Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 11/14/21

Posted on ; Filed under News

Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

Today we did a test run.  Winter is before us, and to be met with almost frigid weather (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in our buildings presented us with a challenge.  As in 2015 (before my arrival on the scene in 2018, when confronted with a similar situation, documented by photographs), those present refused to be deprived of Eucharist.  After all, we were not allowed in-person worship for over 20 months due to COVID.  Portable heaters to the rescue.  No High Altar, no uplifting chords of our historic organ, no stained-glass windows!  Rather, light-filled St. Francis Hall, with its round tables and red tablecloths and folding chairs, became our venue.  And we were able still to maintain CDC guidelines and diocesan mandates of social distancing.  We did not sing, although now permitted when masked.  However, we could have and, perhaps, should have voiced the hymn:

God himself is with us; let us all adore him, and with awe appear before him.
God is here within us; souls in silence fear him, humbly, fervently draw near him.
Now his own who have known God, in worship lowly, yield their spirits wholly.

Today, our doors remained open, and remain open.  Ingenuity, dedication, and above all, a desire to meet in worship were seen and felt.  Anglican solemnity at its best.  And at the dismissal, someone even sneaked in an “alleluia.”

I report as well to you that we, as the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, met virtually in convention on Friday, 13 November, and Saturday, 14 November.  This was the second such convention, the first during a peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.  We have never had balloons floating from the ceiling.  However, as it should be, when we humans gather in person, former conventions saw much physical movement.  With many of the technical difficulties of 2020 overcome, 2021 allowed reasonable participation.  I recommend with enthusiasm the address/sermon of our Bishop-Diocesan, who, returning from a well-earned sabbatical, reassures of shared clarity for our future.  That and other matters of business can be found at  As your introvert priest, I declared this convention a more holy, a more worshipful gathering of people of faith, together while apart.

The Collect of the 25th Sunday after Pentecost unites us with the Church catholic:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  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,

P.S.  We lift up parishioner Nan Ryce who wears now the tiara of being the oldest member of our parish family.  She celebrates a birthday this week.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is birthday-cake2-1024x910.jpg

Respecting her right to privacy, I give out no number.  However, should the thought occur to you simply to drop in to see Aunt Nan, I strongly encourage you to call and make an appointment, just to be sure that she will be home!