Here's an experience we may not have for a while: coming home after a week or two away, and finding the space--the smell, the light, the clutter!--slightly unfamiliar. Does that ever happen to you? I'm beginning to feel that way when I enter the church. The absence of people has made it just a little different, in ways I can't entirely explain. The dust looks different, the air. Some old dry palms still sit in vases in the chapel. I can't get rid of them because they remind me of a time when we hadn't been apart for quite this long. I'm remembering a phrase from a Phillip Larkin poem, "Churchgoing," where he calls an empty church he visits during a bike ride in the country "an accoutred frowsty barn." Last week I began a series on our Facebook Page called "Our Church, Our Home" in which I single out an object--a window, the lectern, a plaque--and say a few words about it. Next week I will begin to present these in video form for us. Just one to two minute videos where you can "see" the church. I think on some level, this is to help me feel the church is still alive with your presence. And of course it's to help you stay connected to your church home during this forced absence. The church does remain open daily for individual prayer, but please be cautious. There are sanitizing wipes and the doors are open so you shouldn't have to touch anything if you do come by. And don't forget your mask. But please, as much as you're able, stay home and stay safe so we can all gather together again when that time comes.
Here's some other news as well as current & upcoming events:
Parish Live Online Worship continues this Sunday at 10 am. Please join us by clicking on the link on the parish homepage. We don't expect any more technical difficulties of the sort we had last Sunday, and thank you for how very gracious everyone was about that interruption!
Weekly Sunday School Lesson Online Lots of people, not just kids, are enjoying the weekly Sunday school lesson, which is posted on Saturdays on our homepage. Thank you to the teachers who are so faithfully getting those done week in and week out. Be sure to check them out if you haven't yet.
Morning Prayer takes place every morning via YouTube at 9:30. You can log on and quietly watch, or you can comment on the sidebar and greet people you miss. Join any day, for any length of time. Or watch after it's over. Links to each day can be found on our homepage.
Wednesday Bible Study continues apace, every week at 10 am via Zoom. All are welcome. Again, the link to that is one our homepage.
Gentle Yoga is now available every Thursday morning at 10 am via Zoom. Led by parishioner and instructor Paula Rodriguez. The link is on our parish homepage, along with information for how to make a donation per class. All are welcome!
The Rector's Book Group will be reading and discussing "Beyond Belief" by Elaine Pagels. It's a great mix of memoir and Christian history that focuses on the lost Gospel of Thomas. Pagels is a scholar of this Gospel, but also a Christian herself, and the way she understands her faith might resonate with many of you. I'd strongly encourage you to buy the book online locally. If you use Amazon, though, be sure to go through Amazon Smile and support St. James. We'll discuss the book via Zoom on Wednesday, May 20, 7:30-8:15 pm. Give it a try!
Welcome News Back in March, at the behest of the Diocese, we applied for a loan under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). We were recently approved and have received funds that will help alleviate some financial pressures during this difficult time. This is welcome news. If you have any questions, please reach out to me or the wardens.
On that note, Thank You to everyone who has been giving faithfully. Your pledges and donations have been so very important in these difficult times. We cannot thank you enough. Remember that all the links to online giving platforms are on our homepage. You can also send checks into the parish office if you prefer.
Remember that Prayer Requests may be sent to me or Deacon Susie at any time. You can reply right to this email. You can also call or text me at home: 917-621-5153. This goes for anything you need.
Finally, looking a little bit ahead... Pentecost is Coming at the End of May Send Dakota any pictures you have in red clothing. It is a tradition at St. James that everyone comes to the Sunday service on Pentecost wearing red, so we will continue this tradition as we celebrate at home this year. Your picture can be from last year's service, a selfie you took this morning or any family shot you find where you happen to be sporting the color RED.
Pentecost Birthday Bake Off Since Pentecost is also the birthday of the church, we invite you to get out your cake mix and whisk and try your hand at baking for Pentecost Sunday (May 31). This is as close to a bake-off as we can get and since I know many are at home watching cooking shows, this activity should be a lot of fun. Bake a cake in celebration of St. James and the entire church while we are apart and send Dakota a photo of your finished product and the bakers. We will post pictures to Facebook the week after Pentecost to continue the celebration. I continue to miss you all very much. Peace to you and yours, and please stay safe,Mother Storm