Open Letter from Rev. Clarence, 2/14/23

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Dear Members and Friends of St. James,

I draw your attention in this update to several items of note.  The first is to report that Annual Meeting was held on Sunday, 12 February, immediately following Eucharist.  Copies of the printed reports are available in St. Francis Hall, as well as at the Broadway entrance to the sanctuary.  I urge you to read the reports included in the booklet, for they are pragmatic, as they must be, but they are also positively encouraging.  Effects of the pandemic have not diminished the determination of the parish to continue our ministry on Clarendon Hill.  New pledging members have been added to our roster and others have held steady of increased their pledges.  New sources of revenue have made possible support for old ministries, and has enabled us to forge new paths.

The second item restates our position regarding Coronavirus.  According to the most recent information received from the Commonwealth, the risk factor has decreased in Middlesex County, the jurisdiction in which we worship.  Our bishops continue to urge caution.  That is to say, masks are no longer required, but still recommended at worship, and especially when we sing.  Communion will continue to be offered in one kind only, namely in the Bread.  Those on the Altar Guild who prepare the elements of consecration and I are extremely diligent in this matter. 

Third, your attention is drawn to the ongoing need to aid the people of Ukraine, Turkey and Syria, as they are confronted with devastation of war and negative acts of nature.  The Episcopal Church, working together with the interdenominational group “Action by Churches Together,” requests donations via  No contribution is too small.

Fourth:  ASH WEDNESDAY, the beginning of the liturgical season of LENT, is Wednesday, 22 February.  To begin this penitential period of 40 Days of introspection and self-examination, a celebration of Holy Eucharist, with music, will take place at 7:00 p.m., and as a reminder of our commitment to the Way of the Cross, the imposition of ashes will be offered.    Should you not be able to join us at the altar, you may make your worship at that hour, by reading the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday, which begins on page 264 of the Book of Common Prayer.

Of your charity, and as we approach this Holy Season, I bid your fervent prayer for the Human Family and for Peace.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love; So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all people may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever.  Amen.

May the peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and those whom you love into this new year.  Amen.

Your fellow Sojourner in The Way,