliver it to the other Ministers….and after to the people…giving everyone to drink.” This gives us direction that the Blessed Sacrament in the Precious Blood is to be delivered in the Chalice. In fact, our American Prayerbook specifically says that the minister “delivereth the Cup” (BCP p. 83). Despite the practice of other Christian bodies, the use of the Chalice, the Common Cup, is the only way we administer the Sacrament. Now let me turn to disease concerns. We have become a rather “germaphobic” society and the present concerns about the COVID-19 virus are adding to the anxiety about germs, etc. This is nothing new and has been looked at many times in the past. Let’s look at what science says. The following was published in 1988: “No episode of disease attributable to the shared communion cup has ever been reported.” (“The hazard of infection from the shared communion cup,” Journal of Infection, Vol. 16, pgs. 3-23) Ten years later, in 1998, the following guidance from the CDC was published: “no documented transmission of any infectious disease has ever been traced to the use of a common communion cup” and “the risk for infectious disease transmission by a common communion cup is very low, and appropriate safeguards–that is, wiping the interior and exterior rim between communicants, use of care to rotate the cloth during use, and use of a clean cloth for each service – would further diminish this risk.” (“Risk of Infectious Disease Transmission from a Common Communion Cup,” American Journal of Infection Control, Vol. 26, No. 5) Note the wording “appropriate safeguards” in the previous sentence. We do just what they recommend…and always have! The chalice bearers are trained to always wipe both the inside and outside of the chalice after each person receives. The altar guild always provides a fresh, clean, purificator cloth at each celebration of the Holy Communion. What then does the Church teach about disease transmission using the Common Cup? The Church has ALWAYS taught that it is impossible for disease to be so transmitted because the Sacrament is our Lord Himself! For the believer, it is unthinkable that our Lord would say, “Do this in remembrance of me” and then allow some worldly sickness invade a member of the Body of Christ. So how do we proceed? Our “default” position is that we receive from the Common Cup. We understand that Jesus’ Body and Blood cannot transmit disease. The proper wiping of the Cup, following the CDC advice, is a given. The wine we use is 18% alcohol, which effectively kills germs and gets wiped around the rim of the chalice with the cloth. And our chalices are made of the precious metals gold and silver, which are natural antiseptics. One priest recently wrote this about receiving the Common Cup, “Christians have been doing so for centuries, and still manage to die at the same rate and pace as the general population!” Here is one other piece of evidence I would like for you to consider. The parish priest always consumes the remaining sacrament in the chalice AFTER everyone has communicated and there has never been a reported case of a priest contracting a disease from doing so. I have thought about my personal experiences over 25 years in the ministry. I have finished the Cup after approximately 250,000 people. Many of these people have had colds, the flu, HIV (these are the ones I know about) and undoubtedly many had various other communicable diseases. I have NEVER been infected. You may say, “OK, I hear what you say, but it still worries me.” Some people prefer to receive communion by what is known as intinction. This is when you leave the host in your open palm and the chalice bearer intincts (dips it) in the Cup and then places it on your tongue. This insures that a person with washed hands (which includes me) is the only one handling the host. All servers are required to wash their hands before serving. If you receive in this way, please tilt your head back and fully extend your tongue so that the chalice bearer does not touch your mouth. Two important notes about intinction.
  • NEVER attempt to do this yourself. You will just transfer whatever is on your hands to the Chalice, not to mention possibly causing the chalice to spill.
  • NEVER pick up the host with your fingers, which are the dirtiest part of your hands. That will transfer what is on your fingers to the chalice bearer’s hands.
A last resort, if you still cannot settle your conscience, is to receive only the host. The Church has always taught that the fullness of the Sacrament abides in either the consecrated bread or the consecrated wine, the Body or the Blood, so if you do this, you will still be fully participating in the Messianic banquet of the Holy Communion. One final note: We will continue to gather together in worship, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. Our bounden duty and service is to worship the Lord. Once we have worshiped and have been strengthened by the partaking of our Lord’s Body and Blood, we then return to the world, living out the Gospel by loving and caring for all those around us and sharing with them that peace of God which passes all understanding. And that is the ONLY peace that can calm an anxious world!

This Week in the Parish

Friday, Mar. 13• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 7:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross Saturday, Mar. 14• 8:00 a.m., Morning Prayer• 8:15 a.m., Breakfast• 8:30 a.m., Lenten Projects• 11:00 a.m., Special Vestry Meeting• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Sunday, Mar. 15, Third Sunday in Lent· 8:00 a.m., Morning Prayer· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion· 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Lunch· 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Monday, Mar. 16• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Tuesday, Mar. 17• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 11:00 a.m., Lenten Study• 12:00 p.m., Stations of the Cross• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Wednesday, Mar. 18• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer• 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion• 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Dinner• 7:00 p.m., Lenten Study• 7:00 p.m., Choir Practice Thursday, Mar. 19• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:30 p.m., Evening Prayer Friday, Mar. 20• 8:00 a..m., Morning Prayer• 5:00 p.m., Lenten Fish Fry
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