Worship in our Buildings – relaxing of COVID 19 Restrictions – The Plan

Parish of Blandford

Revision July 25 in Light of new Public Health Directives Effective July 31

All those participating in the service will be required to wear masks at all times. See Link: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Faith-based-gatherings-guidelines.pdf

Worship in our Buildings – relaxing of COVID 19 Restrictions

June 23. 2020

Prior to gathering for worship:

  1. Planning group: Bev & Curtis McDonald, Jackie Cleveland, Alfred Gates, Ken Miller, Louis Quennelle

  2. Where do we gather: In order to accommodate as many as possible with physical distancing, until this is no longer necessary, we propose that all services be in Saint Barnabas.

  3. Proposed time line:

    1. Cleaning and sanitizing in the church prior to resuming services to be completed by early in the week following July 05 (Alfred will put together a team to do this.)

    2. Measuring and marking out space in building for safe physical distancing and welcoming as many people as possible (Week of July 6-11).

    3. Sunday July 12 – information and run through for those who will be ministering as greeters/ushers inside and outside.

    4. Sunday July 19 – Service of Morning Prayer

  4. Identifying and obtaining supplies required:1 box of 50 disposable face masks and 4 bottles X 750ml of alcohol based sanitizer have been purchased. Still needed – pumps (like liquid soap pumps) for dispensing sanitizer. Possibly towels for use in wiping down high contact areas.

Plan for Gathering Safely for Worship:

  1. Preparation in advance:

    1. Cleaning – as above

    2. Making physical adjustments to space as necessary – chairs for ushers one near door one near Baptistry.

  2. Gathering for Worship:

    1. Identifying and preparing individuals as greeters/ushers: 3 each Sunday. We will need an absolute minimum of 6 (ideally 10-12 trained) of these people to prepared to perform these ministries so that no one person has to be on duty every week. Those who volunteer can choose to volunteer for any one of or all these ministries:

      1. Outdoor greeter: Will welcome people, explain the process of entering the building, assist them in maintaining physical distancing while they wait to enter and distribute masks if they are needed. After the service begins will sit near the door to greet and assist any late arrivals.

        After service will encourage worshippers to move away from the door to allow others to leave safely.

      2. Indoor Greeter: Will welcome, point out offertory plate, Food Bank Donation box, distribute bulletin, answer any questions and and ensure people wait for usher to show them to their pew. Check the names of parish members on list provided as they enter. Ask for name and contact information from visitors for contact tracing purposes in case of Covid outbreak.

        After service will assist people in leaving the building, allowing the doorway to clear for safe distancing.

      3. Usher : will welcome & assist people in getting to their pew – to the extent possible accommodating their preferences in where they will sit, explain as needed the physical distancing requirements, pointing out taped markers which will help them to maintain the physical distancing.

        After service will assist people in leaving in an orderly way, ensuring that there is not a build up of people near the exit.

        These persons will wear gloves and masks as they may not be able to maintain physical distance of six feet from members of the congregation at all times.

    2. Readers: Those proclaiming Scripture & leading in prayers will do so standing at their place.

    3. Informing the congregation in advance: Document welcoming people back to our worship space and explaining how we will gather will be prepared by July 10 weekend and available by email, website and print with the weekly bulletin. It will also be used to help to prepare the greeters/ushers for the first services.

    4. Members of the assembly will be encouraged to sit with members of their immediate family or bubble group to maximize the number of people we can welcome to worship. All will stay at their place for the entire service. If someone needs to leave for any reason, when possible, they will indicate their intention to the greeters/ushers. In case of emergency – falls, fainting, etc. The Usher should attend first, if possible, as they will be gloved and masked. In any emergency First Aid principles apply – the idea is to prevent further injury and to get help. Although avoiding possible transmission of COVID is still important, it is secondary to the emergency.

    5. Music during the service: Will be instrumental (organ, guitar, etc.) or singing by soloists. Anyone singing will be seated in the front right pew (facing the chancel) for the service and sing from that corner to the right of the pulpit facing the congregation.

    6. (When Service includes Communion

      1. preparation of the altar before service

      2. procedures for Eucharistic prayer at the Altar

      3. procedures for distributing/receiving communion.

        Our first 2 services, at least, will be Morning prayer. The Rector with the planning group will work out detailed procedures as per directives from Archbishop Ron Cutler, Public Health and the limitations of our space.)

Record Keeping:

  1. Contact Tracing Names and contact information of those worshipping will be kept in case of COVID spread. These will be kept in the parish office and only shared with Public Health if necessary to assist in contact tracing.

Reviewing Procedures:

  1. Feedback from congregation is welcome in helping us to streamline procedures to make our services prayerful, joyful, and safe.

Resuming Services together in an Indoor Worship Space

Parish of Blandford

July 2020 – Revised July 25

Resuming Services together in an Indoor Worship Space.

Due to the space restrictions of 6 feet (2 meters) physical distancing, for the time being, services will be held in Saint Barnabas only to allow for as many people as possible to worship together.

How we can worship together while following Public Health Measures to prevent the spread of COVID 19?

  1. This is not just “back to normal”!

    In the same way as our lives have changed permanently – or at least long term temporarily when we go to the Grocery Store, the Doctor or pretty much anywhere else, our gathering in Christian Community for worship on Sundays will also change as we resume our common worship indoors. The procedures and safety measures implemented are for EVERYONE’S safety & health. We not only pray, but we do everything within our power to ensure that our worship will not become a way that this virus is spread. In order to do that, we not only need the procedures in place, we also need the co-operation of everyone who comes together for worship.

  2. Should I (WE) even come to church?

    1. If you are in any way unsure

    2. if you feel your health is in danger

    3. if you feel ill in any way –

    4. If you are unable to wear a mask through the entire service. (as of July 31)

    you should not come to common worship. You are part of our community. We will continue to have the services available by email or in bulletin form and can continue to pray together with our parish at your home. We are called together to pray, but we can pray together no matter where we are. God will understand whatever you decide is best for you.

  3. What can I expect if I come to our morning service:

    1. Before you get there the church will have been cleaned. There will be Sanitizer available for your hands & towels if you want to wipe down your pew as you enter it and when you leave it. Please Note: The cleaning of the church and using the towels are additional safety precautions since we will only have one service each week and the virus, if it is present, will not live on surfaces for 7 days.

    2. Outside: After parking as you walk to the church building, please maintain physical distancing. You will be greeted & welcomed by a member of our parish wearing mask and gloves. Please follow this person’s instructions in how and when to enter the church.

    3. Beginning July 31 all members those worshiping together inside the church building are required to wear a mask throughout the service . (Revised from: Since physical distancing of 6 feet (2 meters) is not possible when entering and leaving the building, you will be asked to wear a mask AT LEAST while entering and leaving the building. We strongly encourage that you wear the mask during the entire service if possible. Disposable masks will be available from the person who greets you outdoors if you do not have your own.)

    4. Inside the church as you enter you will be welcomed by another greeter who will let you know where you can leave your offering for the Parish or money for the Chester Food Bank if you wish. (No food donations in church for the time being please.)

      They will also give you a service bulletin if you did not print your own off from the email which will continue to be sent.

      Your name will be checked off on a copy of the parish list for contact information in case someone who attends our service ever contracts the virus. (If someone is visiting with you they will be asked for their name and contact information for contact tracing as well.)

    5. Please wait at the entrance until an usher comes to show you to your seat.

    6. You might not get your “usual” pew. Due to physical distancing requirements not all pews will be available. An usher will show you to your seat and will try to accommodate your request for where you will be during the service. We encourage people in the same family or the same “group bubble” to arrive together and sit together, if possible, so that there will be room for everyone.

    7. Once you are in your pew, please stay there for the entire service. Please participate in the prayers and responses as usual. Unfortunately, because of the additional distance needed to stop communication of the virus while singing, there will be no congregational singing at this time during our services. A sign of peace will be suggested which respects the Public Health requirements.

    8. If you need to leave at any time, you may of course do so. Please remember to continue to wear your mask and maintain physical distancing, where possible, as you leave.

    9. At the end of the service please wait until the usher indicates that you may leave. This is to help in maintaining physical distancing. The rector will not greet you as you leave. If you are among the first to leave, please move away from the door so that others may also safely leave.

    10. The Greeters & Ushers are providing a ministry of WELCOME and SAFETY for us all. Please respect their requests and each other. We have waited a long time to come back together. Let us celebrate WELL and SAFELY. Smiles, nods and hellos are welcome – and very much a part of our Christian calling.

    11. Our first 2 or 3 services will be Morning Prayer in order to help keep things simpler as we get used to these new procedures. Additional information will be available when we meet for Holy Eucharist (Communion) once again.

As we prepare for this next part of our Christian journey. Let us thank God that we are safe. Let us pray to God for those who are ill and those who mourn the loss of their loved ones. Finally, let us remember that whether we gather in buildings, in open spaces, or in spirit, we will be recognized as followers of Jesus by the love we have for one another and for all!

This we pray in the name of Jesus our Brother and Redeemer. Amen.

This Sunday in the Parish of Blandford

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

August 02

The Parish of Blandford Worshiping at Saint Barnabas – Holy Eucharist

Sunday Bulletin – Scroll Down.

Parish of Blandford

Aspotogan Peninsula, Municipality of Chester, Nova Scotia

Striving to be a Christian Community

of Worship, Welcome and Care.

If you know someone who cannot access this document on line, print it for them or pick one up at the rectory. Please Remember – if you are concerned about transmission of the virus on surfaces: Wash or sanitize your hands before handling the document. I will be doing so as I print them.

Contact Information: Telephone: (902)228-2761, Email: ministry@parishofblandford.ca, Website: parishofblandford.ca

Rector: Reverend Louis Quennelle, Rector, Phone: (902)521-5169, E-mail: louisq@eastlink.ca

Our Wardens: All Saints: Malcolm Boutilier (902)228-2961, St. Cuthbert: Ken Miller, (902)204-1000, Saint Barnabas: Claudia Zinck (902)228-2091

Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Anglican Church of Canada

Diocesan Prayer Partner: King’s College Chapel

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Retired Clergy of Fort Sackville Region: The Reverend Arthur Cuzner, The Reverend James Greene and Linda, The Reverend Tom Kerr and Aileen, The Reverend Judy Lafford and Arthur, The Reverend John Mills and Marsha, The Reverend Marilyn Hamlin and Gordon, Clergy Widows: Mrs. Judy Appleton, Mrs. Barbara Corbin, Mrs. Marion Andrews, Mrs. Greta Moore, Mrs. Beverley Dellapinna

Anglican/Lutheran Cycle of Prayer: ACC – Bishops Lydia Mamakwa, Larry Beardy, and Morris Fidler; the clergy and people of the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh; ELCIC – The dean, council, and congregations of the Southern Area of the Synod of Alberta and the Territories

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost – Holy Eucharist

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.

May his grace and peace be with you. May he fill our hearts with joy.

Almighty God, All to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Collect: God beyond all seeing and knowing,we meet you in the night of change and crisisand wrestle with you in darkness and doubt.Give us the will and spirit to live faithfullyand to love as we are loved,through Jesus Christ, your Son. Amen. Revised Common Lectionary Prayers(2002) alt.

First Reading: A READING FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS. The same night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. GENESIS 32:22-31

Psalm Refrain: Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour, of those who take refuge at your right hand.

Hear my plea of innocence, O Lord; give heed to my cry; listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips. Let my vindication come forth from your presence; let your eyes be fixed on justice. R

Weigh my heart, summon me by night, melt me down; you will find no impurity in me. I give no offence with my mouth as others do; I have heeded the words of your lips. R

My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law; in your paths my feet shall not stumble. I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; incline your ear to me and hear my words. R

Show me your marvellous loving-kindness, O Saviour of those who take refuge at your right hand from those who rise up against them. But at my vindication I shall see your face; when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness. R PSALM 17:1-7, 16

Second Reading: A READING FROM THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS. I am speaking the truth in Christ – I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. ROMANS 9:1-5

Gospel: THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO MATTHEW. Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ. Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. The Gospel of Christ. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ. MATTHEW 14:13-21

Apostle’s Creed: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

We pray for our needs and the needs of the world.

Prayers of the People: Let us offer our prayers in the Name of Jesus who had compassion on the multitude, and whose bounty feeds us all, saying: Hear us, O Holy One.

For the Church: especially for The Rev. Canon Gordon Redden, The Very Rev. Paul Smith and The Rev. Lori Ramsey, who yesterday began their work as interim Diocesan Administrators. May all Christians share the Bread of Life with those who hunger for meaning and purpose in life. Hear us, O Holy One.

For this family of the parish of Blandford, that we may recognize the generosity of God who abundantly fills all our needs. May we share this bounty with all in need. Hear us, O Holy One.

For true peace in our world, our country, our communities and in our own hearts, that Holy Spirit of God may guide us, especially those in authority, to work for violence to end. May understanding grow and justice flourish throughout the world, especially in areas of conflict. Hear us, O Holy One.

For all who work to feed the hungry: in refugee camps, in food aid organizations, in soup kitchens, in food banks and all similar organizations, that their efforts may show the love and compassion of God to those who are in need. For those who hunger, that with our help, they may find ways to feed themselves, Hear us, O Holy One.

For farmers, and all those who bring food to our tables, we pray Hear us, O Holy One.

For all who are ill in body, mind or spirit, that God will relieve their pain, restore them to wholeness, and strengthen all those who are caring for them. We pray in particular for those with Covid-19 throughout the world and their caregivers. May those who search for treatment and vaccines be inspired and upheld in their work, Hear us, O Holy One.

In thanksgiving for all who have died, we rejoice that they feast with delight at the heavenly banquet table, let us pray to the Lord. Hear us, O Holy One.

Loving God you nurture and nourish us, hear our prayers and fill us with the abundance of your grace, that all people may know and feel the goodness of your presence, in the power of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Most merciful God,

All: We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us, that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy upon you, t pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and keep you in eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The peace of the Lord be always with you. And also with you.

Prayer over the Gifts: God of compassion:your heart goes out to the hungry and destitute; you take what we have and transform it into much; give us the bread that satisfies, the food without price, so that our lives may show forth your overflowing love. Accept all we offer you this day,and feed us continually with that bread which satisfies all hunger, through Jesus Christ, the breaker of bread. Amen. (Adapted from BAS & Prayers for an Inclusive Church, 2009)

Eucharistic Prayer 1

The Lord be with you. And also with you.

Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right that we should praise you, gracious God, for you created all things. You formed us in your own image: male and female you created us. When we turned away from you in sin, you did not cease to care for us, but opened a path of salvation for all people. You made a covenant with Israel, and through your servants Abraham and Sarah gave the promise of a blessing to all nations. Through Moses you led your people from bondage into freedom; through the prophets you renewed your promise of salvation. Therefore, with them, and with all your saints who have served you in every age, we give thanks and raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Holy God, source of life and goodness, all creation rightly gives you praise. In the fullness of time, you sent your Son Jesus Christ, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all. He healed the sick and ate and drank with outcasts and sinners; he opened the eyes of the blind and proclaimed the good news of your kingdom to the poor and to those in need. In all things he fulfilled your gracious will.

On the night he freely gave himself to death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said,

Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said,

Drink this, all of you: this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Gracious God, his perfect sacrifice destroys the power of sin and death; by raising him to life you give us life for evermore. Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Recalling his death, proclaiming his resurrection, and looking for his coming again in glory, we offer you, Father, this bread and this cup. Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts, that all who eat and drink at this table may be one body and one holy people, a living sacrifice in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, almighty Father, now and for ever. Amen.

And now, as our Saviour Christ has taught us, we are bold to say, Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread: I am the bread of life,” says the Lord. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry; whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who trust in him!

The gifts of God for the People of God. Thanks be to God

(All who wish, then partake in the communion of the Body & Blood of Christ by receiving the bread.)

Prayer After Communion: God of grace, we have shared in the mystery of the body and blood of Christ. May we who have tasted the bread of life live with you for ever. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.

May Almighty God Father, the Son & Holy Spirit Bless you now and Evermore. AMEN.

Let go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God! Alleluia!

Our Life Continues in the Parish of Blandford

Diocesan Administrators: Archbishop Ron Cutler is retired as of July 31. Diocesan Council has appointed The Rev. Canon Gordon Redden, The Very Rev. Paul Smith and The Rev. Lori Ramsey as Administrators for the diocese. until the election of a new bishop. They began their duties on August 01 and will continue until the election of a new bishop at our Electoral Synod, continuing on September 12, 2020.

Continued Parish Contact During COVID 19 Restrictions: Many of you do not have internet and so do not always get notification of news and changes with regard to our Parish community. We recognize this and are trying to correct it. Thank-you to Diane Langley & Hanni Taylor for agreeing to organize a Telephone tree which will specifically call to let people know of any news which is sent out by email or on our website during this time of restricted personal contact. A list of the people who we know do not have internet access has been compiled. If you know of anyone who should be on that list, please call Diane. If their name is not on the list, it will be added on.

Bible Study & Reflection: Next Sunday’s Readings: GENESIS 37:1-4, 12-28; PSALM 105:1-6, 16-22, 45C; ROMANS 10:5-15; MATTHEW 14:22-33

Pastoral Presence during Uncertain Times: Rev. Louis will be on leave for the remainder of the month of August. In case of Pastoral emergency please contact one of our Wardens (Malcolm Boutilier (902)228-2961, Ken Miller (902)204-1000, Claudia Zinck (902)228-2091) or go to our Website (parishofblandford.ca) for information to contact a priest.

Food Bank Donations: Starting next Sunday July 19 a small donation box will be available at the service for Monetary Donations ONLY to the Chester Food Bank. No food donations will be accepted at this time. If you wish to make food donations, please do so as you have done since March.

 

 

Rector’s Reflection

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Rector’s Reflection

August 02, 2020

GENESIS 37:1-4, MATTHEW 14:22-33

When we are sailing in a calm sea with a gentle steady breeze just strong enough to fill the sails and get us where we want to go; when the hand at the tiller can be anyone’s with just a little knowledge and a bit of coaching – we can go for hours, days, months and even years, seemingly on “autopilot”. We take life as it comes, and just sail on.

And then sometimes, all of a sudden, we end up some place where we had never thought to go. Oftentimes, it’s places we don’t want to go. There we face storms which threaten our families, our society – even our own lives. And we think “What did I do to end up here?” Most of the time, we don’t know if or how we actually did anything to get us there or to contribute to this peril. So, we struggle with the meaning of it. We ask “why me?” Sometimes, we get angry or we lose hope.

This story of journey, going off course and the struggle with God is told again and again in the Bible. There are many variations on it. The story of Noah is probably the first. Certainly, Abraham’s story fits this pattern. The story of Moses is probably the most well known in the First Testament and it sets the pattern for many others. Today it is Jacob who travels and arrives at a place where he feels his life is in danger.

Early in his life Jacob fled his from his home and his family because of the and deception that he and his mother, Rebekah, used to get his father, Isaac, to bless him rather than his brother Esau. He took what rightly belonged to Esau – and Esau was, rightfully, in my opinion, very angry with him. The story picks up today when Jacob is heading home, with his new family and all the wealth he has gained through his father-in-law, Laban. His father Isaac has died, and he is afraid of what kind of reception he will get from Esau.

In the passage just before the one we hear/read today, Jacob learns that Esau is coming to meet him with a force of 400. In the night, in his fear – possibly in his guilt for the original deception which caused this problem between the two brothers so long ago, Jacob struggles with a “man”. It becomes clear in the passage that this man represents God. Jacob struggles all night and finally wins out. He wins and as he once wanted a blessing from his father, he now wants a blessing from God. He has faced God – through his own conscience and his own fear. He has struggled with them both and in the struggle, in coming out the other side, he has found blessing. He has a new identity, a new name, because the struggle has changed him. He becomes Israel.

The circumstances of Jacob’s life and his name change are very different from our own circumstances. His struggle, though, is not that different from the kinds of struggles we have. Although he comes out the winner in the sense that he has gotten the blessing he looked for, he does not come out uninjured. And isn’t that usually the way of it? For us, when we hit a rough patch – and some rough patches are rougher than others, we struggle with it, we struggle with God. Sometimes our struggle is because we have deliberately made a wrong turn and we need to acknowledge it and to make it right in order to move on, to know God’s blessing once again in our lives. Sometimes our struggle has nothing to do with us making a wrong turn and yet we have ended up at this place where we do not want to be.

In both cases we are injured. We are marked by our struggle and we take that injury “on the road” with us as we continue our life journey. These rough patches in life change us. The change can be good or not so good. The person who gets divorced may wonder why they have to go through this terrible time of the crumbling of a life relationship. As they struggle, whether they come out the other side a better and a stronger person or a bitter person who can no longer trust in love, they are changed by the injuries they have received. If someone loses a job they may look back and see that as the time in their lives when they truly were forced to find what they were really meant to do with their lives or they may see it as the beginning of the end of their dreams. Whether the rough patch is illness, injury or even the death of a loved one – there is always injury, but there can also always be blessing. There can be change which will help us build our life again in our new circumstances. It can give us a new identity, a new name as we find blessing in our struggle. Yes, we sometimes limp away from the struggle – but if we know enough to ask for it, to demand it, we know that we take God’s blessing with us.

In his life, Jesus also struggled with God. He struggled with himself, with what was being asked of him. He was tempted in his struggle at the beginning of his ministry to go the way of power or the way of ease or the way of selfishness. Today we hear about his struggle with God in another way.

In the passage just before this one Jesus learns that John the Baptist is dead. He has been beheaded. Like Jesus, most of us have all been in the position where someone we care for deeply has died. A few have had to, like Jesus, face the violent death of a loved one. I think here about the families of the 22 victims of the mass shooting in our province earlier this year. They, like Jesus, face not only grief but also horror. John was a cousin to Jesus. They had known each other since they were children. More than this even: Jesus had been baptised in the Jordan by John. John was probably a mentor to him or at least admired by him. Certainly, he had been the person to whom Jesus turned for blessing at the beginning of his ministry. Is it any wonder Jesus wants some time alone; time to grieve. He needs, like all of us need, the healing hand of love laid upon him while he mourns. Like us, he needs time too – probably time to struggle alone with God about the meaning of this terrible violence and trajedy. Jesus doesn’t get that time. His struggle with God is turned into the demand that he feels pressing upon him to comfort others rather focus on his own need. We know that those who know about the process of grief would probably tell us today that he should have taken this time alone, but he doesn’t. There is no question in my mind that this internal struggle took its tole on him. It took him where was not planning to go – from healing time alone to taking responsibility for curing those brought to him, and then for feeding 10,000 of them!

Our struggles with God can look very different for different people, in different times and circumstances. Jacob became Israel by wrestling with God alone in the darkness of the night. In the death of John, Jesus struggled with God by being forced to turn away from his own grief to care of others. In another time and place, the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, like Jacob, also struggled with God alone in the darkness of the night. How do we handle our own struggles, our own rough patches? There is no magic formula which we can apply to our circumstances like a stencil that we can just copy again and again.

What there is, though, is the promise that no matter what has happened to us – no matter how we have been blown off course or taken ourselves off course, if we face the struggle with God, with the conscience we have been given, with the compassion arising from truly loving others, there will be blessing in the end. Struggling with God is always a dangerous prospect – we will come out of it changed, often injured – and sometimes with a permanent limp, like Jacob. However, if we do not face that struggle, we will continue off course, injuring ourselves and often others in much more devastating and destructive ways. When we hit our rough patches, let’s not be afraid to wrestle with God. God can take it. And whether we think we won the struggle or lost it, we are blessed because God is with us. God is changing us. God is preparing us for the ultimate blessing that Jesus found on the cross – Resurrection.

Louis+

 

 

 

How you can continue to contribute to the parish at this time

You can continue to contribute to the parish in any of these ways:

Your contribution may be dropped off at the home of Brian & Anne Stott (5480 – Hwy #329).

On Line Banking: If you use on line banking, you may now deposit money directly to the Parish of Blandford Chequing Account.  Simply send the donation to the following email address – treasurer@parishofblandford.ca. This email address is linked to the parish account. The money will automatically be deposited to the parish account. If you have a parish envelope linked to your name, please include the envelope number in the message section. Your donation will be registered with that envelope number. If you do not have a parish envelope, you can indicate if you wish to register the donation to a particular church for accounting purposes only. If you do not indicate a particular church, the donation will be registered to the Parish of Blandford. Your particular financial institution may require additional security steps.  Please follow the procedures as they  indicate.

Pre Authorized Remittance: The Diocese offers the opportunity for you to make financial offerings to your parish directly from your bank account. If you want more information on this process and how to sign up for it, please contact Tammy Cummins – tcummins@nspei.ca If you do not have an email and wish to speak to Tammy about this option – with your permission, Rev. Louis will forward your phone number to her & she will call you.

Parish Ministries during COVID19 Outbreak

Parish of Blandford.

Parish Ministry During COVID19 Corona Virus Outbreak

  1. All parish Liturgical services, group studies & meetings are cancelled until AT LEAST Palm Sunday, April 05.
  2. Notification will be given by or before Friday April 3 concerning  Palm Sunday & Holy Week services.
  3. Reverend Louis will be available Friday afternoons from 1 – 5pm at the rectory and as needed on an ‘on call’ basis. (Email: ministry@parishofblandford.ca, Phone: 902-521-5169)
  4. If you wish to meet with Rev. Louis individually, that is certainly possible.  Personal meeting procedures will follow the most Current Public Health Guidelines.
  5. The Sunday Bulletin with the week’s Scripture Readings, Parish News, Prayer Intentions, and a weekly Reflection from Rev. Louis will be available as of 5PM, Fridays in the Porch at the Rectory (#4821 – Hwy 329) and on the parish website (parishofblandford.ca). It will also be sent out to the regular email list.
  6. Copies of Archbishop Ron Cutler’s latest letter will be in the Rectory Porch.
  7. As you may remember, some services were cancelled earlier this winter and attendance at others was reduced by poor road conditions.  As a consequence of these cancellations, parish contributions are down significantly for the first two months of the year. With at least 2 more weeks’ services cancelled, this is likely to continue for the month of March .  Please remember that whether services happen on Sunday or not, most parish expenses do not change.  Your contribution is important to the continued ministries of our parish.  You can drop off your contribution to the Home of Brian and Anne Stott, at the Rectory or to one of our Parish wardens.
  8. If you have any neighbours, friends, or family members in the parish who do not have internet access please pass on this information to them and ask them if they would like any of these items dropped off at their home.
God Bless you and keep you all safe and healthy during this difficult time.

Louis +

Rector, Parish of Blandford

Doctrine of Discovery – Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

Truth & Reconciliation, another beginning –Postponed Until Further Notice

For more than three decades, the Anglican Church of Canada has been on a journey of listening, truth-telling, repentance and healing with Indigenous Peoples, both within and outside the church. There is an urgent need for further healing and justice-seeking across the land, and we all have a role to play. (From the introduction to The Reconciliation Toolkit on the Anglican Church of Canada website)

The Parish of Blandford hopes to provide the opportunity for us to begin to study and reflect on the “Truth” part of Truth & Reconciliation using the documentary film:

Doctrine of Discovery, Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts

Doctrine of Discovery, Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts” is a challenging, truthful documentary. It is meant to educate people on the Doctrine and create an awareness of its legacy. We will reflect on this documentary using a prepared study guide in order to allow us an opportunity to discuss and ask questions about the subject of the video. At the first session, the video will be viewed in its entirety (67 minutes) and then broken down into discussion and reflection by chapter at the following sessions. If there are topics which stimulate more discussion and require more time, we will not rush through just to cover the material for that evening. If necessary additional sessions will be scheduled for after Easter.

Prayer and scripture that speaks to the concerns which are raised by the documentary will be included as part of the study. The message is important and will give understanding to the current state of Indigenous affairs on Turtle Island or North America. Understanding the Doctrine of Discovery and its manifestations are important as we strive for reconciliation.

The video was produced by the Rev. Canon Virginia “Ginny” Doctor, Mohawk from the Six Nations and the indigenous ministries coordinator for the Anglican Church of Canada. It is presented from a Christian perspective in the Anglican Tradition but is for anyone.

When: To Be Announced AFTER COVID19 restrictions have been lifted.                           Where: Parish Rectory

Please contact Rev. Louis by phone at 902-228-2761 or by email at ministry@parishofblandford.ca if you are interested in participating.

Christmas Schedule 2019

Services for the Christmas Season – 2019

December 08

Second Sunday of Advent Holy Eucharist at All Saints, 10am

December 15

Third Sunday of Advent Holy Eucharist at Saint Cuthbert, Ocean Swells, 10 am

December 22

Service of Advent Lessons and Carols/ Lighting of the Memorial Tree at Saint Barnabas, 10 am.

December 24

Christmas Holy Eucharist at 4 pm at Saint Barnabas (family service)

Christmas Holy Eucharist at 8 pm at All Saints.

December 29

Service of Christmas Lessons and Carols at All Saints, 10am.

January 05

The Epiphany of our Lord at Saint Cuthbert/Ocean Swells, 10 am.

‘Till Christmas in the Parish of Blandford

Coming Events in and around the Parish of Blandford

Bible Study & Reflection: Next Sunday’s readings – JEREMIAH 23:1-6; CANTICLE 19 (LUKE 1:68-79); COLOSSIANS 1:11-20; LUKE 23:33-43

Home Visits: If anyone would like a visit or communion at home from Rev. Louis OR if you know anyone who may wish to receive a visit or communion, please contact him in person, by e-mail or phone. Rev. Louis will be in the parish this week on Tuesday and on vacation from November 20 – 26.

Christmas Bazaar: Saturday, November 23, 11-1:30 at the Blandford Community Centre. Admission Free. Bake Table, Handwork, Fudge, and more. Lunch (Soup or Chili, dessert, tea or coffee) available: Adults $8, Youth (6-12) $5, Children 5 and under free. Proceeds to the Saint Barnabas Guild.

Country Christmas Music Concert (Christmas and Gospel) with Matt Balsor, NS Hall of Famer, Sunday November 17th, 2019 – 2:30pm to 4:30pm ( doors open at 1:30) at The Chester Basin Legion,.$10.00 in advance or $12.00 at the door. Tickets available: at the Hair Salon #6 Pig Loop Rd Chester 275-5966 or Sheila Hirtle / Lynn Hatt or Jessica Sawler. New Ross Credit Union Limited or Roger 275-4142
Bake table / cookie sale~ 50/50 ~ Christmas basket tickets ~ Door Prizes ~Canteen. Proceeds to the Canadian Cancer Society’s The Lodge that Gives. Let there be Christmas ~ Christmas Everywhere!

Decorating the Church & Tree; preparation for Christmas Eve Family Service: Sunday December 15, 4PM – Saint Barnabas Church. For the young and the young at heart. Start Spreading the word!