"Best Laid Plans ..."
Mark's Midweek Musings ...
September 3, 2020

The weather is certainly indicating that we are approaching the fall. It remains seasonal for this time of year. However, the breeze is a bit cooler. And to be sure the days are getting shorter. 

We may find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, but there's still lots happening at St. Paul's. Our ministry to each other and our wider community continues to make a difference. Let's pray that God will continue to uphold us and encourage us with wisdom and discernment as we always seek to find ways to be faithful in who we are and who we are called to become.

August 28, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

Mary, can I read something to you?

Holidays have always been partly about reading. From an early age, my mother insisted that we read over the summer to keep up with our literary skills during vacation. Each day, time was set apart for reading, just like time for practising piano or washing the dishes or taking out the garbage or attending to other domestic chores.

It wasn’t always an easy sell to read when there were so many other holiday options, like swimming, biking and hanging with friends. Yet every once in a while, a book offered a better adventure: Gulliver’s TravelsThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and A Wrinkle in Time are just a few that come to mind.  Summer reading still remains an integral part of summer for me.

Mary, can I read something to you?

This summer, I asked that question often while reading Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. It has been a great read. While I have always been a fan of his music, the book puts into perspective one artist’s journey, struggle, passion and need to express musically a narrative that touches the soul. As I read his story, I found myself going back to listen again to songs that I have not heard in some time, back to a time when all my Springsteen albums were on vinyl. Going back helps put the narrative into a new context.

My favourite Bruce Springsteen album is still Darkness on the Edge of Town, released in 1978. Perhaps that is no surprise, with song titles like Streets of Fire, Badlands, The Promised Land, Adam Raised a Cain. The narrative of those songs not only resonated with the 17-year-old version of myself – a self trying to find purpose, place, identity and meaning – but the lyrics and the passion with which he sang them also revealed the cracks in the American Dream (Canadian, too), exposed the places of discord and injustice and pined for a better way. While not fully articulated at the time, those words were also mingling with what I was hearing, seeing, touching and praying on a Sunday morning.

While songwriters like Springsteen may not purposely write from an overtly religious perspective, I am one of those people who can’t help but be attracted to art that intentionally or unintentionally reveals the biblical narrative, often when you least expect it. In listening to those old songs again, I heard some new things that, well, I just hadn’t heard before.
... I’ll be on that hill with everything I got,
With lives on the line where dreams are found and lost,
I’ll be there on time and I’ll pay the cost
For wanting things that can be found
In the darkness on the edge of town.

Maybe it’s just a song about a man desperately seeking hope. Then again, maybe it’s about the hope that I know is found in the One who was willing to pay the cost for me and for you in the darkness on the edge of town.

One of the lines that Bruce Springsteen uses a few times in the book is, you can’t just tell them, you have to show them. In the wake of yet another act of police violence against a black man named Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests and demonstrations have been held not only in the streets of that community, but for the first time professional athletes from the NBA, WNBA, MLB and NHL collectively, in unified support, have walked out on playing games to make the point that words are not enough.

It’s time to demonstrate, to show. You and I are called to be the Church. And the Church is always summoned to demonstrate and show the love, mercy, and hope of Jesus Christ. It is a love willing to go where dreams are found and lost, so that the lost may be found

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto
This week ...
  • Tues Connections email
  • NO ZOOM "COFFEE & CHAT" THIS WEEK (new schedule of 2nd & 4th Wed for "Coffee & Chat")
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Thurs
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs at 11 am
  • Online Hymn Sing ... Thurs
  • On line worship for Sunday in partnership with Trinity United
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 ... Psalm 145: 8-15; Luke 4: 31-37
  • Wednesday ... Psalm 62; Luke 4: 38-44
  • Thursday ... Psalm 24: 1-6: 1-5; Luke 5: 1-11
  • Friday ... Psalm 37: 1-12; Luke 5: 33-39
  • Saturday ... Psalm 145; Luke 6: 1-5
  • Sunday .. .Psalm 149; Matt 18: 15-20
  • Monday ... Psalm5; Luke 6: 6-11

Next Zoom Coffee & Conversation,
Wednesday September 9 at 11 am
In reflecting on the various weekly communications
sent out as connections and musings, there is a lot of overlap.

As such, starting in September
the weekly routine I will follow
in email communications will be ...

Tuesday Connections
Thursday ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs Sept 3 ... Midweek Musings
Thurs Sept 3 ... Online Hymn Sing
Thurs Sept 3 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Sun Sept 6 ... Online Worship in partnership with Trinity United Church
Tues Sept 8 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Sept 8 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Sept 9 ... 11 am; Zoom Coffee & Chat
Thurs Sept 10 ... Midweek Musings
Thurs Sept 10 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Sept 10 ... Online Hymn Sing
Sun Sept 13 ... WE RETURN TO IN PERSON WORSHIP AT ST. PAUL'S ... 10 am; worship service at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced ... live streamed with a link distributed to our you tube channel for those who don't feel comfortable returning to public worship
Tues Sept 15 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Sept 15 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Sept 16 ... 10 am; Communion at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced
Wed Sept 16 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom "God and the Pandemic" Series ... please register in advance to receive the details for connecting
Thurs Sept 17 ... Midweek Musings
Thurs Sept 17 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Sept 17 ... Online Hymn Sing
Sun Sept 20 ... 10 am; worship service at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced ... live streamed with a link distributed to our you tube channel for those who don't feel comfortable returning to public worship
Tues Sept 22 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Sept 22 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Sept 23 ... 10 am; Communion at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced
Wed Sept 23 ... 11 am; Zoom Coffee & Chat
Wed Sept 23 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom "God and the Pandemic" Series
Thurs Sept 24 ... Midweek Musings
Thurs Sept 24 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs Sept 24 ... Online Hymn Sing
Sun Sept 27 ... 10 am; worship service at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced ... live streamed with a link distributed to our you tube channel for those who don't feel comfortable returning to public worship
Tues Sept 29 ... Tuesday Connections
Tues Sept 29 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Wed Sept 30 ... 10 am; Communion at St. Paul's ... safe and physically distanced
Wed Sept 30 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom "God and the Pandemic" Series 
We're started to get things ready
for our return to in person worship
on Sunday Sept 13 at 10 am.

Thanks to the crew who came together
to remove all the books, cushions
and to mark off the pews and aisles.

We're almost ready!!!

For those who are interested,
here is a link to the Diocesan Protocols
to be followed as we prepare for Sept. 13

and here is the link to a video
produced showing how to
safely open our churches for public worship.

Thank you for your responses
to both the surveys we have recently sent out

A strong majority of parishioners indicated
that they will return on Sept 13th
and that a phased in approach to communion
would be most helpful.

There are some who are not ready
to enter into 
in person worship at this time.

We are working to accommodate
both those who will attend worship at the church
and those who wish to continue via online services.

We will be live streaming the Sunday worship
on our you tube channel
with a link sent out via email on Saturday.

If Sunday at 10 am is a time
that doesn't work for you
the video will continue to be available
for you to enter into the worship
at a time convenient for you.

There will be a service of Communion
on Wednesday's at 10 am

We will be following the protocols and procedures
outlined by the Diocese of Toronto.

What to expect as we gather in September ...
Things will be different from our usual pattern of worship!!
  • please ensure that if you are attending worship that 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
  • 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
  • there will be hand sanitizer available at each entrance 
  • if you have a coat or umbrella, please take them 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
  • there will be no hymn books 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 and use designated microphones
  • there will be no congregational responses to the prayers
  • no physical contact during the exchange of peace ... smiles and words only 
  • Collection plates will not be passed from person-to-person during the Offertory ... parishioners may deposit their offering into plates which will be prominently placed near the entrance/exit 
  • 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 for communion ... the congregation will receive the bread in a way that is safe ... hand sanitizer is to be used before and after you have received the sacrament
  • you will be asked to fill in a form including your contact information in order to keep track of who is present and how we can reach you if necessary
  • we will be taking a photograph so we will know where individuals were sitting in case we are made aware of a positive diagnosis of someone who attended worship
  • 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
The most important thing to remember
is that God will bless our worship experience
whether in person or using the internet.

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!
Please email me if you are interested
in the zoom reflection series
and let me know if you would like
to have a copy of the book ordered for you
at Blue Heron at a cost of approx $15.

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
We have our "Canada Helps" account
up and running 
and ready to receive donations.

For those who would find this 
a helpful way to continue
supporting St. Paul's.
here is the link ...

Thank you in advance
for your support of our ministry at St. Paul's
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!!
"Best Laid Plans ..."
We go about making our plans with some sense of certainty that we actually know how things will go in the future. But the future doesn't always happen as we anticipate and even hope it will. Sometimes we're caught very much off guard because we are so sure we know what's going to happen next. And then a wrench gets thrown into the mix that we didn't see coming and so couldn't anticipate. And we're left to find a way to respond and react to the unexpected.

That happened to us this past week. We were in the midst of preparing for Patrick to return to London for school. Then the phone call that Nathaniel had fallen at work and broke his ankle. Without question, where was he to come but home to be cared for as he recuperates. This would involve multiple trips into Toronto as he ended up having surgery at Mount Sinai hospital to properly set the ankle. And with the Covid 19 restrictions, no one could be in the hospital with him.

There's no doubt this wasn't in Nathaniel's plan ... although home is good, he'd naturally rather be in Toronto working on the Pirate Ship as he planned. And we were preparing for the empty nest after over five months of children and girlfriends staying with us. It would be quiet, maybe even too quiet with everyone having gone home.

That's our recent story of "best laid plans ..." We all have our own stories. Covid 19 undoubtedly is one of them that we share together. Who would have though as we turned the calendar to 2020 that we would be facing the year we've had and that we'll likely continue to have in the coming season too. Whether it was vacation plans or wedding plans or family celebrations that needed to be modified, we all have faced changes we didn't anticipate because of the pandemic we're living through. Our church life hasn't been what we planned for or anticipated as we couldn't worship together. For sure ... "best laid plans!!!"

The question to reflect on in the midst of such times as this, both personally, as a church and really as a society, is how do we respond faithfully when our plans are interrupted; when we have no choice but to adapt and make changes in how we live and do things that are routine.

One of the things I try to do, not always successfully, is to look for what blessing there might be even when things haven't gone as I'd hoped for or planned. Even in the midst of disappointment and with added stresses in our lives, God is still surrounding us with His presence and His hand upon us; God is giving us the gift of family and friends to make this journey with; God blesses us with faith that is meant to bring healing, comfort and peace; and we always have one another as community to support and encourage one another.

Sure, our plans changed. But maybe it's better that the house isn't quite as quiet as it would have been; and we get to spend time with Nathaniel we wouldn't otherwise have. 

What I need to learn and relearn over and over again, is when my best laid plans get interrupted, there can still be blessing from God, and to be sure there is if I can open my eyes to see it.

Maybe the same is true for you. What are your best laid plans that might well be interupted .....
A prayer "Bless This Mess"
by Rev Ha Na Park

Lord, bless this mess. Bless this Monday house –
breakfast dishes in the sink, beds still unmade,
clutter of sandwich makings on the cabinet,
living room awry.
Bless this mess, and me, as I proceed to tackle it.
Lord, bless this mess.
Bless this Monday mind –cluttered and cobwebby,
catch-all for outgrown opinions and ill-fitting prejudices,
its mental compartments not yet straightened out,
thought patterns that could do with a good airing.
Bless this mess and me, as I proceed to tackle it.
A Monday house isn’t as bad as a Monday mind.
The house can wait.
But there are some thinking things that I need to attend to now.
I wish it could be done with mop and broom –
Those are tools I understand.
But thinking is hard, uncomfortable, unfamiliar.
And thinking is the only cleaning agent for a Monday mind.
Ah, so. Lord, bless this day.
The mop and broom I can handle.
I need thy help with the cleansing of my mind.
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59 Toronto Street South, Uxbridge Ontario L9P1H1 Canada

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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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