NEWS

April 18, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

Introduction

 

“Alleluia! Christ is risen!”

“The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

 

This ancient Christian greeting-and-response is used by many Christians throughout the season of Easter, which will be throughout April and early May this year. Christians understand that the resurrection is not avoiding darkness or death, but going through the process to new life — God’s great victory.

 

I am writing the day after the provincial government announced sweeping measures to try to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ontario. Many of us might not feel very victorious right now. It won’t be easy. It won’t be as soon as we all would like. However, healing to our land will come. We are living this out in the midst of a greater spiritual reality – Jesus Christ is alive, and we share in his resurrected life.

 

Some Helpful Bible Verses During a Pandemic

 

I acknowledge that many are struggling. (If you’re not struggling, you can skip this section!) You might find the following verses from the Book of Psalms helpful.  I picked them for people who are having a hard time during the pandemic:

 

Feeling isolated and crying out to God: “Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress – make haste to answer me.” (Psalm 69: 17)

 

Lament: “My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.” (Psalm 42: 6)

 

Lordship: “Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever.” (Psalm 45: 6)

 

Healing: “Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.” (Psalm 6: 2)

 

Ruler of Nations: “For dominion belongs to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.” (Psalm 22: 27)

 

Glory: “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I will sing your praise.”

 

There are a number of points which I want to share with you today…

 

         

Office Coordinator

Diane McCaskill began working in the office on Maundy Thursday. She is currently working from home. I’m very grateful to have Diane’s help with the administrative work of the parish, and I am very appreciative to you, the parishioners, for providing the financial resources to make this happen. I found it interesting: The main experience I felt when I knew Diane was here was relief.

 

No Messy Church This Month

As many of us know, for the past several years St. Brice’s has offered a monthly “Messy Church” programme – a combination of informal worship, teaching, fellowship and a meal. Since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020, we could not gather together. So, we began delivering packages each month, to households which participated in Messy Church. That’s continued until this month. Regrettably, because we can’t get the regular supplies when many stores have shut, and since travel and mixing have been limited further, we won’t be able to offer the Messy Church deliveries this month.

 

 

Link to Current Information about the Pandemic

Some readers have heard enough about the pandemic. However, if you want good scientific information, the link which the diocesan office uses can be very helpful:

Update on COVID-19 Projections
Science Advisory and Modelling Consensus Tables
April 16, 2021

 

Sunday Mornings Link

Every Sunday morning at 10:30am, some of us gather for fellowship and for a short devotional time. The link was going to expire next week, but I’ve modified it so it will work until May16:

 

Topic: St. Brice’s, Sunday Morning, fellowship & devotions

Time: April 18-May 16, 2021 10:30 AM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83150840765?pwd=MDJUYTFERzZIRktRdFlZWGdhSGg2Zz09

Meeting ID: 831 5084 0765

Passcode: 142215

 

Of course, the regular Sunday morning Deanery services are available on-line:

https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=258

 

Some parishioners are viewing worship services from around the world!

 

Screening in Faith

 

We want every parish and ministry in the Diocese of Algoma to be as safe as can reasonably be – that we be excellent stewards of our financial resources, that we provide an atmosphere which is free of any forms of harassment, that we observe good health practices in the food we prepare, and so on. As part of this commitment, several lay leaders and myself attended an on-line webinar provided by the diocese. We are responsible for teaching and guiding one another. More information will be passed on in the months ahead.

 

 

Teen Lunch Program

Most of us are aware of the Teen Lunch Program, and that providing teens with meals inside the parish hall had to be suspended during the pandemic. We might not be aware that this ministry is continuing, although in a different form. Volunteers have continued to meet for “check-ins” and prayer. Bill Burton has been delivering healthy snacks weekly to Chippewa High School, which have been received and distributed throughout the school. Thank you, Bill and the others, for the ministry you provide.

 

“Heaven Is Above”

Parish Hall Re-roofing Project

We hope that the re-roofing project will get under way at the end of May. I received a very nice note from an administrator of the Anglican Foundation, saying that they had received our grant application. The Anglican Foundation Board of Directors is meeting later than usual this year (May 20), but we hope to receive a favourable response a short time afterwards.

 

 

 

God bless and keep you this Easter season.

In the Name of the risen Jesus Christ,

 

 

Peter Armstrong, rector

 

P.S. This newsletter is being distributed to everyone for whom we have email addresses. We will do our best to circulate it to everyone, although we are limited by the current restrictions.

 

 

 

March 28, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

“We have this hope as an anchor [God’s promises through Jesus]

to the soul, strong and secure.”  Hebrews 6: 19a

 

“We Have This Hope As an Anchor”

All the parishes where I previously served were alongside or very near the seacoast, so the image of our faith being an anchor – a huge, solid weight, for the protection and well-being of the entire ship – is a powerful image for me. Although our world is somewhat chaotic right now — although we don’t know exactly how soon or in what way the pandemic will be resolved — our God is all-powerful and unchanging. We can have confidence and security through him.

 

 “Hope” today is often used in a tentative way (“I hope the rain will stop this afternoon”). But for the New Testament writers – not to mention Jesus Christ himself! – our hope in the Lord is strong and secure, and will see us through.

 

On Easter weekend, we will be focusing particularly on Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. We share in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Anglican burial offices (which obviously focus on our resurrection) proclaim that we have “a sure and certain hope.”  It is in light of this sure and certain hope that I write to you today.

 

When Will In-person Worship Resume on Sunday Mornings?

Well, that’s the million dollar question! Of course, we need to practice a very high degree of safe hygienic practices, not only for ourselves, but for others. That’s simply living out the two Great Commandments of Jesus (to love God, and to love others).

 

I had very much hoped that in-person worship at St. Brice’s would resume on Palm Sunday. However, the decision of Archbishop Anne, in consultation with the diocesan executive, was to postpone this. I cannot give an exact date at this time. I can tell you that the Archbishop has invited parish clergy to a meeting in the beginning of the Easter season, and when to re-open the parishes will be on the Agenda. I hope that I can communicate a re-opening date, as soon as that meeting concludes.

 

I take very seriously that as a servant of Jesus Christ, it’s my duty to offer opportunities for worship for everyone (not just people who have good computer connections), and to provide Holy Communion. I want to encourage you and to reassure you of my care for you, the flock, under our great Good Shepherd.

 

Vaccine Video

I will cheerfully receive whatever vaccine is offered to me. This is a vital part of the health strategy for all of us. I know there are parishioners who are “vaccine hesitant.” I encourage you to view the message I recorded, which is on the “COVID-19” banner on St. Brice’s website.

 

 

Contrasting Jesus and Judas – in the Old Testament

Many of us find parts of the Old Testament confusing, and would like to be equipped to understand it better. A bright young colleague of mine, Jeff Boldt, is hosting a webinar, about the Lord Jesus and the traitor Judas in the Old Testament. It will be offered very soon – Saturday, March 27, 1pm local time. If you would like to check it out, please go to the Anglican Communion Alliance website www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/anglican-communion-alliance-inc/events/two-shepherds-aca-webinar

 

Movie: I Can Only Imagine

Also this weekend – Sunday, March 28, 7pm – some of us are gathering to discuss a movie: I Can Only Imagine. Everyone is welcome.

 

This is a link to watch for free on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/1QOuhojQGfo

 

To rent or buy this movie, go to:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/i-can-only-imagine/8d6kgwxp5mt3?activetab=pivot%maoverviewtab

This movie is also on Netflix right now. People who wish can sign up for a free trial, and cancel after the free trial. 

 

Here is the link to join in the discussion, March 28, 7pm (please hold on to these coordinates, so you can find them easily):

 

Topic: Movie Discussion: “I Can Only Imagine”

Time: March 28, 2021 7:00 PM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88525826039?pwd=QlFvQitwcFhqb0N1cFJtUXNqRlIxdz09

Meeting ID: 885 2582 6039

Passcode: 659789

 

 

On-line Services

Of course, there are a wide variety of on-line worship services being offered, within the diocese, and around the world.  Diocesan and Deanery services in this upcoming week:

  • Luke’s Cathedral in The Soo is offering a Palm Sunday service on its Facebook page.

  • The Archbishop is offering devotions periodically morning and evening on her Facebook page.

  • In this Deanery, the weekly services will continue to be offered on Sunday mornings (available on St. Brice’s website).

  • This coming week, Holy Week, there will be a quiet on-line evening service of Compline on Tuesday evening, led by one of the clergy, and a service of Evening Prayer (led by a layreader in the Deanery) on Thursday evening.

 

However, I’d really like to focus on Easter weekend.

 

  • Maundy Thursday

  • Good Friday (Meditation on Jesus’ Seven Last Words on the Cross)

  • Easter Eve

  • Easter Morning

To access these services, go to the St. Brice’s website, Worship tab: https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=258

 

Good Friday, North Bay ecumenical service

St. Brice’s is one of a number of local churches who work together to offer a worship service on Good Friday (this year, April 2). Information about how to attend is shown on the banner below. This worship time is intended particularly for people who might not presently consider themselves Christians, but who want to consider the claims of Christ.

 

 

Office Coordinator

Parishioners know that we have been advertising for the position of an office coordinator. I’m very pleased to let you know that Diane McCaskill will be taking this position. This coming week, Diane will be in the office on Thursday afternoon, 1:30-3:30pm. The following week and thereafter, Diane will customarily be in the office on Tuesday afternoons, 1:30-3:30pm, and Thursday mornings, 10:00am-noon.

 

Stained Glass Windows

In consultation with our broker, the Advisory Board has decided to insure the Church’s stained glass windows separately this year (the premium will be about $150 more). We are exploring getting exterior coverings to protect some or all of these windows, and will reassess this coverage early in 2021. This is part of a larger project to ensure that our insurance coverage is adequate but not excessive for all of the property and contents.

Youth Outreach

I sincerely have much to be grateful for while serving at St. Brice’s. I think it’s fair to write, though, that most of us who are active in parish life are on the mature side of 29 years of age. I would like to strengthen our ministry among youth and young adults. I have been giving this some thought. At the Board meeting last night, we proposed undertaking some on-line consultation, to help better understand what people’s needs are, and how we might better engage with these needs. I will keep you posted as this initiative progresses.

 

Parish Hall Re-roofing Project

We are enormously grateful for people’s generous response in contributing to the job of re-roofing the parish hall. We expect that this job will be done at the end of May or early June. What has been contributed financially exceeds the costs to get the job done. Our plan is wait until we receive and pay the bill. Then, as we previously committed, the remainder of the donations will be shared equally among other property needs and missions which the parish supports.

 

 

Financial Update

While there were a lot of wonderful donations for the parish hall roof, overall donations to our regular ministry and mission items diminished this past month. We respectfully ask parishioners to stop donating toward the parish hall roof project, and to direct our donations towards the general fund. (Costs such as my stipend or the hydro bill aren’t as dramatic as seeing a new roof, but are still needed to do the Lord’s work in North Bay.)

 

 

 

These newsletters are brief summaries of what is taking place. You continue to be in my prayers regularly, and I am grateful for your prayers as well. To God be all the glory! I very much look forward to seeing as many of you as I can, in person, in the near future.

 

In Christ,

 

Peter Armstrong

March 14, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

“Incline your ear, and come to me;

Hear, that your soul may live;

And I will make with you an everlasting covenant,

My steadfast, sure love for David.”                   

Isaiah 55: 3

 

 

I am writing this on a blustery, but sunny, early spring afternoon. Among all the difficult news this past year about COVID-19, I thought it would be suitable to begin this newsletter with a prophecy of encouragement and hope, from Isaiah 55 (see above).

 

There are several things I want to update you about…

 

Parish Hall Re-roofing Project: “Heaven Is Above”

As you likely know, St. Brice’s applied to the Anglican Foundation for a grant to help pay for the parish hall re-roofing project. I was very pleased to receive a message earlier this week that the diocesan executive has recommended the project to be submitted from this diocese – the last step before it is considered by the Board of the Anglican Foundation, which will meet in a few weeks. We also received a very nice personal note from Archbishop Anne (who, by the way, is an Anglican Foundation board member), expressing appreciation for a well put-together application. Thank you to Rob McDonald, and all those who helped put together the application.

 

Thank you to everyone who was able to contribute financially toward this project. We have exceeded our financial goal. The treasurer suggests we direct offerings for St. Brice’s to the general ministry fund.

 

We earlier agreed that money raised for this project beyond what was needed would be shared equally between other property projects, and missions. I expect we’ll plan this out further at the upcoming St. Brice’s Advisory Board meeting.

 

 

Sunday Worship: Still On Hold

Based on an earlier message from the diocesan office, I was hoping that our regular Sunday worship services would resume on Sunday, March 25 (Palm Sunday). Diocesan clergy received a message this past Monday that, due to continued concerns about possible virus transmission during the pandemic, there won’t be our regular in-person Holy Week services this year. (The diocesan executive has decided not to choose a hoped-for reopening date, because they don’t want to get people’s hopes up, if the re-opening date has to be postponed again.)  While I understand why this decision was made, I’m really disappointed. I have reached out to the executive archdeacon; I hope to get clarification about the re-opening criteria. (If I receive it, I will certainly pass it on to you.)

 

Meanwhile, a number of on-line options continue. Most of these can be found on the St. Brice’s website [https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/ — under the tabs for “Lent” and “Worship;” see also the links on St. Brice’s Facebook page]. As well, many of these services are posted on the Temiskaming Deanery youtube channel :

  • I expect the Sunday morning Deanery services will continue,

  • At St. Brice’s, we continue to offer a fellowship time on Sunday mornings at 10:30am, concluding with short devotions

Topic: Sunday Morning Gatherings, 10:30am Sundays until March 21 inclusive.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89743902369?pwd=Z1pKMXBUdndsT2NYVEFjWmtMTTlRUT09

Meeting ID: 897 4390 2369

Passcode: 725658

  • Throughout Lent, clergy offer weekly services of Compline from the Book of Common Prayer, available each Tuesday evening,

  • Throughout Lent, layreaders offer weekly brief services of Evening Prayer, available each Thursday evening,

  • The Rev. Marie Loewen offers weekly reflections each Saturday morning in Lent [March 13: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUkez49t7Uo ]

  • Archbishop Anne Germond offers brief services during Lent on her Facebook page, on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, available about 7:15am and later,

  • Devotional material continues to be posted periodically on St. Brice’s web-site.

I know there are parishioners who “watch” services on Quebec, the U.S., England, and probably elsewhere. I know that on-line options don’t work for everyone, but I’m sincerely doing the best I can to provide worship resources for people during our present circumstances.

 

 

Ecumenical: Good Friday Gathering

St. Brice’s is one of a number of local churches who work together to offer a worship service on Good Friday (this year, April 2). Information about how to attend is shown on the banner above. This worship time is intended particularly for people who might not presently consider themselves Christians, but who want to consider the claims of Christ.

 

The Steering Committee is working hard to publicize this event in the local community, but really, the most effective way to invite people who are “un-churched” is for someone – you! — to invite them. Please prayerfully consider who you might be led to invite — someone you know who does not seem to have faith in their life right now, who you can invite to this event. Don’t worry about the response – that’s up to the other person, and God; not us. Our responsibility is to invite, simply and naturally (John 1: 46b).

 

It is also helpful if you promote this worship service on your own social media platforms.

 

St. Brice’s: Good Friday Gathering

A quiet, meditative on-line Good Friday service is going to be offered on Good Friday, led primarily by a number of laypeople at St. Brice’s. It is a combination of music and seven meditations, based on Jesus Christ’s “Seven Last Words on the Cross.”

 

 

Liturgical Resources from Spring 2020, Diocese of Algoma

For those of us who are more liturgically inclined, there are a number of worship services on the diocesan website, intended to be used in the home:

 

  • Agape service for use in the home

  • Solemn Intercession with Meditation on the Cross

  • Easter Vigil

  • Easter morning.

 

(These are from 2020.) Please go to:

https://www.dioceseofalgoma.com/2020/03/31/diocesan-rites-for-the-paschal-triduum-april-9-12-2020/  

 

Movie: I Can Only Imagine

This past Sunday, some parishioners gathered on-line to discuss the movie called The War Room. A week from this coming Sunday – Sunday, March 28, 7pm – we are gathering again to discuss another movie: I Can Only Imagine. Everyone is welcome.

 

This is a link to watch for free on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/1QOuhojQGfo

 

To rent or buy this movie, go to:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/i-can-only-imagine/8d6kgwxp5mt3?activetab=pivot%maoverviewtab

This movie is also on Netflix right now. People who wish can sign up for a free trial, and cancel after the free trial. 

 

Here is the link to join in the discussion, March 28, 7pm (please hold on to these coordinates, so you can find them easily in a week’s time):

 

Topic: Movie Discussion: “I Can Only Imagine”

Time: March 28, 2021 7:00 PM

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88525826039?pwd=QlFvQitwcFhqb0N1cFJtUXNqRlIxdz09

Meeting ID: 885 2582 6039

Passcode: 659789

 

 

Vaccine

I encourage you to receive the vaccine when it becomes available to you. I know that some folks are hesitant, because of mixed reports about the vaccines which are available. You might want to view this video which I put together: https://youtu.be/jp6ofG_qi0c

 

 

 

 

Office Co-ordinator

Parishioners who attended the recent Vestry (annual meeting) know that we have been making plans to hire a part-time co-ordinator for the parish office. The Board has come up with a careful hiring process. We have advertised within St. Brice’s, and also several other local churches in North Bay. The deadline for applications is this coming Monday. We will keep you informed as this ministry unfolds.

 

 

 

Compassionate Care

Diane McCaskill is the St. Brice’s representative on an ecumenical committee: Compassionate Care. The aim is for committee members to learn more about the local problem of Homelessness, and what steps can be taken to relieve it. This group has been working very diligently.

 

Along with some other local churches in North Bay, we will be sharing information occasionally about needs and resources. Here is an excerpt about some current needs:

 

The Good Samaritan Corner

The Compassionate Committee for the Homeless in North Bay recognize that the homeless have urgent needs.  If you would like to help but unsure what to donate or whom to donate to, please consider the following:

 

North Bay Food Bank (1016 Fisher St., 705-495-3290) is currently looking for toiletries, baby supplies, and individual food servings (ideal are pull tabs for easy access).

 

Education and Awareness

Did you know that when you donate items to Rebuilt Resources, the homeless and near homeless benefit?  Donations of used items allow Rebuilt Resources to offer low income and homeless people clothing and furniture at no cost.  For more information, please contact Rebuilt Resources at (705) 497-7878; 1356 Regina St.

 

Health Inspection

St. Brice’s kitchen was inspected yesterday by a local health inspector. People will be pleased to know that we passed with flying colours. Thank you to all the people who look after the kitchen, and who have been contributing to keeping St. Brice’s clean and tidy, especially at this time.

Time Change: Spring Forward

Please remember there is a time change this weekend: “Spring forward.”

 

 

 

 

God bless you all,

 

Peter Armstrong

February 28, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

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

 

 

I hope you’re well. You remain, as always, in my prayers.

 

There are a number of things I want to share with you…

 

When Will Regular Sunday Morning Worship Resume?

The million dollar question we all have is, “When will regular Sunday morning worship resume?”

As of this writing, we plan to meet on Sunday, March 28, at 9am and 11am. This happens to be Palm Sunday (also called, The Sunday of the Passion), the beginning of Holy Week.

 

We might not call this “regular” Sunday worship, though. Unless I were to have 2 broken legs, 2 broken arms, severe laryngitis, COVID-19, and be tied down with a freighter anchor, I will be there!! But I do not expect everyone will flood back at once. Rather, as people feel safe, or receive the vaccine, I expect more people will gradually return to in-person worship.

 

Of course, having regular Sunday worship also depends on the pandemic being under control in our area. If the health unit forbids in-person worship, for example, we won’t be gathering on March 28.

 

Presuming we are allowed to gather, here are the tentative plans for Holy Week:

 

I expect to discuss Holy Week in further detail with members of the Spiritual Development Committee, and will confirm details in a future newsletter. Please note that, even if we are allowed to gather in person, we might not undertake some Holy Week traditions (like foot-washing, or the Palm Sunday processionals).

 

Vaccine Recording

Some of us are eager to receive a vaccine; others are hesitant, or have read things in social media questioning the use of vaccines. This is a question about how can we evaluate what is true, and what is misleading. I have prepared a short video about this. I hope that it will posted on the St. Brice’s website soon. Feel free to view this, or share it with anyone in the community who might have questions about getting vaccinated.

 

           

Observing the Season of Lent

 

The B.A.S. Ash Wednesday Exhortation summarizes it well:

 

Lent is a time to prepare for [the Easter] celebration

and to renew our life in the paschal mystery…

I invite you therefore, in the name of the Lord,

to observe a holy Lent

by self-examination, penitence, prayer,

fasting, and almsgiving,

and by reading and meditating on the word of God.

 

The on-line weekly Deanery services continue, and can be found on the St. Brice’s website at:

https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=258

 

The on-line weekly Fellowship Gatherings (which end with short devotions) can be accessed at:

Topic: Sunday Morning Gatherings

Time: February 28-March 21, 2021 10:30 AM

 

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

Archbishop Anne Germond is offering “sun-rise” services on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, through her Facebook page, beginning at 7:15am.

 

During Lent, short late evening services (“Compline”) are offered on Tuesdays by the clergy, using the Book of Common Prayer. (I led the service last Tuesday, February 23.) These might be available through the St. Brice’s website in the future, but can also be accessed through the St. Mary Magdalene’s (Sturgeon Falls) youtube channel. Deanery layreaders are offering short services of Evening Prayer on Thursdays, using the Book of Alternative Services. (Bill and Anne Burton are leading the service this coming Thursday, March 4.) The Evening Prayer services can be accessed the same way.

 

There are also plans to offer an ecumenical Good Friday service on-line, accessed through Youtube, Facebook, and the local COGECO television station. Several St. Brice’s parishioners have contributed to this. The theme this year is “Hope,” and the hosts particularly want to encourage people who are exploring or considering the claims of the gospel to view the program. Please invite un-churched friends.

 

Lenten devotional resources continue to be printed (for those who do not have access to the internet, but want them) and are posted on the parish webpage – such as the Henri Noewen daily devotions:

https://www.stbriceschurch.com/wordpress/?page_id=4157

Parishioners are encouraged to watch The War Room, a movie directed by Alex Kendrick. There will be an on-line discussion about the movie next weekend. Please join us, using the link below (keep a copy of this handy):

 

Topic: Discussion: “The War Room” Movie

Time: Sunday, March 7, 2021 7:00 PM

 

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

If you need a DVD copy of the movie to be able to view it, please contact the parish office right away.

 

Layreaders especially are warmly invited to participate in the “Lenten Quiet Morning” on March 20. However, I understand other laity may attend too, if they choose:

 

Dear Lay Readers

of the

Dioceses of Algoma and Moosonee

You are invited to attend

A Lenten Quiet Morning

on

Saturday March 20th, 2021

9am to Noon

Led by Archbishop Anne Germond

Reflections on:

“The Body Language of Jesus through Holy Week:

Servant, Prayer, Saviour, Son”

Please email Liz Hamel to register at

adminassistant@dioceseofalgoma.com

 

           

World Day of Prayer Service

The annual World Day of Prayer Service, held on the first Friday in March each year, is being hosted on-line by Calvin Presbyterian Church this year:

 

Below is the information you need for your congregation to join us.

This year’s service has been done as a video with the introduction by the writing country, Vanuatu, and their service led by the Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada. It is well done.

Everyone can join service either via computer, smart phone or tablet or by home phone.

Please forward this email to any who might be interested in joining us for this special service.

Please encourage folks to join the service at 1:45B p.m. so we can begin the actual service at 2:00 p.m.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

With thanks for the body of Christ,

Rev. Frances Savill

Calvin Presbyterian Church, North Bay

 

Topic: World Day of Prayer

Time: Mar 5, 2021 01:45 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

To join by computer, tablet or smart phone use the link provided:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82805543849?pwd=ZTVQaGhuMEZGUExHV3REbFhrQW5XZz09

Meeting ID: 828 0554 3849

Passcode: 030521

 

To join using your home phone call:

Call:   +1 647 374 4685  

Meeting ID: 828 0554 3849#

Participant: #

Passcode: 030521#

         

Round Table on Homelessness

 

The Catholic Women’s League of North Bay has recently formed a “round table” to address the challenge of homelessness in North Bay. The St. Brice’s representative is Diane McCaskill. Please speak to Diane for further information or support for this initiative.

 

           

Keep in Touch

I want to express my appreciation to those involved with the informal networks to keep in touch with each other while we are isolated during the pandemic. Please consider calling people outside your circle of friends, and if you are feeling lonely, please do not remain in isolation. We would be pleased to talk with you. Some local health resources can be found at the following website: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19

 

           

 

Update on the Parish Hall Re-roofing Project: “Heaven Is Above”

 

This project is moving forward. The contract is being awarded to Steve Watson, of All Heights Roofing from Sturgeon Falls. This bid came in at just under $13 000, including taxes. The work is planned be done the last week of May, and we expect it will be completed within four days.

 

We submitted an application to the Anglican Foundation to pay for 50% of the job. The Deanery officials have already provided their support for the project. Next, we are reasonably confident of a recommendation from the diocesan executive at their meeting on March 9-10. It will then be forwarded to the Anglican Foundation board at their meeting in April.

 

                  

 

Office Coordinator

Parishioners who attended the Vestry (annual meeting) last week know that we are planning to hire a part-time office coordinator at St. Brice’s. Following input from the Vestry, and having consulted other parishes and the diocesan office, the Advisory Board is advertising for a candidate to be hired for four hours/ week, at the rate of $20/ hour. Half of that time is to be while the rector is in the office. This job will be offered as a one-year contract.

 

The ideal candidate has the following traits and competencies:

  • Answer telephone & deal with queries

  • Respond to email messages & file significant email messages so they can intuitively be found later

  • Is competent in Microsoft Office software

  • Can contribute to weekly PowerPoint presentations

  • Ensure volunteer roster are kept up to date

  • Prepare any special bulletins

  • Keep track of, and ordering, seasonal material (such as palm crosses, etc.)

  • Be flexible and creative, as tasks will vary from day to day

  • Be a friendly, effective presence, who reflects the ethos of St. Brice’s

  • Be willing to work with a high degree of independence, but who is also be an effective communicator

  • Other duties as assigned.

 

The successful candidate will need to undergo a Criminal Record Check needed, and swear to observe appropriate confidentiality. The office coordinator is accountable to the rector and the wardens.

 

The Board has considered carefully how best to proceed with the hiring process. We will first be advertising “in house” in St. Brice’s and in neighbouring local churches, before advertising the position publicly (if this is needed). There will be two steps to the hiring process: First, three lay people will review the resume(s). Then, two wardens and the rector will interview the candidate(s).

 

The deadline for submitting a resume is 15 March. Candidates are encouraged, but not required, to submit their resumes and a covering letter on line, to: stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca. Submissions will also be accepted in the parish mailbox.

 

Of course, an Office Coordinator will help with the administration of the parish. But that’s not all. We are investing carefully for our future. We hope that hiring someone will free me somewhat to invest in pastoral care and evangelization. However (as I have said before), I cannot do it alone. We are all called collectively to offer our gifts, to build up the Church, and to advance the kingdom of God.

 

Financial Update

 

Monthly income is typically down in the months of January, July and August. We are sincerely grateful to all those who were in a position to contribute to the parish hall re-roofing project. We appreciate all contributions which can be made for our ministry and outreach work.

 

           

 

What I Can Promise – and What I Cannot

Someone asked me the other day when I thought the pandemic might be over in North Bay. I cannot answer that. (Some questions are, as they say, “above my pay scale.”) I understand completely people’s longing for the pandemic to be over, and I want the same myself. No Christian can be promised a life without any trouble – in fact, sometimes we might have troubles because we are Christians!

There are, though, some things I can promise: I can promise that you are loved, more than you will ever know or ever to be able to comprehend, by the God of the universe, who has revealed himself to humanity by his Son Jesus Christ, in the power of his Holy Spirit. Even more, in the community of the Church family, in our own bumbling, beautiful way, we are learning together how to love like the Lord Jesus. I can promise that, though you might feel lonely, you are never really alone. I can promise you that death is not the end. I can promise that the flashes of beauty, the relief of forgiveness and the peace which passes understanding are not temporary, but point ahead to God’s coming kingdom in which there will be no more tears, or pain, or death, or sorrow. I can promise that in some amazing way, we will be reunited in Christ as the communion of saints, a great city made up of people both known and unknown to us. I can promise that pandemics are not the end of the story.

 

George Herbert, d. 1633

 

I happen to be writing this parish newsletter on the anniversary of the death of George Herbert, who is my favourite Anglican poet. The Rev. Herbert served briefly and quietly in a rural parish in western England in the early 1600’s. His devotion to his Lord, Jesus Christ, and his utter commitment to care for his parishioners as their local shepherd, are remarkable, and I think, very beautiful. He died relatively young. Here is a stanza of praise from a hymn he wrote, “King of Glory, King of Peace:”

 

          

  Seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise thee;

            In my heart, through not in heaven, I can raise thee.

            Small it is, in this poor short, to enroll thee,

            E’en eternity’s too short to extol thee.

 

God bless you all,

 

Peter Armstrong

February 14, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

“[Discipline] yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12: 11b

 

I hope you are well. Here is an update of several important matters for you.

 

2021 Annual Vestry Meeting

We hope you will join us for the upcoming Vestry meeting. It will be held on-line, beginning 20 February, 1pm (people can sign in any time after 12:45pm). Here is the information you need:

 

Topic: St. Brice’s Vestry Meeting — General

Time: Feb 20, 2021 1:00 PM

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

If you do not have access to the internet, but have free long-distance phone calling for Ontario, you can join the meeting by calling: 647-558-0588.

 

 

If you would like to join us, but aren’t sure how, there are parishioners who will coach you through the process. However, please leave a message at the parish office if you’d like help.

 

 

        Sunday Worship

In-person Sunday worship will not be held until Sunday, March 28 (Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week).

 

If you are able to access the internet, the following resources are available:

 

 

Topic: Sunday Morning Gatherings

Time: February 14, 2021 10:30 AM

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

If you are not able to access the internet, please contact the parish office (705-474-4005) for resources.

 

            Season of Lent

The season of Lent begins this year on 17 February (Ash Wednesday).

 

 

  1. New copies of The Daily Bread devotional have arrived. Please contact the parish office if you want a copy.

  2. We will be providing short daily devotions called Renewed for Life by Henri Nouwen

  3. Movie buffs are encouraged to watch the movie The War Room – it’s not what you might think! – and join us for an on-line discussion on 7 March, 7pm. Another movie for consideration: I Can Only Imagine. (Where is the theme of redemption here?)

  4. For those who want to go somewhat more in-depth this Lent, consider Paul: A Biography, by N. T. Wright (Harper Collins, 2018).

 

Pastoral Care

Thank you to the parishioners who are reaching out to call people during this time of isolation. Nonetheless, if you feel isolated, or if you think someone else might feel isolated, please pick up the phone and call. We always need one another, but perhaps particularly so at this time.

 

Parish Hall Roof Update

Parishioners who were unable to participate in the meeting on February 6, copies of the Minutes are available on the parish website, or by contacting the parish office (705-474-4005). We are pleased with how things are progressing – we received a very competitive bid from another contractor, and the application to the Anglican Foundation is progressing well. Thank you to the parishioners who have been in a position to be able contribute financially to this project.

 

God bless! Peter Armstrong

 

 

February 7, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

And all things should be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14: 40)

 

Thank you to all those who were able to participate in the special Vestry meeting earlier this afternoon. Here are several follow-up points:

 

Income Tax Receipts

 

2020 Income Tax receipts will be available to pick up when the St. Brice’s Food Bank is open, this coming Thursday from 9:00-10:30am. If this is not a time which will work for you, please contact the parish office and we will make other arrangements.

 

 

Parish Hall Re-roofing Project

 

The following motion was passed today:

 

BE IT RESOLVED

  • That the Property Committee be charged with re-roofing the parish hall roof with shingles this summer,

  • And that an Application to the Anglican Foundation be undertaken with our full support;

  • And that any excess income from the congregation be directed to be used equally between other property projects and the mission work of the congregation.

We expect the cost of the roofing job will be about $15 000, and we are applying to the Anglican Foundation for a grant to pay for half the expenses. There is almost $3000 in the Building Fund. This means we need to raise elsewhere $4500 (or $12 000 if we do not get the planned-for grant). We need to submit the Anglican Foundation grant application by the end of next week (the sooner, the better).

 

 

If you are in receipt of an income, and if you are in a position to be able to help, would you consider making a donation or a pledge to pay for the new parish hall roof in 2021? We hope that people will make an offering (or make a pledge for a future offering), before we submit the grant application.

 

If you want to make a pledge of a future donation, please contact the treasurer (Don Bonenfant), the envelope secretary (Fay Ivany) or myself, in writing, some time within the next ten days.

On-line Regular Vestry Meeting

 

The second St. Brice’s Vestry meeting for 2021 will take place two weeks’ from now, on Saturday, 20 February 2021, starting at 1pm. The ban on large gatherings may be relaxed by this time. If so, this meeting will be a hybrid of an in-person and on-line gathering. Parishioners are still encouraged to meet on-line. People who are unable to meet on-line can gather in the parish hall, still observing the social distancing directions, and wearing masks. This meeting will include adoption of reports, and other regular business.

 

(If the current lockdown is extended through 20 February, this meeting will be on-line only.)

 

Here is the information to join this meeting on-line:

 

Topic: St. Brice’s Vestry Meeting — General

Time: Feb 20, 2021 1:00 PM

If you do not have access to the internet, but have free long-distance phone calling for Ontario, you can join the meeting by calling: 647-558-0588. 

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

 

God bless, in Christ’s love,

 

Peter Armstrong

P.S. If you want to join us for on-line fellowship and a short devotion tomorrow (Sunday morning

Topic: Sunday Morning Gatherings

Time: February 6, 2021 10:30AM

Please click on this link:

Zoom 

Meeting ID: 876 8214 6646

Passcode: 928819

January 24, 2021

 

 

Dear Friends,

 

As we know, the regular pattern of Sunday morning worship has been disrupted, due to the current pandemic. The regular Vestry (annual meeting), which had previously been scheduled for 7 February, has been postponed. After consultation with the parish wardens and members of the Spiritual Development Committee, I propose that two meetings take place.

 

Notice of First Vestry Meeting: Saturday, 6 February

 

The first St. Brice’s Vestry meeting for 2021 will take place during the current lockdown. It will take place using the Zoom on-line platform, on Saturday, 6 February 2021, starting at 1pm (you can sign in any time after 12:40pm). This is a special Vestry meeting, to address property matters (particularly the parish hall roof), and our intent to apply to the Anglican Foundation for financial support.

 

Here is the information to join the meeting on-line:

 

Topic: St. Brice’s Vestry Meeting — Property

Time: Feb 6, 2021 1:00 PM

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

 

 

Directions to Join the Meeting 

If you would like to participate, but are unused to using the Zoom platform, there are parishioners who are willing to coach you. Please contact the parish office by the end of this month if you would like help.

 

If you do not have access to the internet, but have free long distance phone calling for Ontario, you can join the meeting by calling: 647-558-0588.

 

If you would like to participate in the meeting, but cannot use the internet (not “don’t want to,” but “can’t”), and if you can’t afford the long-distance charges to call by phone, please contact the parish office by the end of this month, and we will try to make arrangements for you.

 

Notice of Second Vestry Meeting: Saturday, 20 February

 

The second St. Brice’s Vestry meeting for 2021 will take place two weeks’ later, on Saturday, 20 February 2021, starting at 1pm. The ban on large gatherings may be relaxed by this time. If so, this meeting will be a hybrid of an in-person and on-line gathering. Parishioners are still encouraged to meet on-line. People who are unable to meet on-line can gather in the parish hall, still observing the social distancing directions, and wearing masks. This meeting will include adoption of reports, and other regular business.

 

If the current lockdown is extended through 20 February, this meeting will be on-line only.

 

Here is the information to join this meeting on-line:

 

Topic: St. Brice’s Vestry Meeting — General

Time: Feb 20, 2021 1:00 PM

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

Reminder of Regular Sunday Morning Fellowship & Devotional Gatherings

 

Topic: Sunday Morning Gatherings

Time:

Jan 24, 2021 10:30 AM

Every week on Sun, 4 occurrences

Jan 24, 2021 10:30 AM

Jan 31, 2021 10:30 AM

Feb 7, 2021 10:30 AM

Feb 14, 2021 10:30 AM

 

For security reasons, the hyperlink and passcode are not posted,

please contact the parish office for both at stbrices.northbay@yahoo.ca

God bless,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

P.S.

Please keep track of this message, so you can easily retrieve it and join the scheduled gatherings. Thank you!

January 17, 2021

 

Dear Friends,

 

I want to remind everyone that our regular in-person Sunday worship, and our Vestry (annual meeting) is postponed during this period of the pandemic. We will provide plenty of notice about when we can come together in person again.

 

You might be interested in reading the recent pastoral letter from Archbishop Anne Germond, accessible at: www.dioceseofalgoma.com

If you, or someone you care about, is in distress at this time, you might want to view some video resources, produced by a group associated with a large Presbyterian Church in New York City: www.counseling.redeemer.com

 

On Sunday, January 10th, I sent a Zoom invitation to gather on Sunday morning, January 17th, at 10:30am, to everyone whose email addresses we have (for security reasons, the coordinates are not posted on the parish website). Please feel free to join us for a brief period of fellowship and devotion.

 

Please also remember the Deanery on-line services and other resources, which are
posted on the parish website.

In Christ’s love,

Peter Armstrong

January 10, 2021

 

Dear Freinds,

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

II Corinthians 1: 2

There are a number of points I want to share with you… This information is also on video and audio recordings, which I expect will be available on the St. Brice’s website and Facebook page.

 

We had planned to resume in-person Sunday morning worship on 24 January, but due to the present health restrictions, this will be postponed until 31 January, at 9am and 11am. (If there are longer closures, this will be announced.)

We plan to hold the Vestry (Annual Meeting) on Sunday, February 7, 1pm. This will be a mixture of in-person and an on-line format. Information about how to join on-line will be sent around the end of this month; we encourage you to join us. If you are responsible for an Annual Report, reports are due no later than 25 January. The sooner the reports are turned in, the easier it is for the office workers.

 

Overall, our Financial Status is quite good: We ended the year with $6374.50 more than when we started on 1 January last year. We should note, however, that we received $10 330.09, as a result of the diocese applying for a federal wage grant. As well, the Tuesday Meals fundraiser brought in about $7000 after expenses.

Please consider using the Electronic Offering Program, if you aren’t already. If arranging to transfer money automatically once a month from your account to St. Brice’s puts you in a difficult position, consider using that option on a twice-a-month basis. We will also be circulating 2021 envelope boxes for people who use them.

Nonetheless, given that there were no Sunday services for about five and a half months in 2020, and given that some parishioners have been affected by job losses, we have lots of reasons to be grateful.

 

Roof: The parish hall roof needs to replaced, once the weather allows. We are still getting price quotations, and hope to have a fuller report for the Vestry. We plan to apply for a grant from the Anglican Foundation, to help substantially with the costs. Our grant is strengthened if we have some money set aside for this purpose. Only three Anglican Foundation grants are granted from each diocese each year, so it’s in our interest to submit our application very soon. If you’re able to contribute to the roof work, along with your regular offerings, please do so.

 

Office Help: The Advisory Board is bringing a proposal to the Vestry to have some paid help in the office. Please give this thoughtful consideration and prayer.

 

Parish Photo Directory: Once the pandemic ends, we plan to publish a Parish Photo Directory this year. There will be no cost to the parish for this.

 

Homelessness: There will be a meeting this coming Tuesday, organized among a group of churches in North Bay, to consider how we might better address the issue of “homelessness” in the city. They are looking for a representative from St. Brice’s. If you are interested in this matter, please contact the parish office.

 

Tuesday Meals: These have been scaled back for early January and February, partly to give the volunteers a rest, partly because of the pandemic. We are grateful that several new volunteers have offered themselves for this ministry.

 

On behalf of St. Brice’s, I want to express our

thanks and appreciation to Tara King,

who looks after the St. Brice’s website,

and who has been doing a lot of posting during this pandemic.

Thank you for what you do, Tara!

 

Lent begins early this year – February 17. Please remember to ask for copies of Our Daily Bread, if you use this devotional. For anyone who wants something more in-depth, consider getting a book about the apostle Paul (appropriately called Paul), by Bishop N. T. (“Tom”) Wright. There is a series called “Anglicans Reading the Bible,” with me speaking, which might be of interest to folks. More information will be posted in the weeks ahead.

 

 

 

God bless, in Christ’s love,

Peter Armstrong

 

A General Intercession

 

Remember, Lord, your people bowed before you, and those who are absent through age, sickness, or any other cause. Care for the infants, guide the young, support the aged, inspire the faint-hearted, and bring the wandering to your fold. Journey with the travellers, encourage the oppressed, defend the widows, deliver the captives, heal the sick. Strengthen all who are in tribulation, necessity, or distress. Remember for good those who love us, and those who hate us, and those who have asked us, unworthy as we are, to pray for them. Remember especially, Lord, those whom we have forgotten. For you are the Helper of the helpless, the Saviour of the lost, the Refuge of the wanderer, the Healer of the sick. You know the need of all and have heard each prayer: save us in your merciful loving-kindness and eternal love;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

December 21, 2020

 

 

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you are all well

 

I’m writing about upcoming worship services at St. Brice’s. As most of us are aware, the provincial government announced today a province-wide shut-down, with the aim of controlling the spread of the COVID-19. As well, later this afternoon, Archbishop Anne Germond sent a message to the clergy about parish closures. Archbishop Anne’s message can be found on-line at:

Pastoral Letter from Archbishop Anne Germond

 

What are the implications for St. Brice’s?

There will be no regular Sunday morning services, beginning this coming Sunday, December 27, until Sunday, January 24.

 

What about Christmas services?

Archbishop Anne encourages, but has not required, that parishioners view Christmas services on-line. The wardens and I prayed and spoke together about this, earlier this evening. As well, I’ve consulted with members of the Band, and Billi Onley-Lewis. We plan to produce two on-line Christmas services – one traditional, one contemporary. I expect these will become available on-line on Christmas Eve, at the following link: Online Services

I encourage you to view them, and I hope they will be a blessing to you. The intention in offering on-line worship is not to decrease the privilege of worship, but to help protect our health.

We also acknowledge that there will be parishioners whose needs cannot met by on-line worship —  obviously, those who do not have access to the internet can’t go to the webpage. So, after some consideration, we have decided to make the Church building available for worship services we had already planned (2pm, 7pm, 9:30pm on Christmas Eve; 11am on Christmas Day). Of course, the cleaning protocols and the hygiene practices for whoever gathers still apply. The intention in making several services available is not to go against the spirit of good health practices, but to promote them – the fewer people who gather together at once, the better.  

 

What about on-line services from 3-17 January 2021?

I haven’t yet spoken to my colleagues about this. If there are not Deanery-wide on-line services, then St. Brice’s will offer something.

 

What about pastoral care?

My commitment to you to provide the very best pastoral care that I can is unwavering – perhaps especially so at this time. I will do my best to reach out to you. I encourage us all to show our care to one another – not just to fellow parishioners, but to neighbours. God gave his Son for all people.

 

Can the Christmas Story show us anything about this time?

I believe it can. Mary and Joseph were certainly physically isolated from friends and family at the time of Jesus’ birth. No doubt it was a strange and confusing time. But it was exactly at this time that God’s redemption of the world began a wonderful new chapter, with the Incarnation of Jesus. God’s amazing love and mercy do not change. One day in the not-too-distant future, the pandemic will be over. God’s purposes through his Church continue. Thanks be to God.

 

Advent blessings,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

 

December 6, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

 

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 14

 

I sincerely hope you are all well. You remain in my daily prayers.

 

There are several things I want to share with you:

 

A.C.W. On-line Auction

As many of you know, a key way St. Brice’s supports missions, both locally and around the world, is through the A.C.W. (Anglican Church Women). During the pandemic, their regular sources of fund-raising could not be offered. An on-line auction was offered for two weeks this past month; almost all of the donated items were distributed this morning. I don’t know the exact figure, but I know over $1200 was raised in this endeavour.

 

I have observed that a number of other Canadian churches have recently scaled back the outreach initiatives which they previously offered. I am extremely proud that during this trying time of a global pandemic, lay people here were not just thinking of themselves, but others. I want to express my appreciation to all the bidders, donors, cooks, etc., who collectively made this auction possible.  Thank you.

 

Sponsored Family

A year ago today, the Resettlement Committee here welcomed Fardowsa Muhumed and her four children to North Bay. Fardowsa and her four children are originally from Somalia, but due to the on-going civil conflict and personal tragedies, they fled to Uganda, where they had lived in a U.N. refugee camp for the previous seven years. It has been a significant adjustment for the family to adapt to life in northern Ontario. I’m pleased to write that Fardowsa has secured a full-time job, and is working tirelessly for the welfare of herself and her family. Many parishioners have supported the family directly and indirectly, setting up their apartment, helping with school orientation, facilitating financial support, helping with government forms, etc. I particularly want to express my gratitude to Fay, Bill, Colin, Andrea, and Nancy, and the Rev. Beth Hewson from St. John’s, who served on the Resettlement Committee. Our legal responsibilities toward the family end today, but I am sure the friendships will endure.

 

 

Roof

We’ve been advised that the parish hall will need to be re-roofed this coming year — when the weather gets warmer. I anticipate we will be getting price quotations, and there will likely be an update at the Vestry meeting on this coming February 7. When needed, your generous support would be gratefully received. (Incidentally, I expect that the upcoming Vestry meeting will be a hybrid of in-person and on-line participation. More information will be available, and circulated, early in the new year.)

 

Advent

We are in the midst of the Church season called Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Messiah. There will be several special services:

 

Lessons & Carols: Unfortunately, St. Brice’s will not be able to offer our annual Service of Lessons and Carols, as congregational singing is not allowed, due to increased risk of unintentionally passing on the virus. There will, however, be a National Service of Lessons and Carols, offered on-line on December 18, at 8pm local time. Please see www.anglican.ca/lessonsandcarols for more information.

 

Blue Christmas Service: We acknowledge that the Christmas season is difficult for some of us. St. Brice’s will be hosting a Blue Christmas Service on Sunday, December 20, at 4pm. If you have a particular music request, please complete and submit a copy of the form in the narthex (Church entrance).

 

Service of Hope: There will be a diocesan service of hope, offered on-line on Sunday, 13 December at 2pm. Further information will be posted on the diocesan website, a few days before the service – see

www.dioceseofalgoma.com. A link might also be posted on the parish Facebook page.

 

Christmas Eve Services

We have given a great deal of consideration to our Christmas Eve services this year. Our intention is to be hospitable to the highest degree possible. We are determined to worship Almighty God in both in-person and on-line formats, because we recognize that within this community, we need to offer both. We are absolutely committed to upholding the safe health practices which are required.

 

The principal changes this year are that (1) we will be adding a service at 2pm on Christmas Eve; (2) in the event the Church building becomes full to the capacity we are allowed, worshippers who arrive later will be invited to worship in the parish hall. (That is, the parish hall is for overflow, if needed.) Those in the parish hall, if needed, will be asked to take their overcoats with them, and to exit through the sidewalk door. Those in the hall will be able to hear the service, and will be able to receive communion, but will not likely be able to view the service.

 

The Service Times

December 24

2pm

(with Organ) Contemporary Worship

 

7pm (with Band) Contemporary Worship

(this service at least will be recorded and available on-line)

 

9:30pm, Traditional Service (B.A.S., p. 230)

 

December 25

 

11am

(Book of Common Prayer)

 

All services will be celebrations of Holy Communion. Of course, we will be expected to mask, observe social distancing, observe the markings on the pews where to sit, along with other precautions. There will be cleaning teams between each of the services. Please don’t wait to be asked; if you would be willing to take a turn helping, please contact the parish office, or contact warden Deb Young. The service on December 27 will be at 10am.

 

Finances

Although a number of local churches and other charities have reported a significant drop in income during the pandemic, St. Brice’s is in a relatively good position. Typically, we receive a significant portion of our annual income in the month of December. As of 30 November, we had a $5314 surplus – that is, we have $5314 more in our general bank account now than we did on 1 January. Most of all, that is because of the generosity from those of us who can afford to be financially generous. We strive to be good stewards of what has been entrusted to our care. Money is one of the tools which makes ministry happen. Thank you.

There are two other reasons why we have a surplus – first, the diocesan office applied for a wage subsidy from the Canadian government, and we received $9336 as a result. As well, the Tuesday Meals ministry is currently a revenue stream; $6566 was received in fund-raising this year, which was almost all through this ministry. So, we are doing relatively well, and a number of people have been generous; but we do not want to become complacent either.

 

What Christmas Is Really About

I know that the current pandemic has been hard for many people, and a number of parishioners have reduced their participation in parish life, out of concern for their own health, or for loved ones. I am absolutely committed to providing pastoral care to the best that I can. I am not always aware of everything that goes on in people’s lives. If you would like a visit or a talk, please don’t wait for me to call – feel free to call me, or to reach out to one another.

 

As always, I am grateful for your prayers. I am absolutely convinced that prayer affects our world for good.

It’s worth bearing in mind that, although this pandemic was a surprise to us, it was not a surprise to the Lord. God continues to unfold his purposes among us, and we are learning to cooperate with him, even when times are tough.

 

For those of us who will be missing family members this Christmas – including myself and my wife – it is worth remembering, and sharing, that Christmas ultimately is about the birth of Jesus, the incarnate Son of God. These hard times are a good time to state afresh the wonderful story of the gospel.

 

May God bless and keep you. In Jesus’ love,

 

Peter Armstrong

 

P.S. Don’t forget tomorrow is the first Sunday of the month – service time is 10am.

 

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

[ www.stbriceschurch.com ]. 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:

www.anglicancommunionalliance.ca

 

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

 

Dear Friends,

 

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

 

 

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 www.stbriceschurch.com 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