First, I wanted you to know that the day went very smoothly, and a happy one for those who could attend, though still bittersweet: no singing, no food, no smiles. There were six distinct services: four in the church, a recorded English service online, the Tamil service was streamed, and Evening Prayer was conducted by Zoom. New friends showed up at 10 am, 1 pm (Chinese) and 3.45 pm (Tamil).
Given that the safety regulations have been around since March and are fast becoming second nature, and because of the reduced number of people, it was not hard at all to find our way through. Seating, distancing and the procession at communion were all without incident. David was there on the organ at 10 am, and the church looked much like it usually does.
The ordinary obligation of a practicing Christian is to attend the weekly eucharist. Due to the virus, however, there is a general dispensation or exemption from that right now. No one is obliged to attend, but it is possible to attend and to receive the sacrament again - without much fuss and in relative safety.
This is no small thing. Yesterday marked the 6 month anniversary of the closure of the churches and our separation from the sacrament and each other.
Secondly, because attendance can be no more than 30% of capacity - which is about 60 on the floor and 20+ in the balcony - you are asked to register for a seat every Sunday. You can register for several Sundays at a time, but please let us know if plans change. Once the maximum is reached, no more will be allowed in. It also speeds up your arrival, because the sign-in information for those registered can be completed beforehand by the office.
You can register:
1) with a quick phone call to the office (416-499-1545), providing your name, the date(s) you wish to attend, and the service hour you will attend. Or,
2) you can do it here online: www.stpl.ca/services.html.
In general, I am hopeful of a gradual return and gradual resumption of programs and services. I am grateful for the hard work of all our clergy, officers and volunteers. In good times and bad, St. Paul's is a great place to be.
We say our prayers and do our best - to the glory of God.