Like almost everything these days, the Blessing of the Animals is looking a little different this year. Blessings will be taking place on Sunday October 4th (the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi), from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. Enter in your car through the Sycamore Avenue drive (by the Parish House). Mother Lisa will be ready for you at the end of the driveway in the Parking Lot, to bless your pets and creatures; all people and animals will safely remain in their car! You may exit either onto Highway 35/Broad Street (remember: no left turns from that exit) or you may turn left onto the road that leads to the Presbyterian Church and out to Sycamore Avenue.
Step Taken by Bishop Stokes to Curb Spread of Corona Virus
At the direction of Bishop William ‘Chip’ Stokes, Christ Church Shrewsbury and its fellow Episcopalian churches in the Diocese of New Jersey will cancel all public religious services “until further notice.” The timing of the return of public services will depend on the scope of the novel corona virus, or Covid-19, pandemic.
Mother Lisa Mitchell sent out an email to parishioners in the afternoon of March 13 relating the decision and confirming that Christ Church will not hold services until further notice, starting with this Sunday, March 15, the Third Sunday of Lent.
In an earlier email to parishioners, she wrote that while she has been “advised to limit visits to the elderly and those with medical conditions (for their benefit!) but I DO want to know if you are sick or have a need. So please email or call me: firstname.lastname@example.org or (732) 741-2220.
We will continue to keep you updated as we enter new territory of the coronavirus front.” Mother Lisa also pointed out that there is an online version of the Book of Common Prayer that parishioners can use as a personal prayer aid while public services are canceled.
The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent, including the Collect for the day, can be found on this Episcopalian website.
The Bishop’s Decision
Bishop Stokes released a letter on March 13 explaining the reasons for his decision, writing that after prayer and consultation, and effective immediately, “I am directing all churches in the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey to suspend public worship services and all other non-essential public gatherings until further notice.”
The decision, he said, will be reevaluated as Holy Week approaches in order to determine “whether it is safe and appropriate to re-open our buildings to our congregants and the wider public at that time.”
The Diocese has set up a special website–coronavirus.dioceseofnj.org—with practical resources on how to combat the virus and the schedules of online worship services. The site (still under construction but usable as of March 14) includes a helpful video discussion on the pandemic that Bishop Stokes had with epidemiologist Dr. Philip Lewis, a member of Trinity Cathedral in Trenton (though that video was shot before the Diocese made its decision to suspend services).
It Wouldn’t Be Easter Without Them!
Again this year Christ Church is selling the ever-popular—and sweet!—Easter Eggs imported all the way from Pennsylvania.
Each fresh, home-made, foil-wrapped, chocolate-covered egg comes with the buyer’s choice of one of five fillings—peanut butter, coconut cream, vanilla cream, peppermint or double coconut, for only $3.00 an egg.
Parishioners will be pre-selling the eggs with delivery well in time for the Easter Bunny’s big day. Email the church–email@example.com–or telephone the church office at 732-741-2220 for more information and to order.
COMMISSIONING OF THE VESTRY AND DEPUTY TO THE DIOCESAN CONVENTION
During the February 16th 10 am service, the new vestry members, and Delegates to the Diocesan Convention were commissioned.
O Eternal God, the foundation of all wisdom and the fount of all courage: Enlighten with your grace the Wardens and Vestry of this Congregation, and so rule their minds, and guide their counsels, that in all things they may seek your glory and promote the mission of your Church.
Eternal Lord God, who by the Holy Spirit presided at the council of the Apostles to guide them in all knowledge and truth: Be present with the Delegates of this Parish. In the passions of debate give them a quiet spirit, in the complexities of the issues give them clear minds, and in the moments of decision give them courageous hearts. Guide them in all things to seek only your glory and the good of your Church.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.