Midweek Musings ...
June 17 2020
How are we doing?

It's funny how things become the new "norm" as Covid 19 continues. Day to day life goes in what has become new ways. We've become used to new ways of doing things. Even as I write this week's musings I'm preparing fora zoom meeting where we might have at one time met in person. That means I can be on my back deck and enjoy the beautiful weather at the same time. One of the silver lining moments I can appreciate and give thanks for even as there are still restrictions to adhere to.

The provincial government is loosening up on some of the parameters around gathering together. I know this is important for those who are struggling with the continued isolation and physical distancing. We miss our families and friends and other things that were once just normal practice without thinking twice. I encourage us to continue to be mindful and careful as the size of our bubble increases. This virus is still here and we need to be attentive to keeping it at bay as best we can. It's good to remember that patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I pray for patience for myself, and for each of us and for our community so that the number of our cases doesn't spike in the near future with a new wave of diagnosed cases.

And I pray too for those working on a vaccine. Again, though, I pray for patience as we ultimately want and need something that works and has been appropriately tested. I give thanks to God for those who have the scientific background and training to do this work. May they work with each other from all around the world, pooling what they have learned and cooperating in what they develop.
This week the work began on our capital project
of painting the frames of the windows that are higher up.
June 12, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

At the beginning of each summer, millions of people gather on the streets of Toronto and other cities and towns across our great Diocese to celebrate Pride. With bright costumes, joyful music and lots of glitter, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and their allies celebrate the beautiful diversity of God’s creation. For many years, Proud Anglicans have been an important part of this celebration.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the public Pride celebrations have been cancelled or moved online this year. This is a tremendous source of grief for members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, who look forward to being together for mutual support and solidarity. This year is particularly difficult for young people who are isolated at home and also in the closet. We must be vigilant in creating safe spaces for them wherever possible.

With the support of the College of Bishops, I have recently issued a new Marriage Policy for the Diocese of Toronto. In the life of our Church, we are now celebrating the marriage of two people, regardless of gender. In the same spirit of diversity, the College of Bishops wishes a very Happy Pride to all Anglicans across our Diocese who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, two-spirited, queer and questioning, and also to their families and allies. We stand with you.

As we join in the celebration of Pride once again this year, may we continue to live into our baptismal covenant, striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being.

Happy Pride!

Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto
Each week ...
  • Keeping Connected email ... Tues & Thurs
  • Online Zoom Compline Tues at 7:30 pm
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Wed
  • "Zoom" Coffee & Conversation ... Wed
  • On line Hymn Sing ... Thurs
  • Conference Call Bible Study ... Thurs
  • Zoom "Be Anxious for Nothing" series
  • On line worship for Sunday ... including prayers to acknowledge National Indigenous Day of Prayer ... we will welcome our Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls as guest preacher
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 51: 1-11; Matt 5:43-48
  • Wednesday ...Psalm 31: 19-24; Matt 6: 1-6
  • Thursday ... Psalm 97; Matt 6: 7-15
  • Friday ... Psalm 132: 11-19; Matt 6: 19-23
  • Saturday ... Psalm 89: 19-33; Matt 6: 24-34
  • Sunday .. .National Indigenous Day of Prayer ... Psalm 19; John 1: 1-18
  • Monday ... Psalm 60; Matt 7: 1-5
Although we didn't seem to get 
the most recent "Day by Day"
it has arrived for

Please send me an email
and I can either drop one off for you
or we can arrange for you to
somehow pick it up.
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!!
How are we doing?

Thank you to those who responded to the recent survey. It is always helpful to be aware of how helpful what we are doing is for people's faith formation and the spiritual connections we are trying to maintain during these times. Your comments are helpful in assessing how I can best use my time and how you can best continue to support the ministry of St. Paul's. 

As my musings for this week, I'd like to share some of what I heard in your responses and make some comments about going forward.

1. participation in various online opportunities at this time ... 

It is not surprisingly  different people find different parts of the rhytm we have established during this time to be helpful  We all have different needs and different approaches are more appealing than others. That works well when we provide a number of different options for people to engage to maintain and grow their faith especially during such a time as this.

Sunday worship video ... this is our primary means of continuing to worship corporately although separated by physical distancing. Regularly each week we have around 75 views of our videos. We are reaching people in the parish, but also beyond the parish in our community of Uxbridge and further away too. This has proved an excellent opportunity for mission and evangelism in a time when many are looking for a word of hope and encouragement. We have learned that even when we return to worshiping in the church building it will be important to continue some form of online presence using the internet. There are a variety of ways to do that which we will explore. 

Some comments that were shared about our online worship were
... the informal format of the liturgy is creative and engaging. 
... sometimes it is difficult to hear for some people with the technology we are using. I am looking into how we can connect an external mic to the video camera. This may take some time to work through but we will keep trying. Thanks for your patience if this applies to you.
... people are grateful for the amount of work it takes to create, edit and post the videos each week

Tues & Thurs connections ... for the most part these are valued and appreciated as a way of keeping people informed of what's happening as well as a means to provide spiritual resources and prayers. Although some of what is included in each is repetitive, I will continue to offer these each week.

Tues Zoom Compline ... although there are only a few who are participating, it is of value to them. I would encourage others to join in if you have the time. It's only 15 to 20 minutes. Those who have come together for this time of prayer have found it a spiritual way to end the day. I will continue to offer it for those who find it helpful.

Midweek musings ... this predates Covid 19. It is a little more indepth than the connections and offers a faith an spiritually related reflection. I am so pleased when I can see that most weeks the email is opened by at least 50% of those receiving it. The mailing list goes beyond St. Paul's to include almost 120 people.

Wed zoom coffee & conversation ... this has been appealing to some people. Those who join in are consistent from week to week as schedules permit. This will continue throughout the summer.

Midweek online reflection ... very few people indicated that they engage with this which also shows in the number of views these videos get each week. As such, I will be discontinuing them. 

Thurs online hymn sing ... the number of people who engage with this varies from week to week. There remains enough value expressed that Jenny and I will continue to facilitate this into the future. We will revamp it to include 2 songs and a solo with less commentary from me. 

Zoom online faith/spiritual formation opportunities ... there was some interest in continuing this into the future. We have set an engaging rhythm in partnership with St. Andrew's and Trinity. It depends on the topic how interested people are in participating. We'll see what might develop in the fall.

2. Streamlining the worship liturgy ... 

There is much conversation about the appropriate length of a a video worship liturgy. Clearly, it makes sense that it can not hold many people's attention for as long as when we worship in person. That shows in the analytics of our own videos as well as the trends many churches are experiencing. It is important to reflect on what it means to streamline our worship to between 30 and 35 minutes. As many indicated, we don't want to compromise the quality of the worship experience simply to shorten the liturgy. Worship will remain focussed and hopefully engaging.

People comments supported the primary importance of hymns, intercessions offered by parishioners, two scripture readings read by parishioners and a homily or reflection. These parts of the liturgy make people feel that they have had a meaningful and engaging worship experience. 

We will be continuing to partner with Trinity for one Sunday in each of July and August. As such, both Karen and I will take a turn in planning the liturgy and what is included. As well, where possible, I will invite guests to preach to give variety in reflecting. It is of primary importance that we continue to include members of the parish in readings and prayers. I will include special offerings of music from time time time, although not every week.

3. How is it easiest to support St. Paul's through offerings ... 

For most they have developed a way to continue making their offerings. Almost 50% of the parish is using pre-authorized with is very helpful. Others are using Canada Post; and others have used Canada Helps. There is some indication that e transfers would be helpful for some people. We will continue to explore that option with our bank. 

Some have expressed that a drop box or mail box at the church would be helpful. We can look into that.

It was raised a couple of times the time lag for cheques sent to the church to be cased. We apologize for this. We tend to do deposits every two weeks which means sometimes there is some time between receiving a cheque and depositing it. We thank you for your understanding and patience in this.

4. Will you be returning to corporate worship when we are able to reopen and gather together ... 

Most people who responded indicated that they would be returning to our worship services, especially if and when it is deemed safe to do so. 

5. Closing thoughts ...

These are strange and weird times. And yet I feel a sense of bonding that has happened and the building of community in a new way that we can embrace going forward. As we worship, virtually on line or together in person, it is important to evaluate what we do and why we do it and how we might do it better. Given our Anglican ethos, there is much of liturgy that is prescribed and that we wouldn't want to alter. However, there is latitude to be creative. I feel blessed myself in offering each of these opportunities and have valued your affirmation that your spiritual needs are being met in one way or another. 

Thank you for responding to the survey questions. I hope you feel that you have been heard and that we will continue to discern how we can best serve each of you especially during such a time as this.
Covid 19 has led to an increase
in people struggling with depression.
I offer this prayer that I hope is helpful for you
or maybe someone you know
who is dealing with depression during these days ...

Heavenly Father, please strengthen our hearts,
and remind us to encourage one another
when the troubles of life start to overwhelm us.
Please guard our hearts from depression.
Give us the strength up to rise up each day
and fight against the struggles
which seek to weigh us down.
In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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