An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 10/24/20

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Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

Admittedly, a sense of normalcy seems to have set in: Zoom meetings; pastoral connections via email, telephone calls, and handwritten notes to and on your and our communal behalf; and visits to our church grounds and buildings.  I rush to assure you that on my part, I have not become complacent or overcome with the belief that our new normal is the way that our lives should or will always be henceforth.  As I indicated last week, we are working diligently behind the scenes, so that we as a worshipping community will be prepared to regather, when it is appropriate.

I draw your attention to the pastoral letter from our bishops, which you should have received into your inbox.  Active as they are in our broader, statewide community, as well as on the national front, they are aware of our anxiety regard the forthcoming general election.  Without discussing politics in my present note to you, but taking the pulse of our parish, as I make my weekly distanced pastoral calls, I am aware of and share with you concerns for our nation and the outcome of our next general election.  Our bishops provide us with personal and pastoral lenses, through which we may reflect in the privacy of our own chambers.  I recommend strongly that you set aside several minutes to read their epistle.

Bringing your attention back to home, I write to remind you that Sunday next is the Sunday of All Saints, the day in our church year that we set aside time to remember those who have during the preceding year returned to eternity, as well as those of previous generations.  Because we shall not be able to gather for an in-person liturgy, I ask, should you feel so moved, that you forward to me the names of those whom you wish to be recalled in our prayers.  As a part of my anticipated homily for All Saints Sunday, I would include them severally.  To my knowledge, we have lost this year only one parishioner, Mrs. Margaret McDonagh, in death.  Still being relatively new with you, I must rely on you to provide me with the names of former parishioners who have gone on to glory.

On a personal note, should you subscribe to The Boston Globe, you may have caught a glimpse of me in the weekend edition published on Friday, wearing clerical attire, sporting a mask, with arms outstretched and standing in my own kitchen.  I was not involved in a house blessing, nor in an exorcism of any demons in anticipation of Halloween.  Rather, thanks to a business editor at The Globe who calls out major firms that have abused the trust of customers, I am featured in the story of my 2-months long dialogue with a national supplier of kitchen appliances.  May I report to you that I am pleased to serve as example to “the ordinary consumer” regarding possible approaches to mistreatment.  All is well.

Finally, for those who may have been keeping score, I have not forgotten those in our parish and beyond who continue to be on the frontline of assisting those who are ill, but especially those who may be suffering from Covid-19.  We acknowledge and give thanks to those in our parish who witness their faith in the health-profession.  Your prayers on their behalf and for those whom they serve are always appropriate.

I  bid you pray:

O merciful God, giver of life and health, whose will is made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord: Send Your blessing upon all who are engaged in healing.  Grant that they may be compassionate in their care and fearless in their efforts to promote the health and well-being of the people of this and other lands, and be strengthened by Your grace, for the sake of Your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  AMEN

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. Amen

Almighty 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

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