From Bishop Andrew:
In the wake of so much fear, confusion, disquiet and sickness, God has positioned us as a network of thriving and dynamic, spirit-filled churches up and down New England. Together, we have, in the power and grace of God, a great opportunity to transform our culture.
As Jesus’ agents of His peace, hope, love and healing we have the gift to re-shape troubled and harried hearts. In the outbreak of sickness, we can be the carriers of the greater outbreak of Jesus’ love. Please, let’s not look back at this time and lament that we missed such an opportunity. Indeed, let us take such action, that we might recall with Godly pride that, by His grace, this was our finest hour!
We need the grace of God, the indwelling of the Spirit to be the non-anxious presence in our communities. In a season where we cannot collectively gather to worship, we must encourage one another to be deeply intentional about coming into His presence and being nourished by His word and Spirit. And as we are filled with His love and peace, God is calling us to embody His presence in our community.
In this season, for however long it lasts, we are presented with an extraordinary opportunity to reach out in love and care for our neighbors. This can only happen if we press into His presence and are able to lead and serve out of His strength, peace, compassion and love. Our calling is to live in such a way that we reduce fear, increase in faith, and allow the Spirit to turn us from self-preservation to loving and serving others. To that end, here are some central resources to supplement and strengthen what you are doing at the local level:
1. Mobilizing the ADNE Family in Prayer:
As followers of Jesus, we have an extraordinary power available to us in this season. A power that can accomplish far more than we ordinarily think or imagine. It comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. It accords with the riches of God’s glory. It is the very fullness of God. And it is the gift of prayer.
As well as your own prayer lives and prayer events being organized by your own church families, here are some concrete and additional ways that the Lord is calling us to take a prayerful stand in the coming days:
1. Diocesan-wide 24/7 Prayer Movement
Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th March
As a Diocese, one of the most encouraging victories of 2019 was that we were able to mobilize far more than 168 hours of prayer in our diocesan wide 24/7 prayer movement. At that time, did we realize that our 2019 Prayer Movement was Godly preparation for such a time as this? And so, knowing the collective strength in prayer that God has given us, as a family of churches, let us once more take our places on the battlements.
Please see the digital sign-up sheet and sign up for one-hour slot across this 7-day period (or more if you feel so led).
MondayMon TuesdayTue WednesdayWed ThursdayThu FridayFri SaturdaySat SundaySun 12:00 am
2 2 2 1 1 1 1:00 am
1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1 2 1
2 1 2 2 2 2 1 4:00 am
1 2 1 1 1 1 1
3 5 3 1 2 1 1 6:00 am
2 4 2 2 2 1 1 7:00 am
6 2 2 2 2 2 2
4 2 4 1 1 1 1
3 2 2 2 1 1 1 10:00 am
1 1 1 4 1 1 1 11:00 am
2 1 2 2 1 1 1 12:00 pm
2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1:00 pm
2 1 2 1 1 1 1 2:00 pm
2 3 1 1 1 1 1 3:00 pm
1 1 2 2 2 1 2 4:00 pm
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5:00 pm
1 1 1 1 3 1 1 6:00 pm
1 2 1 1 1 2 1 7:00 pm
1 1 2 1 1 1 1 8:00 pm
1 1 2 4 1 1 1 9:00 pm
1 1 1 1 1 2 1 10:00 pm
2 4 1 1 1 2 1 11:00 pm
1 1 1 2 2 3 2
2. Mobilizing the ADNE Family in Worship:
The author of Hebrews wrote, “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25).
These words were written in a world that was all too familiar with the danger of plague and persecution. Almost without exception, the ADNE family of churches have been given no choice but to suspend Sunday gathered worship and larger events. It is now incumbent upon us to be intentional and creative about re-imagining how we might continue to worship together.
To supplement what you are already doing at the local level, we invite you to participate in the shared worshipping life of the Diocese in the following ways:
2.1 Live Morning Prayer with the ADNE Canons
8:00 a.m. Monday – Friday, beginning Friday, March 20.
Using the morning prayer liturgy found here
2.2 Live Midday Intercessory Prayer from the Cathedral
Noon, Monday – Friday, beginning Monday, March 23.
Join us for thirty-minutes of passionate, Spirit-led intercession for the needs of our communities, the US and the world.
2.3 The Praying Family, Evening Prayers for Individuals & Families
7-7:20 p.m. Sundays – Fridays
Hosted by The Abbey of The Way, an Anglican House of prayer and spiritual formation in Worcester, MA, the online gathering will feature a song, prayers, a brief scripture reading, and directions on how to reflect and pray at home briefly during the gathering. This prayer meeting is designed for people of all ages, but particularly to include children, whom Jesus doesn’t want to prevent from coming to Him these days. This daily liturgy will provide a gentle and reassuring practice for quieting down in the evening. To participate by computer video, please visit the following link, which connects to the Zoom account of The Abbey: www.tinyurl.com/zoomtheabbey. Follow the instructions to participate. Those without computer access can call 646-558-8656, and enter the meeting code 508 799 5011, the Abbey’s phone number, followed by the # sign.
May God bless you as you reach out to Him, and for Him, in these days.
2.4 Live Compline with Bishop Andrew
9:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, beginning Friday, March 20.
This short service, also known as Night Prayer, or the Prayers at the End of the Day, has for centuries been the final church service of worship and prayer of the day seeking God’s peace, blessing and protection as the day draws to its close.
Using the compline liturgy found here
2.5 Palm Sunday Live Worship Service
In the likely event that we will still be unable to gather as a congregation on Palm Sunday – we are encouraging all of our church families up and down New England to part of a large virtual time of worship live from the Cathedral with Bishop Andrew preaching and presiding. More news to follow on this venture.
If you have not already done so, please sign up for the Bishop’s daily devotional and blog. In this season, I would like to write to you in a very personal way in a special series called Our Finest Hour that seeks to fortifies us in the love of God, dispel fear, and fire up our resolve to be His love in action.
3. Mobilizing the ADNE family in love and action
3.1 Practical Ways to Love our Neighbor
Here are some practical ways we can reach out in love as some social institutions close temporarily:
- Acknowledge and give to Jesus your own fear and the temptation to turn inward and confess the Lordship of Jesus over your own soul and body.
- Encourage elderly and immunocompromised friends, neighbors, and family to stay home AND make it possible for them to do so.
- Set up a meal train, go grocery shopping for them. If they are followers of Jesus, offer to bring them the reserved sacrament and pray for them.
- Offer to help families by watching their children who will be staying home from school, or offer to help them pay for in-home childcare so parents can continue to work.
- Offer to do housework (including the provision of meals) for families who will be overwhelmed by having their children home all day.
- Let your neighbors know that you follow Jesus and that you’ll be praying for your neighborhood and offer a prayer to close.
- Initiate a telephone or text ministry – especially, to check in with older members of your church family.
- Invite college students who are staying home because of class cancelation to serve with you.
- Always observe good hygiene, don’t complain with folks, demonstrate confidence in Jesus.
3.2 Let us record and proliferate the greater outbreak of love in this time of anxiety and negativity.
Please send all parish good news stories and spirit-led outreach and care strategies to our Communications Director, Scott Delong at email@example.com.
3.3 A series of leadership Zoom Collaborative Meetings
led by Canon Brian Bethke and Canon Justin Howard are being planned for our clergy designed to help us navigate the current environment, share best practice and exercise Christ’s non-anxious leadership. Canon Ross will be in touch with our clergy to set up these Zoom meetings.
3.4 Tithing Faithfully
I also want to encourage you at this time to remember that, even though you are not able to meet together for worship on Sundays, your congregational and diocesan expenses continue. It is, therefore, vitally important that you faithfully make your tithes and offerings to your church and to the All-In initiative as you normally do. It is very possible that some of us may suffer a loss of income during this challenging time. Therefore, I ask that those of you who can, please give over and above your normal tithe. We have much work to do in our respective parts of the Lord’s vineyard in these days and into the future.
A Guiding Thought
The Body of Christ is no stranger to times of uncertainty and fear caused by war, famine, or plague. A societal panic due to a lack of confidence is always met with a different response from the followers of Jesus, and we have demonstrated, and society has noticed, our response for millennia. Outbreaks of fear and sickness must be met with greater outbreaks of love.
We are called to be salt and light. Jesus warned there will always be seasons where wars, rumors of wars and social upheaval prevail and yet His people are to interpret information through the lens of our counter-cultural confidence in God’s Kingdom, and the certainty of our own resurrection. At our best, the followers of Jesus have never run away, but instead, care for each other and our neighbors. Let this be our finest hour.
In His great love,