No question, the pandemic has been hard on us all. But even in the midst of heartache and loss, God calls us to hope. Parishes in the Diocese of Washington have been able to maintain, and even increase, their sense of community and mission throughout this challenging time by investing in relationships and the gifts of technology. As Easter approaches this year, we hear from two of our regions and one of our parishes as they demonstrate what is possible when we come together, following Jesus’s Way of Love to bless our communities in creative ways.
“Last Christmas, the parish clergy of the South Montgomery Region realized we could pool our resources to create a joint online Christmas Lessons and Carols,” says the Rev. Cricket Park, rector of Church of the Redeemer, Bethesda and Dean of the South Montgomery Region. “We had such a good time working together. It seemed natural to look for opportunities to recreate the experience.”
They posted the prerecorded Lessons and Carols to YouTube where it ended up getting over 450 views within the first 24 hours. They wondered what might be possible for Easter and decided to record a Liturgy for Good Friday that would again be available on YouTube for anyone to view at a time best suited to their schedule. This time 5 of the 6 parishes in the region are participating and each of those churches will have a music piece in the service. Deacons will handle all the biddings, priests will do the collects, and lay people will speak the readings.
In the Central Montgomery Region the parishes have also come together to record a reflective Good Friday liturgy. The Rev. David Wacaster, Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Silver Spring and Dean of the Central Montgomery Region says, “Originally developed and suggested by The Reverend Virginia Brown Nolan, this collaborative Good Friday liturgy has been a meaningful part of the Region’s Holy Week worship for several years. The opportunity for regional parishes to join together on this project has been especially welcome during this pandemic time.”
This will also be the second year that the Rev. Wacaster’s parish, Good Shepherd, will collaborate with Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church on an ecumenical Seven Last Words of Christ service. “This is the result of the diaconal ministry of The Reverend Kathryn McMahon,” Rev. Wacaster shares. “During the pandemic, Luther Rice Memorial and Good Shepherd have been working together to collect food for Luther Rice’s foodbank in an effort to respond to the needs of the Silver Spring Community.” The two churches have also collaborated on an effort to help senior citizens become more comfortable with technology so they may remain connected to the community during this time when in-person gatherings are not possible.
We give thanks for the richness of these joint ministries, the strengthening of relational ties between parishes and within communities, and the opportunity to grow in faith as we seek to draw people to Jesus and embody his love for the world.
- South Montgomery Region Liturgy for Good Friday – available to view on YouTube on April 2.
- Central Montgomery Region Reflective Good Friday Liturgy – available to view on Christ Church Rockville’s Website on April 2 beginning at noon.
- Good Shepherd, Silver Spring and Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church joint ecumenical Seven Last Words of Christ service – available to view on Good Shepherd’s and Luther Rice’s websites on April 2 beginning at noon.