From Rev. Clarence & the Wardens, 5/30/21

Posted on ; Filed under News

Season of Pentecost 2021


The Celebration of the Eucharist at 10:00 a.m.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

Dear Members and Friends,

With songs of praise and thanksgiving on our tongues, we write to announce that the doors of our beloved parish, St. James Church in Teele Square, will again be open to all who desire to share in the ministry which has identified the parish for over 174 years.  The Covid-19 pandemic caused us, following guidelines set by our bishops and civil authorities, to postpone all in-persons liturgies.  In harmony with our bishops, we believed that this action was grounded in Christ’s recitation of the Great Commandment, to ‘love neighbor as self.”  Now, as ca. 95% of our immediate parish family and a similarly large of number of our fellow citizens in the Commonwealth have been vaccinated, and because the instances of Covid-19 have been on the decline, we stand at the ready to take up again our mission. 

What you may and other attendees may expect, on and after Sunday, 6 June:

  • Our doors are open to all.  No proof of vaccination is required.  Diocesan guidelines allow up to 60% of occupancy, which in our case would be 180 individuals.  Clearly, we shall not exceed that number.
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  • Masks or other face-coverings are still highly recommended.  They will be provided at the entrances to the sanctuary.  Hand sanitizer will be available also for those who wish it.
  • Registration of attendees remains in place: name and contact information.  This is to allow for immediate contact, should any report of Covid-19 symptoms be received. 
  • Appropriate distancing shall be maintained.  Entrances, exits, and available pews will be clearly marked.  St. James, a parish that recognizes contemporary units of families, households, and social-pairing encourages units to sit together.
  • Singing is allowed.  However, diocesan guidelines require that face masks be worn, even by those who have been vaccinated.
  • The Peace should be exchanged without touching, i.e. no handshaking or embracing.  A nod, a bow, a smile, a wave, a hand over the heart are the recommended signs.
  • The Baptismal Font and Stoup, containers for Holy Water, will remain empty until further notice.
  • The Offertory: An alms basin will be provided at the entrance for money offerings.  Basins are not to be passed.  The vessels for the bread and wine will be placed on a side board at the Altar, not brought forward, as had become tradition.
  • In the sharing of Holy Eucharist, communion will be offered in one kind only, namely with the bread.  The custom of the parish prevails.  That is to say, only Individual wafers will be offered and placed on the palm of the recipient.  As the wine shall not be offered, there will be no opportunity for intinction.  Appropriate distance should be observed, when one approaches the Altar.
  • Fellowship: Diocesan guidelines permit again Coffee Hour and other events with food and drink.  However, caution is to be observed.  Individually wrapped foods and designated servers are the rigor of the day, not the traditional buffets and potlucks.

We, your clergy and wardens, have gone into quite details in our “welcome back” message, a message which, despite its practical details, is sent with great enthusiasm and anticipation.  We do so, because we are aware of possible hesitation on the part of some to reengage in public worship.  We want to allay any feelings of anxiety or uncertainty which some may have. But know and understand this about St. James Church: No one will be excluded, but also no one will be shamed or dismissed for refraining from public worship.  That said: Come, let us make a joyful noise to God.

Clarence E. Butler, Priest
William J. Brathwaite, Jr., Senior Warden
William Parsons III, Junior Warden