All public worship services and events have been cancelled by our Archbishop at all Anglican churches throughtout our Diocese until May 3. This has made our church building inaccessible to us but, as we all know, God's church is not a building! St. Helen's services and other events are continuing uninterrupted.
We've already started gathering online using an online meeting application called Zoom. Yesterday several different groups of St. Helen's people met on Zoom at different times throughout the day. We started with our regular Wednesday meeting of your Staff Team at 9:15 am. This was followed by a meeting of your Executive Committee at 11 am, which was followed at noon by a Zoom meeting with Archbishop Melissa 'attended' online by 81 diocesan clergy.
A big success of yesterday was Wednesday Evening Prayer & Bible Study which, of course, moved online as well using the same Zoom technology. It worked wonderfully well, with ten of us logging on. I believe this was our highest attendance yet at this event, and there's room for lots more. So please mark your calendar for next week and join us online at 6:00-7:30 pm!
Of course, it was all new to us so it took a few minutes at the beginning to get everyone connected but once we did that we were able to fully transcend the technology and join together in prayer followed by a highly engaged hour-long discussion of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark with full participation from everyone.
The focus of the team meeting was planning how we'll do worship services on Zoom with all of you this Sunday, March 22nd at 8 am and 10 am.
I'm very excited about what we came up with. There will be prayers, singing and music, readings and intercessions from our familiar St. Helen's leaders. The 8 am service will be said from the Book of Common Prayer as always. Please mark your calendars and plan to take part. Details on how to connect will follow in our regular 'Mailchimp' message to the parish on Friday and on our websitewww.pointgreyanglican.com
For those who are not yet familiar with how to connect on Zoom I invite you to login and join me online on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm. The purpose of this is just to say hi, get familiar with this new way of meeting, familiarize yourself with how to login, and smooth the way for Sunday's online services so we can focus those events on prayer and worship as much possible rather than on the technology. Information on how to join this Saturday afternoon 'Zoom Practice Session' will be included in Friday's Mailchimp.
If you're thinking, 'Well I don't have a computer or smartphone,' don't worry! Zoom allows you to connect with a simple phone call. You won't see the visuals but you will hear all the sounds and be able to fully participate. We want everyone to be included.
I will also be calling as many of you as possible one on one to reach out and connect and to invite participation in worship and other online events we're planning.
And of course, participation in all of this is NOT restricted to St. Helen's regulars. As always, all are welcome! Feel free to invite friends, family, and others you'd like to include.
Please stay safe, keep in touch, and reach out with suggestions, questions, ideas, and simply to connect.
In Christ's love,