Note to Parishioners

November 1, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

 

 

“To the Church of God which is at [North Bay and area], to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together…” (I Corinthians 1: 2a)

 

There are several things I wanted to share with you, and so I thought it would be a good idea to send you this brief newssheet…

 

Alpha Course

The Alpha Course is a light-hearted review of, or introduction to, the Christian faith. I encourage you to check it out, especially (1), if you have never taken it; (2), you took it a long time ago; (3), you took it recently, but you’d like to bring someone else with you to take it! This fall, the course is being offered on-line on Tuesday and Friday mornings, beginning at 10am. Each session will be 60-75 minutes. If you’d like to try it, please contact the parish office to get details how to join.

 

 

 

 

Confirmation

Although the Confirmation service itself will not likely take place for some time (due to the pandemic), I anticipate classes will begin in a couple of weeks. This is a great opportunity to brush up on the basics, and to learn more about the Anglican expression of Christianity. Gatherings for youth will begin November 17 after school. Gatherings for adults will begin about that time, at a mutually convenient time. Please get in touch through the parish office if you would like more information.

 

 

 

Recordings

If you are not attending Sunday services due to the pandemic or for other reasons, I encourage you to view the 11am services, which are posted on the St. Brice’s website

[ https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=258 ]. Sermons and other material are also regularly posted.

 

         

 

 

Holy Communion, Mid-Week

 

As the regular attenders of the mid-week Wednesday morning service are unable to attend at this time, I will be suspending offering this service until the seasons of Advent (before Christmas) and Lent (before Easter). If circumstances change and people ask for it, then I will re-instate it.

 

 

 

A.C.W. Mission

The ministry of the Anglican Church Women supports a wide variety of mission projects, both locally and around the world. Because of the pandemic, St. Brice’s has not been able to offer their customary Spring Tea and Fall Lunch. Instead, there are plans to offer an on-line silent auction.

I expect there will be links to view the items being auctioned, on the St. Brice’s website, the St. Brice’s Facebook page, etc. People can view the items, and bid on them, from mid-November to early December. Then people need to come to St. Brice’s, or otherwise make arrangements to pick up their items, about December 4-5. Stay tuned! – I think it will be a creative and exciting initiative.

 

 

Mary Sherwood

 

Mary Sherwood, and the orphanage she promotes in Madagascar, is one of the missions we regularly support. Mary had a stroke this past summer. I just received a message of her slow but steady convalescence, and her request for prayer.

 

         

 

Brief Financial Update

 

It is pleasant to report that St. Brice’s is financially “in the black.” This is the result of generous giving by many, modest savings during the pandemic, and the diocese receiving a wage subsidy in 2020. Year to Date: Revenue $128,066; expenses $127,590; surplus $476.

 

 

 

Justice of Jesus

If you would like to check out something a little bit different, Archbishop Greg Kerr (Diocese of Calgary) is offering an on-line webinar called “The Justice of Jesus.” This is being offered on November 28, beginning at 1pm local time. This is being facilitated through the Anglican Communion Alliance. Please contact the parish office for more information, or go to:

https://anglicancommunionalliance.ca/event/the-justice-of-jesus/

 

 

 

Time Change

Speaking of “local time,” please remember the time change tonight. Tomorrow, the first Sunday in November, we will have a joint service at 10am.

 

 

 

God bless you all.

Sincerely,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

October 4, 2020

 

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (Galatians 6: 18)

Dear Friends,

 

We have not produced a newsletter since the resumption of regular Sunday morning services at St. Brice’s. However, there are several points I want to share with you. I know there are some people who understandably are cautious about gathering together. I want to be sure that no one is left out, and everyone is aware of what’s happening at St. Brice’s – so I decided to produce another newsletter.

 

Encouragement

Last January 1, who would have expected 2020 to have turned out as it has? And we’re only three-quarters of the way through! Naturally, many of us are concerned about a “second wave” of the pandemic, and about the current climate in politics, the economy, the environment and so on. I’m not minimizing any of these concerns, but I do want to remind all parishioners that God is still on the throne, and taking a long-term view, all will be well! In response, we’re called to live humbly and joyfully for him. When I feel daunted by obstacles, I sometimes turn to Psalm 61; if you are anxious, you might choose to read this short psalm. Notice the anxieties the psalmist has, but also the steadfastness of the Lord which leads to praise.

 

What if restrictions change?

A number of people have asked me, What will St. Brice’s do if the restrictions change again, and we can’t meet together in person? Well, first of all, a wise man said to me recently that it’s better to live in the “what is,” rather than to spend too much time in the “what might be” in the future. However, if changes need to be made for our collective health and well-being, we will make them. God doesn’t change. My commitment to serve you, and to encourage robust disciples doesn’t change. How we do things in the future will likely change somehow – but that’s all right. We will go through this together!

 

On-line resources

For those who have access to a computer and the internet, I want to remind people of the resources on the St. Brice’s parish website, including posted recordings of the 11am service. (We aren’t recording the 9am services at this time, although I’m open to that option in the future.) Please see https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=258 or other resources on the “On-Line Services” tab on the Home Page – that is, the first thing you see if you type in, “St. Brice’s, North Bay, ON.” (Please see below.) We aren’t limited to St. Brice’s, either — one of the blessings of having the internet is that we can access things to feed us spiritually from all over the world. Certainly, some stuff on the internet is rubbish, but there are also gems.

 

 

On-line Layreaders Conference

Once every five years or so, Temiskaming Deanery (that’s us) is responsible for hosting the diocesan layreaders conference. 2020 is our year! We produced this on-line, and although there were a few minor technical glitches, there was a great deal of outstanding content. You don’t have to be a layreader to enjoy what was offered. If you missed it but would like some of the resources, please contact the parish office.

 

Opportunities for Spiritual Growth

There are a number of opportunities to grow deeper this fall:

  • The Tuesday evening Bible study is meeting on-line;

  • The Tuesday morning Bible study has changed its meeting time to Monday morning, beginning at 9:30am, in the Church building;

  • Messy Church has “pivoted,” and resources are being dropped off to participants;

  • I had hoped to be able to announce this week exactly when the Alpha Course (a light-hearted introduction to Christianity) and Confirmation classes would be offered, but the layreaders conference and follow-up has taken up a lot of my time this past week. I will be making an announcement about both of these programs in the near future;

  • The Tuesday Take Home Meals continue, with deliveries (the sale date for this month is this coming Tuesday), as are the Quilters, the Food Bank, and so on.

  • Most of the volunteers for the Teen Lunch Programme have been meeting regularly for prayer and consideration about how best to provide the programme. We are absolutely committed to caring for the young people, and to everyone’s mutual safety. How to manage this in a pandemic environment, given the numbers who typically draw on our services, is challenging. I have been very impressed by the listening work by the gathered volunteers, and my sense is that a way forward will become clear soon.

 

Noteworthy Service Announcements

We have not had a “joint” service at 10am since the beginning of March. However, at the recent Advisory Board meeting, after careful discussion, it was agreed to offer a joint service – God willing — on Sunday, 1 November, at 10am (All Saints’ Day).

 

Clergy had been encouraged to offer prayer services at different times during the pandemic, for anyone who wanted to come to the Church building, but were uncomfortable participating in Holy Communion. Accordingly, I offered Evening Prayer services last month. However, since no one else attended, I am not planning to offer them again this month. If something else develops, it will likely be in a different format.

 

This coming week will be Harvest Thanksgiving. Usually the Altar Guild spearheads decorating the Church building. However, as not all members can attend, support from members of the congregation (this coming Saturday at 10am) is very welcome.

 

 

 

Missions

It’s sometimes said that it isn’t that the Church has a mission, but that God has a mission, and the Church is the means God has for the mission to take place. Our focus is never exclusively on ourselves, but for the world for which Christ gave his life – even during a pandemic. How we will best support missions this year is still under consideration by the parish leadership, but more information will be forthcoming, probably in a few weeks…

 

Wanda and her Cats

I regret to let people know that parishioner Wanda Zalewski died suddenly this past week, as the result of being involved in a car accident. Wanda lived on her own and loved her two cats dearly. We are determined to ensure that the cats are not abandoned, but adopted into a good, loving home. They are neutered, peaceful, and in good health. If you have room in your heart, and your home, for these animals, please let us know.

 

Blessing of the Animals

 

The annual “Blessing of the Animals” service crept up on me this year. It is typically held around the day we remember St. Francis – October 4. Accordingly, there will be a short outdoor service in the back garden tomorrow (Sunday, October 4) at 2pm. Please come along, and bring your pet(s). We do ask that owners be responsible for their own pets.

 

 

 

Financial Status

Summer is typically a lean time for parish finances. A few people have been asking me about our current financial status. I’m pleased to say that our balance sheet is in good — though not perfect — shape. This is in large part because the diocesan office applied for a wage subsidy from the federal government, and so this parish received $6776 this past month. Even so, our income was a little higher, and our expenses a little lower, than the same time last year. We had income of $114, 338. Expenses were $115,237, leaving a deficit of $899 at the end of September 2020. In comparison, our deficit at this time last year was $8445.

 

 

Russell Elliott’s Death

 

I want to end on a personal note. Some parishioners have learned that my step-father, Russell Elliott, died early Friday morning. Russell had a long and remarkable life – born in 1917, ordained in Holy Orders for over 80 years, deeply pastoral but always willing to challenge whenever the Anglican Church seemed to be becoming complacent. Due to the pandemic, I will not be attending his funeral. Nonetheless, I am at peace. He had a full life, and in recent months, was becoming increasingly eager to go to his true home with his Saviour. By the grace of God, I shall see him again one day – and so shall you.

 

 

 

 

God bless you all.

 

Peter Armstrong

 

September 6, 2020

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am writing a note to remind you that regular worship in St. Brice’s Church building has resumed. Services through the month of September 2020 are:

 

Sundays          9am     Holy Communion       (traditional)

                       11am   Holy Communion       (contemporary)

                       4pm     Evening Prayer

 

Wednesdays    10am   Holy Communion

                       4:30pm Evening Prayer.

 

We’d love to see you! Of course, we expect everyone to use common sense: If you feel ill, please do not risk spreading your bug to others. Please stay home, and come when you’re feeling better. If you need pastoral care, please contact the parish office.

 

I won’t review them all here, but we have taken a number of steps to ensure that the risk of spreading illness at St. Brice’s is very low indeed. We encourage you to re-join us if you can.

 

Sincerely, in Jesus’ love,

 

Peter Armstrong

August 30, 2020

 

“So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was built up, and walking in the feat of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit it was multiplied.”

Acts 9: 31

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am dividing this newsletter into three sections – regular parish ministries, special notices, and Sunday worship.

 

Regular Parish Ministries

It goes without saying that whenever we are at St. Brice’s, we need to practice good hygiene,  to minimize any risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus in the community. For groups which are using the parish hall or the church building during the week, this means:

  • Seeing that the hand sanitizer bottles are available (these are in the hall, narthex and office)

  • Offering masks if they are needed (these are in the office)

  • Keeping track of who has come to a gathering – their names and phone numbers. These forms are in the tan binder in the outer office

  • Cleaning the surfaces which are used. There is “Mr. Clean” and other cleaning products under the sinks in the kitchen. Please wipe down door knobs, light switches, the railing to the hall (or the railings to the Reading Room when used), and table surfaces. Please clean the bathroom(s) if used.

Most ministries are continuing, but in a different format:

 

Quilters:  This will begin again on September 14.

Tuesday Lunches:  Their monthly sale will be this coming Tuesday, September 1, between 11am and 1pm. The meals which have been ordered this month are being home-delivered.[1]

[1] Incidentally, the menu for 6 October 2020 deliver is ready, and offers include Lasagna, Meat Loaf, Roasted Chicken and fresh Perogies. This is a ministry intended particularly for people who are shut-in or otherwise can benefit from meal support. Please email frozenmeals1234@gmail.com for more information.

 

Tues. Evening Bible Study:  We have been meeting on-line, and expect that we will either continue to meet on-line, or a combination of on-line and in-person gatherings. At this time, we are finishing the Letter of James. No experience necessary to join!

Food Bank:  This ministry has continued throughout the pandemic, but clients are being met in the narthex rather than being invited into the hall for coffee.

Teen Lunch Program: The volunteers are meeting this coming Friday morning. We anticipate that this ministry will either be suspended or offered in a different format this fall.

Men’s Breakfast:  We have the speaker from the Ontario Provincial Police lined up for the presentation on “fraud,” but this ministry is on hold until the regulations around kitchen use are loosened.

A.C.W.:  The next Anglican Church Women gathering is slated for September 16 at noon.

Please note – this is not just for A.C.W. members, but everyone – the A.C.W. is a key way we support missions at St. Brice’s. Their spring fund-raiser had to be cancelled, and it seems unlikely that they will have their fall fund-raiser. Because so many of us have been blessed with good health, donations from funeral receptions at St. Brice’s have been very rare last year and this year.

I hope that the parish as a whole will rally with some initiative to support missions this year. If you have an inspiration, please contact the parish office.

Messy Church:  Material will be delivered to homes rather than gathering at St. Brice’s to worship, do crafts, and eat. The deliveries will be on the weekend of 18 September.

Games Night:  Bearing in mind good practices during the pandemic, the regular games nights will resume on September 19, 7pm.

Services at Seniors’ Homes: St. Brice’s is responsible for providing ministry at Cassellholme, Empire and Barclay House. The provision of Holy Communion at these facilities are on hold until further notice. However, please note the “Alpha” notice below.

 

Special Notices

 

Alpha Course

The Alpha Course is a light-hearted introduction to, or review of, Christianity. Many long-time church members have taken the course and have been blessed. It’s not just for church folk, though. Skeptics, atheists or the spiritually confused are sincerely welcome, and are encouraged to check it out.

If you’ve never taken the Alpha Course, or took it so long ago you don’t quite remember when, please try out the opening gathering. I encourage you also to invite anyone you know who you think would benefit, to come along. (Invitees are more likely to say “yes” if they know you’re attending too – then they will know at least one person.)

The format in the past has been gathering for a meal, watching a video and then talking about it afterwards. Each week for about 10 weeks has a different topic.

This past spring at St. Brice’s, we offered the Alpha Course on-line. People in their living rooms connected to others through their phones or computers and internet connections. The gatherings did not include meals, and so were shorter in length (about 75 minutes

together each time), and we “met” twice a week. It turned out to be much easier to offer the course on-line. We didn’t have to prepare weekly meals. It was easier for people to join, and easier for people to leave if they wanted.

I was dubious about offering Alpha on-line before this past spring, but was very pleased with how it went.

 

I would like to see an on-line Alpha Course offered again at St. Brice’s this fall, and have approached a couple of people to pray if they might like to lead or help lead the course. If you would be interested in attending or helping on the course, please leave a message at the parish office. The topics are:

 

 

Is there more to life than this?

Who is Jesus?

Why did Jesus die?

How can I have faith?

Why and how should I pray?

Why and how should I read the Bible?

How does God guide us?

 

 

About halfway through the course, guests are invited to gather for part of a Saturday, to learn more about the person and work of God the Holy Spirit:

 

Introduction to the weekend.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

What does the Holy Spirit do?

How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?

How can I make the most of the rest of my life?

Then:

How can I resist evil?

Why and how should I tell others?

Does God heal today?

What about the Church?

 

 

I know that a resident at one of the seniors homes is interested in participating in the Alpha Course, and would like to invite other residents to participate as well. This seems to me to be a nudge from the Lord.

 

 

The Parenting Children Course

The Parenting Children Course is a short (6 or 7 sessions of 60-75 minutes each) course for parents, which I think would be helpful to offer at St. Brice’s. Although the course was created by a Christian couple, Nicky & Sila Lee, one does not have to be a person of faith to benefit from the course. The format is video and then discussion. It, too, can be offered on-line.

As well as participants, I hope that someone might offer to host the course. The most suitable host would be quietly prayerful, have adult children (one who can say “I’ve been there and it’s okay!”), is non-judgemental, and has a basic knowledge of how to use a computer. Please prayerfully consider if you might offer yourself for this ministry.

 

Diocesan Layreaders Conference

All laity will be welcome to participate in the on-line layreaders conference, which will be held the last weekend in September. Here are highlights of the proposed schedule:

 

Friday Evening

7:00PM          Archbishop Anne Germond

7:30 PM          Judy Paulsen, “Responding to the Gospel”

Saturday

9:30                On-line Worship

10:00               Jay Koyle: “Discerning One’s Gifts, then Break

11:15               Workshops:

      1. “Funerals & Pastoral Care” Ven. Marie Loewen

      2. “Prayer” Archbishop Anne Germond

12:00               Mid-Day Prayer & Lunch break

1:30                 Workshops:

      1. “Morning Prayer Liturgy” Ven. Glen Miller

      2. “Preaching” Ven. Kelly Baetz

2:15                Closing

 

Please register by September 8, at carrieg2626@hotmail.com , or by leaving a message at the parish office. If you would like to participate but are uncertain about how to participate on-line, please register promptly to participate in the coaching.

 

Bike for Bibles

 “Bike for Bibles” is a fund-raiser for the Canadian Bible Society. A hearty group of cyclists, which included St. Brice’s parishioners, cycled to Callander and back in rainy weather this morning (Saturday, August 29). For more information, please see: bike4bibles.ca. If you want to sponsor someone for a good cause, it’s not too late. Please contact the parish office, or go to:

https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?SID=12694004&LangPref=en-CA&EID=309043

 

 

Cursillo

Many of us are familiar with the retreat/ short course called “Cursillo,” which is frequently offered here in this deanery. The co-ed Cursillo which had been planned for the end of October of this year, has been put off for now. Please stay tuned.

I want to express my gratitude to the executive, the Secretariat, for their on-going faithful work, and for those who host the faith-filled “Ultreyas” evenings every month or two throughout the year.

 

         

 

Confirmation

If one of these applies to you, then participating in Confirmation classes may be for you:

 

  • I was baptized when I was little, and just sort of joined the Church, but never really went through a learning time since Sunday School

  •  
  • I used to be associated with another Christian denomination, but have been going to St. Brice’s for a while

  • I’d like to learn more about the basics of being a Christian, and why we do what we do at St. Brice’s – what is the Anglican expression of Christianity about?

  • I drifted away from God for a while, but feel spiritually renewed, and want to acknowledge that somehow

  • I don’t think I was confirmed before.

Confirmation is a service led by Archbishop Anne, which is expected to take place in the Deanery in early 2021. There are 3 parts to this worship service: First, where individually and together we commit ourselves as followers of Jesus Christ, using the Apostles Creed and our assent to the Christian faith; second, candidates are prayed for, for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be further at work in their life (or, if candidates have been previously confirmed, they are welcomed into the Anglican expression of Christianity. Third, we share communion together.

 

It’s customary to have classes to learn more about following Jesus Christ in his Church, before services of Confirmation. I’m going to be holding two gatherings – one for youth, and one for adults. If you would like to participate, or would like to learn more, please contact the parish office.

 

Two Ways To Support the Tuesday Lunches

Turkeys will be on the menu for November 2020 for the Tuesday lunches. So, the turkeys need to be cooked in October. It takes some time to cook them, which means the ovens are in use for a while. This would keep the volunteers waiting for a long time if all the cooking was done on the same day. (They need to be cooked on-site.) If you’re willing to cook a turkey while you’re around the property for a few hours, basting it occasionally (and using good cooking practices), please leave a message at the parish office, or with one of the volunteers.

 

As well, Krista Geden is looking for one or two more volunteers, who are responsible only for packing the orders for delivery, before the first Tuesday of the month. This takes up to 90 minutes.

         

Spiritual Direction

On August 15, I passed on a message from Pat Carriere, who has recently finished her course in spiritual direction. I asked Pat to explain more about what “spiritual direction” is, for parishioners who might not know. Pat writes:

 

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual Direction is like a midwife or spiritual companion for spiritual formation.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit where the seeker and director together listen for direction, revelation, encouragement.

A sacred space to share about one’s spiritual journey and together listen for the leading, guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The opportunity to grow in intimacy with God and learn who we are as the beloved child.  The safe space provides confidentiality and accountability for the seeker.  Spiritual Direction is an old practice and although many still do not know or understand the purpose, need or benefit, it can become one of the most valued commitments or undertaking in one’s journey.

I am a spiritual companion who will journey with you on your faith walk.  Together we will listen and look for the presence of the Holy Spirit.  It’s a safe space for accountability and confidentiality.

If you would like to learn more about, or try, spiritual direction, please get in touch with Pat, or leave a message at the parish office.

 

Housing Needed

Sepideh Ghods-Marhaidari is looking for temporary accommodation next month. She wrote:

 

Can you announce among our friends in St. Brice’s if there is someone who can let me stay with them for two weeks? I need a place to stay from September 13th for two weeks. One week I will have Leyli [turning age 7] with me. We will not move in. We just need a place to sleep and use their internet in order to do my placement and study at Nipissing. We are quiet and I will keep the room clean. I will also pay $250 for the two weeks. I am wondering if someone is willing to accommodate us. Thank you. My parents [from Iran] are coming and I am giving them my home. They need to be in quarantine for 14 days.

 

If you can help Sepi out, please contact her or the parish office.

 

Reading Room Books Upstairs

I want to remind people that there are a lot of great resources in the Reading Room. If you don’t want to go downstairs, there is a small selection which can be borrowed, on the shelf above the telephone in the parish hall.

 

 

Sunday Worship

 

August 30

Tomorrow, August 30, we are planning outdoor Services of the Word at 9am and 11am, particularly for parishioners whose last names begin with M through to Z. The weather forecast as this is being written is unsettled. I am hoping for the best!

God willing, we will be meeting in the back garden. Please enter through the alley between King St. and Victoria St. Although some chairs will be provided, please feel free to bring a lawn chair to be comfortable. To be on the safe side, you might want to bring an umbrella (or, a lawn chair and an umbrella!).

 

September 6, 13, 20, 27

These Sunday services will be in St. Brice’s Church building, at 9am, 11am, and 4pm. The morning services will be Holy Communion (but not using the common cup). The 4pm service will be Evening Prayer.

Unless they’re members of our household, we cannot sit close to one another. The tops of the pews and the seats are marked with green painters tape. Some places are for one person; some places are for two people. Please choose a location which works for you.

Members of the Spiritual Development Committee have suggested that, if we have a purse, that it be kept at home or in a car.

We will not be handing out, and taking back, hymn books and prayer books. You’re welcome to borrow a prayer book until after Christmas, if you like. Please speak to a sidesperson for more information. The words for the 11am services will be displayed on the screen. We are considering this for the 9am services as well. (If you’d like to help project the 9am services, please contact the parish office.)

 

 

Cleaning

St. Brice’s is being cleaned more, and warden Deb Young has been approaching people to help. Here are the tasks which need to be done, after each Sunday service:

  • Cleaning door handles, light switches, and all high-touch areas

  • Wiping the pews which are used

  • Cleaning the bathroom(s) which are used.

There are a number of volunteers at St. Brice’s who work hard in several jobs.

  • If you’re already working at capacity, we don’t want to burden you, and hope you will graciously refuse.

  • There are others who are not in a position to help right now, because of health or other reasons. We hope you will graciously refuse too.

  • There are others, though, who can help, and we hope you will. It doesn’t take long (I’m taking my turn too), and the more people who volunteer, the more the work is spread out for everyone.

It’s been a little disheartening for Deb, when she’s left messages for people to get in touch with her, and there are some who have ignored her message(s). Please reply if you are contacted, or can volunteer. Of course, we hope that a few folks will say “yes,” but even if the answer is “no,” then at least we aren’t left guessing.  

 

 

Mask Decorating

We’re having a friendly mask-decorating competition – one for home-made cloth masks, and one for the other kind. (Courtesy of a parishioner, there are some items available in the office with which we can decorate our masks. More information is with the decorations.) Voting will take place September 20. People can vote by putting change next to the picture of the mask they like the best. Proceeds will go to the Primate’s World Relief & Development Fund.

 

         

 

Video Recording of Sunday Services

The weekly on-line Deanery services, which are all available on the St. Brice’s website (under the “Short Services of the Word” tab), will be concluding on September 6. At this time, there are no plans to offer more regional services on-line.

We know there are some people who are keen to come back, while others are more cautious, and do not want to come in the Church building on a Sunday morning at this time. We want to provide care to everyone. So, we are making plans to video-record Sunday services at St. Brice’s, starting in September.

This is all new to us, and we are working through this carefully. We have discussed whether to pre-record services at a separate time, or to record on Sunday morning. We have decided to record on Sunday mornings. These services will not be “live-streamed;” there will be a period of time between when the service is recorded, and when it can be viewed at home on a computer. Thanks to Tara King, St. Brice’s now has a youtube channel.

Some churches put on very classy (and expensive) video productions on their websites, with multiple cameras, sound editing, and so forth. Their intention is partly to attract newcomers to come to their local church by viewing the amazing video production. We aren’t trying to do that. (We would like new people to come to St. Brice’s, but want them to be invited in person by people like you!) We are aiming for clear video and audible audio, for the benefit of parishioners not attending in person.

Most of us do not have experience in video recording. If you have some experience in this field, or are willing to learn, please contact the parish office. We’re starting from scratch, and would be very pleased to hear from people.

 

Conclusion

 

We’ve been working hard to keep communicating with people during the pandemic, through telephoning, emailing, and hand-delivering newsletters to some parishioners. We hope to move more to an in-person format (it’s pretty time-consuming to put these newsletters together).

We know there are some people who are unable to attend on Sundays — for their own health, because they are close to someone who is vulnerable, or for other reasons — and we want to provide ministry to you as best we can.

We know there are some people who will be attending in person.

We also know there are some parishioners who would sort of like to come, but are uneasy about coming together, wondering if it’s safe. I do not want to pressure anyone, but I do want to encourage you to come together for worship. While it is impossible to reduce any risk to absolute zero, the combination of masks and shields, social distancing, cleaning processes, etc., make the health risk of coming to St. Brice’s very low indeed.

What if we’re fearful? If I may write so, gently and in love, we need to be aware that fear about coming together isn’t a health issue. If we’re fearful, that is a spiritual issue. And it’s a spiritual issue which the Lord Jesus spoke into to his disciples on a number of occasions. (They must have been good worriers, as we can be!) Jesus Christ wants us to have peace by his Spirit.

 

 

I want to conclude with some words of Jesus, spoken shortly before his own death:

 

‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.’ (John 14: 25-27)

 

God bless you all, in Christ’s love,

 

 

Peter Armstrong

 

August 23, 2020

 

“Grace, mercy and peace be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ

the Father’s Son, in truth and love.” II John 3

 

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you are all doing well. There are several items I want to share with you this week…

 

Transitioning Back to In-Person Worship

 

 

Who, When, and Where

We are in the process of transitioning back to (somewhat) regular in-person worship. Tomorrow (August 23), there will be outdoor services are planned to be held in St. Brice’s back garden, at 9am and 11am, for any parishioners who want to come, whose surname begins with the letters A through L. As I write this, the weather forecast is for a “low” chance of showers, so we’re going to proceed. You might want to bring a comfortable chair. To be very safe, you might want to bring an umbrella!

 

 

On Sunday, August 30, there are outdoor services planned for 9am and 11am, for those whose surname begins with the letters M through Z. In the event of rain, these services will be cancelled. If skies look “iffy,” please contact the parish office or view the parish Facebook page.

 

These August outdoor services will be “Services of the Word” – not Holy Communion.

Alley Entrance (August); Prayer Books; Prayer Requests

 

As we will be checked when we arrive, please come to the garden for the August services through the alley which runs between King and Victoria Streets. Please observe safe physical distancing (2M; 6 feet).

 

 

We will not be handing out and taking back prayer books (the Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services). In September and following, the liturgy will be displayed on the screen for the 11am services using PPT (PowerPoint) software. At this time, we will not be using PPT for the 9am services.

If you would like to borrow a prayer book, we will be lending copies to parishioners for their own use, from now until early January 2021. If you borrow a prayer book, please bring it with you when you come to Sunday services.

 

Many parishioners will recall that at the entrance to St. Brice’s, there is a prayer desk where we can list prayer requests – people we know who are sick, or who are travelling, etc. These prayer requests are incorporated into the Prayers of the People which are offered each Sunday. Now, instead of writing down prayer requests when we come, we will be asked if we have any prayer requests, when we arrive.

 

These are a few of the changes we are introducing this fall, to further reduce the chances of COVID-19 being spread as we gather together.

 

 

On-line Weekly Services

Since March 2020, the Deanery clergy have been offering weekly on-line services (thank you to Janet Parfitt for offering music). The last planned on-line service in this format will be Sunday, September 6.

We know that there will be some people who want to come together for worship; others are uncomfortable doing so at this time. We will continue to offer on-line services, but have not yet settled together on a format.

Option 1:     Weekly diocesan services on rotation (Muskoka deanery one week, Temiskaming deanery the next…)

Option 2:     Weekly deanery services on rotation within the deanery (St. Brice’s one week, Christ Church the next…)

Option 3:     Video recording of St. Brice’s services

Option 4:     St. Brice’s layreaders and me pre-recording a service.

 

I would like to see laity involved to a greater degree than has been the case.

I hope that we will be able to announce what we will be offering, by the end of this month.

 

Layreaders Conference

All laity will be welcome to participate in the on-line layreaders conference, which will be held the last weekend in September. Here are highlights of the proposed schedule:

 

Friday Evening

7:00PM          Archbishop Anne Germond

7:30 PM          Judy Paulsen, “Responding to the Gospel”

Saturday

9:30                 On-line Worship

10:00               Jay Koyle: “Discerning One’s Gifts, then Break

11:15                 Workshops:

A. “Funerals & Pastoral Care” Ven. Marie Loewen

B. “Prayer” Archbishop Anne Germond

12:00               Mid-Day Prayer & Lunch break

1:30                  Workshops:

C. “Morning Prayer Liturgy” Ven. Glen Miller

D. “Preaching” Ven. Kelly Baetz

2:15                  Closing

 

Please register by September 8, at carrieg2626@hotmail.com , or by leaving a message at the parish office. If you would like to participate but are uncertain about how to participate on-line, please register promptly to participate in the coaching.

 

 

 

Daily Bread Devotions

St. Brice’s recently received the new issues of Our Daily Bread devotions, in regular print and in large print. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact the parish office.

 

Message to the Local Church

God wants to communicate with us in all kinds of ways, and very often uses other people to get our attention. A parishioner had a word of encouragement to share with the congregation in this season. It can be found on the parish Facebook page.

 

 

Spiritual Development Committee

St. Brice’s Spiritual Development Committee will be meeting this coming Tuesday. If you have Agenda items, please contact the parish office promptly.

 

As St. Brice’s transitions back to its [somewhat] more regular rhythm, I will not be printing these weekly news updates as frequently. I intend to publish another one this coming weekend, but then will only produce more if we are affected by a “second wave” of the pandemic, or something else quite significant.

 

 

Thank you, and God bless,

Peter Armstrong      

August 16, 2020

 

 

“I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father

I have made known to you.”

St. John 15: 15b

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

For a change, let’s not begin by talking about the pandemic. Instead, I want to mention several events coming this fall…

 

Confirmation Classes

As many of you know, a service of Confirmation has two parts to it: First, we publicly affirm that we follow Jesus Christ – this is taking on our baptismal promises for ourselves, if we were baptized as babies or young children; second; we are prayed for by the bishop. Confirmation services are also a customary time for people to affirm officially their connection with St. Brice’s (which is a parish of the Anglican Church of Canada). There will not be a Confirmation service until likely early 2021.

 

Nonetheless, there are typically classes or gatherings – one for youth; one for adults – leading up to services of Confirmation. It is a chance to learn or to review the basics of what it is to follow Jesus Christ. I find these classes to be a great deal of fun. If you are interested, or would like to know more, please contact the parish office.

 

On-line Alpha Course

The Alpha Course is a light-hearted introduction, or review, of the Christian faith. It’s not limited to Anglicans, and skeptics are welcome too! This past spring was the first time we offered an on-line Alpha Course, and the organizers were pleased with how it went. We anticipate offering one again, during the week of September 21. Please consider participating if you have not attended an Alpha Course recently, and please prayerfully consider a friend to invite, who might enjoy it too. Further details will come in future newsletters.

 

 

Bike for Bibles

Some of us are familiar with “Bike for Bibles” – a fund-raiser for the Canadian Bible Society. Layreader Bill Burton will be participating later this month. If you’d like more information, please visit bike4bibles.ca. To sponsor Bill or others, please go to this link: https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/FundraisingPage.aspx?SID=12694004&LangPref=en-CA&EID=309043 , or contact the parish office.

 

 

Spiritual Direction

Parishioner Pat Carriere has finished her course in Spiritual Direction, which is a significant accomplishment. Pat asked that this message be included to you:

 

To my Church Family
I have finished the 2 year certification program from the Haden Institute on Spiritual Direction this past July. This could not have been accomplished on my own. So, thank you to all for your prayers, financial support and encouragement.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Blessings
Patricia Carriere

 

 

Outdoor Worship

We will be offering Services of the Word outdoors at St. Brice’s this month, in the back garden. The intention is of course to worship, but we also want to work out any “bugs” in the flow of worship, before we go indoors. The services are as follows:

 

August 16, 11am: Advisory Board Members and their immediate families who are available and want to join us.

 

If your last name begins with the letters A through L

August 23, 9am    (traditional service)

August 23, 11am  (contemporary service)

 

If your last name begins with the letters M through Z…

August 30, 9am    (traditional service)

August 30, 11am  (contemporary service)

 

 

The regular protocols which we have been practicing in our community apply: Please wear a face mask or shield, maintain physical distances of 2M (6 feet) except for members of your household, and do not linger for a long time after the services (to allow cleaning to take place). Greeters and I will provide further directions before and during the worship services themselves.

 

We are invited, but not required, to bring our own comfortable chairs.

 

If it is pouring rain, the services on August 23 and 30 will be cancelled. If it is threatening rain and you’re unsure, please go to the parish Facebook page, or call the parish office (705-474-4005) and listen to the message.

 

September Services

Sundays               9am             Traditional Service

Sundays              11am           Contemporary Service

Sundays               4pm            Evening Prayer Service

Wednesdays        10am           Holy Communion Service

Wednesdays         4:30pm       Evening Prayer Service

 

All these services will be held inside the building. All morning services will be services of the Holy Eucharist, although we will only be administering the host (not the common cup) during communion.

 

We have an absolute limit of 46 people inside the Church building. We anticipate that we will not reach our maximum limit for most services, but – depending on how many people attend – we might reach this limit on the Sunday morning services at 11am. (If this happens, then we will need to move to pre-registration for services, and we will provide more information in a future newsletter.)

 

There will be some changes in how we gather. As for the outdoor services, please wear a mask or shield, maintain 2M (6 feet) from people who are not members of your household, and do not linger for a long time after the services, to allow cleaning to take place. Please observe the directions of the sidespeople, and only sit where the pews and chairs are marked. We will be sitting in a diamond pattern in the pews – that is, 1 or 2 people sitting on the outside of one pew, then 1 or 2 people sitting in the middle of the next pew, and so on.

 

Other details will be provided before and during the worship services.

 

 

Masks Decorating Competition

Some of us are creative and craft-y. We are planning a mask-decorating competition in two categories – one prize for decorated homemade cloth masks, and one prize for decorated N95 or surgical masks. (Obviously, please don’t do anything which would make your mask less effective.)

 

During the first weeks of September, we’d like to take a picture of you and your mask. On September 20, there will voting (coins dropped in a glass – one glass for each picture). The proceeds (the value of all the coins) will be given to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund.

 

 

I look forward to seeing you very much.

 

God bless, Peter Armstrong

 

August 9, 2020

 

“Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come…”

Revelation 1: 4a

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you are all well! There are several things I want to share with you this week. Especially, I want to tell you about our upcoming common worship, and the reasonable steps we will be taking for everyone’s health and well-being.

 

We expect that we will be worshipping in St. Brice’s Church building, beginning Sunday morning, September 6, at 9am and 11am. (There will be no joint services this fall, because that would likely mean too many people gathering together at one time.) These will be celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.

 

In case there are people who would like to gather, but are presently uncomfortable about attending a service of the Holy Eucharist, there will also be services of Evening Prayer on Sunday afternoons in September, beginning at 4pm. (Whether or not these services continue in October would depend on the degree of interest in September.)

 

I hope that we will be able to offer outdoor services for members of the congregation, weather permitting, at the end of August. If so, more information (including, what we do if it’s rainy) will be next week’s newsletter. I have submitted a proposal on behalf of the parish, but we need to hear back from deanery officials before we proceeding.

 

I have been asked to consider gathering for worship in the parish hall periodically this fall. I am certainly willing to consider this. We would need to consider what is the safest and most enjoyable arrangement. I intend to consult the Advisory Board about this proposal.

 

 

Sunday Worship: What Will Be Different?

Of course, due to the pandemic, there will be some changes in our worship, whether we are using the B.C.P., the B.A.S., or the Kenyan liturgy. A few points and some details need to be sorted out by the Board, but we know these changes will be included at St. Brice’s:

  • There will be more signs posted to guide us

  • There may be pre-registration at some services. We will be told about this in plenty of time. That is, to ensure that we don’t exceed the number of people permitted to gather at one time, we will be encouraged to indicate in advance when we plan to attend. If we don’t pre-register, we can show up, but we might be turned away if we have reached maximum capacity

  • The protocols for cleaning will be of a very high standard (even higher than in the past; that reminds me, if you are willing to volunteer for one of the cleaning teams periodically, please relay this to the parish office)

  • We will be strongly encouraged not to gather and chat in the narthex (entrance), but to come to one of the seats which are marked for us to sit in

  • We are being asked not to attend if we are feeling ill with common COVID-19 symptoms, if we have been in close contact recently with someone who has the virus, if we have recently travelled internationally, or otherwise are somewhat likely to be carriers of the virus

  • We will be asked for our contact information, and our temperatures will be checked with a small machine which is pointed at our foreheads

  • We are expected to wear masks, except of course right at the time we are receiving communion, if we choose to do so

  • We are encouraged to use the washrooms of our own homes, but clean washrooms are available here

  • We are encouraged to use hand sanitizers, which are available around the property

  • We need to observe the physical distancing standards of 2M (6 feet), unless we are next to members of our families or people we live with

  • We are encouraged to fill the Church building from front to back; we are asked not to go from person to person chatting or getting caught up on the news, before the worship service begins

  • At least initially, we will not be handed service books. Congregational responses will either be displayed on a screen, or printed and handed out

  • There will not be congregational singing. There might be instrumental or recorded music played

  • If there is someone at the organ console, readings won’t be from the lectern

  • When the Book of Common Prayer is not being used, there will not be the customary greetings during the “Exchange of the Peace”

  • The money-offering will not be received in the usual manner. We will not be handing around bags or an offertory plate among members of the congregation. We are encouraged to use Pre-Authorized Remittance (for more information, or to apply, please contact the parish office)

  • When it comes time to receive communion, one at a time, we need to give each other the 2M space; we will not be receiving from the common cup; when in the Church building, please do not return to your seat by going down the chancel; please go through the Altar Guild room to return to your seat

  • We will not be having coffee and refreshments in the parish hall after the services. People near the door need to exit first. Please do not stay and chat by the coat racks.

 

Sunday Worship: What Will Not Be Different

The ministry of the Church continues unchanged. God’s Word continues to be proclaimed and sermons continue. We are continuing many of our ministries in the community. We continue with our devotions and our acts of ministry in the Church and in the world. We continue to offer the sacrament of communion. We continue to use our Anglican liturgies.

The core of what we do, and who we are as adopted sons and daughters of Jesus Christ, has not changed. How we do it, has changed.

 

 

Health Precautions, Risk & Anxiety

With regard to the pandemic, like everyone else in the North Bay, we are all on a spectrum. Some of us are very impatient to return to Sunday worship, and would be reasonably content with our lives being as they were before the pandemic, including hugging everyone we can, and sharing coffee and cookies in the hall.

 

On the other hand, some of us are quite anxious: “Is there a chance I could be an “asymptomatic carrier?” we might wonder. “I don’t want to become sick, or possibly make others sick, and so I intend to go out in the public as little as possible until I receive a vaccine.” For people who feel this way, they may be reluctant to come to worship at all, until they have a little more peace of mind.

 

Many of us are somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum.

 

Philosophically and medically, it is impossible reduce risk to absolute zero. But I and other leaders at St. Brice’s want to communicate that we are taking all the steps we reasonably can to reduce the risk to all individuals. We have exceeded the standards of the provincial government; we have met or even exceeded some of the stricter standards set out by the Diocese of Algoma. We are working hard to practice good health protocols, while at the same time joyfully living the Christian life together, as we are called to do.

 

Many of the changes for our common safety and well-being you will be able to see. Some, you won’t be able to see. We hope you will join us; but we understand if some parishioners hold back for a while.

The leadership can only do so much. We also depend on you to do your part: This means that everyone needs to practice good hygiene. If you are feeling ill, for heaven’s sake, please stay home, don’t come to St. Brice’s or elsewhere and risk spreading a disease. God has given you and me his Holy Spirit and reasoning minds. Part of loving our neighbour – one of the two Great Commandments quoted by Jesus, mind – is looking after our neighbour’s health as well as our own.

 

 

 

 

Pastoral Care

For those who are unwilling to come to the Church property at this time, Archbishop Anne asked me this past Thursday to ask you — How we can best meet your current pastoral needs? Do you want arrangements for communion to be brought to you at home for a time? Do you want to know the plans for Messy Church in the fall? Are you interested in Confirmation classes? Please don’t keep us guessing – keep in touch, and pass messages and requests on to the parish office.

 

On to a couple of other matters…

 

 

Garden & Reading

 

Along with having what I think is the best job in the whole world (really!), my study has large windows which overlook the back garden. While I was away last month, I know different parishioners mowed the lawn (thank you). As well, someone has been hard at work to make the garden beautiful. I think Anne and Eric Jarvi might be responsible, though I don’t know for sure. Anyway, thank you! I encourage parishioners to enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

As well, the Reading Room received a donation of books this past week, from Dave and Carol Dellandrea. Thank you! Summer time can be a great time to get some reading done. Please feel free to make use of our reading resources (bearing in mind COVID-19 precautions).

 

A book about the apostle Paul, Paul, by renowned Anglican scholar and bishop Tom Wright, was recommended highly to me. I bought it, but my wife began reading it first. I hear it’s a great book, and you might want to check it out.

 

 

 

 

Canon Law Review

 

For those who are interested in such things, we’ve been asked to support an initiative to assess canon law use among Anglicans, following the difficult General Synod of last year. If you want more information, etc., please go to https://youtu.be/jLvYYpEQkQ4 . (Full disclosure: I’m on the Board of Anglican Communion Alliance.)

 

 

 

Take care. I look forward to seeing you all soon.  In Christ,

 

 

Peter Armstrong

 

August 2, 2020

 

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” I Peter 1: 2b

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

I hope that your summer is going reasonably well. There are a number of updates I want to communicate about ministries at St. Brice’s…

 

On-line Worship

Each Sunday morning, different members of the deanery continue to produce a Service of the Word which can be viewed on-line. These continue to be posted on the St. Brice’s website:  https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=920

There are also a variety of personal devotional resources available, many of them produced by lay people at St. Brice’s:  http://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=1717

 

Outdoor, In-Person Worship

Under some conditions, outdoor gatherings are permitted by the Ontario government, but the Diocese of Algoma has further protocols which need to be approved before there can be substantial worship gatherings.

 

My hope is that we can have an outdoor service – or, depending on the demand if we are approaching the maximum allowed, a couple of outdoor services – later this month. I would like to consult the Advisory Board members about this, which will take place by August 13, and then we need support from Deanery officials. If all plans are in place for everyone’s safety and well-being, I will communicate this, later this month.

 

When we do gather together, there will be several noticeable changes: If Holy Communion is offered, it will be in only one kind; there will not be the regular “exchange of the peace;” there will not be congregational singing; we will need to register, either in advance or when we arrive, etc.

 

We will not be allowed to have the regular fellowship to which we are accustomed – with coffee or lunch afterwards in the hall, or with people going from one to another before the worship begins to chat together. I expect this will be a particular challenge for us

(including, but not only, me), because many of us are dear friends with one another, and we have not seen each other regularly for months.

 

I don’t want to be a liturgical policeman. The directions for not mixing are for everyone’s health and well-being, including our own and vulnerable people whom we love. One of the ways we are showing that we love our neighbours at this time (one of the two Great Commandments of Jesus) is by limiting our physical contact with one another. Please be understanding, and help one another observe good protocols like wearing masks and not shaking hands.

 

So, more details will follow later. We need to realize, though, there will be some changes to our worship when we do gather, and we need to encourage and support one another in carrying out good practices. If we do this well together, then we expect the restrictions can be relaxed somewhat in the future. If we are careless, this makes it more likely that restrictions will be tightened, or worshipping together will be further postponed.

 

Inside In-Person Worship

 

Gathering together in the Church building is planned in the diocese to take place in most parishes on Sunday, September 6. Protocols for worship outside will need to be observed inside to at least the same degree. Further details will be shared after I consult with the Advisory Board.

 

 

 

Cleaning & Disinfecting

 

There are clear directions from the diocesan office about keeping our property immaculately clean and disinfected. While we already strive to do this to a pretty high standard, all the parishes are being asked to do more. If you are willing to be part of a cleaning team – there will be training as required – please contact the parish office.

 

         

 

Personal Comfort & Pastoral Care

 

Obviously, some of us are healthier than others, and some of us are more anxious about possibly contracting the virus than others. I recognize that even if every possible reasonable step is taken to minimize risk of infection, when common in-person worship resumes, there might be parishioners who want to hold back from coming together until they feel safer. I am very concerned that everyone has good pastoral care at this time, and I know that not everyone has access to the internet.

 

 

There are volunteers in the parish, including myself, who are trying to keep in touch with people. However, please do not wait to be called. Feel free to call others, or to reach out if anything is on your mind or heart.

 

Seniors’ Homes

Since I came back from holidays, I have reached out to the seniors’ homes we serve (Empire, Barclay, and Cassellholme), asking for clarification about visitation and worship. When it is safe to do so, I anticipate these will resume again. If you’re reading this and are in a seniors’ home, we have not forgotten you!

 

 

Hospital Chaplain

Some of us know Mackenzie Bass-Simpson, who knows Quinn Clement and came to worship at St. Brice’s a few times this past year. Mackenzie is pursuing her M.T.S. degree from Wycliffe theological college. With the retirement of the Rev. Herb Nye as hospital chaplain a few weeks ago, Mackenzie has been appointed the new hospital chaplain. Mackenzie is pleased to hear from you if you know of a need for pastoral or spiritual care, regardless of a person’s faith background.

 

As many of you know, with the introduction of a new computer system in the North Bay Regional Health Centre last October 31, patients’ parish affiliation and religious denominations are no longer automatically recorded. If you are going to the hospital, please check that your affiliation is recorded; this makes it more helpful for Mackenzie, me and others to provide pastoral care.

 

Fardowsa Muhumed

This past December, the St. Brice’s Resettlement Committee sponsored Fardowsa Muhumed and her four children to come to North Bay; she is originally from Somalia. A couple of people have asked me how the family has been doing during the pandemic.

 

The family is doing reasonably well. I think they have three issues they are working on: First, in-person school learning was suspended around March Break. This was a real draw-back to the whole family, as developing English literacy skills is crucial at this time. Second, Fardowsa wants to sponsor her husband Hashim to come to Canada too. (When Fardowsa was first registered as a refugee, she was a widow. However, while she was in the Camp, she met Hashim; they fell in love and were married this past summer.) There are a lot of documents and forms in English (or French) which have to be completed, before Hashim would be allowed to come. The global pandemic has slowed the administrative processes at the refugee camp and in third-world governments to an extremely slow crawl. Third, Fardowsa will need to have a steady job by this coming December, to provide for her family and to sponsor Hashim. Getting a job is a daunting process for Fardowsa.

 

I want to express my gratitude to all the Committee members for the support they have provided.

 

Primate’s World Relief & Development Fund

 

The Primate’s Fund is a Canadian Anglican relief organization. Here is the link for an update about their ministry:

 

 

 

Update from PWRDF – July 16, 2020 – Archbishop Anne

 

(If you are unable to open this link, please contact the parish office.)

 

         

Local Anti-Racism Efforts

 

There has been a lot of concern expressed, especially this spring, about the treatment of some people of colour by some police officers. A local group has formed to help with education and awareness, called the North Bay Anti-Racism Action Group. They have reached out to St. Brice’s, and likely to some other local churches too. If you would like more information, or if you would like to participate in the group, please contact the parish office and I will provide their mailing address, and relevant email addresses.

 

 

 

 

Layreaders’ Conference 2020

It is Temiskaming Deanery’s turn to host the annual diocesan layreaders’ conference at the end of September. However, due to the pandemic, the conference will be held entirely on-line. Layreaders of course are especially encouraged to participate, but anyone can participate.

 

Here is a summary of the proposed itinerary for September 25-26:

 

7:00PM          Archbishop Anne Germond

7:30 PM          Judy Paulsen: “Responding to the Gospel”

9:30AM          On-line Worship

10:00              Jay Koyle: “Discerning One’s Gifts”

11:00              Break

11:15              Workshops:

      1. “Funerals & Pastoral Care” Ven. Marie Loewen

      2. “Prayer” Archbishop Anne Germond

12:00              Mid-Day Prayer

12:05              Lunch break

1:30                Workshops:

      1. “Morning Prayer Liturgy” Ven. Glen Miller

      2. “Preaching” Ven. Kelly Baetz

2:15                 Closing

 

If you would like to participate, please contact Carrie Birtch, c/o the parish office.

 

         

Financial Update

Here is a brief financial update, from our treasurer, Don Bonenfant:

Here is our financial picture as of July 31st. 

 

Revenue $83,787

Expenses $90,655

Deficit $6,868

 

Last year at the same time our deficit was $6,438 so we were in a very similar position.

 

Thank you for all those who have been a position to support ministry financially at St. Brice’s. If you’ve been meaning to drop off an envelope, please remember that our ministries continue, and a few have actually increased, during the pandemic.

 

This reminds me: We will not be allowed to pass an offering plate or bag back and forth when in-person worship resumes. We encourage parishioners to use the E.O.P. (Electronic Offering Program). I use it, and it’s dead simple. If you would like more information, please contact St. Brice’s Envelope Secretary Fay Ivany, the Assistant Treasurer in the diocesan office (705-256-5061), or follow this link: https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/about-the-diocese-of-agloma/electronic-offering-programme/ .

 

N.S. Property

 

Many of you know my wife Nancy and I just returned from Nova Scotia. Mostly we were away during my vacation, although I also had a study leave as well. Nancy would prefer that we not put photographs of the work we did on our little home on the parish Facebook page, but if anyone is curious, let us know and we will send a few photos.

 

 

 

Study Leave

 

While on study leave, I prepared a short resource to help equip people to read the Bible on their own devotionally. I expect these pamphlets, and perhaps short videos as well, will be published in September. If you’d like to have some fun and want to be on a camera asking a question, please leave a message on the parish office.

 

 

Thank You

 

Thank you for all those who contributed to the on-going ministries at St. Brice’s while I was away. I am sincerely grateful for the ministries (and all the ministers) here.

 

 

A Prayer for Remembrance of God’s Presence

I wanted to close with a short Anglican prayer which I think is lovely; I hope you will like it too:

 

O HEAVENLY Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our daily life we may never forget thee, but remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Sincerely, in Jesus Christ,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

June 21, 2020

 

 

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philemon 3

 

 

Dear Everyone,

 

I hope you all are well. There are several things I want to share with you this week…

 

 

Pastoral Emergencies

 

As most of you know, my wife Nancy and I will be leaving North Bay this coming Wednesday, June 24, returning July 30 – a combination of holidays and a study period. In the event of a pastoral emergency, please contact the Ven. Marie Loewen [705-497-4699; revmarie1952@icloud.com ].

 

    

 

Summer Corporate Worship

Outdoor Services: We are still waiting for directions about outdoor services. If there is provision for outdoor services of Holy Communion while I am away, celebrated by other clergy in the deanery, there will be directions in a future newsletter. We should not be surprised if there will be limitations about how many can gather at one time; people who want to attend might be required to register in advance. Details will follow when they become known.

Archbishop Germond has issued a pastoral letter of encouragement and appreciation:  https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/A-Pastoral-Letter-to-the-Faithful-in-the-Diocese-of-Algoma-June-2020-web.pdf

A general guideline document for Anglican parishes in Ontario was circulated this past week; please see https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Loving-Our-Neighbours-Ecclesiastical-Province-of-Ontario-TEMPLATE-FOR-REOPENING-FINAL-2.pdf

 

 

Pregnancy Help Centre

This week we got an update from the local pregnancy help centre. The information is too long to include in this newsletter. However, if you would like more information about this ministry, please leave a message at the parish office, and it will be forwarded to you.

 

 

Tuesday Evening Bible Study

If you would like to participate in the Tuesday evening Bible study, please contact Bill Burton (705-472-2706).

 

 

 

No Upcoming Mid-week Evening Prayer or Sunday Night Compline Services

There will be no services of Evening Prayer on Wednesdays, nor on-line services of Compline (late night prayers) on Sundays, between June 24 and July 30. There will be, however, weekly on-line Deanery services each Sunday, and worship resources, on the St. Brice’s website. (As always, if anyone wants printed resources, please contact the parish office.) Parishioners might want to participate in the short prayer services on Thursday evenings hosted by St. John’s parish – for further information, please contact the Rev. Beth Hewson at 705-472-6070.

 

 

Devotionals, Thank You

 

Thank you to the parishioners who contributed devotional materials, which are on St. Brice’s web-site. As well, several large-print copies of Our Daily Bread devotionals were delivered to St. Brice’s. If you want a copy, please contact the parish office.

 

         

 

Butterfly Release, Hospice Support

More information came into the office this past week, about the annual release of butterflies, as a fund-raiser for the newly-opened local hospice. If you would like more information, please see https://nnpcn.com/live-butterfly-release-a-celebration-of-life/ or contact the hospice.

 

 

St. Alban’s, Restoule

The congregation of St. Alban’s, Restoule, has decided to merge with the other congregations of Trillium parish. The Church building will be deconsecrated this coming month. Please pray for the congregation during this time of transition.

St. Alban’s has decided to share some items and furnishings with other parishes in the deanery and elsewhere in the diocese — including St. Brice’s. Sharp-eyed parishioners will probably notice a few additions to St. Brice’s when we gather again.

 

 

 

God bless you all. Each of you is in my prayers at least daily. In return, I am grateful for your prayers.

 

Most of you know that Nancy and I have a small home in western Nova Scotia. We will be doing some work on it this summer. I will try (I can’t promise) to provide occasional updates on our progress, sent to the parish Facebook page.

 

 

Blessings,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

June 14, 2020

 

“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  II Peter 1: 2

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

Once again, there are a number of things I want to share with you this week…

 

Reflection: Waiting

Many of us find ourselves in the position now of waiting – waiting to be able to get a hair cut or style, waiting to see when stores will be open, waiting to see when our regular services of worship will resume. Many of us don’t want to be waiting longer.

There’s a long tradition of “waiting” for people of faith, though:

  • Before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish people were waiting, longing, for the coming of the Messiah

  • Since Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, all Christians have been waiting, ultimately, for his return – to know fully the glory of God in heaven

  • In the season of Advent, we are waiting for the celebration of Christmas

  • In this season, we are waiting to be able to gather in worship once again.

One of the fruits of the Spirit is “patience,” the gift of being able to wait willingly, until God’s resolution in God’s time (see James 5: 7-11, Galatians 5: 22-23, etc.).

We believe that God’s timing is perfect – not for our agenda, but for our ultimate good. Could it be that God is using the event of this global pandemic to advance his purposes, not only in our care for one another, but even in this famine of common worship, together, for our growth and sanctification as his disciples?  I believe so…

 

Resumption of Regular Worship

As many of us know, the provincial government has given permission for services of worship to be held once again, up to 30% of a building’s capacity. Assuming the capacity is the limit determined by the fire marshal, for St. Brice’s, that would be a maximum of 36 people at a time, or whenever everyone is at least two metres apart from one another (whichever is less).

However, the leaders in the Anglican dioceses of Ontario are taking a cautious approach. Parish clergy got an email this past week, reinforcing the plan that the Church buildings not be used for Sunday worship until the end of August, except for recordings for on-line worship services.

There is more latitude to having common worship outside – such as in St. Brice’s back yard. Plans are still being made, and we are told to expect information later this month.

It looks like we will be allowed to gather, in family groups of a maximum of 10, two metres apart. For example, if there are three people in one household, and two in a second household, people in the same household do not have to be two metres apart from each other, but different households would have to be separated physically.

Parishes would likely need to submit a plan to the deanery (regional) officials, so they are reassured we are taking all the wise and necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.

So, while I expect we will be able to come together soon, it will look quite different from how we used to gather, up to mid-March of this year.

In preparation for meeting together in some form, the wardens and I are now preparing a proposal for the deanery officials.

 

George Floyd, Minneapolis

 

In last week’s newsletter, I included a short reflection about George Floyd’s death, and the subsequent “Black Lives Matter” protests. I was mistaken about the place of George’s death – it was in Minneapolis. I’m sorry about that.

 

Tuesday Meals

The Tuesday Meals continue, although they have been delivered during the pandemic, instead of people picking them up, on the first Tuesday of each month. Two changes are coming up: First, Amanda Adams is helping Krista Geden with the administration work, which has grown with the popularity of the meals. Second, the volunteers will be taking holidays in July. This means that meals will be provided on Tuesday, July 7, and Tuesday, September 1, but not in early August.

 

       

                                Confirmation Classes

I already wrote that I will be offering Confirmation classes, for youth and adults. Anyone is welcome to attend, including anyone who wants a refresher. One does not have to be confirmed at the end of the classes, but we are welcome to if we wish, if we haven’t been confirmed previously.

I invited feedback from my Anglican colleagues, and wrote this:

 

Dear Everyone…

What I’ve taught, and how I’ve taught it, has evolved for me. I continue to emphasize core teachings as found in the Anglican Catechism, etc., but I think the Christian life is at least partly about modelling and mentoring – perhaps a bit more like a blacksmith than simply a repository of unified teaching we know by revelation. The outline might look daunting to some, but some points I think can be touched on quite briefly. It’s all about grace.

If you think there are points which need to be added, edited, or eliminated, please bring it up with me.

If you would like to lead a class or two, either with youth or adults, please let me know. If there are youth or adults who have already been confirmed, but want to join in, they’re most welcome…

 

Below is the proposed outline, which might be of interest:

Confirmation Classes Outline

Summer-Fall 2020

Teaching style: Informed conversation.

Different classes for different ages/ needs:

Summary of Sharing with Youth: Material below.

Summary of Sharing with Adults: Reviewing material below, filling in any gaps, with particular teaching about the nature of the Church expressed in Anglicanism, and on-going discipleship – some points in less detail, others more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Coverage

 

As I mentioned previously, I will be away from St. Brice’s from June 24 to July 30 – a combination of holidays and study leave. In my absence, the Ven. Marie Loewen (705-497-4699; revmarie1952@icloud.com ) is on-call for pastoral emergencies.

If Holy Communion is going to be regularly celebrated, some time ago I arranged for the following clergy to provide coverage at St. Brice’s:

 

          June 28      The Rev. Dr. Derek Neal

          July 5         The Ven. Linda White

          July 19       The Ven. Marie White

 

Layreaders will also be available each week.

I don’t expect there will be regular weekly newsletters while I am away, but the wardens know how to share newsletters if needed.

 

 

Tuesday Bible Studies

 

Bill Burton has offered to host Bible studies while I’m away. This coming Tuesday, we will continue looking at Ephesians 4. To join on June 16 or 23, please contact the parish office. After that, please contact Bill (705-472-2706).

 

 

 

 

Microwave Oven

 

A parishioner has offered to give away a microwave oven. If you want it, please contact the parish office.

 

 

 

Canadian Survey Link

I participated in a recent survey about the global pandemic, and its effect on Canadian charities. If you would like to see the survey results, please go to file:///C:/Email/Information%20for%20the%20Parish%202020,%20Canada/Spiritual%20Development%20or%20Missions/April-June/covid19_final_results_en.pdf

 

It’s clear that a number of Canadian charities have been negatively affected by the current pandemic – with declines in revenue, and sometimes laying off staff. I am grateful, and appreciative, that St. Brice’s has been doing pretty well financially. Typically, our months with the lowest income are January, July and August. For those who are able to support our ministries and outreach financially, we are grateful for your on-going support.

 

Reasons for Church

Someone gave me the link to an article, “Ten Things You Should Know about the Church After COVID-19.” I thought it was a good article, and so am sharing the link with you:

https://www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-the-church-after-covid-19/?utm_source=Crossway+Marketing&utm_campaign=682a63a033-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_06_03_03_21_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0275bcaa4b-682a63a033-304714201

 

Obstacles to Reading Scripture

Some Anglicans know their way around the Bible very well; others – not so much. This summer I was asked to undertake a short project, to help Canadian Anglicans learn more about how to read from the Bible, and how to use what we learned responsibly in our everyday lives.

I’m hoping to get some problems or questions from some of you. I don’t really want to hear from people who are very comfortable with the Bible and use it regularly. I want to hear from people who are shy to try reading it (for whatever reason), or tried, and it didn’t go well (for whatever reason). Don’t hold back! Giving me ideas can help everyone.

 

Website Resources

 

Please keep in mind the devotional material which is available on the St. Brice’s website:

https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=920

 

 

 

Layreaders’ Conference

 

Temiskaming Deanery is responsible for hosting a diocesan layreaders’ conference, once every five years (September 2015, September 2020, etc.). Because of the pandemic, the planning committee plans to offer a shorter program, on-line, on Saturday, September 26. You don’t have to be a layreader to check out the talks and workshops. The proposed outline is below:

 

 

 

 

9:30am Start with on-line worship                                                             30 minutes

10am Judy Paulsen talk & discussion: “Responding to the Gospel”             60 minutes

11 Break                                                                                                     10 minutes

11:10 Jay Koyle: “Discerning One’s Gifts”                                                   60 minutes

12:10pm Noon Time Prayer                                                                          5 minutes

Lunch

        1:30pm, 4 workshops in the afternoon (choose 2)                                      45 minutes each

                                         Funerals & pastoral care – Marie Loewen

                                         Prayer – Anne Germond

                                         2:30pm, Morning Prayer, Liturgy – Glen Miller

                                         Preaching – Kelly Baetz

                                         3:30 closing

 

Missions Focus

St. Brice’s (A.C.W.) Anglican Church Women is a key way we support missions here at St. Brice’s. The A.C.W. gets its income three ways – from donations after parish funeral receptions, from their Spring Tea, and from their Fall Lunch.

The good news is that we seem to be a pretty healthy bunch. The not-so-good news is that the number of funerals held recently at St. Brice’s has plummeted. It seems that not so many people are dying; and when they are, families often opt just for a cemetery committal or a gathering at a funeral home. As well, because of the pandemic, the Spring Tea which was planned for Eastertide this year was cancelled.

I’ve realized this will significantly affect how much the A.C.W. members can contribute to missions, around Christmas time this year.

To my knowledge, no plans have been made. However, I hope that the parish might choose to take on a pandemic-friendly fundraiser some time in the next few months.

 

Evening Prayers

On Sunday evenings at 9pm, I have been hosting some short devotions, based on a resource from the website of the National Church. I thought it would be a nice way for people to finish their Sundays. However, there is only one consistent attender, who prefers the late-night service of Compline from the Book of Common Prayer. So, I have been offering the service of B.C.P. Compline instead. I will attach a copy of the devotions I had previously prepared to this document. If you would like to use it on your own, you’re welcome to. (If you’re not able to open the attachment, please leave a message at the parish office.)

 

 

“Virtual” Coffee

I have been hosting a “virtual” coffee gathering – really, a chance for people to say “Hello” to each other, and get caught up on the news – on Sunday mornings. However, I hope to be transitioning to offering in-person worship on Sunday mornings, and then I will be going on vacation. So, the last “virtual” coffee gathering I plan to host will be tomorrow (Sunday, June 14). However, I encourage people to keep in touch with one another. If someone else would like to host these gatherings, please let me know if you would like the Zoom coordinates.

 

Please be assured of my on-going love and prayers for you. I hope you continue to use good health practices. Remember most of all that the God of all creation loves you, and wants all people to know him as his adopted sons and daughters.

 

 

 

In Jesus Christ,

 

 

Peter Armstrong

 

 

 

June 7, 2020

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

“Grace and peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 1: 4b

 

I hope you are all doing well. Here are several points I want to share with you this week…

 

 

Forgiveness Teaching

Beginning this coming week, the Ven. Marie Loewen will be teaching a course about forgiveness. She writes:

 

Have you struggled with being able to forgive someone or something – or with even being willing to do so? Does the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”, always give you pause? A gospel-based understanding and practice of forgiveness will be a way forward into the freedom forgiveness brings. 

If this interests you, then join us for a 7 week online consideration of “The Freedom Of Forgiveness”.  This workshop, delivered via Zoom, will look at the barriers and misunderstandings that make forgiveness seem impossible, consider what God’s forgiveness and grace looks like and how we can, in obedience to Jesus’ example, forgive those who have hurt us (including forgiving ourselves sometimes!).  This is not a therapeutic intervention, so you will not be asked to delve into crippling events.  Rather it is an opportunity to understand concepts and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into an experience of giving and receiving grace using scriptural principles and a mildly bothersome event in our lives as “practice” in applying these. You will need 90 minutes once a week for teaching and discussion, an hour or so a week for reflection, a Bible and perhaps a journal. Sessions will be offered on Wednesday mornings at 10:30, and one evening a week (the particular evening to be determined by the evening participants).

Please feel free to pass this on to others who may be interested. Please contact Rev. Marie at revmarie1952@icloud.com for further information and Zoom coordinates.

     

 

Thank you for Support for the Medical Clinic, Diocese of Tarime

As we know, the Diocese of Algoma is in a companion relationship with the Diocese of Tarime. At this time, about $6000 has been raised for Personal Protective Equipment for the medical clinic where the bishop’s wife works. Thank you to parishioners here and throughout the diocese for your support.

 

 

 

 

Like Rhubarb?

 

There are some wonderful stalks of rhubarb growing in St. Brice’s back yard. Two parishioners have already helped themselves to make desserts or jam. Please help yourself – it’s accessible through the gate in the back alley. First come, first served.

 

 

 

 

Planning for the Eucharist: Desiring to Receive Communion

It is a strange time for clergy and lay people alike, that we are not able to share communion together as we are accustomed. Archbishop Anne and other Ontario bishops circulated a letter to the clergy this past Monday, encouraging us to take a time of rest, and indicating they do not want the Church buildings to be opened for regular worship, before this coming September.

Last week, the St. Brice’s Advisory Board asked me to communicate clearly to Archbishop Anne that there is a strong desire in the parish to be able to receive communion, which I have done. We do not yet have a date, but I would like us to be ready when we can share communion together again.

 

Some of us have a piety in which receiving communion as frequently as we are able is very important to us. For others, sharing communion frequently does not have the same degree of high priority.

 

Planning for the Eucharist: Restrictions

I anticipate that, whenever we will be allowed to gather together physically again, there will be restrictions. We will likely only be allowed to gather in small groups of five or perhaps 10. We will likely be allowed to gather outside before we can gather inside. We will be encouraged or required to wear masks, must sit apart and clean our hands, are asked to avoid touching our faces, and so on. If we cannot meet in the Church building to receive communion, I hope that we can gather in St. Brice’s back yard, when it’s not raining.

 

 

Planning for the Eucharist: Preferences

  • Some of us prefer to use the Book of Common Prayer; others prefer the Book of Alternative Services or the Kenyan Anglican liturgy.

  • A few of us have preferences whether to use the newer Revised Common Lectionary, or the older Prayer Book eucharistic lectionary.

  • Many of us have music which is particularly meaningful to us. We will likely be allowed to listen to recorded music before we will be allowed to sing together – projecting our voices makes it more likely to spread the virus if we have it.

 

When we typically meet on Sunday morning, we can’t all choose to have the liturgy just the way we want it, because there are too many of us. When we are meeting in small groups, then there is more flexibility.

Subject to the canons of this diocese (it should go without saying that Anglicans work within the framework of our common canon law), I am willing to celebrate using whichever liturgy is most devotionally helpful to parishioners at this time.

 

Preparing for the Eucharist: Practical Planning

So, if you would like to be able to receive communion with others as soon as this is allowed, it would be helpful if you identify, say, three others you would like to receive communion with. You need to agree together which order of service you want, and if you have a couple of music preferences (ideally, recorded), then please pass this on to Amanda Adams

AmandaErin_Adams@hotmail.com ; 705-477-8712 within a week – that is, by Sunday, June 14.

 

If it doesn’t matter to you with whom you receive communion, or which liturgy is used, then please contact Amanda and let her know. She might link you with others who feel the same.

 

 

Planning for the Eucharist: Practical Considerations

So, when I can celebrate communion with all of you, I will expect to be celebrating a number of times with a lot of small groups. Believe me, I will be very happy to have the privilege to be able to do so. These services of the Holy Eucharist will likely be a little shorter in time than our regular Sunday morning services.

 

My aim would be to proclaim God’s written word, provide a short homily, consecrate and share the communion element(s), to have a couple of pieces of music if desired, and washing, all within an hour. My thinking at this time is that I could celebrate communion at 8am, 9am, 10am, and so forth. If this appears too ambitious, you might be encouraged to know that in my first parish, I looked after seven congregations, celebrating one service right after another each weekend. This will be just like that, except that I don’t have to keep driving down the road!

 

Summer Holidays

I will be taking summer holidays, and while away, I am also going to be doing a short project to help Canadian Anglicans develop our biblical literacy. My wife Nancy, our cat and I will be leaving North Bay on June 24. The current health directives are than we can drive to our home in Nova Scotia, although we will have to self-isolate for two weeks after we arrive. We will be doing some construction work on the home while we are there, but we will also take time to relax as well. I hope that I can send you some photographs later next month. We will be returning on July 30. I intend to be sure that I am healthy before engaging in ministry here again.

 

While I am away, in the event of a pastoral emergency, the Ven Marie Loewen (705-497-4699; revmarie1952@icloud.com) has agreed to be on-call.

 

Last fall, long before the pandemic, I arranged for the Rev. Marie and two other deanery clergy to take Sunday services at St. Brice’s, as well as having two services of Morning Prayer conducted by layreaders. However, since we cannot gather in the Church building, that is moot. To be clear, I do not expect the Rev. Marie or others to provide communion to a lot of small groups while I am away, although I would leave it to their discretion to administer communion under exceptional circumstances when they are allowed.

 

Devotions

A sincere thank you to a wide number of parishioners who provided some devotions for the parish website. I hope that they will all be posted on the website shortly. It turned out to be a larger project than I had anticipated. There are currently 47 different files. All the glory goes to God (Ephesians 3: 20-21). We all have been given spiritual gifts for the common good (I Corinthians 12: 7); all believers share in Christ’s priesthood within the order of the Church (I Peter 2: 9). The so-so quality of some recordings is entirely my fault (Romans 7: 18b!). As well, I am not particularly technically ept.

 

My hope is that if many people are on-line watching daily videos of cats or waterfalls or whatever interests us, before we turn off our devices to go to lunch or to go to bed, we might take a moment or two to view one of the devotions, which I hope will be spiritually uplifting.

 

There are still a number of paper copies of The Daily Bread devotionals, which I would be happy to distribute to whomever wants them. If you do, please contact the parish office promptly.

 

On-line Worship

For those who have access to a computer or device and the internet, please keep in mind the weekly Deanery services on Sunday mornings, the Evening Prayers for St. Brice’s Sunday nights at 9pm, and the Thursday evening prayer services hosted by the Rev. Beth Hewson of St. John’s – not to mention opportunities to view worship around the world.

 

The ministries of the Church continue – we continue to offer the food bank, the Tuesday Meals, the on-line Alpha course, and so on. The Tuesday evening Bible studies, and the Sunday morning “virtual” coffee gatherings, continue. If you have misplaced the hyperlinks to join any of these gatherings, please contact the parish office.

 

 

Black Lives Matter, Demonstrations and Marches

I expect that all of us are aware of the recent death of George Floyd in Cincinatti, and the protests and demonstrations (and sometimes, the violence) which have been taking place around the world, including here in North Bay.

 

I thought it would be helpful for us to recall a couple of Bible verses:

 

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

 

This is the Word of the Lord.

 

God bless and keep you. 

 

 

Peter Armstrong, rector

 

May 31, 2020

 

Dear Everyone,

 

“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (I Timothy 1: 2b)

 

I hope you are all doing well. Here are several points I wanted to bring to your attention this week…

 

 

When Will the Church Buildings Fully Re-Open?

Well, none of us knows. This past week I participated in a presentation for Canadian charities, with the chief medical officer for health in NS, Dr. Robert Strang. It was a pretty sobering presentation. From a health perspective, worship services are considered relatively high-risk: There are vulnerable people among us, we spend a relatively long time together, and it’s not easy for everyone to keep two metres apart.

 

There will likely be stages to re-opening: First, up to 10 people gathering together, then perhaps 50, then perhaps up to 100. Coffee hours would likely not be allowed, at least at first; nor singing (we tend to project more air from the bottom of our lungs when we sing), nor playing wind instruments – all these elements increase risk. Keeping two metres apart would be required, people would need to be checked before entering the building, perhaps we would temperature checks before entering, and use of hand high-alcohol-based sanitizer or thorough hand washing would be required. Face masks would be encouraged or required. None of this is certain, but this is the direction that health authorities are thinking – at least until there is a widely-available vaccine, or until after many get ill and recover.

 

The Advisory Board is waiting for directions from health authorities and the diocesan office, and we are actively planning to be able to come together as soon as we can, but safely.

 

Forgiveness

The Ven. Marie Loewen plans to offer a study about “The Power of Forgiveness.” She writes:

 

Have you struggled with being able to forgive someone or something – or with even being willing to do so? Does the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”, always give you pause? A gospel-based understanding and practice of forgiveness will be a way forward into the freedom forgiveness brings. 

If this interests you, then join us for a 7 week online consideration of “The Freedom Of Forgiveness”.  This workshop, delivered via Zoom, will look at the barriers and misunderstandings that make forgiveness seem impossible, consider what God’s forgiveness and grace looks like and how we can, in obedience to Jesus’ example, forgive those who have hurt us (including forgiving ourselves sometimes!).  This is not a therapeutic intervention, so you will not be asked to delve into crippling events.  Rather it is an opportunity to understand concepts and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into an experience of giving and receiving grace using scriptural principles and a mildly bothersome event in our lives as “practice” in applying these.

You will need 90 minutes once a week for teaching and discussion, an hour or so a week for reflection, a Bible and perhaps a journal. Sessions will be offered on Wednesday mornings at 10:30, and one evening a week (the particular evening to be determined by the evening participants)

Please feel free to pass this on to others who may be interested. Please contact Rev. Marie at revmarie1952@icloud.com for further information and Zoom coordinates.

 

Confirmation

Different people come to Christian commitment in different ways:

  • Some of us were brought to church by our parents, and we baptized as infants or young children

  • some of us have recently discovered faith in Christ as adults

  • others drifted away from the Lord for a time and have returned

  • some of us formerly belonged to another local church, but now have made St. Brice’s our spiritual home.

 

If any of these applies to you, you might want to participate in Confirmation classes. For people who haven’t yet learned all the basics of the gospel,[1] we can help. For those who already have a Christian grounding, there’s the opportunity to learn more about the Church.

 

Later (this fall? the spring of 2021?), Archbishop Anne will visit St. Brice’s and will offer Confirmation. For people who have not been prayed for before by Anne or another bishop, we will all confess together our faith in Christ as summarized in the Apostles’ Creed, and Anne prays that candidates will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. For those who already have been confirmed, we are welcomed into this fellowship, and might be prayed for as well.

 

If you are interested, or would like more information, please get in touch.

 

Mowing the Lawn

 

This is very practical: When we come to St. Brice’s in late spring, people usually sign up to take turns mowing the front and back lawn, using the lawn mowers here. It takes maybe 45 minutes or so. If you are willing to take a turn one week, please leave a message at the office. We’d really appreciate the help to be spread out among a handful of households.

 

 

[1] The “basics of the gospel” include learning what God is like revealed through Jesus, what people are like, what it means to follow Jesus Christ, learning how to use the Bible, the Ten Commandments, the Creeds, prayer, Baptism, Holy Communion, and belonging to the fellowship of the Church.

 

The Festival of Pentecost

 

Sunday, May 31, 2020, is the Christian Festival of Pentecost, when we remember the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first followers of Jesus Christ, and upon us. There will be a special on-line service for Anglicans throughout Ontario. We are encouraged to tune in at 2pm or later on Sunday afternoon: https://www.province-ontario.anglican.ca/pentecost.

There will also be a special service at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Sault Ste. Marie:

https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/2020/05/29/diocesan-pentecost-service-from-st-lukes-cathedral/

There are also worship resources for this season, on the Diocese of Algoma website: https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/category/resources/liturgical-resources/

 

Please remember that, because of the special service for all of Ontario, the weekly Deanery Sunday morning service is not being offered on May 31.

 

 

Our Daily Bread

There are still a number of paper copies of “Our Daily Bread” daily devotionals at St. Brice’s. If you would like a copy, please leave a message at the parish office.

 

 

 

 

Same-Sex Marriage Statement

Archbishop Anne released a pastoral letter on the subject of “same-sex marriage” for the Diocese of Algoma, this past week. To read her message,  please see, https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/2020/05/26/archbishop-annes-pastoral-letter-to-algoma-on-same-sex-marriage-in-the-church/ 

 

 

 

Financial Update

Treasurer Don Bonenfant provided me with a brief financial update for up to today: The deficit (Jan. 1-May 31, 2020) is $1982. In 2019 at this time, our deficit was $4651. Our deficit for the month of May 2020 was $1012. Expenses are $1158 less in 2020 compared to 2019 between March 1-May 31, 2020. These figures are preliminary, but very likely will closely reflect the final figures once they’ve all been checked.

 

 

Music & Devotional Resources

 

Thank you to the parishioners who have already recorded short devotions or music. I expect these will be uploaded to the St. Brice’s website. More is to come!

 

Taste & See and The Anglican Planet

At St. Brice’s, we normally receive paper copies of three periodicals: The Anglican Journal, which has a copy of the Algoma Anglican inside it; Taste and See, and The Anglican Planet.

 

 

Copies of the Anglican Journal arrived this past week. If you want a paper copy, please contact the parish office.

 

Taste and See is a periodical produced by Anglican Renewal Ministries.  This month, this journal was produced as a digital copy. If you would like to receive a copy, please contact the parish office.

The last issue of The Anglican Planet is also produced as a digital copy. If you would like to receive a copy of it, please contact the parish office.

 

God bless you all.

In Christ’s love,

 

Peter Armstrong, rector