Ascension News for March 19, 2020

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Posted:03-19-2020
Sisters and Brothers in Christ at the Parish of the Ascension,

The full effects of the result of the COVID19 Pandemic are still being realized locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. As we all have seen and experienced in varying degrees, these effects are changing the landscape of how we live our lives as human beings in this, God’s world. It is challenging for us not to enter states of anxiety, confusion, and fear as we all try to find the path forward. Though this reality is upon us, we believe that we have a deeper reality: God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier will not abandon us in this time of trouble.

As the Psalmist offers,
‘For God alone, my soul in silence waits;
from him comes my Salvation.
God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.’
(Psalm 62)

We believe in a healing, reconciling, hopeful God, that brings us grace and mercy. We are called through our baptism to join with Jesus in offering worship to God and serving the world.  These statements and our daily prayer will be strengthening foundations for us, as we begin to navigate this uncertain time. 

I remind you that all public gatherings at the Parish of the Ascension, both for worship and all other gatherings are prohibited until further notice. This was outlined in the Bishop’s recent Pastoral Letter. This has repercussions on our parish life, and on our continued parish viability.

Please note:

The only worship that will be in person will be pastoral offices, in particular, pastoral care to the dying and grieving, funerals, and commitments of partnership - weddings. We have been given instruction from the Bishop that these should involve only immediate family. We believe that the canceling of public worship will have a negative effect on our financial resources, as few may avail of pre-authorized debit in the short term.

To address this drastic change in our financial position the clergy and wardens have approved of the following:
    An examination of essential costs for a three month and full-year period.
    The reduction of temperatures at the Parish Centre to cut down on energy costs.
    The cessation of our contract with the cleaners effective the end of this week.
    The approval of access of a portion of our current investments ($103,000) as a contingency for a three-month time period (to be reviewed).
    The postponement of all scheduled renovation work at the Parish of the Ascension as was planned regarding the installation of the washroom and upgrade of the Nave. This will be reviewed as and if finances are available.
    A review of the costs of staffing at the Ascension for salary and contract staff, for the short term and the longer term.
    An appeal to all parishioners to continue to examine ways to support the parish through prayer, action, and financial means such that the ministry to which we are called will not diminish.

Due to the cancellation of all meetings and gatherings, we will not be having our AGM in the near future. As a result, the current Wardens, Treasurer, Vestry and Synod Delegates will be continuing on. This may mean that some individuals (especially the outgoing vestry) may wish to re-evaluate their commitment. I ask you to consider prayerfully to continue in your role as leaders within the parish. We will not be having meetings, except through email, Zoom Meetings, and phone conversations (Conference Calls). The AGM may well be postponed until the fall, or perhaps until 2021. At this point we are unsure.


Our Bishop will be live-streamed worship at the Cathedral this coming Sunday, March 22, at 11 a.m. to celebrate the Holy Eucharist on behalf of our Diocese. This service will be live-streamed from the Diocesan Facebook Page -  www.facebook.com/AnglicanEastNL/ - for all who wish to join in online as a church family during this time of special need and concern. I will be joining the Bishop online, and I encourage you to do also. In meetings with both the Staff, and the clergy of the Anglican Parishes of Ascension, Good Shepherd, St. Mary and St. Michael, we are making preparations to provide weekly online worship, study, and reflection including such things as weekly prayer, Bible studies, Godly Play stories, and other resources for families in their homes.

We will put a fast track on getting our new website up and running, with resources present there. On a weekly basis we will be providing the chimes online, with the Weekly Word, the Prayers of the People, the Scripture readings and collect for the week, as well as Hymns that can be sung with family.

The Parish Staff will continue with their responsibilities and have a particular focus on how we can provide Christian Discipleship and Pastoral Care through electronic means in this period.

Rev.’d Lynn and myself will be creating a framework to check on all parishioners by phone, email or text on a regular basis. This most probably will mean contact from one of us through these ways no more than once a month.

Chaplaincy through Eastern Health has sent a letter to parish clergy indicating the response of pastoral care in Eastern Health Facilities. All pastoral care to those in Eastern Health Facilities will be cared for by the current chaplaincy staff. If you know of family or friends being admitted to Eastern Health Facilities, it is your responsibility to share this with the parish clergy.

I am coordinating a meeting with the Ministerial of Mount Pearl, and the Municipality of Mount Pearl in order to find ways for us together to respond to the needs of vulnerable families in the Mount Pearl area. Stay tuned to these developments.

I am urging you, and the entire parish to begin to examine how we can modify our Rule of Life in light of these developments. We have to find new and creative ways to Worship, Care, Love, Pray, Serve, Forgive, and Heal, as Christ intends.

This is a time for us to respond. To respond to the love of God in Christ Jesus, and to be the body of Christ in this, God’s world.

It is important that we remember our baptismal covenant, and how we respond as the people of God. Please continue to pray and care, love and serve Neighbour and Stranger, Family and Friend.

I close with this prayer, the response to Psalm 62:
Lord God, in a threatening world we look to you as our rock of hope.
Hear us as we pour out our hearts to you,
give us your grace and protection,
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


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HELPFUL RESOURCES IN THE COMING DAYS:


Great online pastoral and spiritual resources:
National Resources:
Anglican Church of Canada Online Resources During COVID19 pandemic
https://pwrdf.org/pwrdf-partners-preparing-for-or-responding-to-covid-19/

Diocesan Resources:
Bishop's First Pastoral Letter re COVID19
Bishop's Second Pastoral Letter re COVID19
Please check www.anglicanenl.net weekly, as the Bishop is preparing to have weekly letters concerning diocesan and parish updates.
Local Resources:
www.parishoftheascension.ca – we will continue to produce the weekly word, a modified chimes, including the readings for the week, the prayers of the people, music resources and Community/Parish announcements.
Together, the clergy of the parishes of the Ascension, Good Shepherd, St. Mary and St. Michael will be providing spiritual and devotional opportunities on a weekly basis in the near future. Stay tuned to www.lent2020.ca for updates.
The Stations of the Cross will be made available online Fridays, through the Parish of St. Michael and All Angels. The stations' video has been uploaded to YouTube (for wider accessibility) and will premiere Friday at 7:00. Here's the link: https://youtu.be/-3ifzrp1ec8
Wednesday evening study will be occurring with the parishes of the Good Shepherd, Ascension, St. Mary and St. Michael.


The Coffee Table community grows out of the Lenten devotions of the Anglican Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kenmount Terrace. The reflection is more interactive than a sermon and more engaging than a Bible study; it’s an opportunity to engage far more deeply with the Scriptures and make room in our lives for them to build a more compassionate, more generous world.

The Coffee Table is founded on a couple of principles. First, we recognize that anyone who thinks or talks about God is doing theology and that the Christian community needs to make space to hear from and celebrate all theologians. Second, we have found that theology should not be a solo sport, but something best practiced in community. Finally, we can’t help but notice that everyone reflects better when they’ve got a hot cup of something in their hands!

Our method of reflection draws from ancient and modern Christian practices, from the Benedictine practice of Lectio Divina to the Gospel-Based Discipleship practiced by indigenous Canadian Anglicans. By gathering to share our insights into the gospels, and to hear the insights of others, we are making reflection and spiritual growth something that doesn’t just happen in church, but in public places and homes—anywhere you can find a coffee table!

The Coffee Table approach to reflecting on Scripture involves reading the Gospel three times, each time listening for something different:
1. What is attractive to you in this passage?
2. What challenges you or troubles you in this passage?
3. How can this passage help us become more compassionate and generous?
The parish of St. Mark's has on-line resources for ecological justice.  You can access this information at their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/stmarksnl/ or at their website htps://www.stmarksanglican.ca/assets/docs/Lent4Booklet.pdf


In the interests of keeping non-worship physical gatherings to a minimum, and in preparation for more stringent infection control precautions, the remainder of the Coffee Table Lenten Gatherings will be conducted online.

This may be a new experience for some folks, but it will basically work just like Skype or FaceTime. You can make yourself a cup of coffee at home, connect with your computer, smartphone, or tablet, turn on your webcam (if you want), and enjoy the experience just like you were there in person!

You can check out the meeting room at any time before we gather, so you'll know what to expect. Father Jonathan will be arriving online at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings, to welcome folks and help them get comfortable with the experience before we start reflecting. We hope to see you then!

Click here to join us online: Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting now
 

Call Us:
1-709-368-5693
Find Us:
58 Smallwood Drive
Mount Pearl, NL A1N 1B
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