I hope you are all having a good July! These last few days it’s finally felt like it’s summer. Thanks to Gail for preaching and celebrating on July 5 while I was away on Study Leave. I understand that there was a problem with the sound, and you weren’t able to hear part of the service, including her sermon. I sent the text to those of you are on my list to recieve the texts of my own weekly sermons. There is also now a ‘page’ on our website (under the Services & Worship tab) where the sermon is posted. I think now that we have this place on the website to post sermons we will probably post my own there.
During my time off on Study Leave I was taking a course called “Practicing Communal Discernment”. It was about helping parishes to discern God’s will in their own identity, purpose and gifts. It was an interesting course! If you are interested in hearing more about discernment and how parishes like St. Anne’s can learn to do discernment as a community of faith more deeply, I’d be happy to share some of what I read and learned!
We got approval for our Application for Re-Opening for In-Person Worship from the diocese this past week. It's a very extensive document (8 pages long) and it will soon be posted on our website. However, there are still some things that need to be organized before we are ready to have people coming to worship in person. Please do NOT come in person to worship until our official opening date has been announced! (unless you are coming to help with the service and I know you will be here)
One of the things that needs to be done to support our re-opening is to revise/upgrade/integrate the sound & cameras so that we can continue to run Zoom for everyone who is still worshipping at home (which for the next while will still be most of the congregation) and also allow the people sitting in the church worship space to be able to hear and see. Right now we can’t run the sound system in the worship space while we are running Zoom (it creates echoes and feedback). We are getting quotes for adding some cameras and screens as well as a mixer that will allow us to be able to hear everyone whether they are at home on Zoom or in the building. This will allow us to have lots of flexibility going forward! But until that work is done, anyone in the worship space would hear my voice presiding and preaching as well as any readers etc who are ‘in-person’ in the building without any amplification (in other words the mike will send our voices through Zoom but they won’t be amplified in the building). This means we can only have a very few people in the worship space and still have you close enough to hear. So, if you are able to stay worshipping on Zoom for the time being I encourage you to do so. Once we have the sound/camera system upgrades in place we will be ready to have more people worship in person (up to our maximum of 50 total). My hope is that this initial and limited re-opening will be a help to those of you who have been unable to join in our Zoom worship.
However, in order to follow the Safety Plan approved by the diocese we also need at least 2 Greeters (who have been specially trained in the safety plan) for each service. The Greeters job is significantly different that what it was ‘pre-Covid’. The general role of the Greeters in this Covid-19 era is (of course!) still to welcome people to the building and to our worship service, but also (and primarily) to help us to maintain the safety measures to reduce/prevent the spread of Covid-19 while people are in the building. So, the job description for the role of Greeter now includes things like recording the names of everyone who attends and trying to ensure people follow the required safety measures like physical distancing, sanitation, traffic flow etc. I have a written job description available and training will be provided before you start in this new role. If you are planning on coming in person in the next while and would be willing to help with this important ministry please do contact me! If enough people volunteer to be Greeters we could start to open for limited in-person worship right away. But we will NOT be allowing anyone (other than those involved in leading worship) to attend in person until we do have trained Greeters. So, stay tuned for more info on our opening date!
As mentioned above we must have Greeters who have been trained in the required safety measures before we can re-open to ‘in-person’ worship. If you are planning on coming to in-person worship once it's available and might be willing to take on this ministry please contract me (you can just reply to this email and it will come to me). I will send you the detailed job description and chat with you about what is needed.
Don’t forget that we have a virtual ‘coffee hour’ after worship. Everyone is encouraged to stay and join in a small group to chat! And if you have family that are joining us from afar encourage them to stay and get to know a few of us! It would be wonderful if everyone was willing to participate. In groups of 3 to 5 it’s very easy to hold a conversation and get to know some of your fellow worshippers a bit more! Being members of a church involves fellowship and connection between members as well as between us and God!
The process to find a new Rector got stalled by the Covid-19 shut-down over the spring but the Search Committee (the new name for what used to be called the “Canonical Committee”) is hard at work preparing the first draft of the Parish Profile. You will get a chance to see the draft profile and comment on it - probably sometime later this summer. It then goes to the Bishop for final revisions and approval before being posted by the Diocese for applications by interested priests.
The members of your Search Committee are: Jim Greatbanks (chair), Roger Farrier, Ivy Choung, Noel Eaton, Bob McGall, Caroline Burgess, Brigitte Stavrou and Barbara Herbert. Please keep the Search Team in your prayers as they do this important and very difficult work!
As you may (or may not) have heard our diocesan bishop (Archbishop Melissa) is approaching mandatory retirement age (which is 70). So the diocese has started the process to elect a new bishop and nominations are now open. You will find more details in a News item on our website. If you know of an Anglican Priest in good standing (under the age of 70 of course!) who you think would make a good bishop for this diocese you are encouraged to think about nominating them. Nominations close July 31st.
On July 12 we invited Will Postma, the Executive Director of the Primates World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), to join us for worship and talk about some of the ministry of PWRDF. I hope those of you at worship on the 12th enjoyed hearing a few stories of the ministry that PWRDF does in partnership with groups around the world! Below is another short highlight of the important ministry done through PWRDF:
For the past four years, PWRDF’s All Mothers and Children Count (AMCC) program has supported partners in Rwanda, Mozambique, Tanzania and Burundi. The Government of Canada has matched PWRDF donations 6:1 for this program. When the coronavirus was declared a pandemic, Global Affairs Canada invited several NGOs who had been supporting maternal, newborn and child health programs to submit proposals for a COVID-19 response. PWRDF’s proposal was among ten that were accepted. The funds will support dissemination of reliable health information, access to clean water, soap and disinfectant, and acquisition of PPE. This extension of funding will allow PWRDF partners to maintain the important gains in food security and maternal, newborn and child health that have already been made, thanks to AMCC.
For more information about current PWRDF programs and ways you can help, please visit their website at https://pwrdf.org/.