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Christ Church East Norwalk eNews
The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

From Fr Montgomery
WHAT we value and HOW we live it out.
 
The COVID Virus brought the way we live our lives as a faith community – as a Parish Church – to an abrupt halt on March 13 when I got the email that in person worship and the use of our buildings had been suspended and that the Country was going on Lockdown. The Bishop encouraged the clergy to “be creative”. So we were. YOU were. We immediately employed Face Book Live then Zoom. Eventually, Paul Mordoff came up with a way of sharing communion that was COVID compliant that no other church, to my knowledge, is doing and is unique to Christ Church. The Vestry helped make it happen for Easter and beyond and we continue to employ it in the time of “blended” in-person/digital worship. WHAT we valued didn’t go away – we held fast to it and carried it forward into new territory.  HOW we live it out changed dramatically and has been a gift we have come to cherish. 
 
I encourage those of you who are feeling a loss for something you value – be it Women’s group at the Church (now scheduled for a second off-site meeting in as many months in a lovely outdoor setting that all might be safe; or the former 8am service without music and 10am service with music that have been replaced by the 9am service without much music at all; or any HOW you miss…to identify the WHAT it is that you value. In the Women’s group meetings, perhaps it was being together and sharing a meal and engaging scripture and fellowship. And you are still able to do that. WHAT you value has not been lost even though HOW you live it out has. 
 
Worship is a little trickier. Until COVID is resolved we cannot sing and enjoy music in the ways we love and so every service is, essentially, what we remember the 8 O’clock to be. Also, for health and safety reasons, we cannot have two services in the Church in the same 72 hour period. So for now, we will be having the 9. Please come in person or engage digitally and be part of what we are becoming!
 
When COVID seems to resolve itself, we will engage with every active person in the congregation and ask if there is anyone who is prevented from worshipping by having the service at 9am on Sunday only. We will even question whether 9am on Sunday is the right thing at the right time. If we find there are those who are prevented from coming to Church because of their profession or infirmity or other weighty cause, we will consider “trying on” a new time and/or day and/or place for worship! It could be early Sunday morning. It could be Friday or Saturday. It could be virtual only on any day. It could be something we have not yet even thought about. 
 
OR…….or….. we just might move beyond what we WANT (to preserve what we HAD) and work together for what we NEED. We might just say – for the small size we are, our time and energy is better spent having one worship service and throwing our missional energy and staff and clergy time into founding the Nursery School and improving the appearance and welcoming nature of our buildings and grounds that will, in turn, serve the community, drive young families to our pews, derive income for our budget, and, in time, offer scholarships to the needy in East Norwalk. THEN when we are bursting at the seams on Sunday morning, we branch out and have a second service. Putting the cart AFTER the horse. 
 
In all things, let us be faithful and open to preserving WHAT we value and not tied to the specific HOWS and WHERES and WHENS of how we “have always done things.” It has been said that the last seven words of the Episcopal Church will be  (in other words, her tragic and eventual would-be epitaph) “We’ve never done it that way before!” May they NOT be the last seven words of Christ Church. Rather let our next seven words be, “Lord, show me new paths unto Thee!”


in Christ,
Fr Montgomery

ZOOM
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Telephone
To dial in and listen (and be able to speak) during coffee hour, dial this number: +1 646 558 8656  and then put in this Meeting ID: 460 978 476


ECCT CYCLE OF PRAYER:  Pray for St. John’s, Stamford; Calvary, Stonington; St. Mark’s, Storrs; The Province of New England: The Dioceses of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts; their bishops, clergy, parish, and diocesan staff, and congregations; Provincial Synod; all Provincial Networks.


ANGLICAN CYCLE OF PRAYER:  Pray for the Anglican Church
of Southern Africa and its Primate, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

ALTAR FLOWERS:  The flowers near the Altar are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Harry Coombs by the Ross Family.


VIGIL LIGHT:  The vigil light burns this week with prayers for the safety of children returning to school.  We also pray for strength and vigilance during the pandemic.

ATTENTION WOMEN'S GROUP:  Members of the Women's Group and all ladies of the Parish: There will be a luncheon, September 27, at 11:45, on the terrace at Shorehaven Country Club.  The cost is $10.00 per person.  Call Bunny Zamm at 203-853-3004 to reserve your place.  Anyone attending the 9:00 AM service that day is welcome to come to Bunny's afterward to visit before the luncheon.


CHECK IT OUT!          
Joyce Generoso is hosting a ZOOM Yoga Fusion class on Wednesday nights.  Please contact her for details!
Joyce:  Cell 203-984-3050
ALTAR GUILD:  Barbara Judson
 

The First Lesson
Exodus 14:19-31

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn, the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Psalm 114
In exitu Israel

1 Hallelujah!
When Israel came out of Egypt, *
the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,

2 Judah became God's sanctuary *
and Israel his dominion.

3 The sea beheld it and fled; *
Jordan turned and went back.

4 The mountains skipped like rams, *
and the little hills like young sheep.

5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled? *
O Jordan, that you turned back?

6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams? *
you little hills like young sheep?

7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, *
at the presence of the God of Jacob,

8 Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water *
and flint-stone into a flowing spring.

The Second Lesson
Romans 14:1-12

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written,

"As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God."

So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

The Gospel
Matthew 18:21-35

Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

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CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
2 Emerson Street (at the corner of Gregory Boulevard)
East Norwalk, CT 06855-1330


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