Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

A Word from the Liturgy and Sacrament Committee

Dear Members of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester,

Over the past months we have journeyed together in a world that continually changes and we have patiently adapted to new forms of virtual worship.  Throughout this time, the grace of God has sustained us with a spirituality that has given us guideposts along the way.  As the Chair of the Liturgy and Sacrament Task Force for Thriving in the COVID World, I have been the recipient of this grace by working with a theologically reflective group of clergy, namely, the Rev. Josh Barrett, the Rev. Matthew Nickoloff, and the Rev. William Daniel.  Thanks to the writings of the Rev. William Daniel, the Task Force presents and endorses the attached booklet for parish use entitled Becoming the Eucharist We Celebrate: Joy in Christ, a Way of Life.  This resource draws on both scripture and tradition to illuminate the values we hold as Episcopalians whereby we die to ourselves and locate our identity in the Risen Christ who is given for the world.  I invite you to engage these materials as we have opportunities for in-person worship and Holy Eucharist once more. This is our opportunity to envision the multiple ways that we may be the hands and feet of Christ, broken and given to the world around us.

The Liturgy and Sacrament Task Force, trusts that each parish will develop guidelines to safely administer the sacrament of Christ’s Body.  As you read through the examples provided in this resource, you may develop a protocol that fits your context with the understanding that we will only administer the sacrament of Christ’s Body to the people.    An expanded rubric is provided entitled, “Holy Eucharist in a COVID World” at the end of this resource.  We will gather as a diocese on August 15 for our first Holy Eucharist in months as the Body of Christ at a service of ordination.  We recommend that parishes who are willing, follow with a service of Holy Eucharist on the subsequent Sunday.  Afterwards, it will be prudent to develop a schedule whereby a certain Sunday is established on a regular basis for either Morning or Evening Prayer rotating with Holy Eucharist.  Although we are not asking parishes to submit a plan for Celebrating Holy Eucharist to our Task Force, we welcome questions and will continue to be a resource for you.

In God’s Service, I am
The Rev. Nita C. Johnson Byrd
Dean of Spiritual Engagement and Chaplain, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Chair of liturgy and Sacrament
Thriving in a COVID world Task Force
Ebook version HERE