Mark's Midweek Musings November 19, 2020

It was good to have last week off for some rest time before the onset of December. The weather was gorgeous!! I made cookies and muffins, went for a couple of walks, visited with my mother in St. Catharines and generally enjoyed not having a routine. The gift of time was a joy and delight. Thank you to Greg for covering the Sunday service and Ruthanne for covering any pastoral emergencies.

That gorgeous weather has certainly changed to cold and snow. It looks lovely and quite beautiful until I have to go out in it and brush off the car. Then not so much. But alas it is only the beginning!!

As I return to work, there is now much to do with the beginning of Advent and the preparations leading to Christmas. There is a note below of what to expect. Although, we do need to be prepared that things could well change given the course that Covid 19 takes in these next weeks. I am excited and looking forward to the various ways we will still prepare for and celebrate the birth of Jesus and all that means to us in our lives of faith. Christmas won't be cancelled, not even because of a pandemic. It will be different for sure. But we will celebrate the gift of Emmanuel, God here with us especially during such a time as this.

We apologize for the technological glitch
that meant the video from last week's worship
was not live streamed.

We have also had difficulty
uploading the recorded video.

Thank you for your continued patience
and to Trevor, Dave and Jayson
for their diligence in getting this ministry to work.
The past two Sundays in our parish cycle of prayer
we remembered and gave thanks for ...

Pat, Lori, Babs and Jan, Eileen, Bob, Judy,
Derek and Joy 
and their families.

St. Paul's Outreach Sunday
November 22, 2020

Our funds available for outreach
are diminished this year due to Covid 19
and the reality that we couldn't hold any dinners
for ourselves or the wider community.

The funds raised from these dinners
are always designated for outreach.

Please support in any way you can.
Every contribution no matter the amount helps.
You can use the envelope with the mailing
or E-Transfer if that is more convenient
appropriately designated.

Consider giving a donation
equal to what you might have spent
on attending the pasta and turkey dinners.

Thank you in advance for your support
of this important ministry at St. Paul's.

Christmas Hampers

Please support out Outreach Committee's initiative of gift cards in place of this years Christmas Hampers. The organizers are collecting the gift cards and will distribute them to families in need in our community early in December.

The need is even greater this year due to Covid 19. Any support you can offer through donating a gift card to one of the local stores would be greatly appreciated.

We'd like to collect them and deliver them to the organizers in the next two weeks.

Thank you in advance for your support as we have received in years past for this Outreach intiative.
The most recent "Forward Day by Day"
has arrived.

Please let me know if you'd like a copy
for your personal reflection.
This week ...
  • Tues Connections email
  • Zoom Compline ... Tues 7:30 pm
  • Communion at St. Paul's ... Wed 10 am
  • Please register in advance if you are planning on attending worship on Sunday (see note below)
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Thurs
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs 11 am
  • On line worship links will be emailed on Saturday
  • Communion at St. Paul's ... Sun 10 am ... or viewed live or using the video posted later in the morning on our YouTube channel ... Outreach Sunday ... Guest preacher Elin Goulden, Justice and Advocacy Consultant for the Diocese of Toronto
I have been asked to share
some scripture passages
that people can read over the week
and reflect in their own personal times
of prayer and bible reading.

These are the appointed lectionary readings
from the psalm and the gospel
for celebrations of the Eucharist
  • Tuesday ... Ps 112:4-9; Mt 24:42-47
  • Wednesday ... Ps 150; Lk 19:11-28
  • Thursday ...Ps 149:1-5; Lk 19:41-44
  • Friday ... Ps 119:65-72; Lk 19:45-48 
  • Saturday ...  Ps 144:1-10; Lk 20:27-40
  • Sunday ...   Ps 100; Mt 25:31-46
  • Monday ...  Ps 24:1-6; Lk 21:1-4

Thurs Nov 19... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Nov 19 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Nov 19 ... Online Hymn Sing
Sun Nov 22 ... "Reign of Christ" ... 10 am; Communion at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced ... live streamed and available later via video on our YouTube channel
Tues Nov 24 ... Tuesday Connections
Wed Nov 25 ... please register if you are planning to attend the in person worship on Sunday (see note below)
Wed Nov 25 ... 10 am; Communion ... safe and physically distanced
Wed Nov 25 ... 11:15 am; Zoom Coffee & Chat
Wed Nov 25 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom "Covid 19 Christmas" series
Thurs Nov 26... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Nov 26 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Nov 26 ... Online Hymn Sing
Sun Nov 29 ... "Advent 1" ... 10 am; Communion at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced ... live streamed and available later via video on our YouTube channel 

To assist us in planning for our Sunday worship services
we are asking you to please register
if you are intending to attend.

This will help us know in advance
how many people to expect
and if we need to open the lower hall
to accommodate all who wish to attend.

We will be allowing some space for those
who haven't registered.

There are two ways to register ...
1. Using the internet, go to and click on the Sunday you plan to attend, following the directions to type in your name and email address.

2. Phone the church office at 
905-852-7016 and leave a message by Wednesday.

Thank you for your assistance in registering
for Sunday morning worship at St. Paul's.
I'm looking forward to working with Karen
to offer this zoom series in preparation for Christmas 2020.

I hope you'll consider joining in the conversation
and reflection around how to celebrate this year.

Please email me to register.

I will send out the zoom link.

Advent and Christmas 2020

Although there may be some changes required due to added protocols and or restrictions, I wanted to share with you my hope of what Advent and Christmas will be like at St. Paul's during this strange and weird time of Covid 19. I hope that you will find what we offer to be engaging and meaningful to the extent that you feel safe and comfortable participating either in person or on line.
  • "Covid 19 Christmas" Zoom Series ... Wednesday. November 25 & December 2 at 7:30 pm
  • "Hope in Pandemic Times" ... Advent 1Sunday November 29
  • "Prophetic Voices for our Time" ... Advent Video reflections on hearing the prophetic words of scripture in light of our experience and need today ... Wednesday. December 2, 9, 16 & 23
  • "Faith in Pandemic Times" ... Advent 2, Sunday December 6
  • "Joy in Pandemic Times" ... Advent 3, Sunday December 13
  • Old Tyme Carol Sing ... Sunday December 13 at 2:30 pm; live through our You Tube channel ... join in singing your favorite Christmas Carols
  • Service of Lessons & Carols ... a video in partnership with Trinity United including scripture readings, choral music, Christmas Carols and prayers celebrating the joy of the Christmas season; Saturday December 21; available on our YouTube Channel
  • "Peace in Pandemic Times" ... Advent 4, Sunday December 20
  • "Christmas for our families" ... a video with a prayer of blessing the creche and a story; available on line on our Youtube channel Sunday December 20
  • "Longest Night" ... Monday December 21 ... a video with music, prayers, readings and reflections acknowledging that even in the darkness of our world and this time we anticipate the light of a new day
  • "Christmas Eve" ... Thursday December 24 at 4 & 7 pm ... in person celebrations of Jesus' birth with communion ... safe and physically distanced ... it will be determined which service will be live streamed
  • "The Celebration Continues" ... First Sunday after Christmas; Sunday December 27

What to expect as we gather for worship ...
Things are different from our usual pattern of worship!!
  • please ensure you are healthy with no symptoms of Covid 19 and that you haven't been in contact with anyone who has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid 19 or is in quarantine
  • please self-screen by asking yourself the following questions … do you have a new cough, runny nose, or any new respiratory issues; do you have a fever; do you have any nausea, gastro issues, diarrhea; have you traveled outside Canada in the last 14 days; have you had contact with anyone who has been told to self-isolate in the last 14 days; have you been told to self-isolate in the last 14 days … If you answer yes to any of these questions, please stay home and consider getting tested.
  • everyone attending worship is expected to wear a mask
  • please arrive early for the service to allow an easy flow into the church 
  • there will be markers on the sidewalk leading to the church to ensure appropriate physical distancing as people arrive
  • please use the main front doors to access the church … those who use the right front door will be sitting on the right side of the church and those who use the left front door will sit on the left side of the church … the entrance on the south side of the church will be reserved for those requiring the elevator
  • a record will be kept of those who attend worship at the church for tracking purposes in case we should need to make contact 
  • there will be hand sanitizer available at each entrance 
  • please take your coats or umbrellas with you to your seat ... no coats are to be hung at the back of the church
  • you will be ushered to where you will sit in the church … beginning with pews at the front, working to the back … please sit where you are assigned, appropriately and safely distanced from those around you
  • children will stay in church with their families and are encouraged to bring soft toys or books for during the service
  • there will be no hymn or prayer books in the pew ... everything for the liturgy will be projected at the front
  • there will be a few printed service leaflets for those who find it difficult to see the projection ... please take these home with you if you use them
  • there will be no congregational singing ... music will be instrumental and soloists
  • you will be encouraged to remain seated throughout the worship service
  • the priest, readers, intercessor, musicians, and soloists will be wearing masks 
  • there will be no congregational responses to the prayers
  • offering plates will not be passed from person-to-person ... parishioners may deposit their offering into plates which will be prominently placed near the entrance/exit … offerings will be counted and deposited every two weeks
  • communion will be administered as you leave the building ... please stop leaving appropriate physical spacing between yourself and those who are distributing communion ... come forward with your mask on to receive the bread ... move away before you remove your mask and consume your communion as you exit the building 
  • we discourage using cash in your envelopes preferring a check and encourage other options such as PAR, Canada Helps or E-transfers  
  • instructions will be given about leaving the church at the end of the worship service exiting from the back to the front using the same door you entered
  • the washroom on the main level will be available for use with instructions for sanitizing after each use
  • the church will be fully cleaned and sanitized after each service

What to expect when I come to church
for Wednesday Communion …
  • All of the above instructions are to be followed except we will use only the front doors on the right with instructions to sit on the right side of the church safely and appropriately distanced
  • Communion will be administered at the end of the liturgy as you leave the building

Everyone needs to feel safe and comfortable.

As we gather, we need to mitigate stress.
There will be people available to give direction.

We pray that this will be
an inspiring opportunity to gather in worship together.

We will do what we can
to try and meet everyone's spiritual needs
as we remain faithful and engaged
in our relationship with God
and with each other as the body of Christ.

Whether you join us in person or on-line,
we look forward to worshiping with you!

An option to make your St. Paul's donations
which is easy and convenient

we have online banking available for e-transfers.

If this is helpful as you support the ministries of St. Paul's
the email address you need is
If you or someone you know
is in need of pastoral support
during this time

please leave a message
at the church office or email me.

Trust me when I say
it is no bother!!

This is what I'm here to do!!

This image speaks to me in an experience we had last week with one of our cars. We were in the Walmart parking lot getting ready to open the car door when a woman was flagging us down asking if we knew we had a flat tire. We didn't know, but when we got out and looked, the drivers side rear tire was almost out of air, deflated!! There was no doubt when we filled it that there was a substantial leak because within no time it was flat again. As a result it needs to be repaired before we can drive it. And given the time of year, there were no appointments available for almost two weeks. Thankfully we don't have to go far these days, we have the spare "donut" we can use and we have a second car available to us.

I thought, out of this experience, that it's equally possible that many of us may feel like we're deflated as we experience these days of Covid 19. Do you feel like all the air has leaked from you? As you watch the news and hear the latest count of positive cases do you feel deflated and drained? When there is talk of further lockdowns and restrictions do you feel flat? And all of this applies to us in a holistic way ... body, mind and spirit because as human beings with human spirits in a divine relationship with God we live in the moment of the present, dealing with how we are impacted in very real ways.

On the one hand, I know when I'm stressed or feeling deflated in my spirit, whether it's due to Covid 19 or something else going on, it's easy for me to resort to eating and especially junk food. I know that that isn't the healthiest of approaches I could take. But in the moment it feels good, tastes good and provides a quick fix to the other things I might be feeling or experiencing.

For our flat tire, the donut is a quick fix solution that is temporary similar to my eating when I'm stressed. That too is a temporary solution that really doesn't make me feel better in the long run. The chips or cookies or nuts don't relieve the reality of what's happening and how I end up feeling ... they don't re-inflate me when I feel deflated. I know I need a longer lasting solution that can help me with what is at the center of my experience and bring healing and wholeness into what I am going through.

One of the gifts we are blessed with in those times when we're feeling deflated spiritually is our relationship with God. And yet, how many of us see turning to God as a first step. Sometimes I do, but not always because it's so easy to feel trapped and distracted by the worldly concerns that are a reality and are having an impact on us. 

Jesus told us to come to him when we are weary ... when we are deflated ... and he will give us rest ... he will re-inflate us in our spirits. God wants us to be full of His life giving Spirit that brings us peace and healing when we are disturbed and hurting. 

Later this week, the mechanic will install new snow tires on our car. Who can we turn to to help us spiritually? What rhythm can we embrace that will help us when we're feeling deflated and life feels flat? Who is the mechanic who will help us when we are in need of any kind and feeling unsettled in these uncertain times?

Just like my car and my tires need attention and maintenance ... so too do our spiritual lives and our relationships with God. We are about to head into Advent as we prepare for Christmas. There's no doubt will be a different kind of celebration this year. The griefs we feel may well compromise our joy and leave us feeling deflated. Ask yourself now what you can do to engage with that story of God's incarnation that is at the center of our lives as followers of Jesus. Think about joining in the zoom series "Covid 19 Christmas"; watch for the weekly video reflections on hearing the prophets in our time; enter into the weekly Advent worship that will focus on hope, faith, joy and peace in pandemic times; plan to join in the Old Tyme Carol Sing on line; look for the Online Video Lessons and Carols service; enter into the liturgy marking the Longest and Darkest Night of the year; plan how you will worship on Christmas Eve whether in person or via the internet.

In these days of the Covid 19 Pandemic and in these weeks leading up to our celebration of Christmas, let's be attentive to all that might lead us to feel deflated. But let's turn to Jesus who said, "It is the spirit that gives life ... the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life."
A prayer for today ...

God of each breath, God of this next breath:
may the moment we’re in
be a moment now filled with reassurance and grace;
with kindness and patience for ourselves and for others.
May it be marked by hope and compassion,
by learning and unlearning.
May it be a moment unencumbered
by mistakes we’ve made or results we fear.
May it be a moment of peace and renewal;
a breath of new life. Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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