As we all know, this past week our province moved into stage 3 of reopening. With this comes the resumption of most businesses. Restrictions remain on the size of gatherings including restrictions on religious services, including weddings and funerals. Mask-wearing is now mandatory in Hamilton in public buildings and physical distancing remains essential. We may have many mixed emotions about this move- including relief and anxiety and fear and hope and we may well be exhausted as we feel some kind of ‘normalcy is within reach’ and months of tension are easing, but we know we must remain vigilant to prevent a second wave of this virus.
As this move happened, so the Diocese of Niagara also updated its guidelines to allow priests to resume certain critical in-person visits where safe to do so. We have been told that a document will be coming very soon which will chart a path for congregations to follow for the slow, gradual and safe reopening of our buildings for worship in the fall. As soon as this is released the corporation and parish council will meet and start the process of implementing it in the best and safest way we can for our faith community at Saint James.
When we went into lockdown a number of projects around the building were half-finished and the corporation is planning in this pre-opening phase, to complete these in keeping with diocesan guidelines, ready for our return.
Further, before the reopening a thorough cleaning of the building must happen, guidelines for which have come from the insurance company. I am seeking a few volunteers who would be willing to help with the detailed cleaning tasks required in a very controlled environment. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing and able to help with this physically demanding task.
We continue to move in uncharted waters and the coming months will see us adapt to whatever new ways of being a church are necessary; it won’t always be comfortable- we will grieve what we have lost, treasure what is important and look with hope to the future as we double down on our mission to be the children of God. BUT I do believe that we can rise to this challenge as we live into the way of being church Saint Paul describes in the letter to the Ephesians: “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4.2-6).
Pax et Bonum,
Sunday worship continues on the Diocesan facebook page at 10am. This coming week we welcome Archbishop Anne Germond, the Metropolitan for the Ecclesiasitcal province of Ontario (that’s church speak for ‘the Bishop who leads the Bishops of the 7 Diocese that make up the province of Ontario, and a bit of Quebec!).
You can find the Diocesan Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/niagaraanglican
Our weekly podcast can be heard by clicking on the link on the front page of our website or by visiting our channel on sound cloud:
READING THE BIBLE:
For those who keep their pattern of daily Bible readings and reflections, the Bible readings for this coming week are below. The suggested readings are the Gospel reading appointed in the daily lectionary for the celebration of the Eucharist. This week:
Monday 27th July Matthew 13.31-35
Tuesday Matthew 13.36-43
Wednesday Matthew 25.31-40 (William Wilberforce- a leader in movement to abolish slave trade)
Thursday Matthew 13.47-53
Friday Matthew 14.1-12
Saturday Matthew 14.1-12
Sunday Matthew 14.13-21
WITH A SONG IN MY HEART
Every Tuesday Richard Hansen and Mike will present ‘With a Song in my heart’ via video on our Facebook and YouTube channels- we’re now presenting songs that have meant a lot to members of our congregation- thanks to all who sent in their suggestions.
You can find our YouTube channel here:
This Wednesday 29th July 2020 at 10am, join us for online ZOOM coffee hour.
Topic: SAINT JAMES ONLINE COFFEE HOUR
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 826 0575 7834
All are welcome. If you have trouble setting up the technology, contact Robert Morrow for assistance!
PRAYER FOR THE WEEK:
The Collect for the Remembrance of William Wilberforce
God our deliverer,
who sent your Son Jesus Christ
to set your people free from the slavery of sin:
grant that, as your servant William Wilberforce
toiled against the sin of slavery,
so we may bring compassion to all
and work for the freedom of all the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.