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*Joyful* Worship Updates & Lenten Overview
Dear Trinity Church and Friends,
Grace and Peace from God in Christ this chilly Tuesday. I hope this message finds you and yours warm and well.
I write to share the joyful news that beginning Sunday, February 27, we will no longer require pre-registration for any service – sweet Jesus, thanks be to God! While we will continue to require masks (urging KN-95 or better) and to cordon the nave pews in a checkerboard pattern to ensure social distancing, the science supports this welcome advance on normalcy.
As we make this encouraging turn, beginning Sunday, March 6, we will also return to our pre-pandemic schedule for Sunday mornings: in-person worship at 8 am and 10 am, with in-person Christian Formation for all ages beginning at 11:15 am. The 10 am service will be livestreamed. We will host the 11:15 am Formation for adults in the church, facilitating our livestream of those programs, when appropriate. Children will convene in the Commons, and youth will meet in the Rectory. The 5 pm service will continue at that hour. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, we will also return Communion to the Altar Rail.
Finally, I look forward to our Lenten journey together. Continuing in the spirit of our Program-Year theme – “The Life Of The World To Come” – I hope you will join me on Sundays at 11:15, and Tuesdays from 7-8:15 pm, for this year’s Lenten series: “A Resurrection Beyond.” Encountering the Paschal arc through Mark’s Gospel and Stephen King’s early writing, Sunday morning Forums will be lecture-based and available in-person and via livestream. Tuesday evening sessions – discussion-based in small groups – will take place via Zoom only and will follow a 6 pm rebroadcast of the previous Sunday’s lecture. The Sunday programs will only be available at the times indicated, and the small-group conversations will not be recorded.
In the course of our study, we will read aloud all of Mark’s Gospel, using the translation from Mark As Story, available in our gift shop beginning this weekend for a suggested donation of $15 (and at a higher price via Amazon and other online booksellers). This translation presents the Gospel in a form without verse breaks and intends to convey the narrative as its own deliberate, coherent, story world. Therefore, I will often reference by page number, rather than the customary chapter-and-verse. I hope everyone will read the entire Gospel before we begin the series; I turn pages slowly and reading carefully the 28 paperback-length pages takes me about an hour.
Reading (or re-reading) every Stephen King novel we reference will not be necessary! Should you aspire overachievement, I commend The Shining, Pet Sematary, and ’Salem’s Lot, in that order. King’s work includes graphic passages which may offend some (indeed, I find some passages offensive). Do trust that we will not read aloud any profanities, and no passage will exceed the depravity of John the Baptist’s murder (6:14-29) as Mark recounts that gruesome tale. We will discuss the function and effects – positive and negative – of these authorial strategies.
Finally, recall that we brave every Lent with our spirits aimed toward “A Resurrection Beyond,” our good God’s ultimate victory over death. Therefore, I invite your open mind and heart. Indeed, as Jesus reassured the disciples when they mistook him for a ghost: “Take courage! And do not be afraid” (Mark 6:47-52). For we will walk Calvary’s shadowy path together, never losing sight of the Loving light at its end.
More details about all these events, including a link to the Lenten series’ full syllabus, may be found below.
With high hopes,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen
Annual Parish Meeting: February 27, 10 am
As previously announced, we will host an integrated program of Morning Prayer, Rite II, and our Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday, February 27, at 10 am. To gather as many as possible for the shared experience of this once-a-year event, this will be the only service on this Sunday and no pre-registration is required. The combined program will be livestreamed. Abiding the direction of the Diocesan Chancellor, only those present in person will be eligible to vote. Our slate of nominees remains available here, and the balance of Meeting materials – including the Order of Worship and Agenda – will publish on Thursday, February 24.
Ash Wednesday: March 2, 7 am, noon, 7 pm
On Ash Wednesday, March 2, we will gather for prayer at 7 am, noon, and 7 pm. Honoring Diocesan guidelines, we will impose ashes at each service. The earliest service will be spoken; the noon service will include congregational hymnody; and the evening service will include choir. The noon service will be livestreamed.
Restored Sunday Schedule: Beginning Sunday, March 6
On the First Sunday of Lent we will return to our pre-pandemic morning worship schedule: 8 am and 10 am, with Christian Formation for all ages at 11:15 am. The 10 am service will be livestreamed and include a Children’s Homily. We will host the 11:15 am Formation for adults in the church, facilitating our livestream of those programs, when appropriate. At the same time, Children will convene in the Commons, and Youth will meet in the Rectory. The Parents Coffee will continue to meet at 8 am via Zoom. The 5 pm service will continue at that hour. While we will not reopen the Nursery or restore our 9 am Community Breakfasts at this time, we pray that pandemic conditions will continue to improve and make possible those enhancements.
A Resurrection Beyond: Sundays at 11:15 am (in-person & via livestream) and Tuesdays 7-8:15 pm (via Zoom, following a 6 pm rebroadcast of Sunday’s lecture)
Sunday, March 6: Danse Macabre: The Story Worlds of Mark And Stephen King (Mark 1-4)
Setting the stage for the Sundays ahead, we will chart the purpose of the series and scaffold the “story worlds” of Mark and King. While born of a place and time, these imaginative universes refuse confinement by either history or conventional science. Even so, the story worlds are not without their own order, as conceived and crafted by their respective authors.
Tuesday, March 8: We will read aloud selections from the first quarter of Mark’s Gospel and the first pages of “Night Surf” (the Night Shift short story that would become The Stand) as prompts for small-group discussions of the story worlds in which we live. We will ask: What forces at work in our lives limit us? What forces at work in our lives set us free? Who or what is the source of these powers?
Sunday, March 13: Enchantment & Possession (Mark 5 & 9 and The Shining)
The Torrance family’s possessions will frame our encounter of three Markan episodes – “The Gerasene Demoniac” (5:1-20); “The Transfiguration” (9:1-13); and “The Boy With A Spirit” (9:14-29).
Tuesday, March 15: Readings from “Blood Sport,” Book One of Carrie, will prompt small-group discussions of our personal histories “possessing” us. In this context we will address the vulgarities of scripture and King’s stories, including their misogyny, racism, and anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. We will ask: Is Carrie White a villain or a victim? Do these writings reflect the judgments of their time, or do they actively perpetuate their characters’ bigotries? How are we responsible for the circumstances and ideas that we do not choose, but that choose us?
Find the full syllabus here.