In my message last week, I wrote of an emerging sense of optimism shared by our church leadership that church life can once again take on the semblance of normality. This past week, Bishop Dietsche shared his own sense of optimism in a letter entitled, “Return of the Common Cup.” He wrote, “…with the waning of the omicron surge, and the dramatic fall in the rate of infections in all parts of our diocese, I have a new message: I am happy to authorize, effective immediately, the return to Communion in Both Kinds, and to permit, and encourage, the restoration of the Common Cup in the worship of our churches.”
He also gave permission for the celebrant or eucharistic minister to administer communion by intinction (dipping the host into the wine and placing it on the tongue of the communicant) which from my perspective is a good compromise, given that all of us have varying levels of comfort regarding our readiness to drink from the chalice. So for now, the Invitation to Communion will incorporate the practice of intinction and also the return of kneeling at the communion rail, for those who would like to do so.
Please also note, at this month’s Vestry meeting, the decision was taken to make mask wearing at church optional and to revive congregational singing this Sunday with the reintroduction of a recessional hymn, which I am personally very much looking forward to. Last Sunday, we rekindled another cherished tradition with the return of Coffee hour in Colwell Hall. It felt good to be there, and was a welcome reminder that church life is made up of many small mercies waiting to be rediscovered and appreciated.
Onward in Hope,
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.