April 5 – Message from Rev. Jonathon
April 5, 2020
It feels very unusual not to be able to mark Palm Sunday and Holy Week (the most important part of the Christian year) together in person this year. During this pandemic we are all learning what it means to be a community without actually gathering in person.
As we begin Holy Week, I wanted to update you on several new and ongoing developments, and let you know how we are continuing to be the active Church that God has called us to be during these times.
Recorded services are available on our YouTube channel, including new videos have just been uploaded for this week for Palm Sunday. If you are having difficulty finding the videos please follow the instructions below:
(1) Go to the St. Paul’s Almonte YouTube channel at the following link:
(2) The videos are arranged with the most recent ones (for this week) at the top or left of the page, depending on how your browser is configured.
(3) The videos are arranged by date and by service. I am doing two services of Morning Prayer each week – one for the 8:30/BCP service and one for the 10:30/BAS service. The readings and the sermon are the same for each service.
I am now using video editing software to join the two halves of each service together to make one video for each service which should make the right video simpler. I have reloaded the videos from last week’s services using this simplified format.
I would like to offer a huge thank you to Patrick Gallagher (Michael and Cathy’s son) for making the video graphic that I am using at the beginning and ending of all our videos.
Staying Connected with Technology
During this period of physical distancing, many of us are discovering the benefits of using Zoom, Skype, and other free video conferencing software. These can be used for holding online meetings and services. Unlike recorded videos on YouTube, Zoom and Skype allow multiple people to interact by video in real time. We have already used Zoom successfully to hold a virtual meeting of our Open Table group this past Thursday. Using both Zoom and Skype is free and you do not need to sign up for an account to join a meeting.
If you are interested in joining an online prayer group using video conferencing software, please email the office at: [email protected] Once we receive your email, we will be in touch with instructions on how to join the group.
Staying Home, Stopping the Spread, Saving Lives
In order to protect ourselves and the community, both our diocese and the province have ordered that all church buildings must be closed. In a letter to clergy, our Bishop has outlined only a few essential activities that are exceptions to this order. These include AA meetings, food bank activities, maintenance and repairs, and essential office administrative tasks. If you have a key to the church, please do not use the church for non-essential activities. Please contact me at: [email protected] if you have any questions about which activities are permitted.
Supporting the Food Bank
As I mentioned last week please continue to support the Food Bank if you are able. With many people being laid off from work and children not benefiting from school breakfast programs while schools are closed, the need for the Food Bank’s services will only increase. You can drop donations of non-perishable food at the donation bin at the local grocery store or you can make an online donation to the Food Bank at the following link: lanarkcountyfoodbank.ca/donate/donate-money
Marking Palm Sunday
Due to the risk of infection we have decided not to distribute palm branches and palm crosses this year. They will be distributed once we are able to meet in person again or they will be saved for Holy Week next year. If you would like to mark Palm Sunday in a tangible way we are encouraging you to find some greenery near where you live and hang a small piece on your front door.
Worshiping During Holy Week
I am planning on holding live and interactive services during Holy Week using Zoom. There will be another email with more details on how to sign up for this if you are interested.
May your Holy Week indeed be Holy and special as we journey with the Holy One from Palm Sunday to Good Friday and on to Easter Sunday.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and do not be afraid.
Blessings to you and your family,
Rev. Jonathon +
St. Paul`s Anglican Church, Almonte