Announcement from Bishop Andy Dietsche:
Return of the Common Cup
My Brothers and Sisters,
Sunday, March 15, 2020 was the last day before we suspended public worship in the Diocese of New York as a response to the Covid pandemic. Over the two years which have followed, we have seen coronavirus infections rise and fall, with seasons of surge and seasons of relief. During that time churches have relaxed many or most of the restrictions on public worship which we had introduced earlier, but the single requirement which has continued across our diocese has been the restriction against administering communion wine in the Common Cup. We have for all this time received the sacrament “in one kind,” and we have found that we have been able to continue to be a sacramental people, and we have adjusted to that new reality.
However, 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.
It seems to me that as we approach Holy Week, Palm Sunday would be an opportune time to re-introduce the Common Cup, but no one needs to wait. This permission is immediately effective. Recognizing that people have varying levels of comfort during a continuing pandemic, I want to be clear that no one is required to drink from the chalice. No is any parish required to do this until they are ready. But the prohibition is lifted.
For churches which practice Intinction, I do want to make an additional instruction. The last two years have raised for all of us again the question of hygiene and communion. Two thousand years of experience have taught us that wine can be safely communicated when people drink from the Common Cup, if the eucharistic minister properly wipes the cup between communicants. The practice, however, of people dipping the host into the chalice with their own fingers carries a high likelihood of fingers touching or plunging into the wine itself. Every eucharistic minister has seen this, and it is a certainty that this is an unclean and unsafe practice. Intinction is an acceptable practice in administering communion, but it is correctly done by the priest or eucharistic minister, with clean washed hands, dipping the host into the wine and placing it on the tongue of the communicant. The practice of people dipping the host themselves is not permitted.
The restoration of the Common Cup should not be interpreted to mean that Covid is over. Rather, it signifies that we have come to a time when all of our customs in life must adapt to the reality that Covid is with us indefinitely or long-term, and we must learn how to live with it with the highest degree of safety possible. Future variants or surges may come, and if they do, I call on all of our churches to return as necessary to the safe and reasonable restrictions that will ensure that our churches are safe places for everyone.
I have long felt that the passing of the communion cup from person to person is one of the most powerful symbols we have in the Christian church of our mutual vulnerability, depth of community, and open self-offering one to another. As a very frequent celebrant at our altars, I have often felt uncomfortable and even lonely when I have drunk from the cup alone. So I have longed for this day, and the full return of our customary and ancient practice of holy communion. May this add to the joy of our Easter celebration and the lifting of our collective heart!
With every good wish, I remain yours, Bishop Andy
Committee to Elect a Bishop Listening Sessions
Below is a list of times when members of the Committee to Elect a Bishop will be present to listen to everyone in the Diocese of New York – that’s you! Click on the link to register and you will receive an email with the Zoom link. Region-specific sessions will focus on the regions listed, but you are welcome to attend any session.
A Reflection on Prayer
I sometimes think I take prayer for granted. I spend time in prayer each day, often with many of you on my mind and in my heart, knowing what so many of you carry. And I spend time in silent prayer, which is helpful for my own renewal. And, of course, I lead prayer every week on Sunday morning (and sometimes more). Perhaps it’s because prayer is a significant part of my life, that I tend to take it for granted.
But when I really stop to think about it, prayer is such a gift. It gives us a sense of connection with one another as well as a sense of agency in a crazy world. And prayer is an invitation to us to remember our true identity – God’s beloved children. When we pray, every time we pray, we are affirming who we are and whose we are. In other words, we pray because we believe that we belong to God.
So, prayer isn’t just a set of words that we recite. It’s not just a time to be “prayerful” or to call to mind those about whom we care. Prayer forms us. It forms our imaginations and realigns us with our true identity and, therefore, prayer informs our actions in the world.
What does prayer mean to you?
In God’s love and mine,
March 20, 2022
Choir Rehearsal begins today after worship! Please contact our Director of Music, Terry Earles, if you are interested in being a part of the choir. All members must be fully vaccinated and will wear masks designed for singing.
Worship Update! Returning to the Common Cup
This past week, our bishop Andy Dietsche announced that he is allowing us to return to the Common Cup effective immediately so that we are again able to share Eucharist in two kinds – the bread and the wine. Please drink directly from the chalice. Do not instinct (dip your wafer into the wine) as this transfers germs from your hand into the cup. You may also receive only the bread. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak directly to Rev. Michelle.
Centering Prayer: Join us online for Centering Prayer every Wednesday beginning at 5:30 pm. A practice of readings, silent prayer, and reflection to support your deepening walk with Christ. Go to the St. John’s website for to connect and access the readings: stjohnskingston.org
St. John’s is hiring: We are looking for a Rental Manager – someone with commercial kitchen experience who also has communication/promotional skills to promote our space. The position is posted on our website so please help to promote this opening by letting people know!
Compline Prayer Service is offered every week on Tuesday nights at 9:00 pm through Zoom. Compline is a beautiful service of grace and peace that helps us to lay down our burdens at the end of the day. Go to the St. John’s website for the bulletin and connection link: stjohnskingston.org
Social Hour: Now that the pandemic numbers have decreased, we have resumed our social hour. Please join us after worship for coffee and snacks. And sign up on the bulletin board in the Vestibule to be a host! Talk with our Hospitality Coordinator, Barbara Johnston for more information.
Page Turners Book Club: The books for the next several months have been announced: April 5- Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; May 3- The Murmur of Bees, by Sofia Segova. Speak with Lynn Dennison for more information.
Welcome Alex Serrano!
Our new Church Sexton, Alex, grew up in this area and also works for Holy Cross/Santa Cruz as their Sexton. For us he will assist in taking care of the buildings and grounds and lead our Parish Clean-up Days. When you see him around, please welcome him and introduce yourself!
Have an announcement for the bulletin?
Please send by Wednesday at noon to email@example.com.
St. John’s Upcoming Schedule
Mar 20: Choir rehearsal begins after worship
Mar 27: Guest Preacher: The Rev. Dcn. Gene Bourquin, Pastoral Minister for Deaf and Disability Ministry – stay after worship for a conversation with Deacon Gene.
Apr 4: Lenten Healing Service, 7:30 pm
Apr 10: Palm Sunday
Apr 14: Maundy Thursday
Apr 15: Good Friday
Apr 16: Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil
Apr 17: Easter Sunday and egg hunt!
May 19-21: Contemplative Retreat – Sofia: Thomas Merton and the Wisdom of God, co-led by the Rev. Matthew Wright and the Rev. Michelle Meech. More information forthcoming!