Saturday, May 30, 2020

From Mother Vicki

When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
The Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This Sunday is Pentecost, the celebration that is fifty days after Easter and considered to be the birthday of the Church.  This is the day on which the disciples were together and the Holy Spirit descended on them with the sound of a violent wind and with tongues "as of fire" resting on each of their heads.  In astonishment, people who had come from all over the known world gathered together and listened to them preaching in each of their native tongues about Jesus of Nazareth and the gift of his death, resurrection and ascension revealing his true identity as the Messiah.  We celebrate this Feast with the liturgical color of red for the Holy Spirit!

This has been a difficult week.  There are now more than 100,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19.  The tragedy of this pandemic the world over is unequaled in our lifetime.  And in addition to that, the unjust killing of a civilian, George Floyd, who happened to be a person of color, by a police officer in Minneapolis has resurrected the incredible disparity in the ways in which people are treated in this country depending on the color of their skin.  Peaceful protests leading to angry riots have been breaking out in major cities.  We look to our government for leadership, compassion and justice, and are struggling with the words we hear and the actions that have been taken.  Prayers for our country and for the world.

I am so grateful for Jason Slayden's joyous singing in Hymn 225 "Hail Thee Festival Day" and his lovely doubled voice on the chant from Hymn 504 "Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire," making it sound like a monastic choir.  Thanks so much to Tina and Bobby D'Amato for their wonderful dramatic reading of Acts 2:1-21, to Jen Longley and Amy Weinstein for their beautiful rendition of Psalm 104: 25-35,37, and to Vera Johnson for the clarity of her profession in 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 that, "in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."  Thanks be to God for the great gift of the Holy Spirit who calls us to be better than we think we can be and reminds us that we are supposed to have different gifts.  God will use them all as we become one body in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We were so sorry to hear that Hampson Sisler, George Morrison's cousin, died this week after battling with COVID-19.  We remember especially his gifted organ playing a number of times for our services.  We pray especially for those who continue to recover from the virus, including Carmen Hanchard and Val DeBride's cousin Martha Wright (a nurse who works in the ER). Please continue to pray for Lynette Lewis and for Aida Carino, who are both struggling with other ailments. This Sunday we celebrate Monica Harmon and Donna Davis' Birthdays (hooray!).

Please join us on Pentecost Sunday for our worship service, which will be sent out by email at 7:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, May 31st. If you know of someone who would like to be on our email list, they can sign up at yonkerschurch.org (scroll down and at the bottom of the lighter green column on the right side, click on "Sign up for our Email List"). If you are NOT receiving these emails and had been in the past, please sign up again!  It probably means that you hit "unsubscribe" by mistake.  As it turns out with this particular system, we cannot unsubscribe you, and cannot subscribe you back again if that has happened.

Don't forget to join us for our Zoom coffee hour, which we are holding on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to about 12:10 p.m.!  It is such a wonderful thing to see your faces and hear your voices.  You can always call in even if you can't get Zoom. The link is below.  Put a note on your refrigerator to remind yourself.  If you haven't joined us yet, you will be surprised at the great gift it is to reconnect with our dear congregation!
We held a very good and intense Vestry Meeting on Thursday night by Zoom.  I am extremely grateful for their combined wisdom, especially as regards to the letter from Bishop Dietsche that discussed our careful phases of reopening.  Due to the complex nature of holding services for just 10 people, and the rigor with which things would need to be sanitized, hymnals and books of common prayer removed from the pews, face masks and sanitizer provided for all, no singing, no communion, social distancing enforced, etc. etc., we have made the difficult decision to continue our on-line worship for now, hoping that in July and August the Officiants (myself in July and Canon Claudia in August) will be able to live-stream in some form from the Sanctuary or at home, and that in September we will all be in better shape to provide a bit more normal form of worship.  We live in hope!  This also means, according to the Bishop's letter, that no outside groups are allowed to use our facilities until we have resumed worship services in the space.

In addition, after hearing the very real concerns about having the farmers come on our property in July, finding out that legally we are responsible for seeing to it that anyone who comes on the property follows proper protocols, and following the Vestry discussion of these issues in regards to the Bishop's letter, George Morrison and I have decided that we have no choice but to cancel the Farmers' Market.  This is very sad, as are many other things right now.  But in order to keep people safe, we have made this difficult decision.

And so we pray mightily for the Holy Spirit to inspire us in new ways and bless us with the winds of the Spirit.  May our heavenly Comforter comfort us in these difficult times.  Stay safe, dear people of God, and keep the faith!

Pentecost blessings, joy and much love,
The Rev. Canon Victoria Sirota
mothervsirota@gmail.com; cell phone 443 257 9963

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