Rector's Msg.

For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you.1 Corinthians 11:18

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the 1st century the church in Corinth was struggling with conflict in their gathering. It seems as though there was a division in the church between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” The “haves” seemed to be more wealthy Christians who came to the services and ate up all the good stuff while the “have-nots” waited for the scraps. This split between the wealthy and the poor created division in the church and harmed the worship and testimony of all. Paul leaves the church with this guidance, “So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another,” (1 Cor 11:33). His response was that the church should be a place of welcome and equality where people react graciously to one another.

As I am sure you are aware, on June 15th California will be lifting most guidelines, which have informed the public practice of our worship and life for the last year. This is due to the amazing work of so many to provide us with vaccines, which are remarkably effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19 (please get vaccinated if you can so that we can do our part to care for each other and the community). We are still waiting on guidance from our bishop and our Vestry on how best to apply the state and bishop’s guidance. Therefore, while we do not know precisely what the future holds, we do know that changes are ahead of us.

Obviously, any change can cause varied reactions in different people. For some, these changes will be marked with great joy, for others they will create great anxiety. For those who are vaccinated this might feel like a return to some sense of normalcy, for those who cannot be vaccinated, or have not yet had the opportunity, this might feel like the protective barriers have been stripped from them. In the church, in light of Paul’s admonition, we aim to be welcoming to all people, to be a place where all are cared for and where we sacrifice for the good of others. Our bishop, vestry, staff, and clergy will be seeking out how best to live out the new guidelines and our Gospel commitment to Jesus Christ in the coming weeks so that we can welcome everyone into worship of God.

Let us commit to walk in grace with one another as we have been doing during this last year so that we come out of this pandemic stronger and more unified than ever before, showing the world our love for the Lord by our loving one another.

In Christ.

P.S.—Emmanuel is planning to continue putting its worship services online for the foreseeable future, so this will remain an option for all with Internet access.