As we arrive at the cusp of Holy Week you might want to give this short YouTube video a look; it's a snippet from an interview with the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams in which he is asked "Who is Jesus to you personally?" Many, Christian and non-Christian thinkers in the humanities consider Williams perhaps the most consequential Christian thinker and leader in the past 50 years, some say much longer than that. I find myself leaning into what Williams says here at this time of world conflict, challenge, and uncertainty. I thank my son Patrick for sending me the clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjabiwmLnbw
The provincial health officer has offered her opinion that 10% of a church's capacity or 50 people (whichever is least) can gather for in-person worship for certain select times over the next month or so. She has also offered her opinion that outdoor services of 50 people are okay as long as no visiting takes place afterward. This would mean that approximately 25-30 people would be allowed into our facility for worship. This is an unhelpful directive when it comes to our situation since if we offer in-person worship we do not want to have a "pre-registration" nor turn people away if there are more than 30 people in the building. As it turns out our new Bishop has not given permission for churches in the diocese to have any in-person worship until after April 11th. I think he gave this directive to stop last-minute confusion on whether in-person worship was possible for Easter: it is not.
This can be discouraging when we see pubs and gyms and retail outlets operating with sometimes less strict protocols than what we offer for public worship. I for one will continue to offer my support for the work of our public health officials and government but with the continued insistence that we be told the unvarnished truth about why places of worship are being singled out the way they are. Perhaps one of you might be able to enlighten me; I'm always open to that "change of mind" that constitutes our way of being in the world.
In the face of this ongoing challenge to our community here is the schedule for Holy Week, please read carefully. I find participation in Holy Week services and activities sets the tone for the year. At this time of isolation let us join in the central mystery, hope, and joy of our faith:
11:00 a.m. -- Holy Eucharist Live Stream
5:00 p.m. -- Join us on Sunday evening for a virtual Palm Sunday Evensong service, in which the ‘song’ of voices is heard at the ‘even’ point between the active day and the restful night, allowing listeners time for restful contemplation of Christ's love for us. *Note: The service will be repeated on Tuesday evening, March 30, at 7:35 p.m. We are excited to be working together with St. Thomas, Chilliwack to host this service!
Maundy Thursday, April 1st, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. -- Normally we'd gather for some sort of service (in the years immediately prior to the pandemic we gathered for "The Agape Meal"). This year our plan is to "take the Agape to the Community." We will have a drop-off of non-perishable food items in the parking lot (to be given to the Food Bank) and then each car will be given "a symbol or two of Easter." We will store the food in the Church entrance and it will be taken to the Food Bank the following week.
Good Friday, April 2nd - We will post a "Stations of the Cross" service online, accessible through our website. This service will feature meditations from "Forward Movement" read by Fr. Allen and Rev. Jennifer and woodcut stations taken from an old set recovered at St. Matthew. Thanks to Steven Burgoyne for helping stitch this together.
Easter Sunday, April 4th - Holy Eucharist at 11 a.m. Livestreaming.
In the Ground of All Our Hope,