The parish of St. Paul's is called to prayer this morning at 10.30 a.m..
A short video and handout are available for those who wish to follow along: www.stpl.ca/services.html
The video can be watched directly from Youtube here: youtu.be/dU501kbYq5k
I read a good article this week by George Sumner, Bishop of Dallas and former Principal of Wycliffe College. Like everyone else, he is trying to get his head around this peculiar state in which we find ourselves.
His topic, in fact, was virtual sacraments: (www.livingchurch.org/covenant/2020/04/14/against-virtual-communion/). Is there some way of administering the sacraments artificially, or online? To which he answered, no. Here is one place among many where the simple physical nature of things cannot be replaced. As our own bishops have said, we must pass through a eucharistic fast ("drought" may be the better word). We don’t honor what’s missing with an artificial substitute. We wait and pray for the day when we can be together again; when person to person the body and blood of Christ is shared and the sacraments duly administered.
The negative influence of artificial reality through modern technology is bad enough already. We are not going to use this disaster to make it worse.
And his main point. Because the situation is unprecedented, leeway is permitted for experiments. Just remember. Exceptions don’t make the rule. They help us navigate the exception. When the measures are lifted, we go back to church. The Cathedral on the Couch closes.
But I liked his chipper ending. Thank God for modern technology for facing this time and what we can do to remain in touch, to pray, and when necessary to assist those we discover to be in need.
And here’s my ending. Thanks to everyone, adapting as quickly as possible, calling around, sending emails - teaching, encouraging, and sharing the comfort of our Lord. My rule of thumb right now - if someone comes to mind, call!
That said, we remain constant in our request of the Lord that the plague might pass, praying for those who are ill, praying for those who are dying, praying for the multitude who must leave the safety of their home for the sake of those at risk, and who leave for the sake of us all in providing essential services through the quarantine.
To that end I appeal to you for your daily prayers for St. Paul’s Centre and Terrace, for the safety of the residents; for the strength of the staff who are stretched to the limit. So far, bug-free. Pray God, it stays that way.
And finally, we pray for ourselves in this quiet season, that we might take the time we’ve been given, listening for the still small voice of the Lord, and then opening our hearts to him, so that he might accomplish his will in our lives.
The parish of St. Paul's is called to prayer Sunday mornings at 10.30 a.m.. A short video and handout are available for those who wish to follow along: www.stpl.ca/services.html
Sunday School every Sunday morning at 10 am
Information about how to connect is available on the Church Calendar: www.stpl.ca/events.html
Evening Prayer on Sundays via Zoom
Evening Prayer is said every Sunday at 6 pm. Information about how to connect is available on the Church Calendar: www.stpl.ca/events.html
Easter Food Drive
Usually this time of the year, St. Paul’s sponsors a three or four week Easter drive in support of the Agincourt Community Services Food Bank (www.agincourtcommunityservices.com/). Thanks to Councillor Jim Karygiannis for highlighting their service and keeping the work of all our community agencies in view, St. Paul’s is eager to support ACSA and the needs of the food bank. As always, a monetary gift is the most practical and serves the exact needs of the food bank. Donations can be given online: www.namf.ca/donate-now.html
S.P.Y. - St. Paul’s Youth - Friday Nights, 7 p.m.
Friday fellowships carry on. Information about how to connect is available on the Church Calendar: www.stpl.ca/events.html
Parenting Worship - last night - Saturday, April 25
As part of our annual Parenting Series, a Zoom Meeting was hosted by our Youth Coordinator Sarah Mair last evening with Racquel Brown from Empower and Equip. Her topic was Five Commitments that will Change the way You Parent. Thank you, Racquel. Thank you, Sarah. Watch for details about the next seminar, coming soon.
The regular schedule of Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer meets Monday to Friday at 7.30 a.m.. All are welcome and may participate by phone or internet. It's short, simple and quiet, 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/.
Here’s the link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/397231088
Here are the phone numbers and ID: 647-374 4685, or 647-558 0588; Meeting ID: 397 231 088
And as a matter of historical record, in my time at St. Paul’s last week registered the largest attendance at a weekday service of Morning Prayer - although I believe, praying by zoom at St. Paul’s is historically unprecedented. (One way or the other, we set a record.) So if you can stand the crowd in the cloud, we invite you to join us for prayer at Morning Prayer.
Friday Night Bible Study - on Zoom
The Friday night Bible studies on Matthew carries on. 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 26:1-56. It is Lesson 23 in the study guide, "Matthew for Everyone" by Tom Wright. Information about how to connect is available on the Church Calendar: www.stpl.ca/events.html
Extension of Emergency Measures
On Tuesday, the Government of Ontario extended the Emergency Measures until May 12:
With the extension, we have updated the online Church Calendar to list all the events that are available online - www.stpl.ca/events.html. It includes:
*Sunday School every Sunday at 10 am, led by Leila and the teachers, with Rob and U3ia.
*Regular Bible studies and prayer meetings in Chinese organized by Pastor Andrew and Kevin Zhang. To participate, contact Pastor Andrew: email@example.com
*The regular Friday Night Small Group and Bible Study.
*Morning Prayer, Monday to Friday.
The regular events are being listed on the online church Calendar, including the information about how to phone in or connect by internet.
FURTHER UPDATE - Letter to the Congregation - April 9, 2020
Last Thursday (April 9), a letter to the parish was sent regarding our financial standing in the midst of the Corvid-19 pandemic. The next day, we received letters from our Member of Parliament, Jean Yip, and from Rob Saffrey, Executive Director of the Diocese of Toronto, indicating that St. Paul’s is probably eligible for the Corvid-19 staff subsidies offered by the Federal Government. And on Tuesday (April 20), the Diocese announced that it will apply on behalf of all its parishes for the government subsidy.
This is generous support from the Diocese and from the Federal Government for charities like St. Paul’s. If successful, it will make it possible for us to pay the staff in full for the time covered.
It is important to note that the situation is in a state of constant flux right now, one of the great unknowns being what we will face when and as the emergency measures are lifted. But these offers of support are a big help, and the support of the parish remains strong.
Coronavirus Updates from the Diocese
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.
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."
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 by 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: www.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Dean Mercer: email@example.com
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352