It is going to be a full Sunday this week at Christ and St. Luke’s! At the 8am and 10:15am services we will keep the Feast of All Saints, one of the Principal Feasts in the Church calendar and a joyous celebration of those faithful disciples in Christian history whose faith inspired them to lives of particular distinction.
All Saints’ Day also includes the sacrament of Holy Baptism as we welcome the newest saint-in-the-making into the Church family, which is always something to celebrate. Then at 5:30pm we will shift moods into a more solemn, but beautiful service of remembrance as we commemorate the Feast of All Souls with a special Eucharist that includes the Requiem by John Rutter sung by our choir and accompanied by a chamber orchestra. This service will also include the reading of this year’s parish necrology–the list of all those whom we have buried in the past twelve months.
Because these services focus our attention on the faithful who have come before us and upon whose shoulders we stand as Christians and as members of this church, I thought it might be interesting to experience some forms of worship and use some aspects of our space that are original to our building, thereby connecting us with those who have long filled this church with their prayers and presence.
For the baptism at the 10:15am service, we will be using the font that sits in the back of the chapel. This font comes from the old Christ Church and dates to 1883. It’s a gorgeous piece that we do not often use for baptism because its location makes it hard for everyone to see. But for this Sunday, we are going to give it a try!
Also, this week for communion in the church, we are going to use the high stone altar which is original to the sanctuary. Some of you may remember when, in 1993, Alec Grice (a saint of this of the church) built the free standing altar to accommodate the Episcopal Church’s liturgical shift away from the east facing celebration of the Eucharist. (Note: an eastward facing orientation means the celebrant has their back to the congregation during the Eucharistic prayer thus facing “east” towards Jerusalem). This new altar allowed the celebrant to face the congregation during the Eucharist, which has become standard practice here and in most places (at our 10:15am service, that is; we still do an east facing celebration in our chapel at 8am every Sunday). For this Sunday’s 10:15am service and the special All Souls’ Requiem Eucharist, we will return to the east facing position and have an experience of the sanctuary and the liturgy as it would have been in 1909 when our church was built.
One of the reasons we can do this is because this Sunday the scaffolding will be gone from the altar area! Hooray! Thank you for your patience these last few weeks. We were able to get a lot of important work done while it was in place. The scaffolding has now moved to the chapel which means the 8am service will take place in the church not the chapel, with congregants seated in the choir stalls.
There is also now scaffolding in the back of the church to allow for the stone cleaning to continue on those walls. You will notice it when you enter, but it will be much less distracting to our worship. This also means the stone on our east wall is as clean as it’s been in a very long time and we wanted to highlight that by inviting those of you who want to see it up close to join Fr. Vince for a tour after the 10:15am service where he will talk about some of the Saints who are carved above our altar and surround us every week.
As I said—a full Sunday with much to celebrate and many to commemorate. We hope you will be a part of it.
For all the Saints,