Welcome to Saint Ann's Parish
Welcome to Saint Ann’s Old Lyme, an Episcopal Church in Connecticut on the coasts of the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound. We have been a welcoming community in this landscape since 1883.
Our current church building was dedicated in 1956 and renovated and enlarged in 2019. For the first time since 1956, we are not worshipping in our church building. We are in the time of COVID-19, and our lives have changed forever. It is a time to deepen our faith and stay connected.
The sign on our front yard reads, "The voice of prayer is never silent." Prayer courses through us like the waters of the estuary on which we sit. Prayer is our lifeline to God and to one another. Prayer is as vital as the air we breathe and the water we drink.
In the midst of uncertainty and death, we know that love is contagious, and that resilience and hope are stronger than any fear of the unknown we possess. May our prayers this season of COVID-19 be our consolation and our faith be our strength and guide. In the words of Hymn 594, "God grant us the wisdom and courage for the facing of this hour, for the living of these days.”
Stay connected! Pray with us.
Saint Ann's Mission Statement
We are a community of Christians,
open to all who serve God in Jesus Christ through worship, education, mission and fellowship.
Godly Play (Sunday school) lesson here
Prayer and other resources here
Virtual events and zoom services here
Pastoral Letter from Mother Anita
Dear friends in Christ: May 20, 2020
On this eve of the feast of the Ascension I think of how much I miss seeing all of you in worship and in your visits to church throughout the week. What a gift to connect with you via phone, text, email and through ZOOM and Sunday worship (note: available anytime on our website!). Thank you for your participation in and support of these various media, though nothing can compare with seeing you in person. I grieve our separation and look forward to the day when we I can see you in person in worship.
Thank you for your faithfulness in holding one another in prayer, especially supporting the remarkable front-line workers who have labored courageously during the initial acute stage of COVID-19. For those who have provided and continue to provide essential services, we recall the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40). Bless you.
On May 12 and since then our bishops have written the following about in-person worship: “We believe that parishes and worshipping communities in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut should not return to in-person worship during this initial phase of reopening, which is anticipated to last at least until June 20.” I will follow the protocols and directions of our bishops.
When we return to in-person worship, it will be different. These guidelines will include continuing to practice six feet social distancing, wearing of masks, washing of hands, wiping down of surfaces and, the hardest ones for me, no communion, choral music or coffee hour – for now. The decisions I make are always first and foremost for your safety and all who enter our doors. Gathering in person is not all the church does, and COVID-19 has poignantly reminded us of this fact.
I say these things not to discourage you, but rather to keep our expectations realistic in this phase of COVID-19. We are in uncharted waters in dealing with a pandemic. But we are not in uncharted waters in our faith and prayer, our perseverance and hope. In fact, I believe we are made for these times. My daily prayer for divine guidance is taken from the lyrics of Hymn 594, "God of grace and God of glory, on thy people pour thy power,... Grant us wisdom, grant us courage for the facing of this hour, for the living of these days.”
Many things have changed, some temporarily, some permanently. What remains is this community – which has grown deeper and wider in our COVID-19 time. It is a wonder to me to see how during COVID-19 we are living into our parish goals,* so let’s keeping growing together in our faith.
As we come down the final stretch of the 50 days of Easter, let us also be reminded of the Easter message that light breaks through darkness and death is never the final word. The final word is God’s love in Jesus Christ. How then shall we love? By caring for one another, staying connected, being safe, reaching out for help and praying for one another. Thank you for doing these things in love for one another. Please do not hesitate to call or contact me via email or phone. It is my deep honor and great joy to serve with you at this time.
The Rev. Dr. Anita Louise Schell
Scripture Reflection for May 31
Pentecost Sunday and Why it Matters
Who likes birthdays? I love a good birthday party. For me it's all about the fuss of one's birthday and the food. Having a fuss made certainly seems like a good and appropriate thing to do.
Pentecost is often referred to as the church's birthday. It is certainly a big deal as after Easter and Christmas, Pentecost is the most important feast day in the church. Who knew? We knew.
One writer described this version of a Trinity - Christmas, Easter and Pentecost - in the following way. Christmas answers the question (among others) "Does God care? Does God care enough about the mess we make of our own lives and the life of the world to do anything about it?" Easter answers the question, among others, "What does God do because God cares?" And Pentecost, the third part of this Trinity, answers the question, "What does it matter?" This feast day I want focus on why Pentecost matters in our lives as Christians.
Whatever else is going on today's first reading from Acts, it is clear that a party is taking place - as dreams and visions are not meant to be dreamt alone but in a diverse community united in the Spirit. This task of dreaming involves all of who we are. We hear and feel it, like the howling of a fierce wind. We see and feel it, like individual flames of fire. We speak it in our native language yet it is understood by foreigners.
I surely know that I live off the dreams and hopes that my parents had for me, many hopes and dreams they never knew in their own full lives. Their hopes and dreams have empowered me to work to be generous and courageous in helping others discover their callings, hopes, and dreams, all enlivened by the Spirit, that Jesus has left behind as his last gift to us. Let us join the party today in celebrating just how alive the Spirit is in our lives, particularly and especially during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Catch the Spirit! Stay connected. We are not alone.