An Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 9/26/20

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Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James,

On this typical fall day, I send you warm greetings from my study—shelter-in-place, virtual liturgies, longing for communal gatherings—while the neighbor’s miniature dog reminds me that we live still in community.

  • I report that as required by diocesan canons, I have completed via ZOOM part two of our Fall Clergy Professional Development session. The session was devoted to reminding us that as clergy we are bound by our baptismal covenant “to respect the dignity of every human being”, which demands that we provide—yes, even virtually—a safe environment for our parishioners and ourselves.  I assure you that these sessions are anything but “rote discussions.”
  • I was able this week to spend “alone time” on our premises. While reviewing the post left on my desk by some “mysterious hand,” a message from the Episcopal Relief & Development of our National Church reminded me again that we are members/participants of a broader community, one that extends beyond St. James.  And although the message was the “usual” reminder to contribute financially, its scriptural justification and admonition were much broader, applicable as we live through these disturbing times: “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9
  • Also, to soothe my own inner turmoil of not being able to see you all personally, eorgan keyboardven as we continue pastoral visits via telephone and written notes, I sat down at our historic organ, and was astonished that after more than 10 years of abandoning training and practice, I was able, albeit with many mistakes, to play one of my favorite hymns, which I cite in today’s homily. (see tomorrow’s post)  I prayed for us all that the day may soon come when we shall reassemble in support of our common ministry as outlined in The Great Project of the Man from Nazareth.




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. 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


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 forever. Amen


Your humble fellow in The Way