An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 3/13/21

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Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

Lacking a tangible pulpit, I had to forego my annual reminder: Spring Forward.  This has been only many of the items that have given us tradition and stability in the past, but not so in 2020.  A bit of humor has been injected into our national and worldwide situation by a colleague who has entitled his latest communication “Covidtide.”  There is, however, a glimmer of hope, as recently our bishops have noted 19 April as a start of in-person regathering.  This date has been chosen,  

  • to allow a full month to observe the effect of loosing of restrictions,
  • due to the continued falling rate of infection,
  • because vaccines are being more widely administered,
  • because civil authorities are taking steps towards reopening of the Commonwealth.

What will remain in place, i.e. applicable to our Diocese, at the time of regathering:

  • regathering must meet still requirements as set forth in earlier guidelines, e.g., professionally cleaned sanctuary, removal of all hymnals, missals, Books of Common Prayer (BCP), all stoups and baptismal fonts to remain empty,
  • masks/face coverings,
  • distancing,
  • Communion in one kind only,
  • no congregational singing,
  • no coffee hour,
  • registration of every attendee at Eucharist.

Obviously, this means that Holy Week and Easter liturgies will not be observed as in previous times.  Rather, online liturgies are available, e.g., Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  Also, 19 April, aside from being a firm tentative date, could change, depending on developments in the pandemic.  Likewise, this date is NOT a mandated one from our Diocesan, by which we must open the doors of St. James, but should be determined by our own local circumstance.  I continue to be in conversation with our two wardens.  Also, because of this welcomed change, I am permitted to make in-person pastoral visits.  As allowed, I look forward to reestablishing such contact with all of you.

Let us not forsake to pray.

The Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Lent:

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the whole world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives an reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

A Collect for guidance:

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with your most gracious favor, and further us with you continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy Name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

A Prayer for those caring for the sick:

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

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 and remain with you and those whom you love this day and for ever. Amen

Your humble fellow traveler in The Way,