It has now been 5 weeks since we were able to gather as a community to worship together in person. Although I have to say, some days it feels much longer! I hope you are all well and are managing ok during this trying time. I know a lot of us are feeling more anxious and depressed and stressed than normal. And this is absolutely understandable! Indeed it’s actually pretty ‘normal’ when living through a time like this. If you need someone to talk to, I am available for a chat. Since I’m now working from home some days I have my office phone set up to forward to my cell phone. So, you can reach me by calling the church office at 604-277-9626 whether or not I’m physically in the church building.
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to gather physically for worship for a while longer. Archbishop Melissa sent the following message to all the parishes yesterday (April 20):
Dear People of the Diocese of New Westminster,
“After consulting with many in the Diocese and with the Provincial Health Officer’s updates in mind, I am extending the time for the suspension of in-person worship in our churches into June. For now, I am setting Sunday, June 14 as the date by which we might move back into our church buildings for in-person worship. Keeping this date will, of course, very much depend on what the Provincial Health Officer provides in both the written directives and in the daily updates all of us are watching. This date provides impetus for us to provide more enhanced on-line liturgies as well as a time-frame to consider what next from June 14 onward. Again, if anything changes that might move the date forward or farther out, I will let all of you know with enough notice for you to plan. I know that this time of suspending in-person worship has been difficult for many.”
As Archbishop Melissa says, the date is still not firmly set since it depends on factors outside our control. But what the Archbishop’s message does tell us is that we are not at all likely to be able to gather together for worship until at least some time in June. While we would all like life to return to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later, patience is the virtue that we are being called upon to exercise at this time. I hope most of you are finding the Zoom worship helpful during this time when we are unable to gather in person. If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to log on using a computer, tablet, smart phone or land-line phone.
A reminder that I’ve started sending out my weekly sermons to a list of people who have requested them. If you want to receive a weekly email with the text of my sermon (after I have delivered it on Sunday) then please email me (you can just reply to this newsletter) and I will add you to the list.
An 8-week study group we’ll offer ‘on-line’
Since we are not going to be able to meet together in person for any kind of study group in the near future we will be starting a weekly on-line study group on Zoom exploring the Psalms. I am currently planning on holding this study on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30 pm. It is 8 weeks long and each session takes about an hour. Each week we will watch/listen to a short 10 to 15 minute talk by Denise Dombkowski Hopkins (a professor of biblical studies) followed by an exploration of the theme through an activity, and discussion questions to help us delve deeper.
The 8 weekly themes are:
1. Praying the Psalms, Praying Into Wholeness
2. The Synagogue, the Church, and the Psalms
3. Your Hallelujahs Don't Have to be Hollow Anymore
4. You Get What You Deserve, Don't You?
5. Complaining in Faith to God 6. Life in the Meanwhile
7. The Lord Reigns: Enthronement Psalms
8. I'll Never Be the Same Again
I’m happy to answer any questions you have on the study. If you are interested in joining in the study group please email me as soon as possible. If you are interested but Wednesday evenings don’t work for you please let me know.
Jacob and Leah Eaton visited the church on Easter Sunday morning, April 12, with their dad (Noel Eaton, St. Anne's Warden) to help ring the church bells. The Bishop suggested churches ring their bells on Sunday mornings at 9 am in solidarity during this time and Noel has been doing that for our church for several weeks. On Easter morning Jacob and Leah wanted to join and did a good job making the bells sing. Christ is Risen, Indeed!