Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Saint Barnabas Church - Phase One Restoration

Dearly beloved in Christ,

We pray that all of you remain well, healthy, and safe. We love you and continue to pray for you daily. The wonderful news for which we have all been praying and longing has finally arrived! We shall resume Sunday public worship in a restricted way with a carefully-monitored Phase One protocol at Saint Barnabas Church on Sunday 31st May.

Whitsunday, commonly called Pentecost, the Great Birthday of the Church, is a most fitting day on which to restore our common life and worship together. We are reborn as a Church family on Pentecost! Like never before, we Traditional Anglicans have been reminded through the pandemic of the old adage, 'it is the Mass that matters.' Indeed it does.

Our health task force has completed its work and has produced a remarkably succinct yet thorough protocol which will allow us to resume public worship in the safest way we can muster. We shall notify everyone by email, robocall, publication, and our website of the specific directions of the plan. It is absolutely imperative for everyone's health and safety that we, each and every one of us, attentively and purposefully follow every aspect of the protocol. We want everyone to remain as safe as possible.

It is strongly advised that the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying health conditions refrain from attending public worship for the time being. No one with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other cold or influenza-like symptoms should come to Church. If you have been in recent close proximity to someone known or suspected to have COVID-19, please follow federal and state recommendations for self-isolation and testing. We ask that you not attend public worship during this time. Everyone should please check temperatures for fever before venturing out to Church on a Sunday morning.

Please note also that any risk incurred by coming to Church is completely assumed by the individual, especially in the case of those who may choose to disregard active state or local mandates.

Please also remember our ongoing criteria for the decision to restore, or if necessary, once again suspend public worship. 1. a decline of COVID-19 infections and deaths in our area for fourteen days, 2. the consensus of our sister Churches of the Apostolic Succession in the Atlanta metropolitan area, especially the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, 3. the directives of the House of Bishops of the Anglican Province of America, and 4. local, state, and federal ordinances. All four have been met for a 31st May restoration. We earnestly pray that that will hold in the coming weeks and months. But we need to be prepared to deal with circumstances as they may arise in future, and, if necessary, change course.

All parishioners remain dispensed from the Sunday obligation of attendance at the Liturgy of Holy Communion until further notice. Please remember that the Church has the authority to dispense from the ecclesiastical requirement to attend Mass on Sunday, and she has done so in this case.

Beginning on Whitsunday, 31st May, and continuing every Sunday thereafter for the coming time, we shall celebrate the two Sunday Eucharists as usual, at 9am and 11am. But the Phase One experience will be very different from what we enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic. We shall continue to livestream and record the Liturgy for those who are unable to attend in person or are still waiting to return.

Masks will be required of all who enter the building, and masks must be worn from entering the building until exiting. We urge our people to bring and wear their own masks, and to bring and use their own hand sanitiser, which should be used frequently while inside. Strict six-foot social distancing will be required at all times; the pews and aisles will be clearly marked for allowed seating and movement. Family groups may be seated together, but individuals and groups need to remain separated. There will be no congregational singing or choral music - Low Mass will be celebrated. The alms basins will be stationary at the back of the nave and will not be passed in the pews. There will be no presentation of alms. But please feel free generously to fill the alms basins!

We still encourage the faithful to make an Act of Spiritual Communion rather than approach the Altar. For those who wish to receive the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion will be administered in one kind only, the Sacred Host, in the hand only, and at the gate of the Altar rail, without kneeling at the Altar rail. The ushers will assist in guiding communicants toward the Altar while ensuring social distancing is maintained. Masks may be briefly removed in order to consume the Host, once one receives the Host in the hand and walks away from the celebrant, but then masks should be immediately resumed. Coffee hour, in-person classes, nursery care, and gathering of groups within the building have all been suspended. The Rector will greet people outside the building after each Eucharist, masked and observing social distancing. Clergy will wear masks during the time they are administering Holy Communion to the faithful. We shall ask everyone to be patient and careful when using the bathroom facilities, which will be limited to two people at a time.

What is provided above is a cursory explanation of our plan. These guidelines, and many others, will soon be made available to everyone in detail.

One of the consequences of 'Coronatide' is that in-person meetings are no longer as safe as they were before the health crisis began, so for the foreseeable future our parish classes will continue to meet online. Please feel free to join us for all of our online ministries. The links for our livestreamed and recorded YouTube Liturgies, our 1pm Zoom Sunday School, our 11am Zoom Wednesday Bible Study, our 7pm Zoom Thursday Philosophy Survey, and our Zoom Evening Prayer services at 7pm on Fridays and Sundays will be sent to you via email. Please update your email address on our parish website, www.stbarnabasatl.org. Please always consult our parish website for the most updated information and links to events.

Each one of you abides in my love, my prayers, my heart. Thank you so very much and God bless you!

+Chad

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Easter Canticle - Rector's Message - Wednesday May 13th 2020

Our 20th Wedding Anniversary

Today, twenty years ago, Megan and I were married on the
Feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. The Lord has blessed us wonderfully!

+++
The Prayer Book's service for Holy Matrimony preaches the most effective sermon possible on the subject. God and Jesus and St. Paul all agree, for various reasons, that Christian marriage is a good thing. As a result, following the Prayer Book, each member of the couple makes promises to God and to each other which concern his moral will.

They are promises he cannot possibly keep on his own. So by blessing the marriage God says, "As long as you have the will to keep these promises, I will give you the grace and the help you need to do it."

Today's wedding points out a custom which the Church of England and her lineal descendents share which is unlike the custom of any other Catholic church on earth. That is the custom that her clergy may marry. In the Roman Communion priests are not to marry, but married men can in some cases serve as priests. In Eastern Orthodoxy a married man may be ordained priest, but no priest may get married.

Our church's rule is that, since Holy Scripture in no way forbids it, the clergy are permitted to apply to themselves the same standards which St. Paul lays out for all Christians in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. St. Paul says some people are called to be married, and some people are called not to be married. Each state of life is a gift which carries its own advantages and disadvantages.

God doesn't think that either of the states is superior to the other. He leaves it to you and the Holy Ghost to figure out which gift you have and then act accordingly.

Father Chad stood before me when I made him a deacon and ordained him a priest, and he promised that his home and his family would be wholesome examples and patterns to the flock of Christ. Today he and Megan are taking a momentous new step in that direction.

Article of Religion XXXII, titled "Of the Marriage of Priests," says that it is lawful for the clergy as it is "for all other Christian men, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve better to godliness."

Let us pray that the marriage begun here today will indeed serve Megan and Father Chad better to their own personal godliness, and that it will always stand as a wholesome example and pattern to us.

-The Most Reverend John Thayer Cahoon, Junior