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My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is an old adage (adapted from a line in “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns) which states, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”   It seems the more we try to plan and adjust to our current situation with the coronavirus, the more monkey wrenches keep getting thrown in, causing us to have to plan again.

Unfortunately, as the coronavirus continues on with no clear end in sight, it has become necessary to make several changes and adjustments to upcoming scheduled events at the parish and diocesan level.  The first of which has to do with Holy Week and Easter.  As I had shared with you earlier when we temporarily suspended all public Church services in cooperation with the governmental restriction on the size of group gatherings in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, I had hoped that we might be able to resume services in time for Holy Week and Easter.  With the number of coronavirus cases continuing to grow and the peak not expected for several more weeks, the current suspension will need to remain in place at least through the middle of April and perhaps longer.  We will reevaluate the situation on April 15th and every week thereafter until it is safe once again to return to our Church buildings.

Recognizing how important the celebration of Easter is to all of us, I encourage each of our parishes to plan a glorious Easter celebration for the first or second Sunday after we are able to resume public services in our Church buildings.  While the Church has created a liturgical calendar to ensure an orderly way of worshiping God, remembering and celebrating the life and holy acts of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to remember that Jesus is the Lord of time.  He is not controlled or restricted by the calendar. In Hebrews we read, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Given our current situation, I believe it would be very appropriate for us to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, of His passing from death to new life, as we ourselves pass from this time of separation from one another to the time we can be joyfully reunited with one another in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the meantime however, during this time of suspended public services, I encourage us all to take advantage of the many livestream and recorded online Church services that are available.  Many of our clergy and lay leaders are providing wonderful live-stream and online worship services in the form of Morning and Evening Prayer, Holy Eucharist, The Litany, The Stations of the Cross, Bible Studies, and a variety of other services.  I even heard of one parish that organized an online Coffee Hour where parishioners were able to visit together via the internet.  These different services can be found on the various parish websites, all of which can be accessed through the diocesan website:  www.albanyepiscopaldiocese.org

The Diocese of Albany website has a great deal to offer as well, not the least of which is the weekly online Sunday Holy Communion Service.  My wife Karen and I were just able to worship together this morning at home, complements of the Communion Service on the diocesan website.  I must say it was a bit strange sitting in the “congregation” with my wife, watching myself lead the service on the computer screen.  Fr. Derik Roy gave an outstanding sermon, as did Fr. Paul Hartt last week.  I highly commend these services to you.  An online Palm Sunday and Easter Service will be provided, helping to fill in the gap until we can be reunited in our parish churches for a more glorious Easter celebration.

While very supportive of all the livestream and online services being offered, I would discourage any plans for parking lot services or curbside drive-by communions where people are encouraged to drive up and receive Holy Communion while in the car.  I appreciate the intent and desire to make Communion accessible during this time when we are unable to meet in our church buildings, however, it goes against the government and health officials attempts to limit exposure and keep people home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Looking now at other diocesan events that have been impacted by the coronavirus and the resulting group gathering restrictions, the following ministry events are being postponed to a future date, yet to be determined:  the Women’s Welcome Home Initiative (WHI); and the Men’s Cursillo Weekend.  All special or regularly scheduled diocesan committee meetings to include Standing Committee, Trustees, Episcopal Charities and Diocesan Council, etc. will be held via Zoom meetings or conference calls until further notice.

A similar arrangement is being made by the National Church for my upcoming Title IV Hearing Panel proceedings which had been scheduled for Tuesday, April 21st in Albany.  The Hearing Panel / Trial will not take place in person at the Desmond Hotel as originally planned, but will now be a virtual meeting online.  People will still be able to observe the proceeding on line, but will not be allowed to participate directly.  At the moment, it is not clear whether it will still happen on April 21st, or whether a new date will be set.  I will let everyone know when I know.

This past Friday, the Standing Committee voted unanimously to postpone the annual Diocesan Convention until the Fall.  A new Call to Convention will be issued by the Secretary of the Diocese once the date and location have been set.  A new deadline will be set for turning in nomination forms and other information related to the Convention.  All the nomination forms that have already been turned in, as well as the parish registration forms identifying parish deputies will be held on file and do not need to be redone.  This year’s convention, unfortunately will need to be scaled down considerably.  We will deal with all the official business that needs to be covered, but unfortunately we will not be able to hold workshops, plenary sessions, the youth rally and other special features that have been such an important part of our Diocesan Convention for the past 20+ years.  This has not been an easy decision, but given our current circumstances, we are not able to hold Convention as normal this year.  By God’s grace, next year we hope to return to our regular Diocesan Convention format.

The status of this year’s Beaver Cross Summer Youth Program is still up in the air.  It is our sincere hope and prayer that Beaver Cross will take place as scheduled this summer.  A final decision will be made by May 15th.  It all depends on what is happening with the coronavirus at that time.

There is no question that the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in all aspects of our lives – our personal and family lives; our work; our finances; our health (for many); our parish and diocesan lives; our local communities, state, nation, and indeed the entire world are all being severely impacted.  No one is left unaffected.  In many ways, the coronavirus and all the various responses to it have turned our lives upside down.

As we are all experiencing, this can be a very unsettling and often frightening time, and yet the Lord doesn’t want us to live in fear.  As the Apostle Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans: “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the Children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather the Spirit you received brought about your adoption…And by him we cry ‘Abba, Father,’  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16).  My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, God loves you.  He has not forgotten nor abandoned us.  He is with us.  The very last recorded words of our Lord Jesus Christ right before He ascended into Heaven after His death and resurrection was, “I am with  you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20).  His Holy Spirit lives and dwells within us.

Jesus never promised that we wouldn’t go through difficult and trying times.  He never promised that we wouldn’t experience suffering, sorrow and loss.  What He did promise is that as we go through those times, times such as now with the coronavirus, He would be with us and help us through it.  I don’t know all that God is going to do in and through the coronavirus, but I do know that we can trust Him.  In Christ is our hope.

I would like to close with a prayer written by Bishop Ken “Fanta” Clarke, our dear friend from Northern Ireland:

Unshakeable God, at this time of national crisis and personal pain, we look to you for help and hope.  We don’t understand what is happening.  We are fearful and apprehensive.  We grieve to see people dying.  We are anxious about the future.  We are fearful about surviving financially.  We are really just about hanging in.  We can’t get a grip about what is going on. It hurts to see people suffer.  It hurts to see doctors, nurses, and care workers stretched to their limits.  It is so painful to think of those in isolation who are deeply worried.  It is heartbreaking to see those who are bereaved.  It is distressing to know that some people are utterly alone.  We cry out to you for help and hope.  We ask your forgiveness for our pride and folly.  We repent of our selfishness and sin.  Show us your mercy Lord.  Heal our land.  God of compassion, stretch out your hands of healing.  God of grace, show us your mercy.  God of truth, may your Word bring hope.  Lord Jesus, walk with us in our pain, fear, and confusion.  Once again calm the storm.  Once again heal the hurting.  Once again bring hope and help.  Bless all who are serving selflessly to care for others.  Give our leaders wisdom and vision.  Help them to make the right decisions at this unprecedented time.  Strengthen and protect all who are still working.  Thank you for the thoughtful actions of many people.  Thank you for all whose lives are marked by acts of kindness.  Thank you for churches seeking first your Kingdom, a Kingdom that cannot be shaken.  Thank you that in you, the unshakeable God, there is rock solid hope for the present and future.  Thank you that you are the God of the Cross and the God of the resurrection.  Breathe afresh your Holy Spirit upon us, upon our nation, and across the world at this time.  In the powerful Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

 

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,

+Bill

Bishop of Albany

 

P.S.  Just a reminder, that while our church buildings are temporarily closed, the Church – the People of God,  the Body of Christ, You and Me still have work to do.  I invite and encourage each of us to think and pray about what we can do, individually and corporately, (even with all the restrictions placed upon us) during this time of the coronavirus pandemic, to serve as a channel of God’s love and mercy and healing grace.  Who has the Lord put on your heart to reach out to through a phone call or letter?  Who might you help get groceries?  What have you been wanting to do for the Lord, if you only had the time?  Perhaps, NOW is that time.  God Bless!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matt 18:20

Even though we are not able to gather together during this time in our Church buildings, we need to remain faithful in our prayers and our study of God’s Holy Word, remembering that the Lord is with us where ever we are.  As Jesus stated in John 4:23-24, “God is spirit.”   He is everywhere at once.  As we worship Him in spirit and truth, may our heart and mind be spiritually open to His presence. – Bishop Bill
Click to read the Bishop’s full letter

We want to encourage you to worship from home while this health crisis unfolds and to do so we have complied a resource list for you. By no means does this list provide all available resources, but it does give you a number of options to guide you in your home worship.  You may also reach out to your parish clergy for ideas and suggestions.

Virtual Worship

Recorded Eucharist services for each Sunday 
Each Sunday while church services are suspended the Diocese of Albany will post a Sunday morning service with sermon by various Clergy from around the Diocese. We have set up a YouTube Channel where these services will be posted.

There are many Parishes that are Live Streaming their services on Facebook. Please talk to your local church leaders to see if they will be offering this. How to use Facebook Live

Cathedral Choir – Listen to the Cathedral of All Saints Choir for uplifting and beautiful music.

Listen to Contemporary Worship Music – YouTube has hours upon hours of instrumental worship music.

Listen to Traditional Hymns – YouTube has hours of traditional hymns to enjoy.

Stations of the Cross – Fr. Ed LaCombe reads Mary’s Way of the Cross

Prayer

A Morning at the Office – Daily morning prayer including the Daily Office readings. This is available online or in your Podcast App.

Mission St. Clare – Daily morning and evening prayer and daily devotions. The website works well from the computer. If you are using your smart phone we recommend downloading the Mission St. Clare App.

Diocesan Prayer Cycle-Join others from around the Diocese as we pray daily for our Bishop, clergy and the various ministries in the Diocese of Albany. Some churches are also doing daily parish prayer prompts using email and social media.

Online Book of Common Prayer – In case you do not own a Prayer Book, here is a link to the BCP online.

Study

Psalm Reflections – Daily reflections on the Psalms with our friends in Ireland.

Bible Gateway – In case you do not have a Bible at home, you can access it online. You can also contact your parish leaders, they may be able to bring you a Bible.

Truth for Life with Alistair Begg – Truth For Life’s mission is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance. Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. You can listen online, on the radio or subscribe to his Podcast.

Bible in On Year with Nicky Gumble – Start your day with the Bible in One Year, a free Bible reading app with commentary by Nicky and Pippa Gumbel. Nicky Gumbel is the Vicar of HTB in London and pioneer of Alpha.

Beaver Cross Ministries “Day by Day” – Danny and Kait Hyde will be posting daily videos on the Youtube to offer fun, Jesus-centered programming for youth during this situation.

Staying Connected

It is important to stay connected and there are many ways to do so, such as email, phone calls, texts, and social media. You may also choose to use programs like Skype , Zoom or Google Hangouts.  These are all great ways to hold face to face prayer meetings, vestry meetings, or simply for fellowship.

Conference Calls – Another option is to use a conference call service like Free Conference Call. Your church leader can set up an account easily and then provide everyone with a dial in phone number and access code. At the scheduled time, everyone can call in and be connected for group prayer or a meeting. Here are some tips for good call etiquette 


Other Resources

Cleaning Guidance for Houses of Worship Attached please find guidelines from the New York State Department of Health for cleaning churches

Resources for Conducting Email Voting for Vestry Meetings

In 2014, the New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law, which pertains to religious institutions, was revised for the first time in many decades.  The change that could impact the parish vestry during this time concerns decisions and actions taken by the vestry:

  • Vestry actions using email as the voting mechanism for such actions are only valid if 100% of the vestry participates and the decision is unanimous.
  • If 100% of the vestry does not participate in the email (i,e, doesn’t have access to email, chooses not to participate in this manner) or all participate but an email vote is not unanimous, a meeting is required.
  • Under the law, meetings may occur in person or by video or teleconference or some combination thereof.
  • Actions taken by email or video or teleconference should be memorialized in the next in-person meeting of the vestry.
(Printable PDF )An Update from Bishop Love on the Coronavirus and the Suspension of Church Services

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Given the new coronavirus guidelines handed down by President Trump and his administration (to include avoid gatherings of 10 or more people), I am suspending all regular Sunday and weekday services in the Episcopal Diocese of Albany through the end of March.  It is my hope and prayer that we will be able to resume services in time for Holy Week and Easter, but will need to wait to reevaluate the situation at that time, before making a final determination.  The annual Chrism Mass will not take place this year.  The consecrated Chrism and oil for healing will be distributed to all the clergy of the Diocese at another time to be determined.

In the event that a funeral or burial service is needed during this time of suspension, I would ask that attendance be limited to immediate family members only.  I recommend that a larger memorial service honoring the life of the departed member be scheduled once the suspension is lifted.

All currently scheduled parish visits by the Bishop, to include Confirmation services, are on hold until further notice.  Once the current crisis has passed, we will reschedule any missed visitations and Confirmation services.  In regard to the upcoming scheduled ordination services during March and April, I will be contacting each of the ordinands to discuss possible options.

As you know, I had hoped (given all the health and safety precautions we were trying to implement in each of our congregations during the coronavirus outbreak), that we could keep our Church buildings open for Sunday services.  Unfortunately, for reasons stated above, that is not possible.

With that said, even though we are not able to gather together during this time in our Church buildings, we need to remain faithful in our prayers and our study of God’s Holy Word, remembering that the Lord is with us where ever we are.  As Jesus stated in last Sunday’s Gospel passage from John, “God is spirit.”   He is everywhere at once.  As we worship Him in spirit and truth, may our heart and mind be spiritually open to His presence.

Each Sunday, a new recorded sermon and celebration of Holy Communion can be found on the Diocesan Website.  Please take advantage of this opportunity to worship together from afar.  We will try to include a link to other worship resources as well.

I pray the Lord will give each of us the grace, faith and patience we need during this unprecedented time, as our nation and indeed the world tries to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  It is vitally important that each of us try as best we can by the grace of God, to show true Christian love and charity to our neighbors during this time of illness, uncertainty, and disruption to our normal day to day lives.  Tensions are high and people are stressed.   I know there is a great deal of fear and apprehension by many people all around us.  I pray the Lord will give us His peace, taking from us any fear or anxiousness we may be feeling, and that He will use us to be a channel of His love and mercy and healing grace in the broken and hurting world around us.

Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.  May the Lord watch over and protect you and your loved ones today and in the days to come.  God Bless You!

 

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,

     +Bill

Bishop of Albany

“You are the Salt of the Earth!  You are the Light of the World!”
Manifesting Jesus Christ to the World

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

By the time you read this we will have just passed from Epiphany into Lent, however, the “manifestation” or pointing toward Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Son of God (as celebrated in Epiphany) is still very much on my heart and mind. Throughout the Season of Epiphany we heard of the various ways God the Father pointed toward Jesus as the Son of God and long awaited Messiah.

First, God used a special star in the heavens as well as the prophesies of old, to lead the Wise Men or Magi from the East across hundreds of miles from their homelands to the small town of Bethlehem where they found Jesus with His mother Mary. We are told that upon finding Him, they worshiped Him and gave gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, manifesting or pointing toward Jesus’ royal kingship, divinity, and pending sacrificial death as the Lamb of God.

We then celebrated Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist (the one appointed by God to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah, and spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah).  When Jesus came up from the baptismal waters in the River Jordan, Heaven opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and God the Father spoke, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).  God spoke similarly when Jesus took Peter and James and John up on the mountain and was transfigured before their eyes, revealing His divine nature.  A cloud overshadowed them and God the Father spoke, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” (Mark 9:7).    That was the ultimate manifestation of Jesus as the Son of God.

After His baptism, Jesus began manifesting or pointing to Himself as the Messiah and Son of God.   He called the Disciples to come follow Him and then began teaching them about Himself and performed many miracles as a sign of who He is and why He came into the world.  In the Gospel of Matthew we read, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23).  Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus is challenged by the Jewish authorities and they demand that He tell them plainly if He is the Messiah.  Jesus responds by saying, “I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The works I do in My Father’s name testify about Me…I and the Father are one…even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (John 10:25,30,38).  All of this has been recorded in Holy Scripture so that we and future generations may come to know and believe in Jesus just as his early followers and disciples did.

In the Gospel passage assigned for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, the focus shifts from Jesus to the disciples (to you and me).  Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:13-14).  In making these statements, the Lord is saying there is a role for us to play in His manifestation as the Son of God, the Messiah and Savior of the world.

In order to get a sense of what Jesus means when He says, “You are the salt of the earth,” it is important to think about the various qualities or characteristics of salt.  As a quick aside, during my high school years, I lived in Grand Saline, Texas.  The town was named Grand Saline meaning “great salt” because it sits on one of the largest salt deposits in the world.  The Morton Salt Company headquartered in Grand Saline, built a salt palace several years ago for the annual salt festival.  Unfortunately they have to keep rebuilding it because it keeps melting.  Getting back to the qualities of salt, one of its main uses is as a seasoning.  It is used to season food in order to help enhance or bring out its flavor.  It is also used as a preservative, helping to preserve unrefrigerated meat so that it won’t spoil.  It can be used as a cleansing or purifying agent.  As such, salt is often sprinkled in the “holy water” we use in Church.   As we know up north, it is also used to help melt snow and ice.

So what does all of this have to do with the manifestation of Jesus Christ?  As we think about the qualities of salt just mentioned, the Lord is calling us as “the salt of the earth,” to use our saltiness to help enhance the flavor of our teaching and personal conversations with others about Jesus, so that fellow Christians may be strengthened in their faith and non-Christians may come to know and believe in Him as Lord and Savior.  He is calling us as members of the Body of Christ and “salt of the earth” to help fight the decay in the world around us and to offer ourselves to God to be used as a purifying and healing agent in the brokenness we encounter.  He is calling us to live our lives in such a way that the love of Christ flows from us to help melt the hardened hearts that act as barriers to people’s ability to believe and trust in Christ as Lord and Savior .  It is only in and through the grace of God that we can do any of this.

When Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth,” He went on to say, “But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13)    The Lord is making it clear in this statement that He expects us to use our “saltiness” to help manifest or point others to Him.  If we don’t, what good are we?  As we enter into Lent, we might want to contemplate on the level of our saltiness?   What are we doing to help point others toward Jesus?  In the Diocese of Albany we believe the Lord is calling us to be “Disciples making Disciples.”  Our “saltiness” is a key ingredient in caring out that mission.

As we go about as the “salt of the earth” and “Disciples making Disciples,” it’s important to remember one of the other aspects of salt.  When using salt, it is important to use the right amount.  While a little bit of salt can help enhance the flavor of our food, too much salt can make it uneatable.  As Christians we are called to share our faith, NOT beat people up over the head with our faith.  There is a fine line between just enough and too much.  May the Lord give each of us the grace to know the difference.  WE want to help bring people to Christ, not drive them away.

Not only did Jesus say “You are the salt of the earth,” but He also said, “You are the light of the world.” He first pointed to Himself saying, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)  He is the true light.  As Christians, we are called to be a reflection of His light shining forth in us and through us, pointing others not to us, but to Him.  Just as the light of the moon is actually a reflection of the sun’s light, as Christians and the “light of the world,” we are to live our lives in such a way that reflects the light of Christ.   Light guides, reveals, comforts, warms, illumines, and points the way.  Light overcomes darkness.  Even the smallest flame shines out in a darkened room.

I am reminded of the Great Easter Vigil and the lighting of the new fire.  The service begins in darkness.  A single spark ignites the fire which lights the Pascal Candle, signifying the “Light of Christ.”  As the Pascal Candle passes down the aisle, individual candles on both sides of the isle are lit from the Pascal Candle, sharing the “Light of Christ” with the surrounding candles until all the candles in the room are lit, filling the room with the “Light of Christ.”  As the “light of the world,” Jesus is calling us to share His light with one another until the whole world is aglow in His light and glory.

Is the Light of Christ shining forth in your life drawing and pointing others to Christ, or has it been hidden under a basket?  Jesus said, a lamp is intended to be put on a lamp stand, not hidden away, in order that the whole room may be lit, driving away the darkness.  Tragically many Christians today have hidden their lamp away in fear of being persecuted for their faith, or made fun of, or rejected by family and friends.  The Lord calls us not to live in fear, but to trust and follow Him, sharing His light with others so that they may be set free from the darkness of sin and live in the light Christ Jesus. May Christ give each of us the grace to let His light shine forth boldly in our lives in such a way that He is manifested and glorified.

While there is much that each of us can do individually in response to the Lord’s call to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” this year we have the opportunity to come together as parish families and a diocesan family through the Alpha Ministry in an effort to manifest Christ to the world around us in a mighty and powerful way helping believers and non- believers alike to come to know and experience the love and forgiveness of  Jesus Christ in truly life transforming ways.

This year’s Parish Leadership Conference will focus on reintroducing the Alpha, Ministry to all the parishes of the Diocese of Albany in an effort to help us better share the Good News of Jesus Christ with friends and loved ones as well as the stranger on the street.  Early in Bishop Herzog’s Episcopate, Alpha came to the Diocese of Albany, where it was well received by many, helping to ignite a new sense of joy and excitement in sharing the Gospel and growing many of our churches, both physically and spiritually.  Over the years for a variety of reasons it kind of faded out.  We believe it is time to bring it back on a large scale.

“Alpha is an opportunity to explore life and the Christian faith in a friendly, open and informal environment.  It is a 10 week course run in churches, coffee shops, prisons, and homes worldwide.  Essentially, Alpha is a safe place to explore life’s biggest questions.”  Its chief components include food, talk and discussion.

The three-fold goal of this year’s Parish Leadership Conference is for all those attending to: 1)  Leave with an exciting and vibrant understanding and experience of bring people to Christ through Alpha 2020; 2) Leave refreshed by the Holy Spirit – empowered and inspired and ready for ministry; 3) Leave with tools and a plan to begin the process of running Alpha in your church, workplace, neighborhood, or where ever the Lord might lead you.  Plans are being made and will be revealed at the PLC for a coordinated diocesan wide Alpha Program beginning in September 2020.  The new and revised Alpha Ministry provides a wonderful and exciting opportunity for individuals, parishes, and the wider diocese to truly be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” manifesting Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Lord and Savior of the world.  I pray you will join me and other brothers and sisters in Christ from around the Diocese for this year’s Parish Leadership Conference.  The dates and locations will be posted separately.

Faithfully Your Brother in Christ,

+Bill

Bishop of Albany

For the best viewing option of the online eIssue below, click on Full Screen in the center.
You may also choose to view it as a PDF by using the following link: PDF Version Lent 2020

Psalm 84

Quam dilecta!

How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! *
My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.

2 The sparrow has found her a house
and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young; *
by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.

3 Happy are they who dwell in your house! *
they will always be praising you.

4 Happy are the people whose strength is in you! *
whose hearts are set on the pilgrims’ way.

5 Those who go through the desolate valley will find it a place of springs, *
for the early rains have covered it with pools of water.

6 They will climb from height to height, *
and the God of gods will reveal himself in Zion.

Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; *
hearken, O God of Jacob.

8 Behold our defender, O God; *
and look upon the face of your Anointed.

9 For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, *
and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God
than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.

10 For the Lord God is both sun and shield; *
he will give grace and glory;

11 No good thing will the Lord withhold *
from those who walk with integrity.

12 O Lord of hosts, *
happy are they who put their trust in you!

Psalm 29

Afferte Domino

Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.

9 And in the temple of the Lord *
all are crying, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.

11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

RIP – Fr. Michael Shank

The Rev. Michael Shank, retired priest in the Diocese of Albany, died on Sunday, January 5, 2020. Fr. Shank was serving as Vicar of St. Mary’s, Downsville and St. Margaret’s, Margaretville.
Funeral services will be celebrated on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 240 Main St. Unadilla, NY 13849. A Funeral Mass will be begin at 11:00 am with Bishop William Love officiating. Burial will take place in the spring in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Sidney.
Clergy wishing to vest should wear white stoles.
For the full obituary please click here.

You’re Invited!

The Diocese of Albany invites you to join us for worship this Christmas. Below are a listing of service times for churches around the diocese. New listings are being added daily. The services are listed alphabetically by the town/city where the church is located. Click on the name of the church to find out more information and location.

Cathedral of All Saints, Albany
Christmas Eve: Family mass 4pm, Midnight Mass 11pm
Christmas Day: Mass at 9am


St. Andrew’s, Albany
Christmas Eve 4:30pm Family Eucharist and Pageant;
8pm Carols, 8:30 pm Festive Eucharist
Christmas Day: 10am Eucharist


St. Peter’s, Albany
Christmas Eve: 4:30pm Family Service with Creche
9:30pm Carols by the Choir
10:00pm Christmas Eve Choral Holy Communion Service

Christmas Day:  Holy Communion Service 9am

St. Anne’s, Amsterdam
Christmas Eve: 4pm and 8pm


St. Paul’s, Bloomville
Christmas Eve: Candlelight service at 4:00pm featuring our Children’s Pageant


Church of the Holy Name, Boyntonville
Christmas Eve: 5pm


St. Luke’s, Cambridge
Christmas Eve 9am Early Christmas Eve Service and  a Traditional Christmas Eve service, at 5:30pm.
Christmas Day: Service at 10am  


Calvary Church, Cairo
Christmas Eve: 9:30pm


Church of the Good Shepherd, Canajoharie
Christmas Eve: 6pm


St. Luke’s, Catskill
Christmas Eve: 5pm Said Mass with carols
10:30pm Carol sing
11pm Traditional Midnight Mass

Christmas Day: 9am Said Mass

Christ & St. John’s Church, Champlain
Christmas Eve: Candlelight Mass at 7pm
Christmas Day: Mass at 11am


St. George’s, Clifton Park
Christmas Eve:
4:30pm Family Service (Children’s Pageant and Holy Communion)
7:30pm Holy Communion with carols
10:00pm Service of Christmas carols
10:30pm Solemn Eucharist (Incense) with choir

Christmas Day:
10:30 Holy Communion with carols

St. Michael’s, Colonie
Christmas Eve: 5:00pm and 10:00pm
Christmas Day: 10:00 am


St. John’s, Cohoes
Christmas Eve: Christmas Carols 6:45pm and Holy Eucharist 7:00pm


St. Stephen’s, Delmar
Christmas Eve: Family Service with Holy Eucharist Rite II at 4pm
Traditional Christmas Service with Holy Eucharist Rite II at 8:00pm
Carol Service begins at 7:30pm
Christmas Day: Holy Eucharist Rite I at 9:30am


Church of the Messiah, Glens Falls
Christmas Eve: Services at 4 pm (with incense), 8 pm (no incense)
Christmas Day: 10 am (no incense)


Christ Church, Gilbertsville
Christmas Eve: Christmas Carols begin at 7:40 pm Holy Eucharist Candlelight Service begins at 8pm
Christmas Day: Holy Eucharist at 10am


Trinity Church, Gouverneur
Christmas Eve: Service at 7pm


Trinity Church, Granville
Christmas Eve: 6:00pm
Christmas Day: 10:00pm


St. Paul’s, Greenwich
Christmas Eve: Holy Eucharist Candlelight Service  6pm


Christ Church, Hudson
Christmas Eve: 4 pm Family Service with Eucharist (children’s sermon)
10:30 pm Festal Eucharist (carol singing at 10:30 pm, service begins at 11 pm)
Christmas Day: 9 am Service with Eucharist (no choir or organ)


Zion Church, Hudson Falls
Christmas Eve:  4:00pm & 7:00pm  (carol singing 30 minutes prior to each service)
Christmas Day: 10:00am (spoken service)


St. Augustine’s, Ilion
Christmas Eve: Mass 7pm
Christmas Day: Mass 9:30am


St. John’s, Johnstown
Christmas Eve: 6:00 pm Family Candlelight Service 10:30 pm Music with the Caroga Arts Collective Musicians 11:00 pm Candlelight Service
Christmas Day: 10:00 am Holy Eucharist Service


St. James’, Lake Delaware
Christmas Eve: 10:30pm Mass of the Nativity of Our Lord.
Christmas Day: 10am Mass


Trinity Church, Lansingburgh/Troy
Christmas Eve: Family Festival Service 5:30pm
Christmas Eve: Festival Service at 11pm, beginning with Carol Singing at 10.45pm


Church of Our Saviour, Lebanon Springs
Christmas Eve: 7:30pm


Christ Church, Morristown
Christmas Eve: 7pm


St,. John’s, Ogdensburg
Christmas Eve: Choral Eucharist 7:00pm with Christmas Carols starting at 6:00pm
Christmas Day: Eucharist 9am


St. James’, Oneonta
Christmas Eve: 5pm Family Service, 10:30pm Festival of Carols
11:00pm Festive Choral Christmas Eucharist
Christmas Day: 10:00am Holy Eucharist


Gloria Dei Church, Palenville
Christmas Eve: 7:30pm


Trinity Church, Plattsburgh
Christmas Eve: Family Worship Service  4pm and Candle Light Eucharist at 9pm


All Saints, Round Lake
Christmas Eve: 7pm
Christmas Day: 11am


Bethesda, Saratoga Springs
Christmas Eve:  4:00pm Family Eucharist with the Blessing of the Creche
10:00pm Music of the nativity
10:30pm Solemn Eucharist

Christmas Day: 8:30am Morning Prayer 9am Eucharist with Hymns


Christ Church, Schenectady
Christmas Eve: Service at 7pm


St. George’s, Schenectady
Christmas Eve: Family Mass & Pageant at 3pm, Christmas Eve Solemn High Mass 10pm with a Carol concert beginning at 9:30pm
Christmas Day:  Mass 11am


St. Paul’s, Troy
Christmas Eve: 5pm Reading of “The NIght Before Christmas” followed by a service of Lessons and Carols
5:30pm Christmas Eve Service, Choral Holy Communion Service
Christmas Day: 10am Holy Eucharist


St. Thomas’, Tupper Lake
Christmas Eve: Holy Eucharist at 5:00pm


St. Paul’s, Waddington
Christmas Eve: 7pm Holy Eucharist with Festive Carols.


Grace Church, Waterford
Christmas Eve – 7pm & 10pm
Christmas Day – 9:30am


Trinity Church, Watervliet
Christmas Eve: 5:30pm Carols followed by Mass of Christmas at 6pm


Trinity Church, Whitehall
Christmas Eve: 9pm

Greetings!
I hope you enjoy the December issue of The Albany Episcopalian available in electronic format. To view you can use the following options:
-or-
This issue features stories and updates on the ministries and programs happening around our Diocese, including a Christmas message from Bishop Bill.
We hope you enjoy this eIssue of The Albany Episcopalian. As always we thank Cn. George Marshall for his faithful service in putting together the Episcopalian.
Please note that on the Bishop’s visitation Schedule it says May where it should say January.