An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 7/18

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Dear People and Friends of St. James!

It would appear that life is assuming, more and more, a new normal, except of course for the frightening increase of COVID-19 cases through our land, but especially in our south.  I bid your prayers, as always, that our leaders will lead, recognizing that leadership extends beyond self-centered ambitions.

Regarding St. James as a worshipping community, I am extremely pleased to report to you all that, even in our mandated diaspora, i.e. separated from each other for a spell, we seem all to be of one mind: We shall not attempt to outguess those who are trained in the science of preventive transmission of diseases.  In clearspeak: we will not attempt at this time to reopen the doors of our sanctuary at 1170 Broadway, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144 for in-person worship.  I have spoken, informally, with our wardens and members of our vestry, and we/they conclude  that to reopen at this time would not be appropriate or helpful for the mission and longevity of our parish.  We will continue to be guided by our bishop, the governor of our state, and the mayor of Somerville, whose decisions  remain informed by scientists.  Bluntly stated, God gave us a brain, so why not use it to our and others’ benefit?

No, there is not a misspelling in the subject line of my email.  Rather, “midsommer” (or ‘midsommeren’) is how Scandinavians, especially the Swedes, define these ‘lazy, hazy days of summer,’ which my wife (late) and I experienced several times in Stockholm, when we lived in Germany and as I pursued my academic career in Germanic and Scandinavian Studies.  Midsummer (Engl.) in Sweden was—and is still—a time for relaxation and reflection in a “stuga,” a simple cabin in the woods or on the lakeside, in order that we might recharge our mental batteries for those things that confronted us and needed our attention in our daily lives.  Because of COVID-19, that time has been extended.  Still, I hope that you are all imagining those wonderful, fulfilling things which we shall undertake together, when next we are able to be together in person.  In the meantime, forsake not your prayers for our world, nation, and communities, and for those who place themselves selflessly in harm’s way to assist others.

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

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers.  We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity.  Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever.  AMENDEAA0713-99CF-488A-9486-8CE0C8928E3F

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 among you, and remain with you and those whom you love, this day and for evermore.  AMEN

Your humble fellow traveler in The Way,