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Dear St. Laurence, 


There was a deep, sacred silence just as our 9am service was about to begin last Sunday.  The room had just been abuzz with conversation, but as I stepped out to light our candles, the buzz fell away.  33 of us sat there for a moment, absorbing the stillness.  It was clear there was deep emotion in the room.  This was the first time we had been together since the pandemic crashed into our lives.  It felt good to be back in our worship space, seeing friends we haven’t seen for awhile.  And yet, things were different.  We were sitting apart from each other.  We wore masks.  We couldn’t sing.  The music was lovely; Bethany’s solo voice was a delight.  But we had to restrain ourselves.  I felt some grief at that.  Grief that we weren’t free to simply sing and hug and be social.  Grief that a spectre of getting ill hung over it all.  Yet, it was good to hear Lorraine’s voice reading the scripture and Sylvia’s voice leading us into prayer.  And that is what we had come to do, listen, reflect and pray.  I do trust that when we come together to do just that, God is in our midst.  


So, until at least the end of July, we will continue to have a 9am in-person gathering and a 10:30am live-stream only.  


If you wish to attend the 9am in-person gathering, here’s what you need to know:


1)  We ask anyone who has had contact with a COIVD-19 infected individual, or travelled outside the Province  within the last 14 days to stay at home.  We also ask that you stay at home if you are exhibiting any cold or flu-like symptoms, no matter how minor.


2)  When you come to church, please leave any extraneous items like handbags or coats in your car.
 
3)  We encourage all participants to wear a mask if they are able, as a way of helping protect those around us.  Many of our congregants are older and at risk.  We want to make sure they feel safe.  We will have masks available.  


4)  While here we will practice physical distancing, maintaining at least two meters distance between all family groupings.  


5)  Sidespersons will help direct the arrival, seating and dismissal of all congregants.  


If you wish to attend, we need you to let us know you are coming by pre-registering.  This will allow us to keep our total numbers of all participants below 50.  


Pre-register at:  [email protected] or phone/text (604)240-3318.  Sharon Taylor has graciously agreed to manage this process.  


Please pre-register prior to 8pm on Saturday before the Sunday service.  As we want to give everyone a chance to attend, we ask that you register for one Sunday at a time.  


We will also continue with a 10:30am live-stream, but that can only be viewed at home.   


After church this Sunday, I will be leaving on vacation.  I will attend a family gathering in Northern California, spend some time in spiritual retreat backpacking in the mountains, and officiating at a friend's wedding in San Francisco.  After so many months of solitude, I am very much looking forward to seeing my family again.  Yes, the border is closed.  But I have a US passport, so they have to let me in.  I did talk with the Canadian border agents and they assured me they would let me back in upon my return,  but I will need to quarantine at home for two weeks.  That I will willingly do.  I certainly don’t want to bring something back with me.  I will be traveling with masks and gloves and disinfecting wipes.  


In my absence, Carla will be presiding over worship.  Both she and Jason Wood will take on preaching.  Any pastoral concerns should be directed to Carla.  If you have any concerns or complaints, feel free to contact the wardens.  


As our summer begins to unfold, I pray that the light, life and joy of God fill all of our lives. 


Peace, 


Eric