An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 10/17/20

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Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James!
With concern, I included in my weekly update last week a letter from our Bishop diocesan, Bishop Alan Gates. I write this week with joy to report that our Bishop, being attended by an excellent medical staff and your prayers, has returned full-time to his ministry. Indeed, you should all have received in your inbox an epistle from him under the title “A Pastoral reflection,” dated 15 October. With “A Pastoral reflection” being distinguished from a “Pastoral Directive,” be not tempted to skim over his letter or to press the delete button on your computer. Bishop Gates has captured eloquently, but also empathetically, what we are all experiencing after seven long months of isolation from one another. He speaks of a “’surge capacity’ depleted.” Encouraging are the three pastoral responses to survival: “1) Have compassionate expectations; 2) Maintain our most important relationships, and 3) Live as people of hope.” This is a good read in these troubling times.
Second, our bishop is not the only one at work on your/our behalf. At St. James, we have the two Bill’s, Bill Brathwaite and Bill Parson, senior and junior warden respectively, whose behind the scenes efforts do not often receive the thanks which they rightly deserve. Bill P, our junior warden, attends our facilities even when we cannot enjoy them concretely. I see, during my weekly retreat to the solitude offered by our facilities, items which I noticed not when we were there often several times during each week. Your junior warden is a wise man, because he refuses to purchase gallons of green paint, as I suggest for disguising the parched grass surrounding our facilities, due to our summer drought.
Bill B, our senior warden, unlike your priest-in-residence, has outdistanced me by getting himself instructed how to conduct Zoom conferences. [Note: Zoom can be accessed free.] As we begin in earnest our efforts to prepare for re-opening, we may move into the 21st century with the capacity to stream our liturgy. There is diocesan funding for such an endeavor. This is important, as I am aware that some of you may, with non-debatable and loving concern for self and others, desire not yet to return to in-person worship. I am in conversation with an individual who is capable of providing music, an essential link to our live-streaming, as well as to our in-person edification. I pray and applaud your continued support and ministry as we move through what now appears to be a chronic emergency. Let us not lose faith.
I bid you pray:
O merciful God, who has taught us in your holy word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of your Creation, look with compassion upon us and all humankind, that we may come to know your will for us in the building of your kingdom on earth as in heaven, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AmenAlmighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States in the election of officials and representative; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; 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 Chris our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with and remain with you and those whom you love this day and for ever. Amen
Your humble fellow in The Way