• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship for January 31, 2021


The Holy Eucharist: Liturgy of the Word

4th Sunday After the Epiphany (Year B) January 31, 2021


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday, January 31, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)



Click here for info on St. Matthew's Virtual Annual Parish Meeting at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 31, via Zoom



Preface


We at St. Matthew's Church in Savannah are unable to gather together in person due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Under the guidance of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, the Vestry has decided to keep our church building closed for all in-person gatherings.


At 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, I will broadcast the following worship service using Facebook Live at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav. After the service concludes, you can re-watch it at any time.


Today's service is the Liturgy of the Word (or the first part of the Holy Eucharist service we use on normal Sundays). This is for use at home while watching the live stream or reading the prayers when you cannot physically attend worship. Lay people may read the entirety of this service as printed.


This week, we will make some technological and liturgical changes to our live stream, which you may or may not notice while you watch. All these changes are intended to simplify the production process of these worship videos and be mindful of COVID-19 safety measures.

  1. This liturgy will be performed live on Sunday morning as you watch from home, rather than pre-filmed and edited together. In other words, you are looking at a live feed of what we are doing in the church. This means there will be fewer flourishes on the video, but it will look like actually attending church again.

  2. Due to the "live" nature of this video, there will be 3-4 people in the church on Sunday morning (Ms. Dandy, 1-2 lay readers, and myself). In compliance with the Diocese of Georgia's COVID-19 indoor worship guidelines, we will engage in social distancing, wear masks at all times, and aim to keep the liturgy under 40 minutes.

  3. Therefore, most hymns will be shortened (typically to 3 or fewer verses) and some portions of the liturgy that may be sung will be spoken.

May God protect you from this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us. May we be God’s hands and feet of compassion and service to all in need during this time. Amen.


Yours in Christ,

Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda





The Holy Eucharist: Rite II


The Word of God



Hymn #493: O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

(Verses 1-3)


1 O for a thousand tongues to sing

my great Redeemer's praise,

the glories of my God and King,

the triumphs of his grace!


2 My gracious Master and my God,

assist me to proclaim,

and spread through all the earth abroad

the honors of thy Name.


3 Jesus! the Name that charms our fears

and bids our sorrows cease;

'tis music in the sinner's ears,

'tis life and health and peace.


Words: Charles Wesley, alt.; Public Domain.

Music: Azmon, Carl Gotthilf Gläser; adapt. and arr. Lowell Mason; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #94976. All rights reserved.



Opening Sentences

[BCP, p. 355]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen.



The Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Hymn S-280: Glory to God (Canticle 20)

[BCP, p. 356]


Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.


Lord God, heavenly King,

Almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.


Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.


For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Words: Public Domain.

Music: Robert Powell, © 1985 Church Publishing, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #77081. All rights reserved.


The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 215]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (18:15-20)

Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God


Psalm 111

[BCP, p. 754]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

1 Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, * in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation. 2 Great are the deeds of the Lord! * they are studied by all who delight in them. 3 His work is full of majesty and splendor, * and his righteousness endures for ever. 4 He makes his marvelous works to be remembered; * the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. 5 He gives food to those who fear him; * he is ever mindful of his covenant. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works * in giving them the lands of the nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; * all his commandments are sure. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever, * because they are done in truth and equity. 9 He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; * holy and awesome is his Name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; * those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures for ever.


A Reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians (8:1-13)

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.


Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.


It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God


The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Mark (1:21-28)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon

“St. Paul, Corinthian Church, and the Pandemic” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda


“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. … Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall” (1 Corinthians 8:1b, 13).


In First Corinthians 8, we hear one side of a longer conversation that St. Paul was having with the church at Corinth. Without understanding the wider context, we might think that Paul is advocating for vegetarianism since he talks about eating and not eating meat. But it’s more nuanced than that.


Corinth was a large city in the 1st Century Roman Empire. It fell along major trading routes and was a very diverse and metropolitan city. Jews were in the minority. Most people in Corinth worshipped the local Greek and Roman gods in the temples built to them. And in those days, most religions required animal sacrifice as an act of worship.


Essentially, most people were farmers and the main way you paid a tithe or tribute to your god was to give grain or oil from your fields or an animal from your flocks. And because you only ate meat if you killed one of your own animal or had enough money to buy somebody else’s, people didn’t eat meat nearly as often as we do now. Animals were expensive to raise and not found in great abundance. If you lived in the city and didn’t have farmland to raise your own food, you had to depend on buying food from the markets where farmers sold their goods. Most of them sold meat only after it had been sacrificed to a god in one of the local temples. So you might walk through the market and find Aphrodite meat or Zeus meat or Caesar meat, but you weren’t going to find any LORD God of Israel meat or Jesus of Nazareth meat because Jews and Christians were a small minority.


So, at issue in the Corinthian church is whether Christians are allowed to eat meat if they know it was killed in Aphrodite’s temple by a priest of Aphrodite praying prayers over the meat to Aphrodite. Is that meat, that has been sacrificed to a false god, an idol, acceptable for Christians to eat? Is eating that meat okay or is it a betrayal of the One True God, the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ? Is eating that meat an act of worship to another god?


That’s a fairly complicated moral quandary. And Paul doesn’t give a simple answer. He says, Yes, Christians are allowed to eat this meat because Aphrodite and Zeus and all the other Greco-Roman gods out there are not real. They are false idols. They don’t exist. Paul writes,


“Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist” (1 For 8:4-6).

So Jesus is not worried about you eating meat sacrificed to a false god as long as you know that it’s a false god and don’t worship that idol. Sounds simple. But love for God is not our only concern. Jesus also commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. And that’s where the nuance comes in.


Paul explains that it’s not a sin for you as a Christian to eat this meat. But other members of the church may not understand this. They may be recent converts to the Jesus Movement and spent their entire lives believing in Aphrodite and Zeus. And even though they learned in church that there is only one God, they still feel in their hearts that those other gods might be real. And they might be trying to set an example to their friends and neighbors who are not Christians and still worship those other gods. So Paul says that if your eating certain meat scandalizes your neighbors and pricks their consciences, then you should stop because you are harming them, sinning against them.


At this point you might be thinking, Thanks for the history lesson, but why does this matter? Why even preserve this passage in the Bible if we’re never going to run into a Zeus worshipper offering us a steak?


It’s because in passages like these, we learn Christian moral principles. By listening to St. Paul think through an ethical question in his culture, we learn how to think through different ethical questions in our own culture. The meat sacrificed to idols isn’t really the point for us. Instead, it’s an analogy for loving your neighbors, even and especially when it involves some self-sacrifice, when it benefits them more than you.


The principle here is that love requires us to think about the effects of our actions, not only about our intentions. I may have no ill will or evil intent, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still cause harm to someone else. I may be doing what’s right for me, but hurt someone else in the process. In other words, Christians need to be empathetic, we need to listen to and care for the concerns of other people, even people outside our own communities and social networks.


There are lots of situations to which we could apply this principle. For the remainder of our time I want to focus on one that affects you every day: Wearing a mask.


Based on the CDC’s guidance and reports from other medical journalists, we have learned that wearing face coverings is a really effective way to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. That’s because it blocks the flow of air out from your mouth and nose. And the problem with coronavirus is that you can have it and spread it without ever feeling sick yourself. It’s what scientists call “asymptomatic” or “presymptomatic” cases of COVID-19 (CDC, “COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks”). That means any of us could be carrying it and giving it to others without knowing it. No bad intent, but a potentially life-threatening bad effect.


But did you know that wearing a mask protects other people from contracting coronavirus more than it protects you? It reduces the risk for you a little bit, but it reduces the risk for others by a lot (CDC; Bai, “Still Confused About Masks?”). This means that wearing a mask is an act of loving your neighbor because it is for the sake of others. It only works for everybody if everybody does it.


That’s why I’m wearing a mask while preaching. It feels inconvenient to me and might look funny to those watching me, but it’s really beneficial to Ms. Dandy, Ms. Jones, and Ms. Glover, who are in the room with me. If I take off my mask, it doesn’t hurt me as much as it hurts those around me.


For us to get through this pandemic as a nation and as a world, scientists estimate that we need 95% of people to wear masks every time they go out. We need everybody to chip in for the sake of others.


That’s a tall order, but it’s the situation we face. And, at least in church, it’s helpful to understand that wearing a mask is not just a public health mandate, it’s a moral and theological mandate. It’s not just being polite. It’s about loving your neighbor as yourself.


I know some of our members are beginning to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and for that I am thrilled. But even after you get a vaccine, lots of others around won’t have one. They will still need you to keep wearing a mask to protect them because doctors are unsure whether a vaccinated person can still pass coronavirus to someone else.


Again, I know it’s inconvenient and hard. I wish we could snap our fingers and go back to the way things were one year ago. But we can’t. We can pray for God to work through our public health experts and political leaders to help provide vaccinations and treatments that will save lives. We can pray that in the meantime God will convince people to wear masks that will save lives. And we can follow St. Paul’s moral principles by loving our neighbors enough to wear masks and so save lives. Amen.


Bibliography



Hymn #371: Thou, Whose Almighty Word

(Verses 1-3)


1 Thou, whose almighty word

chaos and darkness heard,

and took their flight;

hear us, we humbly pray,

and, where the Gospel day

sheds not its glorious ray,

let there be light!


2 Thou who didst come to bring

on thy redeeming wing

healing and sight,

health to the sick in mind,

sight to the in-ly blind,

now to all humankind,

let there be light!


3 Spirit of truth and love,

life-giving holy Dove,

speed forth thy flight!

Move on the waters' face

bearing the gifts of grace,

and, in earth's darkest place,

let there be light!


Words: John Marriott, alt.; Public Domain.

Music: Moscow, Felice de Giardini; harm. Lowell Mason; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #92191. All rights reserved.



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]

We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


The Prayers of the People

[Adapted from Form IV, BCP, p. 388]

Let us pray for the Church and for the world.


Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your Name, may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world; especially for Michael our Presiding Bishop, Frank our Bishop, Guillermo our Priest, and all Christians in Savannah.


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; guide especially Joseph our president, Brian our governor, Van our mayor, Chester the chair of our County Commission, Ann the Superintendent of our Public Schools, and all civic officials; that we may honor one another and serve the common good.


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory.


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. Bless especially our Day Care Staff, Students, and their families, and bless Cynthia Stephens (1/31), Fr. Guillermo Arboleda (2/2), Emmanuel Kelley (2/2), DeWayne Cope, Jr. (2/3), and Donald Jones (2/3) on their birthdays.


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. We pray especially the people of our Parish Prayer List: Martha Avery, Evelyn Arboleda, Charlotte Blue, Zavier Bradley, Myrtle Brow-Hollis, Jacquelyn Bryant, Christine Brown, Genella Chamberlain, Liam Clemons, Marquez Clemons, Taylor Blue Clemons, Teresa Blue Clemons, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Eduardo Espinosa, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Charles Gordon, Amanda Green, Jocelyn Bryant Harden, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, David Jones, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Altheria Maynard Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Jameel Newton, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Paul Rockwell, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, Renee Watts, and Noel Wheeler; and all whom we remember now…


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


We commend to your mercy all who have died, especially Raleigh Bryant, Ronald Jones, Tonya Jones, [and _______], and those whom we remember now… ; that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom.


Silence


Lord, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.


The Celebrant adds a concluding Collect.


O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



Confession of Sin

[BCP, p. 360]


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.


The Bishop, when present, or the Priest, stands and says

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.


The Offertory

[BCP, p. 377]


Giving to St. Matthew's: Many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, including the church. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

  1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

  2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; OR

  3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.

“O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power; because you have created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

[Revelation 4:11; BCP, p. 377]

Give online at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now

LEV #161: Go Preach My Gospel

[Verses 1-3]


1 “Go preach my gospel,” saith the Lord, “Bid the whole earth my grace receive, Explain to them my sacred word, Bid them believe, obey, and live.”

2 “I’ll make my great commission known, And ye shall prove my gospel true By all the works that I have done, And all the wonders ye shall do.”

3 “Go heal the sick, go raise the dead, Go cast out devils in my name. Nor let my prophets be afraid, Though man reproach, and will blaspheme.”

Words: Isaac Watts; Public Domain.

Music: Thomas Hastings; Public Domain.

All rights reserved.



The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Blessing

[The Book of Occasional Services 2018, p. 9]


May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.



Parish Announcements

[See below]



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



Parish Announcements - 1/31/21


A. Virtual Annual Meeting TODAY @ 10:30 AM: In place of our normal Sunday Coffee Hour, which is simply a social time to fellowship with one another, we will hold our Parish Annual Meeting on Sunday, January 31, 2021. The purpose of the 2021 Parish Annual Meeting is for church members to learn the state of the congregation via 2020 reports from parish leadership and to hold annual elections. Due to this resolution, Vestry elections are suspended at the 2021 Annual Meeting, but Convention Delegate elections shall still take place.


The meeting will take place over Zoom, and may be accessed by computer, smart device, or regular phone using the information below. The meeting will be recorded and shared via a private YouTube link in the e-Newsletter afterward. That means that if you miss the meeting, you can still watch it later.


Topic: Virtual Parish Annual Meeting

Time: Jan 31, 2021 10:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/92179080112?pwd=S016K1lRSlBYVitlRVBqT0JZY2RHUT09


Meeting ID: 921 7908 0112

Passcode: Annual2021

One tap mobile: +16468769923,,92179080112#,,,,*8797313155# US (New York)


Dial by your location: +1 646 876 9923 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 921 7908 0112

Passcode: 8797313155


B. Technological & Liturgical Changes in 2021: Since the start of 2021, we have made some technological and liturgical changes to our live stream, which you may or may not notice while you watch. All these changes are intended to simplify the production process of these worship videos and be mindful of COVID-19 safety measures.

  1. This liturgy will be performed live on Sunday morning as you watch from home, rather than pre-filmed and edited together. In other words, you are looking at a live feed of what we are doing in the church. This means there will be fewer flourishes on the video, but it will look like actually attending church again.

  2. Due to the "live" nature of this video, there will be 3-4 people in the church on Sunday morning (Fr. Arboleda, Ms. Dandy, and 1-2 lay readers). In compliance with the Diocese of Georgia's COVID-19 indoor worship guidelines, we will engage in social distancing, wear masks at all times, and aim to keep the liturgy under 40 minutes.

  3. Therefore, most hymns will be shortened (typically to 3 or fewer verses) and some portions of the liturgy that may be sung will be spoken.


C. Raleigh Bryant Burial Plans TBD: St. Matthew's mourns the death of Mr. Raleigh A. Bryant, Jr., who passed away on December 18, 2020, at the age of 96. Mr. Bryant will be cremated and buried at a future date to be determined. A graveside burial service will be announced once plans are finalized. For Mr. Bryant's full obituary and online guestbook, please visit the following link to Adama Funeral Services' website: https://www.adamsfuneralservicesinc.com/obituary/MrRaleigh-BryantJr


D. Donations for New Security System, Internet, & Camera: In the last month, the Vestry and Rector have planned several improvements to our facility using the Building Renovation Fund. The Vestry approved a wholesale replacement and upgrade of the burglary alarm system across our entire building and we have asked several members to contribute to the upfront installation costs. The Vestry also approved a complete upgrade to our internet and wifi equipment, such that there is universal hi-speed internet coverage throughout the building (Office, Parish Hall, Day Care, and Sanctuary). Finally, we are purchasing a new HD video camera for use during live-stream worship on Sundays and holidays (see above).


The total cost of all these upgrades is approximately $5500.00. We thank all those that have already contributed designated gifts toward these projects. If you have not already contributed, please consider making an additional donation to the Building Renovation Fund for one or all of these building upgrades.


The Altar Guild invites parishioners to offer memorial gifts in honor of departed loved ones toward these projects in lieu of flowers. Raffle tickets for the quilt also go toward the Building Renovation Fund and can support this cause.


E. Hybrid Ash Wednesday Service: Ash Wednesday will take place on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. This fast day marks the beginning of the Season of Lent and the 40-day journey toward Easter. It is typically observed through a worship service involving crosses of ash marked on the foreheads of all worshippers. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we will offer safer ways to participate in Ash Wednesday 2021.


For all participants, St. Matthew's will live-stream a short Ash Wednesday Liturgy on February 17 at 7:00 AM. This will be available for viewing any time on Ash Wednesday via our Facebook page. As a home worshipper, you have three options for how to "receive ashes."

  1. On Ash Wednesday, you can drive through the church parking lot between 7:30-8:30 AM or 6:00-7:00 PM, and receive ashes from your car window. This will look similar to Christmas Eve Drive-Thru Communion, but with imposition of ashes.

  2. On Sunday, February 14, from 11:00 AM - 12:00 noon, you can come to the church to pick up a small plastic bag full of pre-blessed ash. If you choose this option, you can mark your own forehead (or mark the foreheads of others in your household) with the ashes on Wednesday after watching the Facebook Live service.

  3. Believe it or not, you don't need ashes to observe Ash Wednesday. You can watch the Facebook Live service without receiving any ashes and still be a faithful Christian!


G. T/W/Th Evening Prayer via Zoom: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, Fr. Arboleda will continue to invite parishioners to pray Evening Prayer with him over Zoom. The video will still stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM, but we'll see more faces and hear more voices. To join the Zoom call, click the link below at 4:45 PM on Wednesday. Otherwise, watch the prayer service as you have been on Facebook Live.


For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).


Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: Jan 5, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Every week on Tue, Wed, Thu, until Feb 25, 2021, 10 occurrence(s)


Join Zoom Meeting: See e-Newsletter


Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)

Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


H. “Trip Around the World” Quilt Raffle: The Quilter's Guild, through St. Matthew's ECW, is raffling a "Trip Around the World" Quilt to benefit St. Matthew's Building Renovation Fund. This fund supports major extra-budgetary building improvement projects, such as painting, replacing the sound system, replacing the oven in Toomer-Walker Hall, etc.


This beautiful, jewel-toned quilt measures 103"x90" and will fit a queen-sized bed. This machine-stitched quilt in tones of deep violet amethyst, blue sapphire, green emerald, blue topaz, and green peridot will enhance any bedroom.


The winner will be announced on September 30, 2021. Winners do not need to be present to win. In addition to the grand prize of the "Trip Around the World '' quilt, there will be interim raffles of seasonal quilt-type projects for no additional ticket purchase. Interim winners will still be eligible for the grand prize.

The first interim drawing was on December 16, 2020. Sheila Jones won four Christmas potholders and Yavonne Taylor won a set of six Christmas placemats. The next interim drawing will be in late February or early March.


Tickets are $15 each. Please make donations in $15 increments. Tickets may be purchased by:

  1. Mailing a check to St. Matthew's with "Quilt Raffle" in the memo line; OR

  2. Visiting https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/give/quilt

Expect your raffle tickets to be returned to you by mail or email within 5-7 business days of receipt. Direct any questions to office@stmattsav.org.


I. The Parish Prayer List:

Prayer List: Martha Avery, Evelyn Arboleda, Charlotte Blue, Zavier Bradley, Myrtle Brow-Hollis, Jacquelyn Bryant, Christine Brown, Genella Chamberlain, Liam Clemons, Marquez Clemons, Taylor Blue Clemons, Teresa Blue Clemons, Annie Colbert, Lazola Cope, Alice Dailey, Beryl Dandy, Mark Dashiell, Brittany Dawson, Eduardo Espinosa, Imani Ferguson, Ruby Fernandez, Harry Frazier, Charles Gordon, Amanda Green, Jocelyn Bryant Harden, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Enoch Henderson, Charles E. Hines, Kenneth Howard, Terri Howard, Dale Hundley, Jared Hundley, Tracy Hundley, Milinda James, Alvin Jenkins, Dana Jenkins, David Jones, Frances T. Jones, Lori Jones, Robert L. Jones, Sr., Whitney Kennedy, Leonard Law, Jr., Ralph Lovett, Ryan Lovett, Tammie Lovett, Marcus Marzen, Joan Maty, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Altheria Maynard Carmelita Maynard, Bette Milledge, Hollie Moultrie, Patricia Murry, Russell Nails, Dorothy Neal, Jameel Newton, Glenzy Payne, Robert Payne, Paul Rockwell, Dison Washington Slaughter, James Small, Gwendolyn Smith, Courtney Watts Vista, Ed Vista, Willie Stephens, Lori Ward, Gertrude Washington, and Noel Wheeler


Birthdays: Cynthia Stephens (1/31), Fr. Guillermo Arboleda (2/2), Emmanuel Kelley (2/2), DeWayne Cope, Jr. (2/3), and Donald Jones (2/3)

Wedding Anniversaries: N/A


Deaths: Raleigh Bryant (12/18), Ronald Jones (1/17), Tonya Jones (1/26)

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.




Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.


Image Credit: https://lifewords.org/food-sacrificed-idols/

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