An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 8/15/20

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Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James,

[As I close off my week, I bring two items to your attention]. The first is professional.

  • I met this week, via zoom of course, with representatives from the diocese and other clergy. The purpose of the meeting was to share any updates regarding the pandemic and any concerns that may have arisen, as a very few parishes have moved to limited in-person worship.  These number only six from our 100+ congregations and chaplaincies.  We at St. James continue in our distant mode of worship as the City of Somerville restricts, and rightly so, the number of individuals who may assemble, whether indoors or outdoors.  Until the number of Covid-19 cases moves towards stabilization, Somerville’s mayor and the City Council advise against large [gatherings].  Refresh your memory of the needless transmission of Covid-19 in a church just over the border in New Hampshire.
  • In order that my colleague and friend in neighboring St. John’s Church, Arlington, might get away with family for a deserved respite, I am serving until 25 August as [their] emergency backup. Other items, cf. below, have kept me from taking time away this summer.


The second item is personal.

  • As I make my weekly “personally-distanced house calls” on rotation, all of you, recalling that my older daughter and family reside in Hong Kong, never fail to inquire about them. You minister to me with your inquiry, which reminds me of [what] I have said over and over to us all at St. James: Of a truth, I am the priest but you are the true ministers.  Britta and Co. are faring well.  Granddaughter and grandson have returned to school, both still at Hong Kong International School.  However, both their private school, others like theirs, and the public schools of HK could be held up as an example which our own nation could emulate.  The Hong Kongers are undertaking a serious and pragmatic look at how to do schooling.  Learning must take place, but it is done distantly, but still personally.  Two days ago, while doing Facetime with my daughter, my grandson rushed in from his room/distant classroom to inform us that he had a 5-minute break between classes and wished to say hello.  He remains as safe, as one might expect, but also enthusiastic.  A generation of [players of] electronic games, etc., he and others of his classmates and friends appear to be adapting quite well.
  • I announce to you all [now] what I announced earlier this week to our vestry. I have been able, thanks in no little measure to the effort of two members of our vestry, taken literally the meaning of social distancing to heart.  I have moved 10 miles farther from our beautiful sanctuary.  After much consideration, I have downsized from the 10-room rectory of our neighboring parish to a more manageable condo.  Telephone and email address remain unchanged and so I am as always available for conversation and pastoral calls.  When a vaccine has been discovered and the Covid-19 pandemic has become manageable, we shall celebrate with a blessing of our sanctuary AND a blessing, i.e. reception at my new digs.


As always, I bid your prayers for those in our congregation and our individual families, as well as for those, wherever they may be, who bring healing and comfort to those in distress due to any illness. In closing I cite several verses of Psalm 42, which I have read daily this week:

As the deer longs for the water-brooks,
so longs my soul for you, O God.

Put your trust in God;
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

The Lord grants his loving-kindness in the daytime;
in the night season his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.


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, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you and those whom you love this day and for evermore.  Amen

You fellow traveler in The Way,