Update from the Senior Warden – May 28, 2021

May 28, 2021

Dear Beloved Community,
We actually have a couple of exciting pieces of news to share with you this week. I like to characterize it as “there is light at the end of the tunnel and this time it is not a train coming at us!”
Beginning this Sunday, you will see some obvious changes at all five worship services. The first is that the wearing of masks is now optional for individuals that have been vaccinated. While we will continue registration, it will be an “honor” system. Greeters and ushers will not ask if you are vaccinated, but I would ask that you comply with this request and continue to wear a mask if you have not been vaccinated for any reason. I know that there are differences of opinion about this, but in addition to “conscientious objectors” we also have people who, for a whole variety of reasons, cannot receive a vaccination at this time. I feel strongly that we have an obligation to help protect them as well. We will continue to observe social distancing and, when we have coffee hours, they will also be outdoors, but masks are not required for any event held at the church for vaccinated individuals.
The second major change will be in the way that we celebrate the Eucharist. We will be returning to a more traditional format with the wafer being received directly from the Celebrant or the Assisting Priest and the wine will be done by intinction only at this point. I know that most of you are aware of what that means, but if not, it means that a chalice will be available with wine for you to dip your wafer to receive both elements. We just ask that you use caution when dipping your wafer to avoid contact with the chalice. At last Sunday’s Confirmation and Reception service at Chapel Rock, “yours truly” clumsily dropped his wafer into the chalice. If that happens to you, please just leave it in the chalice and ask the priest for another wafer. Too much information, I know, but it does happen!
We look forward to seeing you as we work our way back to a more normalized environment.
The other piece of great news is that Lauree Birchmeier has accepted the position as Director of Children and Youth Ministry. I know a lot of you heard me say that I was as concerned about the vacancy in this position as I was about our Rector! I meant that. Sophie did a fabulous job and I did have concerns as to how we would keep the momentum going to rebuild as we are able to re-open. A lot of you know Lauree, who so ably filled in as Parish Administrator during Beth’s medical leave and has continued to assist in the office. You may not know that Lauree also had many years of experience in Children and Youth Ministries in Michigan and has agreed to take on those responsibilities here. To say she has hit the ground running even before the official date of June 1 would be a gross understatement. Please give Lauree your support as she works to bring this vital ministry back front and center at St. Luke’s.
Lastly, we have a couple of needs that I want to lay before you. First, the Vestry is in need of a Clerk. The basic duties are to keep the minutes of the Vestry meeting and to make sure other records are properly maintained. There are two basic requirements that are fairly simple. The first is a willingness to attend the monthly meetings, record the minutes and make sure that all appropriate documentation is attached. The second is the ability to respect the confidential nature of some of those proceedings. The second is not as onerous as it sounds, as most items are open and transparent, but occasionally the Vestry is required to deal with sensitive issues and the Clerk may have access to those conversations as well. This position is required both by the Canons of the Church and by St. Luke’s by-laws. Please consider if this is a service you would be willing to perform for St. Luke’s.
The second need as we continue our journey back to normalcy is to re-staff our office with volunteers for morning and afternoon shifts. These volunteers enable our Parish Administrator to more effectively perform her duties with minimal interruptions and increased efficiency. If you are able and willing to take on one or two of these shifts, please contact Beth Parknowitz either by calling her at the church office or e-mailing her. My heartfelt thanks to those that have already stepped forward to perform in this capacity for their time and efforts – and we need a few more people to help us round out the schedule.
Lastly, I ask for you to please continue in your prayers and support for St. Luke’s in the early stages of this transitional period. I am excited about the changes mentioned above and continue to be very hopeful that this period will be one of spiritual and personal growth for us as the People of God in this time and place. Thank you all for your generous comments and support. I love this place and I know you do too. God bless you this week and see you in church!
Under the Mercy,
George Chesney
Sr. Warden