Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I am writing to announce that on Sunday, September 13, at 10:30 a.m. we re-gather for worship in the church sanctuary! We have reviewed the current data on the number of COVID cases in our specific region and have prepared a very safe plan for re-gathering that we feel confident will address the concerns and requirements communicated by the Diocese and public health officials. As long as the number of COVID-19 cases in our region remains at a low level, we will proceed with caution in holding one service at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday.
As some of our congregation re-gathers, we will still offer our services online. Those who worship from home will have the same service as those who worship in-person. You will access this online service the same way you have been on our Facebook page. As has been the case since the closing of the building, we will continue to bring communion to you if you wish to receive it. It will be up to you and your comfort level whether you and members of your family choose to attend in person or online.
To ensure everyone's health and safety, we will practice the following guidelines as we take our first steps to re-gather:
Prior to your arriving, members of our congregation will follow a cleaning protocol both before and after the church service. Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before the start of the service. When you arrive, come through the sanctuary entrance. To ensure safe physical distancing, ushers will seat you. Members of the same household will be asked to remain together.
We require that everyone wear a mask the entire time you are in the building. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided. A number of hand sanitizing stations will be available for you at the entrance. For now, we will only gather in the sanctuary. There will be no gathering in the hall for a coffee hour.
As the weather permits and cools off, we will have the 10:30 service outdoors.
Even though the service may be a bit different, God's Word will still be proclaimed and we will still offer our prayers and praises to God! We will celebrate the Eucharist. At the time of receiving, the celebrant and Eucharistic minister will come to you with gloved hands. There will be individual cups for the wine. To avoid the spread of the virus, there will be no congregational singing. You are certainly invited to hum, follow along in the hymnals and enjoy the voice of our organist. We will also avoid handshaking, hugs, etc. We ask you to be creative when passing the peace without touching. And, rather than passing offering plates, there will be collection plates at the back of the church only. If you wish to have a BCP, please bring your own. We will supply a printed bulletin for each time we gather. If you wish, you can pull the bulletin up digitally on your own device as you have been doing on these past Sundays of live-stream worship.
When worship is over, we will ask that you remain in your seats until directed by an usher to leave and to exit the building. Of course, you may linger outside for as long as you would like!
Prior to September 13th, the Bishop's committee will do an in-person worship "test run." We followed all of the guidelines listed above. We're also thankful that those for whom it is best to stay home can still be together in worship online.
Given the uncertainty of the times in which we live, we will continue planning one step at a time, listening to health officials and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We will keep you informed about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how you can be involved.
The Bishop's Committee and I are so very grateful for you! Because of your faithfulness, our church has remained alive and active, even though our building has been closed. Please continue to join us in prayer, trusting that God is already at work and is able to accomplish far beyond all we can ask or imagine!
Hymn of the Month by Beth Kerzee
September Hymn of Month: #692 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
Hymn Tune: KINGSFOLD adopt. R. V. Williams
Hymn Tune in hymnal is #292
1 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Come unto me and rest;
lay down, O weary one, lay down
your head upon my breast."
I came to Jesus as I was,
weary and worn and sad;
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad.
2 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"Behold, I freely give
the living water; thirsty one,
stoop down and drink, and live."
I came to Jesus, and I drank
of that life-giving stream;
my thirst was quenched, my soul revived,
and now I live in him.
3 I heard the voice of Jesus say,
"I am this dark world's Light;
look unto me, your morn shall rise,
and all your days be bright."
I looked to Jesus and I found
in him my Star, my Sun;
and in that light of life I'll walk,
'til trav'ling days are done.
Horatius Bonar (19 December 1808 – 31 July 1889) was a Scottish churchman and poet. He is principally remembered as a prodigious hymnodist. Friends knew him as Horace Bonar.
He was the son of James Bonar (1758-1821), Solicitor of Excise for Scotland, and his wife Marjory Pyott Maitland. The family lived in the Broughton district of Edinburgh. He was educated in Edinburgh.
He came from a long line of ministers who served a total of 364 years in the Church of Scotland. One of eleven children, his brothers John James and Andrew Alexander were also ministers of the Free Church of Scotland He married Jane Catherine Lundie in 1843 and five of their young children died in succession. Towards the end of their lives, one of their surviving daughters was left a widow with five small children and she returned to live with her parents.
In 1853, Bonar received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Aberdeen.
He died at this home, 10 Palmerston Road in the Grange, 31 July 1889. They are buried together in the Canongate Kirkyard in the lair of Alexander Bonar (and his parents), near the bottom of the eastern extension.
In 1843 he married Jane Catherine Lundie. She died in 1876.
Their children included the Rev Horatius Ninian Bonar (b.1860).
He was brother to the Rev John James Bonar of Greenock (1803-1891).
He entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland. At first he was put in charge of mission work at St. John's parish in Leith and settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the time of the Disruption of 1843, and in 1867 was moved to Edinburgh to take over the Chalmers Memorial Church (named after his teacher at college, Dr. Thomas Chalmers). In 1883, he was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland.
He was a voluminous and highly popular author. He also served as the editor for "The Quarterly journal of Prophecy" from 1848 to 1873 and for the "Christian Treasury" from 1859 to 1879. In addition to many books and tracts was a prolific hymnodist; many of his hymns, e.g., "I heard the voice of Jesus say" and "Blessing and Honour and Glory and Power," became known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last volume of poetry was My Old Letters. Bonar was also author of several biographies of ministers he had known, including "The Life of the Rev. John Milne of Perth" in 1869, and in 1884 "The Life and Works of the Rev. G. T. Dodds", who was married to Bonar's daughter and who died in 1882 while serving as a missionary in France.
His hymns, which number over 140, include:
- All Praise to Him Who Built the Hills
- All That I Was
- Fill thou my life, O Lord, my God
- I heard the Voice of Jesus say
- I Was a Wandering Sheep
- Thy way, not mine, O Lord
- Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face
- A few more years shall roll
- Come Lord and tarry not
- O love of God, how strong and true
Some of his books include: