As this time of Pandemic continues and we try to find our ‘new normal’ we should expect to be experiencing stress - at the level of change and the length of this time of ‘living cautiously’, at our distancing (even if it is easing) and the warnings about the coming months and the griefs we are experiencing. A lot is already being published about the toll upon our mental health these months are having. This is expressing itself in anxiety, frustration, short tempers, tiredness, physical ailments, among other things.
The Ontario House of Bishops recently wrote a letter encouraging us to find ‘sacred sabbath’ over this summer which is easier said than done and certainly it seems, a privilege for some more than others. But it is also wisdom- sabbath means finding time for the refreshment of our souls, or returning to our source of strength and comfort, of finding balance that leads to wholeness, of laying aside heavy loads. This summer will be different to others with travel limited and social restrictions still in place and new habits being learned, but I encourage you to find your sabbath, not just because it benefits you, but because it has the knock on effect of giving us the energy to share the love, patience and grace that is so needed in this time and will be for the coming weeks.
And what of our church? We remain a community of believers and many of us long to be together again- but our Bishops have sensibly decided to keep our buildings firmly closed until September except for necessary maintenance where permission is granted and live streaming worship if necessary. Several faith communities that have already tried to reopen have closed again because of the risks and problems posed at this time. Over the summer we will receive a significant document from the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario and our insurance company detailing considerations and plans for any future reopening and we will begin working through that with our Parish Council as soon as it is received. Regardless of the building, we will continue to share the good news in our community by feeding the hungry every Monday evening, supporting local food banks and joining in prayer and worship and fellowship through our phone tree, online worship and zoom coffee hours and acts of care and compassion.
You remain in my prayers,
Pax et Bonum,
Please note that there will be no online coffee hour this week (1st July)
Starting this week, Compline will be offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 8pm via our Facebook page.
As we approach the fall, plans for new church activities will become more clear as we understand the limitations ahead of us- current notes include a Zoom book study / discussion, weekly live streamed worship and a regular Bible study.
Sundays: Continue to join via the Diocesan Facebook page or Youtube for Sunday morning worship at 10am with Bishop Susan and voices from around our Diocese.
Sundays: Check out our podcast for the week with a Bible study / reflection on the Gospel of the week. You can access this via the front page of our website www.stjamesdundas.ca
Mondays: Look out for our email blast which will include Bible readings for the week.
Tuesdays: Starting next week and over the summer, the video series ‘With a Song in My Heart’ will feature songs suggested by members of our congregation that have helped shape their faith. Presented by Mike Deed with Richard Hansen on the Saint James organ.
Wednesdays: Coffee Hour and Chat on ‘Zoom’ at 10am.
Compline will be offered live on Facebook on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 8pm.
READING THE BIBLE:
Each week our email blast lists daily readings for the week for those who want to take some time each day to reflect on the scriptures. The suggested readings are the Gospel reading appointed in the daily lectionary for the celebration of the Eucharist. This week:
Tuesday Matthew 8.23-27
Wednesday Matthew 8.28-34
Thursday Matthew 9.1-8
Friday John 20.24-29 (St Thomas the Apostle)
Saturday Matthew 9.14-17
Sunday Matthew 11.16-19, 25-30
In partnership with Grace Valley Church, we’ve restarted our community dinners on Monday evenings as a ‘take out’ option. This is a response to the increased need at this time. Please keep the program, volunteers and guests in your prayers. We are deeply grateful to Nora Clevenger for coordinating this program.
PRAYER OF THE WEEK
Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations
and all your creatures.
Help us to become instruments of a new creation,
founded on the covenant of your love.
– from ‘The Cry of the Earth’