I am writing to you in the midst of our extraordinary experience as a society at this time. As we face a global pandemic and we practice social distancing, our habits and our routines are being changed and challenged in all sorts of ways. After 16 years of being a priest and many more of attending church regularly on a Sunday morning, it was surreal yesterday to not gather with a faith community. I missed you.
As you will know by now, all worship, services, meetings and midweek activities here at Saint James are suspended at the leadership of our Bishop and the Provincial House of Bishops. This includes all nursing home eucharists. As this situation develops we will aim to keep our congregation informed.
We have struggled with communications here at Saint James in recent weeks because our office computer died, data was lost, and the replacement we ordered was being shipped from China which in turn became delayed. I am grateful to our Parish Administrator Nyle and others for working during this difficult time to get our communications back up and running.
Here are a few notes for us all:
Updates about church closures and reopening, will be posted on our website stjamesdundas.ca as well as on twitter and Facebook. Once we reopen, we will be careful to continue our practice of prudent hygiene in the building and worship.
Sunday worship is being led by Bishop Susan, live at 10am from the Cathedral via the Diocesan Facebook page which can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/niagaraanglican/ This coming weekend we aim to launch the Saint James podcast as a way of keeping in touch and sharing some bible reflections and prayers.
Enclosed with this letter you will find a selection of prayers you can use during isolation or more generally in your personal prayers during this time of social distancing.
As responsible members of the church we need to be mindful that the costs of our church do not stop during this time. If you are someone who gives by envelope please consider moving to P.A.P. (Pre-Authorized Payment), a leaflet about that is enclosed. You can also make online payments via the Diocesan website www.niagaraanglican.ca
If you are isolated during this time please let Mike know. We have some volunteers who are able to stay in touch and others who are able to run some basic errands if you find yourself ill and unable to get out. If you are able to volunteer to support others in this way, please let Mike know. The Parish office will not keep regular hours for the time being. Messages will be checked regularly. Email remains the best way to make contact.
Because of the risks associated with visitation, pastoral visits will be for emergencies only. Also, please be aware that hospitals are putting strict visitation limits in place and so hospital visits may not always be possible. In these cases, if you have a cell phone number please pass it on to Mike so that we can talk and pray in that way.
And in all these things let us strive to show the love, patience and generosity of Christ. Amen. You remain daily in my prayers,
Pax et Bonum, Mike