Ready to Go - by Fr. Dean+
It’s nice to be back, particularly with a week like the last one.
Two days before I returned from vacation, I received a note from the sister of the refugee couple we are co-sponsoring to report that the couple have been issued their VISAs and they are expected to fly here in September. Thank God! She had a few extra items to request, and as always, the parish has been answering quickly and generously.
Since late last year on an experimental basis, Fr. Milton Solomon has been serving the Tamil Congregations at St. Margaret’s . This past Tuesday, Bishop Robertson phoned to say how well the experiment has gone and how pleased he is with the support of St. Paul’s and the pastoral leadership of Fr. Milton. We are pleased, too. The part-time support of both congregations is quickly approaching full-time support, which strengthens the future for the Tamil congregation and continues to provide St. Paul’s with a wonderful priest and his family.
On Wednesday morning as is customary, I met with Fr. Milton, and with Pastor Andrew Shen and Kevin Zhang of the Chinese congregation. In our formal preparation for Christian ministry, none of us were taught how to shut down a church. As we discovered, it’s pretty simple. You lock the doors!
What’s before us now is to reopen and rebuild. With God as our helper, this is what we see.
First, we look across a parish for which we are very grateful:
*181 years old, with a large congregation and a large community outreach through the seniors’ residence and programs;
*an unselfish parish with generous support to those in need across the city and around the world;
*a large parish program, rising from prayer and the sacraments, that seeks to serve all our members, from infant to senior;
*a diverse parish eager to welcome and serve the ever-changing community, with special efforts for the Tamil and Chinese communities;
*a young parish with over 100 youth and children served each week - during Covid!;
*a musical parish, notably of voices, strings and steel pans;
*an inquiring and reflective parish with opportunities for study and prayer across the congregations.
In other words, we still like what we see and our first effort is to rebuild! We already have the plans in front of us. And so all of us are examining the whole picture, restarting what’s ready to go, rebuilding and recruiting where adjustments are needed.
The first evidence of this that you'll see are signup sheets in the church entrance to replenish all the groups and programs who support the foundation of our parish. During Covid, some members moved away. During Covid, new friends arrived. We are now recruiting: servers, readers, intercessors, after-service receptions, etc..
And to enliven this time, before Anniversary Sunday we hope to be in touch with every member of the parish, already with a committee in place to do so, letting everyone know, who calls St. Paul’s their home, that the doors are open and we encourage everyone to return. And as our Lord would have it, we will not stop lifting our eyes to "fields white for harvest." All the congregations are at work planning parish evangelistic missions and restablishing this practice as part of our annual routine, as well as anything else we can do to invite and welcome new friends.
But secondly, in a parish quick to respond to change, through this time of review, if programs have reached their limit, with gratitude we will let them end. And if new opportunities present themselves, we will act if we can.
Which brings me to the second meeting on Wednesday morning with our youth director, Sarah Mair. I was warned ahead of time, she had major developments to report. What she reported is that everything we had hoped for over the winter and spring is now in place for the fall:
*the resumption of our teen community basketball program at L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute;
*the addition of a children’s community basketball program, all but confirmed at Brookmill Boulevard Junior Public School, just steps away;
*the resumption of our Friday night teen fellowship at the church;
*the beginning of our new youth dance program, Saturday mornings;
*the offering of mental health seminars and resources for youth and parents;
*the resumption of our server’s guild for both teens and adults.
*a weekend retreat for the teens falling under Sarah’s other responsibilities as Area Youth Coordinator.
All of which is on top of the whole-hearted continuation of our parish and community music program featuring steel pans, strings, and voice (the last of which is a work in progress as Covid abates).
Finally, on Wednesday, I received a very special note. One of the hardest experiences during Covid were the wedding and funerals with attendance of only a handful of people. At one of the weddings, the photographers played tag with each other to keep the 10-person limit.
Over the last year and a half and separated by one year between them, Timothy and Tervor Adzua died, the husband and son of Terngu. The funerals were conducted under strict Covid regulations. But at the end of September, fifteen women who live in the United States and who are all members of Terngu’s tribe in Nigeria will be coming to Toronto for a condolence visit. In September we had already planned the launch of the revamped immigrant support program. And so, all things being equal, the visit and the launch will occur together as we honor the African presence at St. Paul’s and, true to Timothy and Tervor, continue to do our best to support new immigrants in our parish.
Very simply, we are ready to go. Our hearts and our hands are full. We’ll leave others to be discouraged. The Lord has given us too much to do.
*Summer Sunday Hours for Church Services -June 26 through September 4:
8.00 a.m. - Holy Eucharist
10.00 a.m. - Holy Eucharist
1.00 p.m. - Chinese service
3.00 p.m. - Tamil service
6.00 p.m. - Evening Prayer (in person and online)
*Summer Office Hours - as of the week of July 3 - Wednesday to Friday, 8.30 am - 12.30 noon.
*The Zoom replay of the recording of the 8.00 a.m. Sunday service has restarted. The replay is at the usual time of 11.00 a.m., Sundays, using the "Church Service" Zoom link.
*A Single "Church Service" Zoom link for all church services
This new link applies to all English church services which are streamed on Zoom, for the replay of the Sunday recording, and including Evening Prayer on Sundays at 6.00 p.m. and Morning Prayer, Monday through Saturday:
Meeting ID: 865 6634 7435
As all three services have resumed, the Sunday recording has been scaled back as the time devoted to it has now been shifted back to the three services. (The recordings with music could take 8-12 hours of preparation and involved a team of over 35 people.) That said, after experimentation, we can provide a simple but high-quality Youtube recording of the 8 a.m. service and, in most cases, have it ready for viewing and playback on Zoom by 11.00 a.m.. The playback on Zoom is offered especially for those whose contact is by telephone. Kindly note the new time for the replay. Each Youtube recording will be available on the website for several weeks.
A word - at St. Paul’s we continue to uphold and support the Christian standard of gathering together on the Lord’s Day. The Youtube recordings are not an attempt to provide an electronic alternative but rather a meaningful representation of the Sunday lessons, prayers and sermon for those unable to attend. Since the invention of television, the electronic church has been with us, but it involves a significant investment of money and people and it cannot answer the duty or replace the joy of gathering and praying together.
*Grad Sunday. A special Sunday on June 26 at St. Paul’s - and quick look here:
*NOTE - Bursaries: The Berthebell Moo & St. Paul’s Academic Bursaries and the St. Paul’s Music Bursary
Each year bursaries of $600.00 each are awarded to St.Paul’s youths who are High School graduates who are beginning or continuing post-secondary education at a university , a community college or in an apprenticeship program. Also, bursaries of $600.00 each are awarded to youths who are members of St.Paul’s and/or involved in the St. Paul’s youth music program, who show promise in music and are pursuing musical studies. August 31, 2022 is the deadline for all bursaries which will be awarded on Thanksgiving Sunday, October 9, 2022. Forms are available at:
https://stpl.ca/applications-forms--reports.html (under the "About" menu on the church website).
*Assistance for Refugee Couple - Sanaz and Alireza
More good news. This past we learned that the refugee couple St. Paul’s is co-sponsoring have received their VISA and will be free to leave Turkey for Canada in September. We thank God for this wonderful development. We also extend sincere thanks to generous members who have stepped forward and provided a new bed, bedroom furniture and household supplies. While most of the major items needed have been provided, there is still the need for the following:
Electric Kettle (for making tea or coffee)
Pots and pans
Floor lamp (2 if possible)
*War in Ukraine
For those wishing to contribute to refugee relief, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is now accepting donations to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine, here:
www.toronto.anglican.ca/news/pwrdf-accepts-donations-for-ukrainian-refugees/. Our Outreach Committee donated $2000 to refugee relief program.
*Indigenous Spiritual Centre at St. Paul’s
On Saturday, March 12, a public meeting was held to consider the development of a spiritual centre at St. Paul’s for the indigenous community in Scarborough, serving as a bridge to youth and senior programs. The original impetus was a report to the SPLC Board (Senior Persons Living Connected) identifying a significant community of indigenous seniors in Scarborough.
This possibility remains an active pursuit. A planning committee has been formed and begun. If interested, and for more information, contact Fr. Dean.
*Community Youth Basketball Program has finished for the year, to resume in September with the addition of a children’s program. It has been a great and enthusiastic re-opening. For more information, contact Sarah Mair - firstname.lastname@example.org.
*The 2021-2022 St. Paul’s Youth Music Program Season Concluded
Our parish and community youth music program has finished their season. It was our largest string group ever. They will return in September. Watch for details.
*Steel Pans Had another Great Season
Gemini Groove (Tuesday evenings) and The St. Paul’s Steel Pan band (Saturdays, 12.30 noon) have restarted. Hope is in the air. See you in September.
The full schedule of in-person and online services and programs can be found on the online church calendar - www.stpl.ca/calendar.html - or here: www.stpl.ca/services.html.
*UPDATE: Mission Trip & Safari to Tanzania: July 2023 - Fr. Kim Beard, leader.
For anyone interested (including families) in joining a group traveling to Tanzania from July 4-22nd, 2023, please join us for an information meeting where I will present the itinerary, budget and travel information for this trip. The Tanzania experience will include five days visiting and connecting with Anglicans in Tarime and Zanzibar, the chance to see and participate in a variety of development projects, safaris to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro National Park, and a week exploring Zanzibar island. Please join us for this important meeting to sign up to join the team. Spaces are limited on the team. We will be meeting at St. Paul's on Wednesday September 15th from 7:30 -8:30 p.m.. If you would like more information please contact: the Reverend Canon Kim Beard at email@example.com.
*S.P.Y. - St. Paul’s Youth - Friday nights at 7 pm - resuming Friday, September 16.
Contact Sarah for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Friday Night Bible Study - on summer break until September 9
Join us at the church or online for study, following the Bible study guides of Bishop Tom Wright which are available online (www.amazon.ca or www.parasource.com or www.christianbook.com) or may be ordered through Fr. Dean for $13. We are studying the Gospel of Luke.
Next study, Friday, September 9 at 7.00 pm: Luke 8.26-9.17 - Lesson 10.
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/830877703
Telephone: 647-374 4685, or 647-558 0588; Meeting ID: 830 877 703
Annual Walk-a-thon - Saturday, September 24 - forms now available.
Anniversary Sunday - Sunday, November 20, 10.00 a.m. (combined service)
*Thank you for your Faithful Gifts and Offerings - St. Paul’s is a strong parish and remains strong due to everyone’s faithful support at a time when never has it been more important. Gifts can be dropped off at the church or sent by mail. Kindly ensure that your name and envelope number is included. Or, members may wish to sign up for the Pre-Authorized Giving Program (contact the office). Members who use online banking can now make E-transfers (instructions here: www.stpl.ca/give.html). Gifts can also be made at our website through CanadaHelps: www.stpl.ca/give.html. NOTE: Of the various means for online giving, we recommend The Pre-Authorized Giving Program. It is regular, matching the regular responsibilities of the parish, and once initiated all it takes is a phone call or quick e-mail note to increase, decrease, or cancel the donation. The monthly amount is withdrawn on the 20th of each month, and the cost to the church is 50 cents per transaction, irrespective of the amount of the gift. This makes the PAG the most economical of all methods of giving.
Contact - The clergy of St. Paul’s are permitted once again to visit in homes. Don’t hesitate to call or write.
Website: www.stpl.ca; Church phone: 416-499-1545; Email: email@example.com;
Fr. Dean Mercer: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352.
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