Greetings Brothers and Sisters:

 

I hope that all of you are doing well and doing your best to comply with the directives to stay home and practice safe distancing.  I read daily about people who are breaking with the suggested safe practices and wonder why they don’t fall in line with the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  There are two primary explanations: 1) they are experiencing various forms and degrees of cabin fever and 2) they just simply want to get out and associate with friends, relatives and those to whom they feel close.  I have no words to express how much I miss all of you and wish that we could gather together.  But alas, I must be a good leader and look for ways to gather us together without collecting in large numbers.

 

Great news!  With the help of our Spiritual Director, Reverend Jason Teague and one of our two Musical Directors, Mike Olsen we have an idea on how we can “come together”.  We want two hold a virtual gathering on Monday, April 6th, at 7:00 p.m., complete with songs, sermon, a 4th day talk and a communion ceremony.  Mike has established a link to the Gathering.  To participate, click on the link at the bottom of this email (along with some general suggestions for how to use the Zoom application).

 

We will follow the service as outlined in the Pilgrims manual otherwise referred to as the “purple book”.  We will begin promptly at 7:00 with music just as we do all of our gathering services.  We will have all attendees on mute so you will be able to join in at whatever level you wish.  We are currently working on how to address the parts of the service that call for member responses such as our prayers of petition and thanksgiving.  I assure you that we will do everything to allow you to participate in the service, it just may be in an unconventional manner.  If you have any questions feel free to call or write me at the contact information provided below.

 

I know many of you must be wondering, “How are we going to have Communion?”  Allow me to share the following from Reverend Jason.

 

These days of restricted movement are not normal circumstances, and the Council of Bishops has now lifted the prohibition of administering the sacrament (of Communion) over the internet.  While refraining from the issuance of a mandate regarding what we are allowed to do, or are prohibited from doing, our Bishop, Robert Schnase, has encouraged us to discern what is right for our context at this unusual time in history.  After prayerful consideration, I have decided to “extend the table” to those who wish to participate in receiving the sacrament in their homes, as they watch the livestream, since I believe this situation certainly falls within the realm of people being unable to attend, due to illness, and that our members are “unavoidably absent”.  So, if you wish to participate in the Lord’s Supper during this virtual gathering, I would ask that you obtain bread of your choice, and grape juice or other “fruit of the vine” depending upon what’s available and have it ready for when you watch the service.  When I am lifting up the words of The Great Thanksgiving, hold the bread and juice in your hands with reverence, before consuming a bite of the bread and a sip of the juice, when I say the words, “The body of Christ, broken for you,” and “the blood of Christ, shed for you.”

 

If this seems strange or inappropriate to you, please do not feel like you have to participate.  As always, we observe an open table, to which all are welcome to come, and to which no one is required to come.  Use your own prayerful discernment.  For my own part, this is a way of affirming our connectedness to one another and to our Lord, even though we are physically separated from one another.  Thank you for taking the time to read this and prayerfully consider your participation.

 

 

Collectively, we three are hopeful and prayerful that you will join us in this virtual gathering to share His love and grace.  Remember, our God is an awesome God.  He has this problem in His powerful hands.  Pray for His mercy and guidance as we go forward.

 

For best user experience, I recommend participants download the Zoom App to join.

 

Once connected, users can turn on video option on bottom left side of task bar.  Click on Start video to turn on camera:

 

There should be an option in upper right portion of screen to view in “gallery” mode.  This will organize all participants within the screen.

 

Use the Share Screen on bottom of task bar to share content:

 

Join Zoom Meeting: https://Dell.zoom.us/j/371122893

 

Join from a browser: https://Dell.zoom.com/wc/join/371122893

 

Join by Phone:

US  +13462487799,,371122893#

 

 

As ever, I remain one in Christ with all of you.

 

De Colores

 

 

Tom Ruiz

Community Lay Director

Heartland of Texas Emmaus Community