Fall 2020 as it unfolds
Revised Worship Plan for St. Philip’s: October – December 2020
St. Philip’s opened for in-person Sunday morning worship on September 27 and October 4. From many perspectives these went well: the rules and procedures we have in place to keep people safe are working well for the most part; it has been a joy to be worshipping in a room with other people once again; and as expected, the Holy Spirit showed up.
However, most people are not feeling comfortable at this time with the idea of gathering in a group. On September 27th, we had 21 people in Church and about 50 people joining from home. Not to say that people didn’t want to be there, but almost half of that 21 were there to perform some kind of duty (sidespeople, COVID cleaning, music etc.). With rapidly rising COVID numbers in this, one of the “hot spots” of the city, the question arose: Should we even be open for worship?
We have made the hard decision to re-close our building for regular Sunday worship. Unless the COVID situation changes dramatically for the better, between now and the end of December all regular Sunday services will be online only. The question of what to do with Christmas is an important one, and a final decision about any Christmas services (in-person or online) will be made closer to the time when we have a better sense of the safety of the wider community in which we live. That doesn’t mean that the parish is shut down. Here’s what’s happening in terms of worship:
10:30 am Sunday mornings – Service of the Word online.
2:00 pm Sunday afternoons a simple half-hour in-person Eucharist held in the Church. We do not imagining a large crowd for this service. At present we are not asking people to register (for now). COVID safety protocols will continue to be in effect for this service. Be sure to bring your mask, and follow all instructions, both verbal and written. If you are immune-compromised for any reason or have any symptoms of COVID (or a cold or the flu), please stay home.
9:00 pm Sunday evenings – Night Prayer (Compline) online.
9:30 am Friday mornings online – Centering Prayer This group meets for silent prayer followed by discussion. The whole program lasts an hour. This is a growing group with members from around the country. If you would like to know more, call Tracy Stuchbery at 647-270-7257.
Aside from Worship
Beginning on Tuesday, October 13th at 7:30pm, our Healing Circle on Racism returns. This is a monthly check-in and discussion for anyone interested in exploring the impact of systemic racism on our communities and within ourselves – for people of all skin colours and cultural backgrounds.
Youth Group meets every Thursday evening at 8:00pm on Zoom for conversation, Bible study, fun and games and friendship in these challenging times.
Advent Quiet Time with Ralph Peter goes online this year. It will take place on Zoom at 7:00pm on December 1st, 8th, and 15th. Always a great way to prepare your heart to welcome the newborn Christ at Christmas!
Also Happening in the Parish
New doors in the hall, Church basement window repairs and inserts, repairs to the sewer pipe exiting the Church building, lighting and fencing work in the rectory, asbestos removal around heat vents, dealing with drainage issues around our various buildings, getting quotes for painting on the exterior of the Church (for next Spring) … and the list goes on. This has been a busy summer and Fall.
We received a $5000 REACH grant from the Diocese to offset the costs associated with purchasing and installing a professional grade audio/visual system. It will integrate our current audio system and a new 2 -camera video system into one feed to enable us to continue livestreaming services onto platforms like Facebook and YouTube. In addition, the package will include LCD screens for use in worship for projecting Powerpoint bulletins or including people from other locations into our services.
A Community Garden Box project has begun, led by Peter Lee. We received a $500 grant from the Area (York-Credit Valley) and have built the first boxes on the front lawn of the rectory. Next Spring, the youth group will get involved in planting, weeding and harvesting the crop, which is mainly intended to go to the Weston Food Bank.
Of course, pastoral care continues to happen by phone, Zoom, email, mail and Fr. Mike has begun doing a limited number of pastoral visits in-person using the guidelines for doing so with COVID remaining in the community.