April 27, 2020
Spring has arrived with its robins, crocuses and warm days. With each successive worship service live-streamed we are learning more and more about ZOOMING. During the week, our worship team is hard at work as we become more comfortable with the technology and the obstacles we face as we edge along the learning curve. This week we hope to have a camcorder to use during service. The little Sony camcorder that was purchased by our Christian Education committee last year doesn't quite serve our purpose so a more compatible machine should arrive this week. As well, we are picking up a little switcher device that will allow us to move more smoothly between devices. The "BLUEYETI," the new microphone you see on the communion table, is giving Rev. Peggy more flexibility while it feeds directly into the computer that is videoing the service.
Last week's service is being massaged by Garrett who is trying to edit the first of the Easter Season service so we can upload it for you. You can read Rev. Peggy's reflection #1 on HOME/SERMONS if you missed that service. You will find the text for the April 26, 2020 service there as well.
Meanwhile, here in Calgary, our curve continues to climb as more people succumb to COVID-19. I have been sewing masks, using fabric from Grandma McTavish's quilting fabric collection. If you need one, give me a call - and while you are checking for my number in the church directory, give a call to someone else whose picture or image comes to mind. That is the homework from our Sunday service - to have GOODWILL.
SPEND TIME (to settle our hearts)
Break Open the Word with Scripture (During brunch time)
Break Open our Lives with Discussion
Break Open our Hearts with Prayer
Break bread in our Eucharist time:
PRAISE GOD! (with music)
HAVE GOODWILL (commit to one kindness for the week)
One of the new steps being taken in Calgary during THIS TIME OF COVID-19 is that there will be no Stampede or Folk Festival. The city will not be running any of its programs usually enjoyed during summer. For many of you out there who volunteer/work at these big events, we share your disappointment. At St. David's, we will be continuing our worship time together virtually.
Tomorrow evening, St. David's Council will be holding its April meeting on ZOOM. Our past chair, Deb, will be on the host computer with the rest of us in our own homes. Yes, that means that the early birds who arrive at church twenty minutes prior to meeting to set up chairs and tables will have the evening off. Sadly, our physical greetings will be silenced. The work of the church continues behind the scenes. Rev. Peggy, Brent and Wally can be found at church most days with Paige, Chantal, Wayne and Rev. Debbie working from their homes. Be confident, St. Davidians, that we are here for you.
Our friend, Jock, continues to improve with each day as he has moved from ICU to the cardiac ward. Daughter, Jennifer, is sharing a daily report with St. Davidians. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bonnae, Jock and family during this difficult time. Our thoughts are as well with our friend and faithful member of our Book Study from his home in Toronto as he grieves the loss of his mom. We welcome our dear friend, Marian, back home from hospital. Bless all of you. On to week seven of THIS TIME OF COVID-19.
April 21, 2020
We just finished a coffee time Zoom session that brought together a few of us who made the Guatemala trip of 2018 offered by Hearts and Hands. In the group were Rebeca from Guatemala, Laurie from Vancouver, Margaret from Edmonton, Ruth from Fairmont/Calgary and locals including Heather and Bill, Ruth, Wendy, David and me. What a great reunion taking full advantage of the technologies open to us during this Time of COVID-19.
Speaking of ZOOMING, we came together on Sunday morning, April 19, to begin a new series entitled "Matters of the Heart." This very timely Easter series is a reminder that how we manage during our self-isolation is largely determined by our attitude and having our hearts "broken" open is an invitation to work together in spite of our self-isolation. You can read Rev. Peggy's Reflection by returning to HOME PAGE and clicking SERMONS on the top of the page.
The image that supports this first Sunday of the Easter Season is our personal "communion table" with its candle, heart symbols, elements of our shared "breaking of the bread" all held in place by a piece of fabric donated to me via Bonnae McTavish from Grandma McTavish's quilting fabric - a beautifully collection of hearts. I will be using a part of the fabric along with several others in the collection to make masks. Give me a call if you need one.
Last week I suggested a favourite resource, http://www.progressingspirit.com for your own personal reading and today I wish to direct you toward a blog that is published by Sylvia and Rev. John Griffith as they journey through the TIME of COVID-19: https://whatwasithinking.blog/2020/04/19/a-template-of-a-spiritual-journey/#more-317. Rev. John Griffith served St. David's United for many years along with Sylvia and their thinking is very pertinent to today.
We are about to go collect a grocery order that we requested a few days ago online. We are learning a whole new way of connecting and meeting our needs. We've had doctors' appointments on line, virtual chats with our tax accountant and financial advisors, birthday party for our 19 year old grandson, patio visits with our grandchildren and daily Texting and Facetime sessions with friends and family across the country. Each day, I take out the St. David's Directory and make phone calls to friends that I think of during the course of the day. Seeing the faces of our St. David's community on Sunday mornings is a real bonus. Thank you so much, Rev. Peggy, Brent and Debra for your role in keeping us together. Blessings to all.
P.S. - Marian is at home from hospital and Jock continues to improve. Our Prayer Chain, as do we, have cause to celebrate and thank God. Onto Day 32 of Self-Isolation (with occasional trips to grocer, pharmacy, bank, and take-out.)
April 16, 2020
One of my favourite resources during the TIME OF COVID-19 is http://www.progressingspirit.com with Brian McLaren. Here is this morning's message. Enjoy!
"Of many lessons we can learn, here’s one that I feel is of primary importance: we can’t return to the old normal.
Yes, the old normal was better for most of us than the current situation: having jobs, having a routine, having an in-person social life, having income, not fearing for the welfare of our parents - or ourselves, being free to travel, etc., etc.
But there was more wrong with the old normal than we realized.
For one thing, it left us vulnerable to pandemics like COVID-19. Our leaders were too focused on other dangers to take this one as seriously as they should have, even though experts were sounding the alarm.
For another, it provided quality health care for a few, mediocre health care for many, and little or no health care for most. Now, it turns out, the richest of the rich are at the mercy of viruses that spread among the rest of us.
On top of that, it invested trillions of dollars in weapons that injure and kill, while investing too little in institutions and services that promote and protect health.
In addition, the old normal was framed by deeply embedded systems of white supremacy and oligarchy, leaving so many outside and behind.
Beyond all that, the old normal was unsustainable because of its baseline of harm to the planet we all share.
And to mention just one more, in the old normal, too many people acted as if lines on a map could protect us from our greatest dangers.
The old normal was based on a lie: that we are all islands, little monads of self-reliant self-interest, living in an economy that will protect us from all evil if we just work hard enough and make enough money.
In this lie, our survival depends on self-interest.
We can’t afford to return to that lie.
In the new normal that we can create together, we can lean into a truth that we are all learning in our bones thanks to this crisis: we are all connected, participants in local, regional, and global societies, living in an ecosystem that requires us to seek the common good with one another and with all our fellow creatures.
Or to put it more simply: our survival depends on love, on mutual concern, on being our brother and sister’s keeper, on a common commitment to the common good.
This is exactly the logic that I see in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 - 7. At the heart of this moral masterpiece, Jesus tells his followers to stop imitating the empire-builders (i.e. the Gentiles, meaning the Romans who are occupying their land like a human pandemic). Instead, Jesus says to imitate the flocks of birds flying by overhead and the wildflowers swaying in the meadow nearby. In other words, he tells us all to take this opportunity to defect from the status quo of our society and its social and economic systems. He tells us to transfer our trust to the natural ecosystem of God, to rejoin the larger system of the divine economy which he calls the kingdom or empire or commonwealth of God.
This new reality could become the new normal, he said, if we would just be willing to repent (or rethink everything) and believe.
In this new normal, rather than seeking first food, clothing, and shelter for ourselves as anxious individuals, we seek first the common good (what Jesus calls “the commonwealth and justice of God” in 6:33). Without the common good, nothing will go sustainably right, and with it, there will be enough for all.
In the coming days, I know we all will miss “the good old days” of normalcy before the quarantine. And there will be many good reasons to feel this nostalgia.
But nostalgia is not a good survival strategy. When we feel exasperation about the present, rather than wishing for the past, what if we did something a little more creative?
What if we imagined how the new economy we build after the current and coming chaos could be truly new and better, not just a return to the same-old same-old?
What if we take serious stock of the failures of our current governments and leaders, not just to hold individuals and parties to account for their failures (which, no doubt, must be done to a degree), but more, to imagine what kind of systemic changes could be initiated that make more sense in a world like ours?
What if we admit that our current approaches to health care aren’t working, and start imagining creating a new and better system that makes sense for the reality of a globally connected world?
What if we opened the way for a new approach to church — to imagine what kind of church we need for the world of tomorrow, just as our founders and reformers did in past centuries?
What if we threw out the old conservative notion that “government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem,” along with the old more liberal notion that “government alone is the solution” — and instead, imagined a new normal where government plays a pivotal role along with every other human institution in not just remembering the past and governing for the present, but also in preparing for the future, including the inevitability of climate change and our need to flatten the curve before it’s too late?
Those are just a few dimensions of the old normal that we must leave behind and the new normal that we must create together.
Of course, in the coming weeks and months, many of us will simply have our hands full surviving.
But in the midst of surviving, we can nurture a vision for the future we are surviving for."
~ Brian McLaren
April 13, 2020
The month marches on. We participated in two Worship Services during Holy Week, both sitting on our comfy chairs at home, with front row seating. I have to say that a part of me was concerned about the technology during the service and, in both cases, I took advantage of the youtube posting that was uploaded later in the day to focus on the message. If you happened to miss the services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, you can find both on the Home Page, Ministries/ Worship page and/or at Home Page/Sermons. We are so blessed to have Rev. Peggy, Deb Charnuski and the Worship team practising safe-distancing at St. David's so that we can connect in cyberspace during this Time of COVID-19.
Our thoughts are with friends and family of Elaine Fox, a long time member of St. David's (and a member of my Sacred Service team #12) who passed away earlier in the week, and of Jock McTavish and Marian Whitman, both leaders and active participants in ACTS (Adult Spiritual Development) in choir and in council. Prayers of support are offered to Jock as he wends his way through to wholeness, thanks to the dedicated work of the medical team on the Cardiac Ward at Foothills Hospital. It is hard to comprehend how difficult it must be for Bonnae and their family not to be with him at the hospital but the no visitors policy forces them to wait at home for word.
Marian is awaiting a medical procedure on the Cardiac Ward and she was able to join us on Sunday morning for service. Prayers are coming your way, dear friend.
Saturday night was the fourth Saturdy night that our Hugo and Iris were not our guests at home or in attendance at church on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, FaceTime and texting keep us connected at this time. Only one of our three children and spouses is still working on location while the other five are working from home and home schoooling and... Meanwhile, Dave is teaching his sailing courses on Zoom and I fill my days with getting around to all those tasks I intended doing when I had time. What a luxury that is!
Stay healthy, help out where you can and stay connected. Onto Day #31 of self-isolation!!!
April 7, 2020
Amazing! Day 23 of St. David's Self-Isolation! It seems that our world has undergone incredible change in such a short time span.
During our Lenten season, we have been putting ourselves into the "Passion of Jesus" as we reheard the stories of Holy Week - from the entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday onward to Easter Sunday. For us at St. David's, we started the Lenten Series with an interactive service featuring the worship design team which included our grandson reading the story of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. On Lent 2, March 8, 2020, he read about Jesus overturning the tables in the temple. What followed the children's input each Sunday was the midrash drama which brought the featured picture of the event to life. Rev. Peggy's thoughtful Reflection and that of our guest from Calgary Rainbow Station, Kelly Ernst, one Sunday, gave us insight as to how they were imaging themselves into the story. We moved through the story of Jesus' challenge by High Priests and Pharisees, the woman's gift of perfume, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and, finally, risking temptation.
One of the real regrets of this Time of COVID-19 has been the last three Sundays spent without our grandchildren. They are at home with mom and dad, who are both working at home. It is through FaceTime that we stay connected. "School" starts in the morning at the dining room table. Iris is concentrating on words and math with Hugo hardlining Lego when he isn't doing math or acting as camera man for his mom's YouTube times with her little pre-schoolers.
At our home, daily goals on our Fitbits seem to occupy our time when we aren't needleworking, facetiming sailing students, participating in how-to sessions with Zoom, connecting with family and friends and making occasional ventures into the world of masks, gloves, lineups and plexiglass cashier shields for supplies.
We miss our face to face time with friends at St. David's. Stay healthy and watch out for signs of Spring.