The Bell Newsletter of the Episcopal Church in Chester
St. Paul’s, 301 E. 9th St. St. Mary’s, 7th & Edwards St.
From the Priest-in-Charge
Joy is the most important Christian emotion. Duty calls when gratitude fails to prompt.
William Sloane Coffin
I have often felt that our understanding of joy is impoverished, that many of us think of it as a kind of overwhelming happiness, one that obscures feelings we find less welcome. Joy does indeed include happiness, but it also gives us the ability to feel all the other emotions integral to our humanity, sadness, longing, expectancy and hopefulness among them. C.S. Lewis has called it the desire for desire, and our lives will be imbued with it as we look for the risen Lord among us.
We have much to look forward to in the months ahead that will offer us such joy. The first is a celebration of our respective ministries with the people of Chester Eastside at a barbecue on August 19, where we will have the opportunity to know each other better and talk of plans for the coming year. The Chester Children’s Chorus will be here on September 9 to begin a series of musical offerings in our sanctuary this year. I also hope to expand the spiritual offerings, including a series on prayer forms and meditation.
Again, I am deeply grateful to be part of this worshipping community, particularly because the capacity for joy is so palpable among the people I have met at St. Paul’s. I look forward to the coming weeks with you , seeking Jesus in unexpected places and guises around us and experiencing the most profound joy possible in our search.
Grace and Peace,
You are How You Pray
The Book of Common Prayer represents a wonderful and deep set of resources for our liturgical life. The product of many years of research into different prayer forms and practices, some ancient in structure and others more contemporary, it offers a range of expression rich in acknowledgement of the love of God and concern for the human condition. In its use of different prayer structures, especially in our Eucharistic prayers, it allows us to retain the acknowledgement of our belovedness, the ways in which we distance ourselves from God and the redemptive power of God’s work in our lives.
Although recent practice at this parish has centered on the use of Rite II, Prayer B, we will begin to use Prayer A beginning in September. Although identical in structure to Prayer B, Prayer A offers a slightly different broader expression of God’s redeeming work among us. It is one of the classic examples of an old prayer form remade and, as such, is at the heart of our liturgical vocabulary.
Similarly, the prayer book offers a wide variety of intercessory prayers, some of them responsorial, others litanies, all acknowledging the work of God in and among each of us. We will use several alternate prayer forms in the months to come; my hope is that they will enrich our worshiping vocabularies and give us a new appreciation of the variety of expression in our prayer book and the opportunity to make full use of its gifts.
I am convinced that the use of these prayers will enrich our lives and liturgies. In the coming few years, there are trial liturgies that are likely to be promulgated by General Convention; for those who can remember the last liturgical changes, they are likely to be similar to the “striped” books we saw in the mid 70’s. This parish is accustomed to the use of prayer A, but it is my intent never to appear arbitrary in making seasonal liturgical change.
In the coming months we will be forming a committee to oversee our worship practices. Let me know if you have any questions concerning this change or anything else in our worship
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