This will be the eighth Sunday that we have not been able to gather together in the church building, but the Parish of St. James’ is very much alive and active in the midst of these testing times. This will be the seventh Sunday on which 45+ have met via Zoom to worship together; each Sunday and usually at least one day each week Mass is celebrated in the (locked) church on behalf of the community; various people are praying the Daily Office in union with the world-wide church, mainly at home, occasionally in church. Regina Caeli is rung from the tower when prayer is being said, and each evening the bell is tolled at 7 pm in solidarity with and thankfulness for our front-line workers in the City and Province. The lamps continue to burn before the High Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, St. James’, and the Fentanyl shrine, which has been amended to read “Fentanyl & Covid-19: Lord, save thy world in bitter need.”
Clergy, Wardens and Trustees manage their work via Zoom; Linda and Deanna are maintaining communications and administration, working mainly from home; Art is taking advantage of the empty building to undertake in-depth cleaning and maintenance jobs; we are glad to let you know too that Darren is returning to work this month after his convalescence; Gerald is providing links to and reflection on music for us each week; the Mothers’ Union will meet via Zoom; by the same means Fr. Matthew and Deacon Joyce will lead a Formation Session for us on Thursday 14 May.
Watari, a group with which St. James’ has a long association, is preparing meals in the crypt kitchen one day a week for distribution in the wider community. The Saint James Music Academy is working mainly online, with one-to-one tutorials. Again, taking advantage of the empty building, contractors are undertaking necessary wiring and electrical work.
There is much ongoing work in the diocese too, supporting and advising clergy and parishes. Diocesan Council approved a $ 2 million dollar assistance package by suspending the allocation parishes pay to the diocese for five months. (Click here for more details.) Training is being offered on best use and practice of virtual communications and teaching/worship materials. The Archbishop has convened a working group to provide detailed guidelines for our future return to church buildings, which is still hoped to be on 14 June. When these are available, Clergy, Wardens, Trustees and Staff will tailor these to St James’, to ensure a safe return. Details and confirmation of the date will be published in due course.
I am writing these Notes on 8 May, when the Church remembers the mystic, Mother Julian of Norwich, England. Let us take encouragement from one of the Divine Revelations she received: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”