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December 28, 2021

Greetings everyone! While it may not come as a surprise, it does not make the sharing of this news any easier.  The leadership team at St. James has made the difficult decision to cancel in-person worship, and, effective immediately, move to services on Zoom.  We will reassess the situation at the end of January. 

Each Sunday the Zoom service will be “Ante-communion”.  The service will be just the same as the BAS Holy Communion service only without The Eucharist.  There will be one service on Zoom, starting at 10:00 am and followed by a short “coffee hour” (more like “espresso minutes” – small and powerful!), allowing us to “check-in” and encourage one another.  The Zoom link appears at the end of this letter, and will be posted separately on the website as a news item. 

Canceling in-person worship was not a lightly made decision. After taking a few days to pray and listen to unfolding advice from public health, the Churchwardens and I were unanimous that this was the right step for our community.  

There is a lot we do not know about Omicron, but here is what we do know:  

1) Case numbers are rising, even with rapid antigen tests hard to find and PCR testing pushed days out from showing symptoms. Those who are able to access rapid tests are not reporting positive results.  Many people are not testing at all – even with symptoms.  Therefore, numbers in the news should be quadrupled at the very minimum. 

2) Even small indoor gatherings at this point in time are dangerous and could easily contribute to community spread.  

3) Medical officers of health are telling us that being double-vaccinated is not adequate protection.  For those who have been able to access a booster vaccine, the boost in immunity only kicks in 10-14 days after the shot. 

4) Cloth masks do not protect against the Omicron variant; only N95 rated masks do and those are hard to find. Once source of Canadian-made N95 masks is Canada Strong masks  Masks can be mailed to you or picked up in Orangeville. 

At the end of the day as much as we want to be together, we must also consider our neighbours and what love requires of us. Suspending in-person worship is a sacrifice we are offering for the sake of others, following Jesus and the way of the cross.

I want you to know that I, as your priest, am here for you.  Please feel free to contact me at any time.  If the need arises, I can see people in-person at my office by appointment.  Home visits for pastoral emergencies can also be arranged.  FYI – I have had my booster vaccine and have an N95 mask at the ready! 

Please help us in our Sunday service planning!  If you have a favorite hymn, please email your submission to Lori in the office.  Prayer requests can also be emailed to stjamescaledoneast@toronto.anglican.ca or call the office at (905) 584-9635 and leave a message.

In Christ,

Mother Michelle+