An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 1/29/21

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Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

Strive as hard as I/we may, I recognized (i.e. I admitted to myself this week) that, even as I thought initially of our journey through this coronavirus pandemic as temporary, a certain normalcy has insinuated itself into my/our lives.  The longevity of the pandemic and the trauma that it has wrought have given me a greater appreciation of the biblical Hebrews in their wanderings after fleeing servitude in Egypt.  Just as they of ancient days groused, so have I/we.  My parish update this week attempts to address some of our immediate concerns.

  • The Annual Meeting: Even as we remain physically distanced from one another, we have remained connected.  As required by Diocesan Canon Law and state statues, we are obliged to hold annually at least one fiduciary/business meeting.  That meeting is warned for Sunday, 14 February 2021, 12:00 p.m., which is under normal circumstances the hour when we would assemble after Eucharist.

a.    This year the meeting will be convened and conducted via teleconference, permissible by canon law.  All members shall receive prior, via United States Postal System, written copies of minutes from Annual Meeting 2020, together with pertinent reports of activities of your clergy, wardens, treasurer, and leaders of committees during 2020.  The mailed copy shall also include a proposed budget for the 2021 year.  It should be evident that reports shall be briefer than in previous years and the budget will be tentative.

b.    Our senior warden, Mr. William Brathwaite, has taken the initiative to establish the particulars of the teleconference.

  • Covid19 Information:  What I include here is to be received as a catalyst and as support for that which you most surely do without urging from me.  I assure you that our bishops (Dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts) and their advisors are maintaining a vigilant eye on developments, as these developments guide them and their staffs in deliberations re: reopening our parishes to in-person worship.  You may read further under:

a.    Latest diocesan directives concerning Covid-19

b. newsletter sign-up

c.    For Ash Wednesday

  • Vaccination information:  Individuals age 75 and older will be eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine starting 1 February. For information on eligibility, location, and appointments go to  My primary care physician has arranged an appointment for me for Friday next, 9:45 a.m., in Cambridge.  I share this personal and private information with you all, as I want to reinforce to you my commitment to personal and community well-being.  Next week, I shall give you an updated report re: experience.
  • Diocesan and Deanery Meetings:  I continue to represent our parish in meetings with diocesan officials and through attendance at our deanery Clericus, which is, as the name implies, a convening of clergy within our diocesan district.  All meetings are, of course, conducted via Zoom.  As much as a new normal seems to have settled into our ministry, I hasten to state that there is not a single colleague who, even as we also recognize that things will not be quite the same when we regather, does not long for a return to one thing that, like you, we all miss—the live personal interaction with parishioners.  I have not encountered one colleague who is ready “to throw in the towel,” to walk away, as it were.
  • Pledges 2021:  On behalf of our vestry and our collector, Mr. Greenidge, I thank you all for your continued financial support to the mission of our parish.  Jody has assured me that pledge envelopes have been distributed to those who use this means to remain current with their contributions.  I have retrieved from the center of my desk my own box, with noted instructions how to use them.  Even in times of stress, humor can be found and is much welcome.

I bid you pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church and the world, but especially those who, in their various professions and roles, offer their intelligence, compassion, and physical selves for those afflicted by Covid-19 and the dislocation and interruptions which that virus has wrought.  I bid you pray for those who have lost their lives and those who mourn.

O merciful God, giver of life and health, send your blessing, we pray, upon all who are engaged in the ministry of healing.  Grant that they be compassionate in their care for the sick and afflicted, fearless in their efforts to promote the health and well-being of the people in this and other lands, and be strengthened by your grace, for the sake of Him whose Cross is the pledge of victory over all powers of evil, even you Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen

I bid you pray for these United States.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you and remain with you and those whom you love this day and for ever. Amen

Your humble fellow traveler in The Way