Our Holy Week schedule is greatly modified this year, but we may also experience its truths more deeply.
Three simple gatherings (English) by remote are planned:
Maundy Thursday - Evening Prayer - 7:00 pm (via Zoom)
Phone: 647-374-4685 or 647-558-0588
Meeting ID: 532 296 628
Good Friday - 10.30 a.m. - Fr. Ajit John (www.stpl.ca/services.html)
Easter Sunday - 10.30 a.m. - Fr. Dean Mercer (www.stpl.ca/services.html)
*Here is the online Tamil schedule for today and the coming week:
Monday - Wednesday at 7.30pm - Holy Week prayer devotion reflections.
April 9th Thursday at 7.30pm - Maundy Thursday Service
April 10th Good Friday service - 10.30 am - 12.30 noon - 7 words devotion
April 12th at 10.30 am - Easter Sunday service
If you'd like to participate, please contact Fr. Milton directly: email@example.com
The Chinese congregation have had a number of studies and prayer meetings by remoted. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Andrew directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
*An Idea for our Sewists
I discovered that one of our members is helping out by sewing masks for the Michael Garron Hospital (formerly Toronto East General). With extra time, what a great way to help. This may be an idea that other hospitals and nursing homes pick up on, but for now we know about the one at Michael Garron. If interested, look here: Sewing for Michael Garron Hospital
Letter to the Parish - Update
At the bottom of today's note is a letter to the congregation from the Wardens, our Financial Coordinator, the Chair of our Stewardship Committee and yours truly, with an update. Kindly take a look. We have a great deal for which to be grateful. We have some challenging days ahead. Remember your parish in this remarkable time.
Coronavirus Updates - The Bishop of Toronto, in consultation with the provincial college of
Bishops, has chosen to suspend all public worship and other gatherings in the Diocese until
further notice - www.toronto.anglican.ca. The Diocesan website provides regular updates.
Diocesan Jubilee - In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, and the large financial strain on the parishes, Bishop Andrew Asbil has announced a Jubilee:
"As a family, and in response to this time of great crisis, I can announce that the Diocese of Toronto is proclaiming a Jubilee – a time of generosity and forgiveness. For the months of April and May 2020, parishes will not be required to pay their allotment to the Diocese or to pay the costs of clergy remuneration (stipend, housing and associated benefits). It is my hope that this measure will alleviate the financial pressure that many of our parishes are under, freeing them up to carry out their ministry and to prepare for the day when their doors will open again."
Evening Prayer via Zoom
Evening Prayer is being said on Sunday evenings, and can be accessed free of charge using a regular phone, a mobile phone, or internet, via Zoom.
Here's the Zoom computer link and the phone numbers and Meeting ID:
*Phone numbers: (647) 374 4685, or (647) 558 0588.
Meeting ID: 729 301 821; Password: 010558
NOTE: Those who join by phone must now enter both the Meeting ID and Password.
The regular schedule of Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer has resumed and a lovely group are showing up. We meet Monday to Friday at 7.30 a.m.. All are welcome and may participate by phone, mobile or internet. It's short and simple, but a proven path and one of the gems in the Anglican tradition. We follow the Book of Common Prayer, beginning on page 6. If you want to look ahead, the lessons from the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Psalm, are taken from The Daily Office Lectionary and can be found here: https://lectionary.anglican.ca/.
NOTE: The link and the meeting ID for Morning Prayer listed below are now always the same every day.
Here's the Zoom 1) computer link and the 2) phone numbers and Meeting ID:
2) Phone numbers: (647) 374 4685, or (647) 558 0588. Meeting ID: 397 231 088
Friday Night Bible Study - on Zoom
The Friday night Bible studies on Matthew carries on - including Good Friday. If you'd like to join online or by regular phone or mobile, even if you haven't done so previously, you are most welcome. This week's lesson is taken from Matthew 23:1-39. It is Lesson 20 in the study guide, "Matthew for Everyone" by Tom Wright.
Here's the Zoom computer link and the phone numbers and Meeting ID:
2) Phone numbers: (647) 374 4685, or (647) 558 0588. Meeting ID: 830 877 703
NOTE: The computer link, the phone numbers, and the Meeting ID are the same every week.
Tax Receipts - have now been mailed.
Alpha Online will be offered by St. Paul's. Watch for details.
Brother's and Sister's Keepers – If you are willing to be your brother's or sister's keeper by
being in regular contact with one or two other persons from the parish, please contact the office
or any of the clergy for more information.
Have you moved? If you have moved recently, kindly notify the office of your new address,
phone number and e-mail address. We appreciate your help.
Gifts and Offerings
The emergency measures and suspension of all church services and programs presents a large
challenge to churches and charities dependent on regular gatherings and fundraising events.
Your faithful support is as important now as it has ever been. Church Envelopes can be sent through the mail. Members may wish to sign up for the Pre-Authorized Giving Program (contact the office). Or, gifts can be made online at our website through CanadaHelps, here: https://stpl.ca/give.html
One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
Staying in Touch
*The clergy of St. Paul's are all in the vicinity. If any one of us can be of service, don't hesitate to call or write.
Church website: www.stpl.ca
Church phone: 416-499-1545
Church email: email@example.com
Fr. Dean Mercer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352
God bless you.
Fr. Dean Mercer+
*These occasional notes have all been posted on our website blog: https://stpl.ca/blog.html
PARISH UPDATE: April 8, 2020
We write to provide a brief update regarding the parish finances as we seek to navigate a challenging and unprecedented time. While we hope and pray that this is a temporary suspension of ordinary activity and support, we must prepare for an extended period of uncertainty and financial decline:
*a significant loss of income during the emergency measures themselves;
*a significant loss after the emergency measures due to a likely financial downturn.
This challenge is distinctly personal at St. Paul's as the support of clergy and staff is the single largest part of our annual budget. This is important to us – it is what we are here for. Most of the other costs are somewhat fixed, but we have taken all measures possible to minimise them.
That said, there have been two offers of support - one in effect, the other promised.
Last Friday, Andrew Asbil, Bishop of the Diocese of Toronto, announced a "Jubilee" for all parishes in the diocese. We know for certain that the diocesan assessment and the clergy stipends and costs paid through the diocese will be covered by the diocese for the next two months of April and May. Most of our personnel costs are paid directly by the parish, not the diocese, but it is still significant relief. It has taken immediate effect.
Secondly, the federal government has extended to charities its offer of wage subsidies. From what we can tell, we are likely eligible, but we do not know when this would take effect, under what conditions, or for how long. We expect that the diocese will guide us on this matter, and that we can follow their lead.
Given the scale of both of these support programs, and given how rapidly circumstances have been changing, not all the conditions for support are clear. Regardless, we are grateful for the support that has been expressed, we will investigate all known avenues, and will do our best to keep the congregation updated.
In the meantime, three preliminary actions have been taken, all done in the hope that as much of the parish program as possible, and as many of the people as possible, can be kept in place and restored once the Emergency Measures are lifted and once Sunday services and programs resume. But it also recognizes the seriousness of the present time and that the plans with which we began the year no longer apply.
First, in this time when both services and activities have been cancelled, all of the clergy and staff have agreed to a voluntary cut of 25%. This means a 25% cut in my own take-home pay (though I will carry on full-time as usual) and a voluntary 25% cut in both stipend and hours by all other clergy and staff. In some cases, clergy and staff offered an even larger cut which, due to the circumstances, we have accepted. With the resumption of services, we hope to restore the original aims of the budget approved at Vestry. For the moment, however, with the suspension of all services and programs, the plans of this year's vestry no longer apply.
Secondly, wherever we can scrimp and save, that is exactly what we are doing.
Thirdly, we are now planning with a realistic expectation regarding our weekly and monthly giving targets out of respect for the effect of the pandemic on the congregation. St. Paul's is a strong parish, the people support it, and the support shown over the past few weeks has been very encouraging. Members are welcome to mail in their envelopes and we have provided automated and online means for giving. However, it would be both naive and unfair to think that what's happened will have no negative effect.
Altogether, the Wardens, our Financial Coordinator, and our Stewardship Committee are monitoring the situation carefully. We will do our best to keep everyone up to date.
This is not how we hoped to be spending Holy Week, Easter and the spring, but we say our prayers and do our best, trusting the Lord for each day, and learning the lessons He teaches in this remarkable time.
From last Monday's appointed psalm: But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand.
God bless you.
Fr. Dean Mercer, Incumbent
Lucy Fung, People's Warden
Peter Conliffe-Layne, Incumbent's Warden
Bernie Bellis, Financial Coordinator
Michael Gregory, Chair, Stewardship Committee