Letter, 1/9/22

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Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. James,

During a conversation recently with an old friend—this friend, like me, qualifies under both definitions and usages of “old—a conversation dominated by a discussion of C19, I suggested that we should be of great cheer, as the length of daylight hours is increasing notably. She responded that she had not noticed. I mention this personal exchange, because it introduces my meditation for this First Sunday after the Epiphany, sent as an attachment to you. A quiet normalcy is evidenced in our liturgy, such that, even as we continue as a nation, along with other nations of the world, to combat C19, I sense a determination and resilience among our immediate parish family, to guard ourselves, as best we can, against the virus and, in so doing, to shield those with whom we may have contact. Weekly or biweekly telephone visits in the parish assure me that decades of proclaiming in our liturgy the Great Commandments (God first and Neighbor as self) are rooted deeply in our daily lives.

Yet, we are also under laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. This I mention because our system of governance in the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion is bicameral. That is, clergy and laity have distinct roles and responsibilities in the governance of parishes. It is my duty, as priest in charge, to notify you all that the ANNUAL MEETING of St. James Episcopal Church shall be held in February 2022. The date specific shall be given soon, but within 30 days, as required by bylaws.
Between annual meetings, clergy and vestry meet together regularly, in order to conduct the business of the parish, excepting as announced and when extenuating circumstances preclude such a meeting. Due to such a circumstance, I notify you that our monthly vestry meeting, scheduled for Sunday next, 16 January, has been postponed. Still, any concerns or questions for vestry may be addressed to me via this email address, via telephone, or via traditional post. We/I want to know of your concerns.
We are united among ourselves, as well as with the Church Universal, as we say:

O Gracious God, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordon proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant that they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, on God, in glory everlasting. 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 among you, and remain with you, and those whom you love, for ever. Amen.

Your fellow traveler on the Way,