St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
199 W. Baltimore Avenue, Clifton Heights, PA 19018
Phone: (610) 622 - 3636 Web: www.stsec.org
The Rev. Jonathan Clodfelter, Priest
Baptisms at St. Stephen's
My wife and I and some others in our church have been spending our time social distancing. During our down time many of us are working at home and thinking through things that we have not dealt with. I took on the "scary drawer." Some of us have things that we have meant to deal with but haven't, such as baptisms.
In addition to the theological reasons for baptism, baptisms are family celebrations. Theologically, baptisms are to mark the baptized as Christ's own forever and for the forgiveness of sin.
As the Episcopal priest of our region, I am committed to making baptism accessible for all folks. We do not charge for this service. We have a parish hall just across a courtyard from the church which would be an idea place for the family to gather around the event.
~ the Rev. Jonathan Clodfelter
The priest of the church!
A word to the Church regarding the theology of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church:
March 31, 2020
John Donne, Priest, 1631
Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,
We find ourselves in the strange position of fasting from physical gathering for worship of almighty God, not out of sloth or disobedience, but in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, for whom the primacy of love for God and neighbor is the way of life. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, refraining from physically gathering together to hear God’s holy word and receiving the sacrament of holy communion is itself an act of love for God and our neighbor.
As one of our spiritual ancestors once cried, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137). How shall we sing the Lord’s song in this alien and strange land of COVID-19? How shall we conduct the public worship of Almighty God? How shall we provide pastoral ministrations to people who are sick, dying, and any in need? How shall we baptize? Ordain? How? I thank God for the bishops, priests, deacons, and the whole people of God who have been faithfully seeking ways to sing the Lord’s song in ways that truly worship God and simultaneously help to heal and protect human life.
It is my conviction that the Anglican way of following Jesus has deep within it a way and habit of worship and liturgy that is of significant help to us in this moment. It may well be that the breadth and depth of the Anglican way of common prayer can come to our aid now, when for the sake of others, we abstain from physical, public gathering to hear God’s Word and to receive the Sacrament.
With this in mind I convened a group to help me compose a theological reflection on how this Anglican way gives guidance in this moment. I hope this will be a framework, a theological context, or a signpost pointing in the direction of some of the wisdom of the Anglican way of common prayer. This is not in any sense a set of guidelines, directives, or mandates. I commend this work to you.
O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guide while life shall last,
And our eternal home.
God love you. God bless you.
Keep the faith,
The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church