Open letter from Rev. Clarence, 10/31/21

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The Feast of All Saints and parish notes

Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

We observed today at Eucharist the Feast of All Saints, to celebrate the lives of those who contributed to the life of our parish. Our senior warden produced for me, the original Charter of Founding and Admission into the Diocese of Massachusetts, attested to by the seal of the then Diocesan Bishop. Although encased in a frame, there was a simplicity not expected. Namely, as one familiar with gilded graduation diplomas and certificates, I was surprised to note that our Charter of 1874 was recorded on simple lined paper. Those St. Jamesians of yore appeared to be even then, and since, in a forward looking ministry in then “West Somerville.” Their example has been our guide over these many years. We honored them today, as well as those who have followed since.

This last week, at a meeting of clergy in our deanery, the Alewife Deanery, a question was put to me which prompts the following: I write to test the waters, so to speak, regarding the restoration of a pre-COVID ministry of the parish. For years we offered weekly sessions of English as a Second Language (ESL), [an opportunity to practice conversational English]. Somerville continues to welcome new arrivals, among whom are those from non-English speaking nations. Because of restrictions placed on us by the governor of our Commonwealth, the mayor of the City of Somerville, and our Diocesan Bishop, we had to drop that very much needed and appreciated ministry. As vaccination rates have increased and we are now permitted in-person liturgies, I invite conversation from you regarding restoration of this ministry. As a reminder, a degree or certificate in teaching is not needed for this ministry. Needed is just a willingness to meet for ca. 1 ½ hour each week with newcomers to our country and to have conversation with them. All precautions would remain in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Of your charity I bid you pray:

  • For those who volunteer at hotlines that strive to prevent youth suicides and violence of any kind.
  • For those who minister to the sick, whatever their condition or ailment may be, of mind, body, or spirit.
  • For those who inhabit the halls of scientific investigation to seek cures for causes of illness.
  • For those who preceded us in our Christian community: Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in our communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

May the peace of God, that 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 with you, and remain with you and those whom you love, this day and forever more. Amen.

Your fellow traveler in The Way,