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March 30, 2020

Day Fifteen and Self Isolation has taught me a little about relaxing. As a friend said, having the luxury of time requires some relearning and, as my daughter said, she was getting a little tired of baby-sitting her mother's grandchildren. It is truly a brand-new era.

It was a real joy to be able to view the Youtube featuring Rev. Peggy on Sunday morning. Special thanks go to Deb and Peggy for their efforts behind the scenes. As my husband has often pointed out, it takes several minutes to produce a single minute of video. I suspect that those twenty minutes of Reflection took a goodly part of the day to prepare. 

Meanwhile Deb C., who chairs the PSALT committee as well as being the Past Chair of Council, is busy overseeing the updating our sound system to accommodate livestreaming of the Sunday service. (Monitors for the choir, too).  On Tuesday night,  Council, along with Trustees and the Foundation executive, will be meeting through the magic of ZOOM. We have lots to discuss as we move forward in this time of COVID-19. With gatherings limited to five individuals, we are really hard pressed to carry on with any degree of normalcy. 

So... needlepoint, wii, fitbit, good books, a little baking, facebook, netflix, social media etc. fill our days, interspersed with occasional walks and long visits with family and friends on facetime. If you have news you'd like me to share, don't hesitate to call me at 403 510 1993. I'm at home!!!

March 24, 2020

Let's see; Day Nine of Self-Isolation and, joyfully, Facetime, Messages, Telephone, Zoom, ... have become invaluable tools for keeping us in touch. Until minutes ago, we thought our timing of cataract surgeries, doctor appointments, social and family obligations were such that we could just cocoon at home and attack all those activities that required time for which there never seemed enough. Well, guess what? We have time and more time these days. Some members of our circle of family and friends sleep in, others are up at the crack of dawn while others are finishing up their 10 000 steps just before midnight. 

So, we've just found out that our son-in-law's grandmother has passed away in France. Suddenly, the reality of physical distancing takes on a whole new meaning - the distance across the ocean as well as the impact of COVID-19 in France. Mammie Du was living in Paris and her daughter, Kirsten's mother-in-law, lives on the English Channel Coastline. The logistics are mind-boggling. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they deal with the loss of their matriarch. 

Lots of work continues at St. David's but at a distance. On our Monday Night Book Study front, we are preparing Session #9's pdf for distribution and haven't determined yet where or how we will be joining together for Session #10. On the Live-Streaming front, we (St. David's) already owns a video camera with all the gadgets and our computer guru, Mohammed, is in the process of hardwiring our sound board/computer systems. Learning curve for some of us is extreme! If you have a special talent in livestreaming technology, boy, do we have an opportunity for you! We are hoping that our debut will be on Sunday morning, April 5. 

March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you. When I went to school, if you weren't wearing green, you could expect to be pinched by your buddies. BUT, here we sit, at home, March 17, 2020. The Herald this morning said that the Boomers are apparently not cooperating very well with the self-isolation protocol so, being a leading edge Boomer, I won't be attending the emergent Council meeting this evening. P.S. 70+ are supposed to self-isolate and I fit in that ground, too.) Deb, bless her heart, has set us up on Zoom so that we can be virtually in attendance tonight as we decide what we feel will be in the best interest of our very busy community of worshippers and supporters. We have received suggestions from various sources: AHS, Chinook Regional (successor to Calgary and Area Presbytery), other congregations, media -- we are actually being inundated with things to consider. Send us your best thoughts and prayers this evening as we determine our way forward.

Sunday, at St. David's, was a wonderful place to be. I can't imagine what it will feel like next Sunday when we might not be in our second row seating or in the balcony on the sound and light board. Tyson and Taylor Carroll were involved in youth input by scripture reading and story telling.

URO's made their way into the church prior to service where they soon appeared in slices on plates in the TM Room. It was pie (PI) day -- in recognition of being an Affirming Congregation. (p.s. Unidentified Round Objects is the title given by Dave for pies that are intended for church events rather than personal dining.)

Following service, some 25 of us drove to Mt. St. Francis Retreat Centre for our annual Silent Retreat guided by Susan Campbell, Director. It could not have been a nicer day with clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. As usual, we gathered, were led in grace then ate in silence before gathering to hear Susan's dissertation on St. Francis. The next two hours were spent in silence with some folks walking through the grounds of this beautiful place while others of us sat in the library or the connecting hall, reading, writing, resting -- just being quiet! Ironically that becomes a staple condition in our homes as we spend time alone, awaiting our next level of instructions from the powers that be. 

Rev. Dr. Wayne Holst sent me a link this morning from Christian Century, that offers ways that Social/Physical Distancing can be softened but in a safe manner. 

Again, be with us in spirit tonight as we try to make sense of the new realities of March 2020. 

March 10, 2020

Well, it has finally arrived in Alberta and we find ourselves washing our hands more frequently, refraining to cough in public, checking the pantry for supplies and warning ourselves and our grandchildren to keep our hands out of our mouths. The discipline is hard and our hearts are with those among us who are facing quarantine or reconsidering travel plans in the near future. It is a time for reflection, for sure!

At St. David's, we are bumping elbows, bowing, nodding -- anything but shaking hands or hugging. There are new protocols afloat when it comes to social gatherings. Hand sanitizer is being used lavishly. P.S. I'm sure you have noticed the absence of same on store shelves as people stock up. 

Our Lenten Series continues with much drama and flair as we move through the "Passion of Jesus" through song and word. It is awesome to see so many people involved in sharing the story of Jesus. Having the children involved makes the retelling all the better. Thank you to the Worship Design team and to Rev. Peggy and Rev. Debbie for their work especially during our time of Lent.

Speaking of which, next Sunday, some 25 of us will be gathering at Mt. St. Francis Centre for our annual Lenten Retreat with Susan Campbell, Director. As Rev. Peggy mentioned in her Reflection, Sunday morning, we need to clean the clutter from our lives during this season and I can think of no better way than spending an afternoon amid the quiet and beauty of Mt. St. Francis. I will be going out after service so can transport people, if you need a ride.

Our Monday Night Book Study is drawing to a close with two sessions remaining. We are inviting people to recommend books that we might study in the fall so if you have read a gem and want to discuss it with others, come to Session #10 on March 23, 2020 at 7 p.m.

We gather to say good-bye to Gordon Anderson on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Gordon served as chair of council for several terms (I think 3) and he and Sylvia worked tirelessly for St. David's during their time with us.

I haven't heard how amazing the Friendship Group's Friday night gathering was, however, the parking lot was full and everyone entering the church was in high spirits as they planned to spend an evening with very talented musicians. I can tell you about the World Day of Prayer Service that was held at St. David's earlier in the day. With a group of woman from all over the city led by our Marg Brucker and Rev. Debbie Stockdale,  we were guided through a service written by the women of Zimbabwe. Thank you to all who were involved in the hosting of this very important annual service. 

March 2, 2020

March came in like a lamb... or did it? We had several inches of snow on the ground when we arose this morning after enjoying several days of dry sidewalks and roads. But the sun was shining and service this morning was truly a community affair. Heather, Ray and Amanda McIntosh along with other members of the March Sacred Service Team were on hand to look after the needs and wants of worshippers. Members of the worship design and children's ministry team were mic'd for their input and the Sanctuary Choir rehearsed prior to service as we set out to "Enter the Passion of Jesus" on this first Sunday of Lent. 

On the homefront, Lent is a time of fasting for many of us. For me, no more coffee or tea (lots of hot water on order). This has been my fast for many years. During the 1980s, students would tease me, saying, "Just go have a cup of coffee, Mrs. Wallace!" in response to some critical statement offered. I actually find myself to be more easygoing and afternoon naps seem to be a necessity.

As we prepared for this important time in our Christian year, there was lots of activity and planning going on behind the scenes. On Wednesday evening, a pancake supper and Ash Wednesday Service brought our congregation together. Thank you to the cooks, the set up and take down crew and all those who made this service, culminating in ashen crosses, so very special. 

There was a feeling of anticipation as we entered the sanctuary this morning. Our banner says, "Entering the Passion of Jesus" and Lent one was clearly a re-enactment of the excitement felt by the crowds that joined Jesus as he rode through the streets of Jerusalem with palm branches waving. So many people involved!!

This coming week, we will take time for self-reflection besides coming together for Monday Night Book Study, Thursday morning Bible Study, Friday's World Day of Prayer Service hosted by St. David's with Marg Brucker and, later, join the Friendship Group for their Friday night March gathering. On Saturday, at 10 a.m. we congregate to consider our futures at the Seniors' Corner "AHS Green Sleeves" presentation and, later, rehearse with the Chameleon Drama Group. On Sunday morning, we come together for Lent Two and the excitement that being part of St. David's community awaits. 

March should be a fun month. Here we go!!!