ST. BEDE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

1609 Elm St. Forest Grove, OR

We strive to know Christ more deeply and bring others to his redeeming grace.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Join us on Zoom & Receive Email Updates

Please see our weekly E-notes for links to our Zoom meetings. Please contact the office at office@bedesinthegrove.com if you would like to be added to our email list. 
​Emails are monitored during the M-Th work week.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


March 10, 2022: To Mask or Not to Mask


A Message from the Rev'd Marlene Mutchler, Vicar


March 10, 2022


Beloved Bedians:


​Thankfully we are seeing lower COVID-19 numbers which have led the state to remove, at least for the time being, the indoor mask mandate. This means that our worship will again change. It reminds me of times of turbulence in old England when worshippers had to shift worship styles overnight repeatedly as rulers changed from Roman Catholic to Protestant until they came to the Elizabethan settlement. The result of that settlement has been a comprehensive approach to religious practice which is reflected in our prayer book. For example, the Celebrant says “The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you in everlasting life,” and also, “Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts with thanksgiving.” This shows the comprehensive approach that Christ is truly present in the wine and bread (a more Roman Catholic understanding) with the idea that we are celebrating a memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection (a more Protestant understanding).

Masks
What does this have to do with the mask mandate? We are using the comprehensive Anglican approach to wearing a mask in church, much like our approach to the rite of confession: All may, some should, none must. At the same time, St. Bede’s has decided to strongly encourage masking at the 8 o’clock service for people who feel safer when everyone around them is wearing masks.

Communion
We will also continue to receive communion in both kinds, remembering that the Eucharist is both non compulsory and theologically significant to our life in Christ. Also, our theology tells us that communion in one kind is full communion. So, if you need for whatever reason to abstain from either bread or wine, you may consider yourself as fully communicated if you have taken one or both. It’s important to keep in mind however, that communion in both kinds is the normative means of communion as both the bread and wine comprise the sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace) instituted by our Lord and referenced in scripture. 

The common cup is part of this, as a profound expression of Christian unity. If you wonder if receiving communion or especially sharing in the common cup is right for you at this time, take time to pray for guidance. Perhaps the question is not even whether the cup is fit for your consumption but whether you are spiritually prepared to receive communion (I Cor. 11:28). Though the Eucharist is a deep prayer of unity, we often approach the throne of grace in single file. What is right for you when it comes to receiving Eucharist especially at this time may not be right for everyone.  


As a reminder, please do not intinct. (Intinction is dipping your bread into the wine.) Following the bishop's recommendation, we are not using intinction to dip the bread manually into the cup, which has greater potential for contagion. Intinction is less safe than sipping from the common cup because it fails to protect communicants from potential pathogens present in the wine while at the same time adding more pathogens into the wine from our hands. Think of the chain of hands involved in intinction, from the hands of the altar guild member, to the deacon, to the priest, to the communicant who dips the Host into the chalice. Not only that, but sometimes people even touch the wine accidentally while intincting, which adds to the potential sources of viral infection. If several people intinct, the wine will contain the contaminants from all of their hands collectively. We do our best to have clean hands, but intinction exposes us to many more possibilities for unwanted contamination. 

While I believe and the bishop asserts also that the common cup is safe, unfortunately communion has never been absolutely safe. Rarely are we given absolute safety guarantees of anything in life. Perhaps part of what makes Eucharist a force for good is its potential to be dangerous in its spiritual power to upend our lives. Eucharist literally brings God into the depths of our being.  Are there other ways to do this? Of course. The world we live in is deeply sacramental and full of means of grace, but for many the Eucharist is singularly powerful in both kinds as we connect deeply with Christ's sacrifice for us. It calls us into the presence of God even as we invite the divine to inhabit our very selves.

Many who cannot share in the common cup find it meaningful when coming forward for communion to cross their arms over their chest to indicate that they are choosing not to receive the chalice. Then the deacon or chalice bearer will say the words “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation” over them. It is a way of receiving the cup spiritually and prayerfully when to do so physically is not possible.

In Conclusion
We are strongly encouraging masks at the 8 O’clock service for the time being.
Beginning this Sunday at 10 O’clock masks are optional: All may, some should, none must.
We will continue to have communion in both kinds

With prayers for a Holy Lent,
Marlene+



January 13, 2021: Regarding the Omicron Wave


A Message from the Rev'd Marlene Mutchler, Vicar


January 13, 2022

Beloved Bedians:

Remember back in May of 2021?  Many of us were cautiously optimistic then that we might be making our way out of this COVID mess. We were children then weren’t we? In times like this, I get a lot of encouragement from Deacon Val who tells stories about English perseverance in World War II. This has happened before, not this exact thing, but people have struggled with impossibly difficult obstacles and persevered through deadly and seemingly impossible challenges not knowing when it would end. Scripture is replete with stories like this including the Isrealites wandering in the desert, not living by bread alone but by the word of God. We walk in a bit of a desert too right now, not really knowing what will happen next.  It’s a good thing that Jesus meets us in the desert.  He’s spent a lot of time there so he knows what a beastly place it is. This is good news because he can show us how to live in the desert. 

The desert is a place that tests us. This is not a time to be testing God. Much like Jesus’ resistance to the temptation of throwing himself down from the temple to see if God would save him, we ought not assume God will save us when we foolishly endanger our health. We must do everything we can to stay healthy amidst this Omicron wave. Stay home when you are sick. Vaccinate to the extent possible. Wash hands and sanitize as much as possible. I know it is tiresome, but wear the masks and good ones. N or KN95 are the best masks for omicron. Science is our friend. Taking special care right now accords with loving our neighbors. If we stay healthy our healthcare system will not be as overwhelmed and those most vulnerable will be more protected.

When we do get sick, let’s avoid blaming ourselves or others. It is not a sign of personal or moral failure. This is a really contagious virus. It doesn’t care if we have followed all the rules.  We should expect the likelihood of getting sick, but hopefully we can slow the rate of contagion so that our healthcare system can care for everyone adequately. We must also keep praying, keep up the prayers and spiritual disciplines. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NRSV)

We can still “meet” though in new ways. We will still be worshipping in person to the extent we are able, but know that our new and improved Zoom option is up and running. I am hearing great news from those participating from home.  The picture and sound are clear and people appreciate being welcomed by name into the service so that even those gathered in person are aware of their presence.

So friends, we aren’t out of the desert yet. Let’s do the best we can to love this world by staying safe from COVID as best we can. This has happened before and people have come through it with God’s help. Take good care.

May the light of Christ surround and protect us in this season of Epiphanytide,

Marlene+


December 9, 2021: The Common Cup & COVID-19

A Message from the Rev'd Marlene Mutchler, Vicar

Beloved Bedians:

Thankfully Bishop Akiyama is allowing us to receive communion in both kinds. This has led to some frequently asked questions:

"What does communion with both bread and wine mean for us, especially in a COVID-19 world?"

Communion is BOTH non compulsory AND important to our theology
Anglicanism, of which the Episcopal Church is a part, generally approaches matters of theological importance by invitation and not coercion. Although all baptized members are invited to partake in both kinds, no one is required to take either form of communion, but only as fits each person's physical ability and spiritual situation. Also, our theology tells us that communion in one kind is full communion. So, if you need for whatever reason to abstain from either bread or wine, you may consider yourself as fully communicated if you have taken one or both. However, communion in both kinds is the normative means of communion as both the bread and wine comprise the sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace) instituted by our Lord and referenced in scripture. If you wonder if receiving communion or especially sharing in the common cup is right for you at this time, take time to pray for guidance. Perhaps the question is not even whether the cup is fit for your consumption but whether you are spiritually prepared to receive communion (I Cor. 11:28). Though the Eucharist can be a profound act of unity, we often approach the throne of grace in single file. What is right for you when it comes to receiving Eucharist especially at this time may not be right for everyone.

Sharing a common cup is relatively safe and consistent with science. A recent scientific article states:

"The common communion cup may theoretically serve as a vehicle of transmitting infection, but the potential risk of transmission is very small. Currently, available data do not provide any support for the suggestion that the practice of sharing a common communion cup can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 because SARS-CoV-2 transmission from a patient with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carrier to other people has not been reported."

The risk, though not zero, is very small. As has always been the case, it is still best that people who are ill or severely immunocompromised abstain from the common cup.

Intinction is not allowed. Following the bishop's recommendation, we are not using intinction to dip the bread manually into the cup, which has greater potential for causing infection. Intinction is less safe than sipping from the common cup because it fails to protect communicants from potential pathogens present in the wine while at the same time adding more pathogens into the wine from our hands. Think of the chain of hands involved in intinction, from the hands of the altar guild member, to the deacon, to the priest, to the communicant who dips the Host into the chalice. Not only that, but sometimes people even touch the wine accidentally while intincting, which adds to the potential sources of viral infection. We do our best to have clean hands, but intinction exposes us to many more possibilities for unwanted contamination.

"Why not wait to share the common cup when it is safe for everyone?"

If we waited for safety, we would never receive the Eucharist. Unfortunately, communion has never been absolutely safe. Rarely are we given absolute safety guarantees of anything in life. Perhaps part of what makes Eucharist powerful is its potential to be dangerous, not only in a physical sense, but in its spiritual power to upend our lives. Eucharist literally brings God into the depths of our being. Are there other ways to do this? Of course. The world we live in is deeply sacramental and full of means of grace, but for many the Eucharist is singularly powerful in both kinds as we connect deeply with Christ's sacrifice for us. It calls us into the presence of God even as we invite the divine to inhabit our very selves.

Many have never been able to receive the Eucharist either in one kind or both despite desiring to do so – due to immune issues, recovery from alcoholism, or other health problems. For them there are other opportunities for grace as the Holy Spirit meets us in our several necessities. Spiritually and physically, there is no "one size fits all" and therefore we ought not withhold a sacrament desperately needed by some, because others choose not to or cannot participate in it. If we take seriously the Sacrament as a means of grace, withholding it is like denying medicine to the sick. Not everyone is able to take the same medicine. Because we have different types of spiritual illness we need different types of spiritual cure. If you feel strongly about this, know you are not alone, and that feelings about the common cup are FAR from universal. For as many people who have expressed a desire to limit the common cup’s use, I have had at least as many, if not more, pleading for its return to normal availability.

Many who cannot now share in the common cup find it meaningful when coming forward for communion to cross their arms over their chest to indicate that they are choosing not to receive the chalice. Then the deacon or chalice bearer will say the words “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation” over them. It is a way of receiving the cup spiritually and prayerfully when to do so physically is not possible.

In Conclusion
I hope this helps explain and orients us to a better understanding of our present Eucharistic landscape. Communion is optional in either or both kinds and also important. In whatever way we are called to receive them we have been given, “The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.”

Advent blessings,
Marlene+

Resources

Stay in Touch

Phone: 503.357.5300

Email: office@bedesinthegrove.com