Mark's Midweek Musings July 22, 220

"Heigh ho, heigh ho ...
it's off to work I go!"

Well, that two weeks off went fast, too quickly. And yet because of Covid 19, it felt like one day just melded into the next. However, the time off was good to simply rest and be. 

Now to focus on what has become the norm of a routine and pay attention to what needs to be done in prep for September and a new routine. More on that in my musings below.
This week ...
  • Keeping Connected email ... Tues & Thurs
  • Online Zoom Compline ... Tues at 7:30 pm
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Wed
  • "Zoom" Coffee & Conversation ... Wednesday at 11 am
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs at 11 am
  • On line worship for Sunday 

Dear Friends in Christ,


I began my June 26th, 2020 letter to you with the age-old joke: How many Anglicans does it take to change a lightbulb? While the punchlines are many and mostly pretty corny, our laughter is still telling. We know full well that change comes hard for most of us. The circumstances in which we live because of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to stretch our imaginations, patience, and creativity. We grow ever more concerned about what the future might hold for us. It’s in times such as these that those of us who are glass-half-full kind of folks look for the silver lining. Those of us who bend toward a glass-half-empty wring our hands with worry. Like it or not, we are changing.

In the midst of this upset and disruption comes the brutal killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Since that heinous crime took place there has been a boiling over, a taking to the streets, a community expression of anger, protest and an enough-is-enough attitude against anti-Black racism. There is an ever-growing circle in society - including in the Church - that is speaking out. 

One of the opportunities of learning and teaching that I have appreciated very much in this season of change is the Wednesday evening Roundtable Discussions sponsored by Black Anglicans of Canada. For the past two Wednesdays almost 100 people have participated in these informative and challenging presentations. There are two more events offered in July. On July 22nd, the topic is Anti-Black Racism in Institutions and the speaker is Dr. Carl Everton James. On July 29th, the topic is Bending the Knee and Changing the Hearts: A Toronto Model for a Just Intercultural Church, the speaker is the Rev. Dr. Sonia Hinds. I encourage you to attend. Here is the link. I will be there.

Angela Y. Davis, activist, academic, writer and teacher once said, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.” The events of the last few weeks are challenging us to see anew and to change what we can no longer accept. It is time to challenge and to question how structures shape our attitudes, beliefs, assumptions and bias. We must understand and confront white privilege, institutional and systemic racism that so many of us have been blind to for too long. And we must not be afraid to become agents of transformation. To dismantle racism in all of its forms takes commitment, community and faith in order to realize progress and change. It means becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. It means taking a very long look in the mirror and understanding the part that we each play. Jesus reminds us, whether half-full or half-empty, we are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. Change.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop 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 ... Psalm 85: 1-7; Matt 12: 46-50
  • Wednesday ...  St. Mary Magdalene ... Psalm 42: 1-7;              John 20: 1-3, 11-18
  • Thursday ... Psalm 36: 5-10; Matt 13: 10-17
  • Friday ... Psalm 121; John 20: 24-29
  • Saturday ... St. James the Apostle ... Psalm 7: 1-10;                Matt 20: 20-28
  • Sunday .. .Psalm 105: 1-11, 45c; Matt 13: 31-33, 44-52
  • Monday ... Psalm 95: 1-9; Matt 13: 31-35
This week in our parish cycle of prayer
we remember and pray for ...

Edna Donovan
Leo & Joan Doodchenko
Jim Doxie
Norma Durnford
Sandra Evans
Pat Farr
Lori Feddema and family
Babs and Jan Fitzgerald

Throughout July and August

Zoom Coffee & Conversation
will be July 22, August 5 & 26
I will be taking some vacation time in July.

Here is what to expect ... 
  • Wed July 22 ... Midweek Musings & Zoom Coffee and Conversation
  • Thurs July 23 ... Thursday Connections & Online Hymn Sing
  • Sun July 26 ... Online worship from St. Paul's
  • Tues July 28 ... Tuesday Connections & Zoom Compline
  • Wed July 29 ... Musings ... NO ZOOM COFFEE & CONVERSATION
  • Thurs July 30 ... Thursday Connections & Online Hymn Sing
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

Thank you to the wardens
and especially to Dorothy
for working on this.
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!!
"Heigh ho, heigh ho ... it's off to work I go!"

The song from Snow White rings true for me as I write my musings today. Having had a bit of time off, it's off to work I go. And even though things are much the same as when I left a couple of weeks ago, there are changes too in what needs attention.

As you will have read in the connections sent out just before I went on vacation, we now have a date when we can expect to gather together for corporate worship ... September 13. This is good news and yet there are many provisions that need to be put into place in order for it to be safe and healthy. I am grateful to the pandemic response team that has been set up at St. Paul's to assist in attending to the various details requiring our attention ... Art and Biz Matthews, Gail Browne, Gail Verwoerd, Jenny boin Cheong, Robin Dhillon, Dave Rehill and Jayson Schultz.  Together we are examining the physical requirements as well as the spiritual components of the worship experience we can offer during these times.

Here are some of the things to be considered ...

1. update the parish list to ease the keeping track of attendance at worship services
2. determine how many people our space can accommodate given the current restrictions and map out where in the church people can sit appropriately distanced
3. set out the path people will take to enter and exit the church
4. ensure there are hand sanitizer stations set up
5. training of sides people about the flow of those attending worship
6. discern how many and the times of worship services on Sunday and throughout the week
7. ensure that appropriate cleaning of the church is done after every gathering
8. design a liturugy of what will be included in worship services so they are meaningful and engaging
9. what part will music play in worship given that we are not permitted to have congregational singing
10. how will we facilitate communion
11. directives for the altar guild about how to set up for and clean up from communion
12. remove all books from the pews
13. prepare powerpoint slides for the worship services

And ... there may be some I haven't listed. Everyone will be required to wear masks. Some are being made to be provided at the church. Thank you Dorothy and Marilyn.

What all this says is that it's not as simple as setting a date and opening our front doors and welcoming everyone back together. I am grateful that I haven't heard from anyone pressuring to return to corporate worship quickly here at St. Paul's. Thank you for your patience and support as we work through the protocols of what needs to be done so that we can ensure safety when we do come back together.

There is a spiritual discipline that comes into play in these days to come. One of the gifts of the Spirit is patience. Let's continue to be patient! As well, is the baptismal calling to care for each other. Let's continue to care about the health and well being of each person who might come through our doors! And finally there is faith, hope and trust. Let's continue to trust that God is very much at work in this moment and have the faith that we will return to our shared worship when the time is right ... when it is safe and healthy to do so.

These coming days present increased anxiety and even fear. Things are opening up and to various degrees people are returning to activities they have missed and longed for. But at the same time, we hear reports of the number of diagnosed cases increasing to levels we haven't seen for some time. These are complex times and Covid 19 is a complex virus. Scientific research hasn't even come closer to speculating on long term affects; and a cure or vaccine in a long way off yet. 

This may all seem overwhelming and daunting, from the local context of St. Paul's to the bigger context of the longevity of Covid 19 and ramifications for quite a while yet to come. But in the midst of that we remain a people of faith. And we live out that faith faithfully in our relationships with each other, the wider community that is around us and with all of creation. 

As we think of what the fall will bring in terms of our parish life at St. Paul's, let's exercise the caution that is prudent. But equally, let's live in the faithfulness of God who is with us and whose hand is upon us. May we know always, even in these days of Covid 19, that we are blessed.
A prayer for God's blessing ...

Dear Lord, as we meet each new day, 
please help us be filled with Your Holy Spirit.
Wherever we go, let us spread love,
joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness.
Help us desire to become more like you
and to worship you in all we do.
Thank you for always going before us.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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