Church of the Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake, NY
While Transfiguration is closed now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, you can watch live streamed worship from The Episcopal Church in Garrett County, the Maryland parishes of our Priest-in-Charge, The Rev. Dr. Chip Lee. Services are live streamed from St. Matthew's, Oakland, MD at 8AM and 1045AM Eastern Time each Sunday.
Church of the Transfiguration, Blue Mountain Lake, NY - COVID19 Update
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In my wildest imagination I would never have expected a year like this. We have been forced into a place where we cannot safely be together to worship and be together at least for an hour or two. Instead, we find ourselves watching church on livestream TV from home or occasionally from our cars in a parking lot. It’s as if we have been exiled from our church homes.
Scripture speaks of the emptiness of exile. When the Hebrews were exiled to Babylon in 597BC, they were lost because they believed that God had chosen Jerusalem as God’s special habitation. God could not be accessed or worshipped anywhere else. Psalm 137 recounts their yearning for Jerusalem:
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
Their heartache was palpable. This people had been forcibly removed from their familiar surroundings, a place they knew God had chosen, unable to sing the songs of the Lord and ridiculed by their captors. In many ways their song is ours; though not carried off by invading hordes, we have been exiled by an invisible, invading virus from the worship place where we come regularly to meet God and each other. For many of us, this exile has made us feel cut off from God and from each other. But there is a glorious realization here, if we can see it. I have said before that all through scripture the common thread is the evolution of the understanding of God and God’s place in our lives, culminating in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This evolution teaches us that ultimately God is a loving, merciful God who was, and is, and always will be. God never changes. It is we who must come to this ultimate understanding of God and change how we think and function as people of God.
Jesus, confronted by the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well who began to harp on the differences in perception of God between the Jews and the Samaritans by telling Jesus that while the Jews say that we must worship in Jerusalem, Samaritans worship on the mountain where our ancestors worshipped. Jesus’ response?
“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.”
Jesus was telling her not that God was going to make things different someday, but soon she would come to understand that things had always been this way: That God is not in a place, but in our hearts, always with us, always hearing us, always loving us no matter where we are. The work of worship and ministry is not confined to a geographical place, but to the place where we happen to be at the moment. It was always thus. We must come to believe in that. So that becomes the blessing within the curse of this pandemic. That though we cannot be physically in our church buildings, praying together, and going out into the world to live out the rest of the week, we find ourselves out in the world every day of the week, being the church where we are, praying spiritually with our brothers and sisters, and doing the work of the church everywhere we go. This is The Way to which Jesus invites us, and we don’t need a building or a place in order to do it. God lives within us, and that is everything and all we need. Living into our mission this year has been hampered by the fact that we were unable to come together. Consequently the main thrust of our mission – monetary support of Hamilton County Community Action and the Food Bank in Long Lake- never materialized. Plus, we still have work to do on the steeple. So this year, the Annual Appeal takes on a special urgency – this is the only opportunity we have to raise the money needed for our ministries to Hamilton County to continue this winter. We have funded three scholarships this year and finished the work on the building. That’s it. Now we need to ask you to make a gift to Transfiguration which will go to help the agencies in Hamilton County support the residents with food, emergency fuel and shelter this winter, plus get a start on raising funds for the steeple work this spring. You can help do all of this with your gift to Transfiguration this year. As you know, nearly 70% of the giving to Transfiguration goes to supporting Community Action, the Food Bank, our Scholarship fund and other ministries. We need you more than ever. Remember, the church is not a building or a place. It is where you are right this moment and the work of the church is in your hands and heart where ever you may be.
Please prayerfully consider renewing your pledge to Transfiguration, and if possible, increasing it a little to help make up for our lost year. You can click the donate button at the top of this page and PayPal will take care of the rest. Or you can mail a check to our Treasurer, Kathy Duffendack, 885 Deerland Road, Long Lake, NY 14827. With your help we can continue the work God has given us to do and work and pray so that soon we can be back together again. In the meantime let us “press onward toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us in Christ Jesus.”
With thanksgiving for you all and prayers for peace,
The Rev. Dr. Chip Lee
The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!
The Church of the Transfiguration in Blue Mountain Lake, NY is open to all as a haven of spiritual nourishment and
to provide hospitality, healing, hope and attention to the needs of our Adirondack community.
We are a seasonal Church open to all who wish to come; serving the entire Central Adirondack Region from
the first Sunday in June through the last Sunday in September each year. Please check our "Service Schedule" for times, events and celebrants.
If you would like to support the work of Transfiguration Church in the central Adirondacks, please check out our "Ministries and Outreach" page!