This week's news from the Mayor and Governor with renewed restriction was difficult to hear. These measures affect everyone, but our prayers especially go out to owners and staff in the service industry who are struggling for their livelihoods, while trying to do the right thing. Most of us are feeling anxious. Some are angry at those who are not practicing social distancing or wearing masks consistently when in public. We need everyone to do their part for sure. But I think it is important to remember that even if everyone followed every rule, this virus would still be with us. There would be fewer cases and fewer deaths, but we would still not be "back to normal.” Science still has much more to learn about this virus in order to provide us with a path "back to normal."
In the meantime, we are going to have to practice patience. I know. New Orleanians are only patient for one thing: a Mardi Gras parade. We will sit for hours waiting for one to come. But we don’t sit there moping, angry, and depressed. We wait in a spirit of community and connection with our family, friends and neighbors. Maybe that could be our inspiration as we anticipate the return of a time when we can again celebrate festivals, sit down in our favorite restaurants and bars, and sing together in the pews of our church. We can use this time of waiting to be creative about how we congregate and connect.
We continue to be one church, but for now, we need to think about being one church made up of many small groups. Almost anything we would be doing in larger numbers can be adapted to a small group format -- learning, praying, serving others, and having fun. Small groups can more easily follow public health guidelines, and can be formed around particular safety concerns and needs. One group may be comfortable meeting in person on a front porch or backyard to watch a Sunday morning service together. Another may need to stay in touch through a text thread or zoom meeting. Some could organize ministry projects that could be carried out in person or remotely. I know we have the imagination to make this work, but it will take everyone’s active participation. This is an invitation for you to organize with others. As our mission instructs us, showing up for God, and for each other.
If you need an ear to bend because life has been stressful, please call me anytime at 504-357-8211. In the meantime, we don’t have to wait for “back to normal” to resume living out our mission. Come on friends. We miss each other. Let’s figure this out.
July News for Mount Olivet
EVENING PRAYER at 4pm followed by HALF-CAFF begins This Sunday, July 5
Beginning this Sunday, July 5, we will return to each parish hosting a weekly service. Mount Olivet will host a service of Evening Prayer on Sundays at 4pm. It will be a Book of Common Prayer service with organ music. You will need a Book of Common Prayer or access a PDF copy of Evening Prayer on our website. You can stream the service on our new YouTube channel, Mount Olivet Episcopal Church (Algiers Point), and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MountOlivetAlgiersPoint. You can also listen to the service over the telephone by calling 504-509-4650 at 4pm. This service will be held online until it is safe to return to in-person worship. As we are sister parishes, parishioners are welcome to attend either the 10am service hosted by Annunciation or the 4pm service hosted by Mount Olivet.
HALF-CAFF Coffee Hour
Following the 4pm service, there will be coffee hour hosted by Mount Olivet. Join coffee hour on Zoom. Message Rev. Duane for the log-in information.
NEW BOOK STUDY - Thursday, July 9 and 23
A new small group will be looking at God’s call to racial reconciliation this summer, using the book, Be the Bridge, by Latasha Morrison, as a guide. It will meet every other Thursday on Zoom from 6:30-8pm. The e-book is available from Amazon (smile.amazon.com/ch/72-0508566 will benefit the Church of the Annunciation Episcopal Foundation), you can order a hard copy from your preferred bookseller (Community Book Center is a Black-owned bookstore here in New Orleans), or from Christbooks.com. The July 01 group will begin by looking at the sample excerpt that is free on Amazon. We begin gathering at 6:30 for social time, and the discussion will begin at 7, concluding at 8. Join us with an open heart and mind!
This Friday, July 3 and July 17, 6:30-8 pm, Third Thirty will explore “Being Parents to your Parents.” Have you taken on more of a parental role as your parents aged? Can we envision ourselves letting our children do more and more for us as we age? Join us to discuss the challenges and reluctances of parents to allow their children to be more involved in their lives.
Mount Olivet Episcopal Church is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
MOUNT OLIVET PARENTS GROUP
Parents are invited to gather on Zoom together Friday, July 3 and July 17, from 8-9:30pm. Join by Zoom.
CHILDREN’S SUNDAY SCHOOL
Valeria Emmet will be bringing Sunday School online to our children soon. Please contact Valeria Emmett if you are interested.
AN UPDATE ON IN-PERSON WORSHIP FROM FATHER DUANE
At the regular Vestry meeting this week, the Vestry and I discussed a time-frame for returning to in-person worship. The Vestry voted to not return to in-person worship during the month of July. At the July meeting, it will make a decision about August. I’ll try to summarize our discussion.
We considered the moral, theological, and legal implications for our congregation given the size of our buildings and the age and size of our congregation. While our Bishop has given permission to return to in-person and to hold communion services, here are several challenges for our unique situation.
The Vestry and I had hoped to hold communion services in July, but we are concerned by the recent uptick in cases around the city and state. Churches are consistently ranked as one of the least safe places to gather during this pandemic primarily because of our openness and welcoming approach to life together. The feeling was that while we all miss in-person worship, we think the health and safety of each of you is more important. As the saying goes: just because one can do something, does not necessarily mean one should do something. Let me assure that when we feel it is safe to gather, we will return to in-person worship with communion. We eagerly hope for this to happen.
Some of you may be thinking, “but St. Swithins in the Swamp is gathering and having communion.” We have different communion procedures in our diocese and different theology than other churches. Secondly, most churches are physically larger than Mount Olivet so distancing is not as much of an issue. Our size is typically a great strength of our church because it’s an intimate and warm place. But in the time of a pandemic, a large, half-empty church is an advantage. For me, I’d rather wait and continue to be the village church God has called us to be. Hang in there, friends. Reach out and check on one another. Just because we can’t gather at 530 Pelican Avenue, doesn’t mean we have to lose touch with one another.
NEWS & EVENTS
EVENING PRAYER at 4pm followed by HALF-CAFF begins Sunday, July 5
Beginning July 5, we will return to each parish hosting a weekly service. For Mount Olivet, there will be a service of Evening Prayer held on Sundays at 4pm. It will be a Book of Common Prayer service with organ music. This will continue to be held online until it is safe to return to in-person worship. You will need a Book of Common Prayer or access at PDF copy on our website. You can stream the service on our new YouTube channel, Mount Olivet Episcopal Church (Algiers Point), and on Facebook. You can also listen to the service over the telephone by calling 504-509-4650 at 4pm. Following the service, there will be our own coffee hour. The link to the new Zoom coffee hour will be sent out next week. If 10am is a better time for you to worship, you are invited to join Annunciation for Morning Prayer. Annunciation parishioners will be invited to participate in Mount Olivet’s 4pm Evening Prayer service if that time works better for them.
CHILDREN’S SUNDAY SCHOOL
Valeria Emmet will be bringing Sunday School online to our children soon. Please contact Valeria if you are interested.
JUNE IS PRIDE MONTH
There’s still time to celebrate Pride!
CHURCH SERVICES, EVENTS, ACTIVITIES
Here is a complete list of online events scheduled through next Thursday:
Hurricane season has unfortunately not been cancelled. Are you prepared? Check out Ready.nola.gov/plan/hurricane/ for information, checklists, and other helpful resources. If you need help evacuating in the event of a hurricane or other disaster, please let Fr. Duane know.
Readers needed! We need people to pre-record readings for our Sunday worship service! If you have a smartphone or computer with video recording ability, you have all the equipment you need. Please let Fr. Duane know at Duane@AnnunciationEpiscopal.com
More than ever, we need beauty in our lives! Sign up for Altar Flowers with Suzanne Fontan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neighbors in Need
The Algiers Point Lil Free Pantry continues to accept donations at the community garden at 615 Opelousas Street.
The work of the Church goes on, even if the building is closed. Your generosity is needed and appreciated more than ever. Please give what you can, and if you are concerned about being able to fulfill your pledge, just reach out to Cyndi Hardy at Mount Olivet. Together, we can weather these uncertain times.
The all-around best way to give is with a recurring contribution through your bank account. It’s easy to set this up online, or Parish Administrator Jessica Jackson can walk you through it. Give her a call at 535-4452. We are also grateful to accept your gift at any time in either of the following ways:
Donate online at www.MountOlivet.org/Give.
OR text GIVE to 504-565-2682.
OR mail your check to your church.
Prayers for Members of the Armed Forces, especially Sergeant Major Patrick Milstead and TSgt Earl Dontavious Moorer.
Prayers for the repose of the souls of the departed.
June Birthdays: Dennis Bergeron, Sr. (06/07), Sarah Bullock (06/09), Meredith Blevins (06/18), John Neisler (06/24).
Do you or does someone you know need our prayers? Please submit prayer requests by the end of Monday for inclusion in the weekly news/service bulletin by contacting Rev. Duane at Duane@AnnunciationEpiscopal.com or (504) 357-8211. Prayer requests will automatically expire after one month on the list. If you want to renew a request, just let us know.
Our online worship services are best viewed and heard through your internet-enabled TV. Open the YouTube app or channel and use the search window to locate Church of the Annunciation Episcopal and subscribe to our YouTube Live channel.
Please note that our online services are live and subject to unforeseen technological glitches. Should our broadcast freeze, lose audio, video, or otherwise be interrupted, be patient. If we haven’t sorted it out in a minute or two, you can try refreshing the page. If it’s been several minutes or you see a notice that the video has been removed (due to overaggressive artificial intelligence monitors), go back to our main YouTube landing page and check to see if we’ve started over with a new feed. Perhaps use this time to pray for your worship team. It certainly can’t hurt.
If you are on Facebook, be sure to like and follow us, facebook.com/MountOlivetAlgiersPoint/
Zoom is a video-conferencing tool that is free and very easy to use. If you already have Zoom and know how to join a meeting, our meeting IDS are the same as our main phone numbers. 504 895 8697 for Annunciation, and 504 366 4650 for Mount Olivet. We use the same password for all our meetings. Message Father Duane if you don’t know it.
Zoom works best when we can all see each other, but if you do not have access to a computer or smartphone with a video camera, you can still join in by telephone. Dial (346) 248-7799 and when prompted, enter the Meeting ID. Call Rev. Duane for the numeric passcode.
News is emailed weekly and posted to our website www.MountOlivet.org shortly after. If you have announcements to include in weekly news, please send them to Kyran at email@example.com.
RE-ENTRY PLANS IN PROGRESS