Message from Robin+
There is a beautiful poem by John O’Donohue, found in his book, Conamara Blues: Poems, entitled “Before the Beginning”. The first few lines are:
Unknown to us, there are moments
When crevices we cannot see open
For time to come alive with beginning.
Doesn’t it feel as if crevices are opening all around us these days? We don’t see them until they have opened and then everything changes. Often, we define a crevice in a negative way, but sometimes they hold treasures. Maybe it’s loose change down in the crunchy crevice under the sofa cushion, or that twenty-dollar bill you forgot you tucked into that hidden crevice in your wallet. Perhaps that unseen crevice that tripped you on your hike prevented you from a direct encounter with a snake. Sometimes new life can be found when crevices open up in our old life. I’m reminded of the tiny Johnny Jump Up flower that hid all winter in the crack in on my front porch, waiting to delight me with new life when warm weather returned.
The crevices that have opened up during this pandemic have forced us to stop and take note of things that were already changing in the Church and in the world. When we were unable to gather for worship we had to creatively figure out a new way to stay connected as a parish; we learned new skills, we learned how to Zoom, and mastered a new email format. We had a kind of unexpected and enforced time out to think about what is most important to us in our life together at Christ and Grace.
There are things we have lost during this time, and not everything will return to its former familiar pattern. Loss brings many reactions – denial, sadness, anger, and grief, just to name a few emotions. But we are people of the Resurrection who walk in the way of Jesus and expect new life to come. And friends, it is on the way!
It’s likely that in a few more weeks we will be able to regather for worship in our beautiful church. We have missed so much about our building, and yet we have learned that our church is so much more than the building. The Church is the people, the Word of God, the prayers, the Body of Christ in worship, and the power of the Holy Spirit moving us to ministry beyond our walls.
When we return, things will be different. It might even be a bit disappointing for some of us. For a time, everyone will wear a mask, and we will not be able to sing together or receive communion, exchange the peace or pass the offering plate. There will be no programming in the building for adults, youth, or children until later. We won’t be able to enjoy fellowship at coffee hour just yet either. These things will hopefully return in time. But we can regather in our holy space, see one another, listen to God’s Word and pray together. All in all, it’s a pretty amazing treasure to find in the crevice of pandemic we’ve endured since the second Sunday in Lent!
While we wait we are preparing the nave for worship by removing books and pew cushions that can provide surfaces for the virus to live, we are creating plans for entering and exiting the building safely, and making sure we have plenty of cleaning and disinfecting supplies, hand sanitizer, masks and gloves on hand.
We want to be sure we provide a safe place for those who can return to worship, knowing that this is how we love one another. It will be a strange and new worship experience for us, but God will be with us, showing us new ways to be the Church as we go forward together.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
5th Sunday after Pentecost July 5, 2020
If you are searching for a place to connect in order to find strength and hope, we are glad you found us. If you are overwhelmed by the world right now, we will pray with you and for you. If you are seeking ways to help others, we hope you will join us here.
Browse our website, follow us on our Facebook page, sign up for our weekly email and sermon. Walk our labyrinth or pray in our Memorial Garden during this time when we cannot gather together for worship. Check out the resources for at home worship and study by clicking the links provided:
I’ve been thinking about this term we keep using, social distancing, and I’ve decided I don’t like it very much. Yes, we do need to keep a safe distance from one another to help slow down the spread of the virus, but we are human beings who need to be social, need to be in community. This is a time when we are all creatively thinking of ways to stay connected even when we cannot be physically present to each other. Emails, phone calls, and handwritten notes are all ways we can share our lives with one another at this time. Stay tuned for more ways we can be of help to one another and ways to help the needy in our community.
If you need help for any reason a prayer, a conversation, or errands and shopping done Call us and we will help.
If you are able to help by writing notes, making calls or running errands please call and let us know.
Call us at 804-733-7202 and leave a message. We will call you back. Read your weekly email to stay connected. If you would like to be added to our email list call the church office or email us at email@example.com
Follow us on Facebook for all kinds of information and inspiration. If you are not on Facebook you can access our page anyway by going to our website – look for the box, in the lower right of the page by scrolling down. Then just scroll inside the box to see our feed.
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.
In God’s peace,
Happy is the one whose hope is in the Lord. (Psalm 146:5)
We place our hope not in external things and circumstances, which are always changing, but in God’s love, which we have been assured through the crucified and resurrected Jesus will endure forever.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up our wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Jesus healed all manner of illnesses when he walked the earth. Today, we believe the Holy Spirit is still at work healing our broken spirits and wounded souls. This healing occurs through consistent participation in worship, Christian education, service and the fellowship of the church.
Come to me all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
We believe that the church is not ours; it is God’s. Consequently, hospitality is a way of life for us. We in the church have accepted God’s gracious invitation to be a part of God’s family. Our natural response to that open-hearted invitation is to extend this graciousness to all who enter and to those in need beyond the church’s walls.
We are glad that you have found our website. Christ and Grace Episcopal Church in Petersburg, Virginia, is an increasingly vibrant parish who seeks and welcomes new families and individuals who seek God's love. We are well established but strive to act like a church that is newly formed as our members bring new ideas for ministry within and beyond the walls of the church. The Outreach Garden is a good example of our continual efforts to explore new avenues to reach out to our local and extended communities who face many challenges.
We are diverse in our theological and social positions but find that being together in worship, fellowship and service is more important than strict uniformity in the belief and practice of our faith. We pray and strive to let Jesus be our guide as we seek to love God and our neighbors as ourselves.
Our Mission is simply stated: We offer hope, healing, and hospitality to everyone we encounter. It is our desire that you engage in and experience these aspirations as well. We hope you will join us at Christ and Grace. When you do, you will find, as we do, that the presence of the Lord is in this place.
Our doors and hearts will be open to all. We will provide a variety of worship and study opportunities for people of all ages to encounter the living God. We will be agents of positive change throughout the larger community.