News from Fr John

Welcome Back! St. James is now open for in-person services every Sunday at 8:00 am (Rite I) and 10:00 am (Rite II). I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

A letter from Fr John, October 9, 2020:
Dear St. James Community,
I hope you have all been able to find some refreshment as the magnificent fall colors begin to shine all around us. I always enjoy driving around our charming little town during this time of year as we are presented with such beautiful landscapes.
I know as autumn begins we are all wondering when we might be able to regather at St. James. I am sure our Church misses us as much as we miss her. I do not have the answer yet to this question, but am writing to let you know where our parish is in the reopening process.
We have formed a Regathering Team which is comprised of Christophe C., Cindy J., Beth M., John V., and Arthur Y. They have begun the work that the Diocese requires of us to be able to reopen.
We feel it is important at this stage to hear from you as to your feelings about worshipping together in person. We are currently looking at several different scenarios for reopening and your input would really help us as we move forward.
Primarily, we would like to know of the views or feelings you may have regarding the reopening of the Church. For instance:
Do you feel strongly about whether we should open now, or wait? 
What parameters would you like to see in place to feel safe regathering?
Will you return at this point in time, or wait until this disease is more contained?
Your feedback is very important to us as we move forward. Please send your thoughts, suggestions, concerns, and questions to us at my email address: stjames.frjohn@verizon.net.
In the unfolding process of regathering, our team is continuing to closely follow both the Amesbury community and our neighboring communities’ pandemic conditions. I am also in regular contact with our sister parishes to see where they are in their reopening plans. We want to stress that as we look at regathering, we will diligently follow and at times exceed both the Diocesan and CDC health and safety guidelines. This is out of an abundance of caution to keep our Church family safe and healthy.
Looking ahead, our services will continue on Zoom, with at least one more opportunity to gather outside at All Saints in West Newbury, weather and temperature permitting. Our October Newsletter offers some different opportunities for coming together virtually through Zoom, as well.
St. James continues to thrive even in this unprecedented time, through your ongoing participation and prayers. Thank you. Please know I as well as the Vestry are always available to speak with you and answer any questions or concerns. Regathering, as our Bishops have said, is a journey by stages, and we are all looking forward to the day that brings us back together in person.
During these unprecedented times, and at all times, you all remain in my heart and prayers.
Yours in Christ,
Fr John+
A letter from Fr John, July 2, 2020:
Dear St. James Community,
I hope everyone is well and healthy and that your summer is off to a good start. I am looking forward to the day when we can once again gather within our beloved St. James building as we come together to worship God.
While Massachusetts is on a very good trajectory right now in containing COVID-19, the Vestry and I feel it is still wise at this time to continue the suspension of all in-person services and activities at the Church throughout the summer months of July and August. We take this action out of a continued abundance of caution and looking to our Bishops and sister parishes for guidance. While the Bishops are allowing us to open our Churches at this point, they have strongly encouraged us to continue on-line worship, and many of our sister parishes are not reopening at this time. I am hoping by mid-September our doors will be opened once again.
In the meantime, both online worship and Coffee Hours will continue. I am hoping for the Sundays between July 12-August 2 to livestream our services at both 8am and 10am, and have our Zoom Coffee Hour at 9am. This will allow us the opportunity to engage in communal worship together. These services will be taped and put online for those who are unable to make these times.
There is also the possibility of gathering together for an outdoor service in late July. More information on this will be forthcoming. I will be away for a portion of August, however services will continue to be posted online for those Sundays.
I know these days are difficult but we are not alone. The presence of God continues to surround our world and although we cannot gather at St. James our togetherness is still tangible through our prayers and love for one another.
Please know as we slide into summer you all are always in my prayers and in my heart.
Yours in Christ,
Fr John+
A letter from Fr John, June 4, 2020:
Dear St. James Community,

Our country and her people are currently suffering from multiple tragedies simultaneously. With over 1 million people infected with Coronavirus, more than 100,000 fatalities from this disease, and the on-going fear and anxiety associated with this disease; millions unemployed and a spiraling economy; the horrific killing of George Floyd and the violence and brutality that is continuing to take place in the wake of this killing; our country is reeling as we cry out, “Lord have mercy.”

In the last few weeks, I have been drawn back to the Farewell Discourse (John 13:31-17:26) given by Jesus the night before His crucifixion as I feel, in so many places this discourse speaks to our current times. One aspect of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse that He stresses several times is that though He is returning to God and will no longer be with us in bodily form in the world, we must continue His work in the world. The Discourse begins with the New Commandment in which Jesus shows that we continue in this world filled by His love, we continue in this world with the shared responsibility to show this love to all others, we continue in this world bound together by love.

Our nation, our world, is hurting, is bleeding, is suffering; however, through Christ true healing can be found. As Jesus sent the disciples out into the world together to live the Gospel, so He sends us all out together, to live the Gospel, part of which is the healing balm of God. We are all the image of Jesus Christ in this world, He is in us as He promised us, and we can bring His healing grace to our world today.

We can share in this healing ministry first and foremost by remembering we are called, commissioned, commanded by Him to love and to share His love, which is rooted deep within us, with each other. He has drawn us into the sacred bond that exists between us all, the bond that we are His beloved, and that in Him we find our common humanity; in Him our differences, our beautiful differences, find their unity.

In this time and in all times, my sisters and brothers, you remain in my daily thoughts and prayers, you remain in my heart.

Yours in Christ,

Fr John+

Earlier messages:

Click here to read a letter from Fr John, written on May 15, 2020.

Click here to read a letter from Fr John, written on April 16, 2020.

Published by stjamesadmin

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