Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost

Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

-- BCP, page 232


2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Psalm 130;
Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51

Emmanuel is about to start a ministry new to us: Eucharistic Visitors. The Bishop's licensing guidelines describe Eucharistic Visitors this way:

A Eucharistic Visitor is a lay person authorized to take the Consecrated Elements in a timely manner following a Celebration of Holy Eucharist to members of the congregation who, by reason of illness or infirmity, were unable to be present at the Celebration. A Eucharistic Visitor should normally act under the direction of a Deacon, if any, or otherwise, the Member of the Clergy or other leader exercising oversight of the congregation or other community of faith.

We are blessed by the ongoing ministry of Deacon Ed, who faithfully makes weekly pastoral visitations in nursing homes, homes, and hospitals. In the course of this work, of course, he often administers the Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. I also take the Holy Communion to our people from time to time. Our new Eucharistic Visitors will provide a substantial expansion of the ministry of the parish by taking the Holy Communion to people whose "illness or infirmity" renders them unable to be present that day, from the Blessed Sacrament consecrated on that Sunday's services.

We are already blessed to have Lay Pastoral Visitors, people who trained for pastoral ministry through the Community of Hope program. They are spiritual friends who listen to and pray with our people who are in the midst of transitions in their lives, thereby extending to them the love and support of the whole people of God.
(The ministry of the Lay Pastoral Visitors, in addition to the pastoral work of the clergy, helps us all grow more in the likeness of Jesus. Until now, Deacon Ed and I made the referrals for these visits; he will carry on after my departure and then will work with the next long-term priest (Interim Rector) or permanent priest (Rector) the Vestry calls.)

I am delighted that Weldon Bagwell, Dee Childs, Maggie Kyger, Annette Paxton, Preston Sudduth, and Ann Yager are now licensed by the Bishop to take the Consecrated Elements to our ill or infirm parishioners as well. Deacon Ed has trained them to administer Communion on Sundays, directly after the day's celebration. As indicated by the Bishop, Deacon Ed is in charge of their supervision, making assignments, and coordinating with parishioners who, within the parameters established by the Bishop, cannot be present on that day.

We are what we eat. The Holy Eucharist is essential and indispensable to our spiritual life, as the 6th chapter of John's Gospel tells us. We hurt ourselves when we choose to be absent from church on Sunday. (I pray that we may say, "Give us this bread always," as people said to Jesus.) How much more, therefore, do our folks who are ill or infirm and thereby unable to attend, need the Bread of Life! I thank God that the Holy Spirit has put into the hearts of our Eucharist Visitors to help us make sure that none go without receiving the Holy Communion.

Talk to Deacon Ed if you'd like to be considered to have Eucharistic Visitors or if you know of someone who could benefit from receiving the Holy Communion at home on Sundays.

See you in Church.

Under the Mercy,


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