Holy Trinity Church in the Village of Pawling is a vibrant, friendly, faithful and growing parish. We look forward to meeting newcomers, and I hope your visit is a pleasant and rewarding one!
Compline – Monday 5/24
Ann and Liz
Meditation for the Third Week after Pentecost by the Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
Meditation for the Fourth Week in Pentecost Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
Meditation for the Second Wednesday after Pentecost by the Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche
Father Juan Perez
The Harlem Valley Ministry is pleased to welcome the Rev. Juan Francisco Perez, Jr. as its new Priest-in-Charge effective September 1, 2017. The Ministry is made up of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Pawling, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Brewster, and MESA in Dover Plains, which stands for Mision Episcopal Santiago Apostol /St. James’s Episcopal Mission.
Reflection in the Time of COVID
The highest doesn’t stand without the lowest.
The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.
To every thing there is a season.
I waited patiently for the Lord, he stooped to me and heard my cry.
Verses like these have been in my mind as I read and watch so much that has occurred since COVID-19 became part of our daily living. In addition to health care workers and first responders we have seen what we would call ordinary jobs realized as essential: delivery workers, grocery clerks, truck drivers, cleaning crews…
We have seen these essential workers rise to the occasion.
Hospitality staff taking over as hospital chaplains, bringing hope and companionship to the isolated.
The first COVID casualty for the NYPD was Dennis Dickson, a member of their cleaning crew who, with cheerful nobility cleaned his station until he became ill. Musicians giving free online concerts, theatres streaming plays, neighbors arranging food collections and deliveries, children writing letters to the homebound.
All of this stands alone as wonderful. As Christians who know that the highest doesn’t stand without the lowest – it reminds us that all honest jobs are essential, and every day piety has always been the strength and backbone of Christian community. And for those of us who long for the Communion table, I suggest that learning of these acts, appreciating and supporting them can be our Communion – a way of taking Jesus into our hearts – because these brothers and sisters in Christ have accepted the call to follow Jesus, have become Jesus’ hands and feet and heart on earth and sustain us with hope and strength and the love of Christ.
But what about the persons who have had to take a step back; who realized that doing nothing was the wisest course. The chaplains that cannot visit their patients; clergy who cannot perform funerals, weddings or provide any in person liturgies, ushers and greeters who aren’t at the church doors, coffee hour hosts, priests that have been unable to celebrate Mass…
Just as essential workers have stepped up and in this way may have found new meaning in their personal faith, those of us who have stepped back can also do some reflecting. Following Jesus can be hard. It takes us out of our comfort zones because Jesus always met people at the margins: women, tax collectors, Samaritans, lepers. Those of us who welcomed Sunday services as one way of living our faith find ourselves praying alone or using the internet to participate in a service. Whatever we are doing it is not what we are used to. So, we are on the margins of our normal worship culture: our faith is all dressed up and we have to find some place else for it to go. We are called at this time to profess our faith in new or different ways: Not only is it a big change, it’s a paradigm shift and they are always frustrating and confusing and scary.
Psalm 137 verses 1 and 4 say
"By the waters of Babylo we sat down and wept, when we remembered you, O Zion.… How shall we sing the Lord's song upon an alien soil?"
We are not the first to feel isolated and sad because our traditions have been taken away from us. To me, COVID isolation is like living in a Psalm. And we can feel a little bit about how the Israelites felt in their many years of exile; and our faith, which began long ago with our Jewish brothers and sisters becomes more real to us in a new way. What we previously simply read in the Old Testament we are experiencing today. Amidst the loneliness and fear and isolation and anger and grouchiness that came with this season of COVID, we have the Holy Spirit showing us that our faith is living and vibrant – we just need to look around a corner or under a mask instead of at an altar in the front of a church.