Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 10/4/20

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Dear People and Friends of St. James,

This past week afforded me again the opportunity to commune with all of you in prayer, alone, of course, in our sanctuary. In addition, I attended via Zoom Conference the bi-monthly meeting of Clericus, a meeting of clergy in our deanery, the Alewife Deanery. At that time we welcomed two new priests into our area, already active in the Diocese, but receiving postings with greater responsibility. They are the Rev. Daniel Bel,l as priest-in-charge at St. Mark’s Church – Burlington, and the Rev. Andrew Goldhor, as priest-in-charge at Church of the Good Shepherd – Watertown. We are already familiar with Fr. Bell, as he is part-time chaplain at neighboring Tufts University.

As you may well imagine, these two men have undertaken a ministry at a most necessary hour, but in a time fraught with hurdles. During our meeting, when asked what is the most worrisome aspect of our work, the response was, to a person, ‘providing pastoral attention and care, when we cannot have in-person contact.’ Our two new colleagues must make themselves known, and become known, via Zoom. Their/our second most pressing concern has been and continues to be, given the restrictions of our locales, how we observe sacramental ministry. Creative ways of ministry are being tested, i.e. proposed and tried out, determined by the peculiarities of each parish.

As your priest, and still new to parochial ministry, having spent my years in higher education, I am in awe at the verve, the fervor brought by my colleagues to their calling. They remain a source of knowledge and inspiration for me. And so I continue my distant connections with you, not only alone in my prayers in our sanctuary, but also via email, telephone, “snail mail,” and an occasional in-person interchange. Because of your faith and commitment as stewards in the vineyard which we call St. James, I confess that I have failed for the sixth time “retirement.”

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

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 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 for ever. Amen

Your humble fellow in The Way