Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Putting On the Mind of Christ When Ours Is Weary

By The Rev. Cameron Randle, Rector

The sure sign of a prolonged departure from one’s usual routine is having to ask the question, “What day is this?” This often occurs toward the back end of an extended vacation (or early into one’s retirement) and represents a healthy relinquishment of rigid schedules and demanding commitments. Since the COVID-19 crisis, however, the same question has arisen in an altogether different context. During more than one conversation over the past couple of weeks, someone has remarked that they’d recently lost track of which day it was. The lapse is usually short-lived. It is a reminder, though, that many of us have been forcibly ejected from our familiar pattern of living.
 
As we enter Holy Week after passing through the portal of Palm Sunday this weekend, we’re likely to encounter a very different experience from that to which we’ve become accustomed. As Anglicans and Episcopalians, we appreciate the invitation to follow the life of Christ, told against the backdrop of Hebrew scripture, by observing the liturgical calendar. Each year at Advent I, we begin a new journey together through our common spiritual heritage. The experience of retracing the steps of Christ becomes especially intense during the Lenten season, often culminating with the emotional highs and lows and highs of Holy Week and Easter.  The process can be taxing, even exhausting, but always leaves us renewed and inspired.
 
Please know that this year is no exception. Despite our inability to gather physically together, we remain unified as a parish and as a people of faith. We draw from a common well of living water and are called to a common purpose for which we have been fully equipped by the Divine, even when we feel under-resourced, disoriented and uncomfortably restricted. At the outset of this Sunday’s epistle from St. Paul to the Philippians, a critical directive is issued. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Given the uncertainty and fluidity of our present pandemic, with all its social, medical and economic repercussions, we may find ourselves in uncharted territory during Holy Week and Easter. We may be tempted to give in to disappointment and even depression.
 
I urge you, instead, to keep an eye on the Christ. Listen carefully as scripture tells us what he was thinking; how he reacted to dark and tumultuous forces; what actions he chose to take; which words were spoken by him; and even more impactful, which words went strategically unspoken. Be intentional about identifying key characteristics of the mind of Christ and finding ways to assimilate those very characteristics into your own heart, mind and soul.
 
During this unfamiliar and unwelcome departure from our preferred reality, we may not always know what day it is. But we can awaken each day and retire each night knowing that the very mind of Christ is available to us as a consummate solace and source of joy and hope, even in the midst of suffering. We’re all in this together. Together, we’ll get through to the radiant, restorative realm of resurrection.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Cemetery operations in COVID-19; progress of expansion plans

By Mike Brown, Cemetery Director

After consultation with Father Cameron, we have and will continue with full operations of the ESC Cemetery.  We feel that there is still a need for families to visit loved ones interred within our gates and that it is important for people to be able to lay a love one to rest as the need arises.  We have been in consultation with Funeral Homes in the area and they are performing funerals with “Social Distancing” in mind.  This includes advising families to have services virtually (Facetime, Zoom or other online media services) and graveside services that limit the number to immediate family members only, or even delaying an internment all together.

With this being the reality for families in need, Father Cameron and I also agree that we need to maintain our cemetery operations in keeping with Bishop Haynes directive for limiting (or eliminating) our group contact in church activities.  I will be working with Funeral Homes to ensure graveside services and activities are caring, compassionate and respectful of a family’s needs during the passing of a loved one, yet also mindful of the direction given to us by Bishop Haynes.

Exciting news about the Cemetery Expansion…
  • We have finalized and signed an agreement with a Contractor (Premiere Earth Shaping) to start work on the expansion.
  • We have also finalized a contract with our Surveyor (Fallon Land Surveying) to perform construction stakeout and as-built surveys for the project.
  • We are finalizing a Surety Construction Performance Bond from Ware Insurance (Former Parishioner Ed Kellam’s Business) to submit to the City.
  • We have obtained the Construction General Permit From the State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
  • We have an approved Stormwater Maintenance Agreement with the City
  • We had planned, with Father Cameron and Rev Julia, to have a nice groundbreaking ceremony, which would include the parish, members of our committee, the contractor and others.  However, in light of our “Social Distancing” protocol, we will NOT be performing a groundbreaking ceremony, but will have a simple “Blessing of the Project” prior to the start.
  • With the reduced activities at church, this may be a blessing in disguise for us as a church as heavy construction trucks and equipment coming and going from the cemetery means less interference with a normally vibrant and active church.  This means a safer environment for all (especially the PDS children and families)!
  • Our plan is to take plenty of pictures to document the project, and so that we can share online with others who might not venture to the cemetery during this time of isolation and “Social Distancing”.
If you have any questions, please reach out to Mike Brown at 757-642-5650 or esccemetery@verizon.net

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

From the Rector: Parishwide Check-In to Begin


As restricted activities and physical distancing continue to change the landscape of our personal and parish lives, leadership at Eastern Shore Chapel has begun an initiative to look in to the current welfare and concerns of our membership. This weekend, phone calls will be forthcoming, in which members of the vestry, staff, pastoral care, clergy and lay volunteers will reach out to our ESC family for a general update on health and well-being.
 
A casual ‘needs assessment’ will also be offered. We are hoping to identify areas of need, concern or anxiety where an extra hand, ear or heart could make a difference. At the same time, we are hoping to help bring some parishioners in to a more effective communication zone. For example, many of our members are not subscribing to The Chimes newsletter online. Others are unaware of our online Sunday service of Holy Eucharist via YouTube..
 
This collective effort is meant to remind folks that ESC is a compassionate and proactive faith community, even, and especially, in these unprecedented times. If you are available and willing to make a couple of calls to ‘take a pulse’ and/or offer help with any practical needs that may be going unmet, please contact our Parish Secretary, Laurie Fox at lfox@easternshorechapel.org or give a call to the Parish Office at 757-428-6763.
 
Our Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent references “the swift and varied changes of the world.” How’s that for an understatement?! In the days ahead, we will continue to be the church, most likely in new and unimagined ways. We will continue to offer prayers and praise, despite separation from our accustomed physical proximity. We will remember those in particular need and offer thanks for our common journeys.
 
Rest assured that Eastern Shore Chapel is in stellar hands—those of the Divine. Our church home is also being looked after by some of the most dedicated and talented colleagues one could imagine. From clergy to vestry, volunteers, staff and (especially) sextons, the campus at 2020 Laskin Road is only temporarily scaled-down. Even now, we’re adapting, preparing, and planning to carry out our commission to love and serve others in Christ’s name, regardless of the world’s impediments and uncertainty.
 
Stay the course. Remain rooted in love and faith. Resolve to look after each other and minister to the least among us.
 
Peace & blessings,
Cameron
 
The Rev. Cameron Randle
Rector   

Friday, March 20, 2020

Lent (is still on!)


As the jokes goes: We are giving up more for Lent than expected. But while we are in our Lenten caves away from the world, we are even more aware of how we are connected to the world. We are still in Lent and the importance of being intentional is even more important than before to us. 

We are halfway to Holy Week, as well as almost halfway in our walk to Jerusalem during our Healthy Lent. I encourage you to continue your Lenten disciplines but be open to tweaking them. You can do the Daily Offices by yourself we will up to 2,000 steps per service. Praying for a minute gives you a 100 steps, this mean 20 minutes of prayers will be 2,000 steps. Please continue to read the Lenten books offered. Also you can add being intentional in your eating (turn off electronics and be aware of what you are eating) will be 500 steps. If you watch an educational video (like Ted Talks) that counts as 500 steps per video. If you wash your hands sing a verse from your favorite Hymn for 20 seconds or say the Lords Prayer and get 500 steps. Parents, you can have your kids write letters to people in retirement homes or in prison for 5,000 steps, or any activity you feel that helps the children be intentional in their actions.

The biggest goal is that we are intentional in our actions. We are called to walk and pray with God during this Lent.

Click here to download a Healthy Lent Report Card you can use to turn in your steps. To turn in your steps please email Lee Davis at cleedavis3@gmail.com or Facebook him. He has been kind enough to gather the information.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to email me jmesser@easternshorechapel.org

In faith and love,
Rev. Julia

LINKS

Healthy Lent Report Card you can use to turn in your steps

Daily Offices in the Book of Common Prayer begin on pg 37 (Rite I) or pg 75 (Rite II)
Daily Offices online at www.bcponline.org

Daily Offices that update daily at https://dailyoffice.app/

Ted Talks are found on Youtube or at  www.ted.com
To begin I would suggest listening to Brenee Brown's "Power of Vulnerability"

Activities to do with children can be found at these websites:

 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Taking Stock in Trying Times

by The Rev. Cameron Randle, Rector
 
For our world, our nation and our church, the past few days have been unprecedented. Unwanted waves of cancellations, closures and other restrictions are taxing our capacity to process substantial change within a short period of time. The COVID-19 coronavirus has upset our personal and professional ecosystems, delivering swift blows to our national health, economics, sense of normalcy & routine and to our general perception of well-being. In some respects, it feels as though the church has been driven underground, or at least online.

At Eastern Shore Chapel, Rev. Julia and I celebrated Eucharist last weekend in person at 2020 Laskin Road (alone in our sanctuary, save for the capable camerawork of Harold Williams) and digitally through YouTube. It was our intention both to safeguard the historical record of this faith community’s commitment to weekly services and to offer a visual and audio reminder to viewers that our worship of a sovereign and loving God continues unabated. We plan to do similarly this Sunday and for as long as circumstances preclude us from gathering together.

Meanwhile, please take advantage of the myriad of opportunities for exercising personal spirituality online and through conventional reading or listening. As Episcopalians and Anglicans, we have a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the Daily Offices of Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer or Compline, either in the physical Book of Common Prayer or at bcponline.org or via a variety of apps. Moreover, this is the perfect time to recommit ourselves to loving our neighbor. Please pick up the phone and contact someone with whom you do not often speak. Check in by phone, text or email with friends, family members and acquaintances to let them know you’re concerned for their safety and comfort. This is especially true for senior citizens. If there are needs of a practical pastoral nature, please pass them along to ESC’s Pastoral Care Assistant Amanda McGinty at amcginty@easternshorechapel.org or by phoning 757-481-1385.

For those parishioners and extended ESC family members who’ve been participating in our Lenten Bible study and book group, please complete your reading of Gifts of the Dark Wood, St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians and MLK, Jr’s Letter From Birmingham Jail. We had a wonderful momentum going prior to this interruption; it will be reclaimed and reignited when we assemble once again.

On page 40 in his chapter about the gift of uncertainty in Gifts of the Dark Wood, author Eric Elnes writes, “…uncertainty teaches us to let go of all concerns but the ones we truly face, giving us the courage and power to face them. In so doing, uncertainty provides the unexpected invitation to live our lives wholeheartedly.” Our present circumstances, changing daily, can be the source of anxiety, fear and formidable real life challenges. Let’s look to our Creator as the source of peace in the midst of storm; a peace that passes all understanding, provides genuine hope and makes possible patience in the meantime.

The current invitation to live our lives in previously unexplored ways is most definitely unexpected, and frankly, unwelcome. But acceptance of that invitation can be surprising, leading us to new insights and experiences we would never have realized through our own volition. Stay positive, look after one another and remain connected. We don’t just go to church…we ARE the church.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Worship online today, March 15


Dear Parish Family,

In compliance with Bishop Susan Haynes’ directive, Eastern Shore Chapel will be closed for the next two weeks. All church activities, including worship services, Chapel Pantry and Parish Day School, are suspended through Friday, March 26. 

If you would like to worship with us digitally please join us for a service of Holy Eucharist (Communion) online at https://youtu.be/5pCYl08rk1I

To follow along with the scripture for today: http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearA_RCL/Lent/ALent3_RCL.html

If you would like to worship with the Episcopal Church's Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at Washington National Cathedral, you can watch live at 11:15am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUGZLwnLhUU&feature=youtu.be

To read The Rt. Rev. Bishop Susan B. Haynes' letter to the Diocese of Southern Virginia:

In thanks and faith,
Fr. Cameron, and Rev. Julia

ESC closes for 2 weeks to help prevent spread of coronavirus


Dear Parish Family,

In compliance with Bishop Susan Haynes’ directive, Eastern Shore Chapel will be closed for the next two weeks. All church activities (Lenten programs, Compline tonight,Tuesday Supper Group, and church services on Sunday) are closed/not meeting, effective immediately, through Thursday, March 26. 

Issued today at 3:49pm: “To safeguard our people and those in our communities and to mitigate the rapid, uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus, all church activity including worship is suspended immediately for a period of two weeks in the Diocese of Southern Virginia.”-The Rt. Rev. Susan B Haynes.

Please anticipate further communication via email from the rector and vestry of Eastern Shore Chapel in the coming days. Our primary concern is the pastoral care and preventive health of our congregation. 

Peace & blessings,

Cameron 

The Rev. Cameron Randle
Rector


The Rt. Rev. Bishop Susan B. Haynes' letter to the Diocese of Southern Virginia:
http://www.diosova.org/congregation_res/article467662.htm