February 10, 2021
COVID CLOSURE NOW, EASTER RE-OPENING
Dear members of St. James Kingston congregation:
We thank God that we have only a few cases of Covid-19 in Kingston this month of February, and the “lockdown” is slowly easing. This is a wonderful demonstration that group cooperation and concern for other’s welfare have strongly positive results.
Your Parish Council, Pastoral Care Committee, Priest, and Wardens have discussed how to safely return to normal gatherings in the church building. While government guidelines may, by the end of February, allow for a return to indoor gatherings of no more than 50 people, we think it is still too soon for St. James to open for Sunday worship in-person.
Our internet channel on YouTube is well-attended. Our children’s hour is very popular. Our youth meet on-line, and the Gathering for university-age adults is doing well. Mid-week prayer meeting and Bible studies are highlights for those who Zoom in. Those who do not have computer access can have a worship DVD delivered to their house. We are going strong, even in face of the challenges.
We are working with
8 other churches to provide an online Lenten Bible Study led by the
Rev. Dr. Bill Morrow. We will also be working with these churches to
provide online services for Ash Wednesday, Holy Week and a special
Easter Lessons and Carols.
There are several factors that make us reluctant to re-open for in-person worship at this time:
(1) vaccines are not yet widely available
(2) there are new, more easily transmitted strains of the virus appearing all over Ontario
(3) air circulation in the church is limited with the doors closed because of the cold weather
(4) it is too cold for people to visit each other outside
(5) we may need to go back into lockdown again and switching back and forth between on-line and in-person worship is challenging.
By Easter, the new, lower rates of infection should be well-established, more of our vulnerable parishioners will have received vaccines, and the weather will be warmer so we will be able to open the doors during worship to allow fresh air to circulate and be able to visit with each other outside.
In summary, we plan to continue with the church building closed, but full internet activities, through Palm Sunday and Holy Week. On Easter Sunday, we will be re-born with an open church, a full 50 people in attendance, and on-going internet access for everyone else. Instead of an Easter bonnet, make a colourful Easter face mask.
We appreciate your encouragement and support as we continue to navigate these difficult times together.
In the service of Christ
Michael Lindsay and Dawn Tate, Wardens
Dr. Rick Rowland, Pandemic Coordinator
The Rev. Canon Andy Chisholm, Rector