Services have resumed in the Chapel of Our Lord's Passion

My Dear Friends,

I hope that you are all well.

Here at St. Paul’s we have sought to keep everyone safe, calm, connected to God, and connected to each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

No change has yet been made to the number of those allowed to attend Church Services, although this might happen later in the week, so we will remain in the Chapel of Our Lord’s Passion for Pentecost. We will continue to observe all of the stringent hygiene protocols that we have in place.

I hope that the limit of 10 people will be raised to 50 people for our worship of God on Trinity Sunday in which case we shall use the High Altar, hopefully have a Cantor and Organ music, have incense at the later Service, fill the Church with flowers, and revert to our 8.00 and 9.30 a.m. Service times. The same stringent hygiene protocols that we have been observing will need to be observed each and every week.

The following measures will be observed to ensure the safety of all who attend these worship Services:

1. The Services for the 31st of May, being Pentecost (otherwise know as Whitsunday), will be held in St. Paul's beginning at 8.00 a.m. with Services being held every half an hour (the last beginning at 10.00 a.m.). Services will be limited to 10 people and will be held in the Chapel of our Lord's Passion. If the weather is fine please enter through the Bell Tower porch. If it is raining please come to the Main Hall to sign in.

2. Depending on what the State Government's legislation permits, we hope that we will return to our normal Service times of 8.00 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. for the high holy day of Trinity Sunday (being the 7th of June) and for all Services thereafter.

This will only happen if the current limit on the number of people allowed to attend a religious service is loosened. Otherwise we will continue to hold Services in the Chapel of our Lord's Passion.

3. People are quite free to decide not to attend Church or any event as I don't want anyone to feel that they must do something against their will (or if they feel that they might compromise another person's health – which is why we have closed down all of our groups).

4. All risk management obligations will be scrupulously attended to, such as observing the need for hand washing and sanitizing, physical distancing, etc. The Holy Water Stoup has been emptied.

5. The Greeting of Peace will involve bowing reverently to those one is seated close to.

6. Communion will be in one kind.

7. At this stage there will be no morning tea or refreshments after the Services.

8. We will fully comply with all government directives and legal requirements.

9. The mid-week Wednesday Eucharist will resume on Wednesday the 3rd of June at 10.30a.m.

If the situation changes with reference to the government's directives then we will review matters at that point in time.

As we observe the seasons changing and the beauty of Autumn unfold with such a gentle, soft light and as the foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs are changing colour and falling, their russet leaves scrunching beneath our feet, we once again enter into the season of Autumn which is a time of reflection and waiting which reminds me of a poem by John O'Donohue:

This is the time to be slow

Lie low to the wall Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous, Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.

I am truly grateful to all who over the past months have helped us to remain connected to God and to each other through this pandemic. Thank you for your loving Service of God and of God's people at St. Paul's and beyond.

I hold you and our community, nation, and world in my prayers. May God's peace sustain and surround you at this time.

With my love and prayers. Peace, James.

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