News and Upcoming Events at CSS
ALL WORSHIP SUSPENDED
My Dear People of CSS and Friends,
At the request of the Bishop of New York, all public worship will be suspended throughout the diocese effective immediately. Therefore, we will not be holding any worship services, including weekday services, at CSS at least up to May 17. Hopefully, we can gather on that day.
It seems inconceivable that we will not be gathering for Holy Week or Easter. Yet the faith we hold does not depend on what we can manage to do; it is the always-dependable and inexhaustible grace of God — available in all times and places — that sustains us. As uncertain as things are today, we put our trust in our Lord who said, “The Sabbath is made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath.” (NRSV Mk. 2:27) He also said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (ESV, JN 16:33)
During this time of separation, we will make extra efforts to stay in touch with one another in ways other than public assembly. Sunday editions of the CSSeNews will contain the week’s scripture lessons, sermons, prayer lists, occasional meditations, book lists, and other communications. Look for your Sunday edition of the CSSeNews each week and forward to friends if you like. In addition, you may check out our Facebook page. Our amazing communications wiz, Gwendolyn Chambrun, will keep us up to date with the latest news. Additionally, you may link to our FB page from our website.
One exceptional resource I commend to you is the Book of Common Prayer online version. Check out the section titled Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families. It contains short forms for worship in the morning, noonday, early evening, and close of day. Centuries of tradition commends The Great Litany at times of national crisis. At CSS we launch the season of Lent with this prayer each year. You may find it by clicking here.
The church has long taught that those who are unable to receive the bread and wine of the Holy Eucharist may receive its benefits by intention. It may surprise you to know that this theology is not confined to earlier times. This is what the BCP 1979 version says about the efficaciousness of intention:
If a person desires to receive the Sacrament, but by reason of extreme sickness or physical disability is unable to eat and drink the Bread and Wine, the Celebrant is to assure that person that all the benefits of Communion are received, even though the Sacrament is not received with the mouth. (BCP p. 457)
You may pray “A Form of Spiritual Communion” at home by visiting this link. (I wish to acknowledge my thanks to Father Andrew Mead for this information.)
In the days ahead, remember that the church is not gone, just dispersed. Please feel free to telephone me at 212-787-2755, ext. 3 or email me at liles [at] csschurch [dot] org if you have concerns or questions. The clergy will be reaching out to folks by phone now and then. Be assured of our prayers for you, please pray for us, and do not fail to let us know if you need help.
Your priest, rector, and friend,