News from “The Father”

Returning to In-Person Worship Letter – May 20, 2020

Below is a letter that was mailed out this week. Please also note the following documents, the first are the guidelines for Phase 1 reopening that were shared in April and the second are the guidelines for reopening worship spaces in Yellowstone County.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It has been a busy and stressful time for all of us and I am sure that many of us are eager to return to our lives as normal.  However, that isn’t quite what we get to do, at least not for some time.  In late April we sent out a brief newsletter keeping you up to date on what is going on at St. Stephen’s and briefly talking about plans for resuming in-person worship.  Now, as we approach resumption of in-person worship, I wanted to get in touch with everyone to cover some details.

First, a few basics… the first in-person liturgy will be held this coming Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 10 am.  This will be a celebration of Morning Prayer – Rite II and will be used to get us back into the swing of things a little.  On Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31, we will, hopefully, resume celebrating Holy Eucharist together at our normal service times.  Also, all services will continue to be live streamed to YouTube and also uploaded later to Facebook for the indefinite future so that those who do not feel comfortable coming to worship in-person can still participate.

Now, there are some important details that we must cover, so please bear with me. 

  • All worship services for the indefinite future will take place in the larger worship space to allow for room to spread out and socially distance
  • All books have been removed from the pews to prevent contamination, so we will be using full service bulletins for the time being. For Saturday services, we will have a standard Rite I Eucharist bulletin that will work for all services.  Sunday service bulletins will be customized and include music for hymns.  All used bulletins must be disposed of after worship and cannot be reused.  
  • We will not pass an offering plate during liturgies to minimize contact with a common surface, a plate will be left out for offerings to be placed in it either before or after worship (also remember that online giving is now an option)
  • Ushers will keep a list of those attending worship services to aid in contact tracing, if needed

We are still in Phase I of reopening and so there are some specific details for our worship during this time. 

  • Family members from the same household can sit together, but people from other households should be spaced out at least six feet in all directions 
  • Everyone needs to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose throughout worship services to minimize possible spread of the virus 
  • No physical contact with people outside of your household
  • Vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to not participate in in-person worship during Phase I or Phase II.

The state of Montana defines vulnerable individuals as the following: 

  • People over 65 years of age and/or
  • Those with serious underlying health conditions: including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. 

So, you might be wondering what this means for celebrating Holy Eucharist. Well, it will be a work in progress.  The plan for May 30 and 31, as we gather to celebrate Pentecost, is for communion wafers to be placed individually in small envelopes prior to worship.  They will then be consecrated during the liturgy and when it comes time for the distribution, people will line up and receive their envelope.  Once everyone has received his or her envelope the entire congregation will gather up and go outside, distancing ourselves appropriately, remove our masks and then together receive communion.  Then we will say the post communion prayer together and be dismissed.  This is designed to allow us to receive communion together, but safely.  It will likely be a little awkward at first and take some time to get used to, but I think it is the best option.  

As we continue to find our ways through this difficult time, I ask for your continued patience as we try to find the best way to come together while remaining safe.  Please continue to pray for those who keep our world going, even in the midst of crisis and for those who care for the sick and the suffering.  We can make it through this, we just need to remember Jesus’s call to us to love God and to love our neighbors.  

Lovingly yours in Christ,

Father Stephen

Evening Prayer Observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter 2020

Mural of Christ ascending to heaven on a graffiti wall in Bristol, England – Artist unknown, 2003.

Please note that this will be the last streaming-only service for the time being. All in-person liturgies will be streamed as well for the indefinite future. All liturgies, both live-streamed and uploaded can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

Evening Prayer: Rite I

Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 5 pm (Mountain Time)

Observing the Seventh Sunday of Easter – Tenth Sunday of the Quarantine 

Opening Sentence(s)                              BCP 61

Invitatory and Psalter                            BCP 63

Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36                                 BCP 676

First Reading – Acts 1:6-14

Gospel – John 17:1-11

Homily

The Apostles Creed                                BCP 66

The Prayers                                                BCP 67

Suffrages B                                                 BCP 68

Collect of the Day                                   BCP 175

Collect(s)                                                     BCP 69

Prayer for Mission                                  BCP 70

Invitation for Prayers                            BCP 71

General Thanksgiving                           BCP 71

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom                BCP 72

Closing                                                         BCP 73

Morning Prayer observing the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2020

Christ in Judgment by Fernando Gallego, 1480

Morning Prayer: Rite II

Sunday, May 16, 2020 at 10 am (Mountain Time)

The Sixth Sunday of Easter – Ninth Sunday of the Quarantine

Opening Sentence BCP 77

Invitatory and Psalter BCP 80

Jubilate BCP 82

Psalm 66:7-18 BCP 674

First Reading – Acts 17:22-31

Canticle 19 – Song of the Redeemed BCP 94

Gospel – John 14:15-21

Homily

Apostles Creed BCP 96

The Prayers BCP 97

Suffrages A BCP 97

Collect of the Day BCP 225

Collects BCP 99

Prayer for Mission BCP 100

General Thanksgiving BCP 101

Prayer of St. Chrysostom BCP 102

Closing BCP 102

Evening Prayer Observing the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2020

Christ in Judgment by Fernando Gallego, 1480

Evening Prayer: Rite I

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 5 pm (Mountain Time)

Observing the Sixth Sunday of Easter – Ninth Sunday of the Quarantine 

Opening Sentence(s)                                   BCP 61

Invitatory and Psalter                                  BCP 63

Psalm 66:7-18                                                BCP 674

First Reading – Acts 17:22-31

Gospel – John 14: 15-21

Homily

The Apostles Creed                                     BCP 66

The Prayers                                                   BCP 67

Suffrages B                                                    BCP 68

Collect of the Day                                        BCP 174

Collect(s)                                                       BCP 69

Prayer for Mission                                       BCP 70

Invitation for Prayers                                  BCP 71

General Thanksgiving                                 BCP 71

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom                       BCP 72

Closing                                                          BCP 73

Morning Prayer observing the Fifth Sunday of Easter 2020

“The Stoning of Stephen” by Paolo Uccello, ~1435

Evening Prayer: Rite I

Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 10 am (Mountain Time) – Live on YouTube!

Observing the Fifth Sunday of Easter – Eighth Sunday of the Quarantine 

Opening Sentence                                               BCP 77

Invitatory and Psalter                                        BCP 80

Jubilate                                                                    BCP 82

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16                                                BCP 622

First Reading – Acts 7:55-60

Canticle 19 – Song of the Redeemed           BCP 94

Gospel – John 14:1-14

Homily

The Apostles Creed                                            BCP 96

The Prayers                                                            BCP 97

Suffrages A                                                             BCP 97

Collect of the Day                                              BCP 225

Collect(s)                                                                BCP 99

Prayer for Mission                                               BCP 100

Invitation for Prayers                                        BCP 101

General Thanksgiving                                      BCP 101

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom                             BCP 102

Closing                                                                    BCP 102

Evening Prayer observing the Fifth Sunday of Easter 2020

“The Stoning of Stephen” by Paolo Uccello, ~1435

Evening Prayer: Rite I

Saturday, May 9, 2020 at 5 pm (Mountain Time) – Live on YouTube!

Observing the Fifth Sunday of Easter – Eighth Sunday of the Quarantine 

Opening Sentence(s)                                   BCP 61

Invitatory and Psalter                                  BCP 63

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16                                         BCP 622

First Reading – Acts 7:55-60

Gospel – John 14:1-14

Homily

The Apostles Creed                                     BCP 66

The Prayers                                                   BCP 67

Suffrages B                                                    BCP 68

Collect of the Day                                        BCP 173

Collect(s)                                                       BCP 69

Prayer for Mission                                       BCP 70

Invitation for Prayers                                  BCP 71

General Thanksgiving                                 BCP 71

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom                       BCP 72

Closing                                                          BCP 73

Morning Prayer Observing the Fourth Sunday of Easter

“Good Shepherd” by Henry Ossawa Tanner, 1902-1903

Morning Prayer: Rite II

Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 10 am (Mountain Time)

The Fourth Sunday of Easter – Seventh Sunday of the Quarantine 

Opening Sentence                                 BCP 77

Invitatory and Psalter                            BCP 80

Jubilate                                                   BCP 82

Psalm 23                                               BCP 612

First Reading – Acts 2:42-47

Canticle 19 – Song of the Redeemed    BCP 94

Gospel – John 10:1 – 10

Homily

The Apostles Creed                               BCP 96

The Prayers                                           BCP 97

Suffrages A                                             BCP 97

Collect of the Day                                  BCP 225

Collect(s)                                                BCP 99

Prayer for Mission                                 BCP 100

Invitation for Prayers                             BCP 101

General Thanksgiving                           BCP 101

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom                   BCP 102

Closing                                                   BCP 102