Rejoice! I will say it again, rejoice!
Beginning in June, we will be free to gather again without restrictions! As we allow this long-awaited reality to sink in, the words St. Paul once wrote to suffering Christians in the early church resonate within us:
“We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
Especially on this particular Pentecost, we rejoice that the Holy Spirit has poured God’s love into our hearts!
Our hearts rejoice that the suffering of the past year has indeed produced perseverance, character, and hope! As St. Paul says, hope does not disappoint…
Our hearts ultimately rejoice that once again we will gather in community without restriction, sing to the Lord with abandon, and communicate face to face!
Earlier this week, Bishop Susan Goff announced to Clergy, that based on the CDC’s and Governor Northrup’s guidance, the Diocese is lifting its pandemic restrictions on gathering — both inside and outside! (You may read her letter on the Diocese of Virginia web page by clicking here.)
Beginning June 6 (Youth Sunday), Pohick will once again gather in unlimited numbers in the church and parish hall — for Worship, Fellowship, Christian Education, Outreach, and all Ministry! Bishop Susan has delegated to Rectors authority for making specific decisions, but in general, this means:
- No more limits to numbers of people in worship (inside or outside) and no more sign-ups necessary!
- No more check-in procedures at the door!
- No masks worn by those who are vaccinated (honor system)!
- No more ban on singing! No more ban on choir practice!
- No more restrictions on fellowship; Christian formation; outreach gatherings including Vacation Bible School, staff and ministry gatherings; or outside ministries who use our property (Boy Scouts, Ethiopian ministry, home school, etc.).
- We will continue to have “Communion in one kind” (bread only).
- Vaccinated home lay eucharistic visitors who are trained may take communion to the home-bound (in one kind) after they receive instruction from me.
- Weddings, funerals and other special services are no longer restricted in numbers or otherwise.
Since we have not yet moved to “Green” in the pandemic’s metrics, nor to “herd immunity,” there is still a need to be moderately cautious. Therefore, I am mandating the following measures to help protect the unvaccinated and the vulnerable (based on the Bishop’s recommendations):
- Choir and congregational singing and choir processions will be allowed in church, with masks.
- Parishioners who are vaccinated do not have to wear a mask in church, except when singing. Everyone who sings (parishioners and choir members) must wear a mask while singing.
- Everyone who is NOT vaccinated is on their honor to wear a mask during the entire service. It is also encouraged that non-vaccinated children wear a mask for their protection as well. We trust parents’ discernment! We absolutely want families and children to be in church.
- All Choir members must be vaccinated to participate in choir practice and Sunday choir.
- We will continue to provide masks and hand sanitizer in the pews only, for convenience.
Please continue to use your best judgment based on love. You are trusted to do what is right for yourselves and for others. No one will be “policing” whether people are vaccinated or wearing masks.
Once again, I strongly recommend that if you haven’t been vaccinated, you do so. For almost all age groups, vaccines are readily available and have been proven to be highly effective.
These are the important details for now. Because of the loosened restrictions:
- Beginning June 6, we will move to a Summer Worship Schedule of 8:00 am Rite I and 10:00 am Rite II. Nursery will be provided.
- We will continue to Live-Stream the 10:00 am service for shut-ins and seekers.
- Between services, there will be a light Fellowship Hour in the Parish House Common Room. Connie Myers will coordinate.
- After Shrine Mont weekend, Summer Adult Bible Study will be offered between services.
- June 6 is Youth Sunday. At the 10:00 am service, youth will preach and participate in the service; seniors, teachers, and advisors will be recognized; and scholarships will be awarded. At the Fellowship Hour, a Lifetime Service Award will be presented.
- June 20, 10:00 am, is the Bishop Visitation with Confirmation and Baptisms. We have 18 confirmations/receptions/reaffirmations and two baptisms so far. If you would like to be baptized or have a child baptized, please contact the office ASAP.
- Saturday, June 19 at 10:00 am, Confirmation/Reception/Reaffirmation candidates and Baptism candidates will meet at the church for instruction and practice.
- The weekend of June 25-27 is “Shrine Mont Light.” Call on your own to sign up or reserve online. Visit website for more information.
- Vacation Bible School is in July. Children will be able to gather inside and out and will be allowed to sing (with masks). Details TBD.
As for ministries who are supporting the upcoming services and fellowship events, you will be contacted by your ministry leaders about any specifics. Generally, worship will return to former summer processes and procedures (altar guild, LEMs, acolytes, flower guild, choirs, etc.)
Meanwhile, for the next two Sundays (May 23 and May 30), all current restrictions and procedures remain in place. Services remain at 7:45 am and 9:00 am, with sign-ups and check-ins.
Recently, we celebrated and thanked retiring Music Minister Linda Wilberger Egan. We joyfully welcomed the Rev. Deacon Celal Kamran to Pohick. In June we will welcome new Music Minister David Leahey with great joy as well. Thank you for showering them with Pohick hospitality!
My heart is so full!
I want to take this opportunity to thank our beloved community: the Vestry, Wardens, Staff, Lay Leaders, and every one of you! I am eternally grateful for your trust, flexibility, and mutual care throughout this incredibly difficult year of profound transition. I am prouder than ever of Pohick Church for our spirit, resilience, perseverance, hope – and most of all, for our love!
Our resurrected Lord is creating something new. Our doors are wide open once again. I can hardly wait to see what the Holy Spirit will do in and through us!
Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit,