Author Topic: Beautiful Days  (Read 346 times)

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Beautiful Days
« on: April 18, 2022, 08:37:33 PM »
Praise God, we enjoyed Palm Sunday and Easter immensely this year. Post-Covid recovery continues. Our attendance is, of course, still below 2019 but has improved again in this season. (We continue to have a segment watching from home and kindly submitting their offerings.) I am greatly encouraged and grateful to our Lord. Remarkably, we had no funerals during Lent. Requests and plans for Baptisms are on the rise again. I pray things continue to improve in your areas.
I serve as administrator for www.churchhistoryreview.org.

J. Thomas Shelley

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Re: Beautiful Days
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2022, 10:19:54 PM »
Expanding a recent post from the Coronavirus discussion:

Yesterday was Orthodox Palm Sunday...not all that disconnected from Western Easter as evidenced by the Fourth Tone Troparion:

As by baptism we were buried with Thee, O Christ our God,
so by Thy Resurrection we were deemed worthy of immortal life;
and praising Thee, we cry:
Hosanna in the highest;
blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord.

We were back...celebrating as though it were A.D. 2019.   No distancing.   Less than a dozen masks.  Liturgy books and updated Creed/Communion Prayer cards returned to the pews after a two year absence.  Many partaking of the Holy Mysteries from the Chalice with the common spoon.  (Incidentally, this was my first Sunday to serve as a Deacon and to serve Communion--a little nerve wracking since that method of distributing was entirely new for me as a clergyman)

The liturgy was followed by a delicious sit-down fish luncheon in the parish hall (keep in mind, we had eaten no fish since the Feast of the Annunciation) served by our barefaced youth....who then just as willingly made quick work of removing the scattered palm leaves strewn on the floor of the nave.

In some ways, it seemed as though the Pandemic had never happened.   But knowing that among the never shrinking list of the faithful departed are two who subcumbed to that scourge....it did happen.   And we were diminished in many ways, some of longer duration than others.

My Priest offered a brief but pointed sermon challenging the congregation not merely to skip from Festival to Festival...from Palm Sunday to Pascha...but to truly engage with the services in between.   "Come to one or two more than you did last year" and "come on time and stay for the whole service".   

The sermon clearly hit the mark because tonight's Bridegroom Orthros (usually the more sparsely attended of the trilogy) had around 50 in attendance, the most that I have ever seen for Monday night.

It may be that two years of absence has indeed made the heart grow fonder....and Who should enkindle greater affection than our Beloved Bridegroom?
Greek Orthodox Deacon -Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

peterm

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Re: Beautiful Days
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2022, 03:20:12 PM »
At my congregations we saw a marked increase in attendance and engagement as well, with lots of visitors.  The church my wife serves had 5 baptisms on Easter Sunday.  For all these I am grateful.
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS