May 25, 2020
The gardening centres are absolutely crawling with gardeners -- emphasis on the word 'crawling.' Stores have arranged to have customers line up outside the stores at the required 6' intervals and slowly, we make our way to the head of the line... only to find that serious gardeners have long ago braved the lines and what is left, looks fairly sad. Oh, well.
Day 71 of social distancing and week 10 of setting up our homes on Sunday morning for a 'zooming' service!! Several of us have been trying desperately to gain some expertise at this new way of worshipping online. We've had help from our Chinook Winds Regional folk as well as from the Pacific Regional out of Vancouver. It has been exciting to sit in on a meeting with folks from across western Canada who are all trying to meet the needs of our congregations during the Time of COVID-19. Each Sunday's service has the better part of 100 people participating in worship and in the fellowship that follows. Music production seems to be our biggest hurdle - we keep trying to improve our sound quality.
At a recent meeting of Chinook Winds Regional, we were able to discuss the guidelines proposed by AHS and the government regarding the resumption of worship services in our regional churches. Council will be examining those guidelines and considering how they apply to St. David's. Lining up, maintaining social distancing, disinfecting ... have become part of our 2020 experience.
Meanwhile, our wonderful gardening team have been busy making St. David's look its best and Wally, our custodian, continues to ensure that all is virus-free. Rev. Peggy has been on duty for all 10 online services and her enthusiasm and dedication have brought light into our darkness during our social isolation. Rev. Debbie has maintained close ties with members of our congregation in times of need as has our Prayer Chain. Wayne has produced his weekly "Colleaguespot" blog and kept us all in touch through our AdultForum email site. Deb Charnuski, our Council Past President and Chair of PSALT, has faithfully hosted our Zoom sessions while carrying out her other roles at St. David's and Brent Tucker has been our reader, musician and right hand to Rev. Peggy on a day to day basis. Paige and Mike are making sure that finances are in order and all the members of Council, Trustees and Foundation are meeting regularly to determine our future possibilities and to find present day solutions. You, dear adherents and members of St. David's, are supporting our church through your continued donations, participation Sunday mornings and some of you come to sing on Sunday mornings and I know that Sacred Service team leaders and coordinator are calling their team members and planning for a day when they can get back to work.
Pentecost Sunday will bring us together as the month of May draws to a close. See you Sunday morning!!
May 19, 2020
April showers in May!! For all the folk who planted gardens this past weekend, the plants will love the moisture. Our neighbour has lots of potted plants on her deck but, so far, our deck is adorned with the gorgeous crimson lily - a Mothers' Day gift from children, delivered by our grandson.
Our Sunday service went very well - if you missed it, you can watch the youtube video (look at MINISTRIES/WORSHIP or Home page/ SERMONS). Rev. Peggy's weekly reflection is so very timely as we continue in self-isolation (Day 65). We have ventured out mostly while meeting our respective goals with our FITBITs. Doctors' appointments are virtual, medications as required are faxed and pick up is handled with masks and gloves. Quite the world we live in.
There were several of us on ZOOM this past week with information from CHINOOK WINDS Regional regarding opening protocol. It would seem that we will be worshipping online for awhile longer. Instructions from AHS and the government are very specific. We have been most fortunate in that no one in our circle of acquaintances has so far tested positive for COVID-19 and we would like to keep it that way.
One of the things that kept us active this past week was the sale of the SONY CAMCORDER that was purchased some time ago and sat on a shelf in the Children's storage room. Being a 2014 model, it didnot meet the necessary requirements for live streaming - the incoming Camcorder will enhance the video of our worship service when it comes in. Meanwhile, Dave has one on order too which he can use in videoing the Chameleon Drama Group's presentations. (We really miss those rehearsals and rumour has it that grandson Hugo had his lines all memorized before the TIME of COVID-19 began.)
News today comes from Ontario where it has been decided that schools will remain closed until June 30, 2020. That means that our grandsons in Ottawa will continue to be home and online schooled for the duration. Our daughter here in Calgary is producing a daily video for her preschool little ones in the francophone programs here in the NW. Dave is teaching navigation/ radio/ etc. using ZOOM and, thank goodness for Facetime for keeping us connected.
Take a scan on our last St. David's directory and call someone you haven't seen for awhile. We do have a brief time to say hi on Sunday morning after service. Take care, stay healthy and make the best of the situation in which we find ourselves.
P.S. We continue to keep Jock, Bonnae, Jennifer, Marian and the Parfett Family in mind this week - our faithful and longtime member of St. David's, Orfra Parfett, passed on this past week at age 102. There will be a graveside service with Rev. Debbie officiating and a celebration of Orfa's life will follow later.
May 11, 2020
Happy Mothers' Day to you and yours. And, yes, we woke up yesterday to snow on the deck. Our little squirrel mama, who systematically de-fuzzed the plastic cover for our patio firetable over the winter, had made two trips to the peanut platform (a solar bird feeder) for her morning treat but to no avail. When I slipped out a peanut, it was gone before I was able to move to the window to see her. Dave has managed to feed her a peanut or two by hand while on his hands and knees at the patio door. She comes to the door and sits, like a little begging dog, awaiting her treat.
So much for snow. This morning our friends from St. David (and our neighbours), Bill and Heather, chatted with me over the fenceline before continuing their daily walk through the neighbourhood. Meanwhile, Dave and I continue work on our Fitbit steps for the day. Dave's goal is 10 000 steps; mine is 7500 and we like to meet our goals by midafternoon.
Yesterday's worship service was focussed on encouragement during the Time of COVID-19. https://youtu.be/mSnzFt0jtEE I was the designated co-host with the job of making sure everyone could join in a timely manner. We had over 70 families on line and if each of us encourages one other person this week (our Goodwill Commitment) our world will be better for it.
Meanwhile in the sanctuary at St. David's were a dedicated crew whose weekly priority has been making sure that all was ready for our 10:00 a.m. Zoom time Sunday morning. Each week seems to be a little more technologically okay but we still have some little glitches. We are awaiting the delivery of a new digital camera that will connect directly to the computer for live streaming along with a mixer. We have been able to sell the little digital camera that Ministry of Families purchased a couple of years ago. Being a 2014 model, it could not meet our 2020 needs.
We all benefit from Encouragement. Each of us has our own drama at this time but when we pool our talents, the result amazes. (If you have any suggestions for us on the live-streaming undertaking, just give me a call or email at [email protected] - we are dedicated learners!!)
Schools in Quebec outside Montreal opened for elementary children today despite the COVID-19 numbers continuing to grow in Quebec. Here in Alberta, there has begun the slow opening of services halted for the past 56 days. It seems like we have entered another paradigm and we wonder what summer, autumn, winter... will be like.
You might want to check in with Wayne's colleaguespot - a weekly online update: https://tinyurl.com/y8oquvgp . Wayne's wisdom goes along ways nowadays. P.S. Jock, ACTS and Monday Night Book Study leader, continues to show progress on his way back from his near loss of life event. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Bonnae, Jennifer and family. Thank you, Jen, for keeping us so faithfully in the loop. And P.S. I continue to make masks, using some of Grandma McTavish's quilting fabric collection. Made to order just for you!!! Just call!
May 5, 2020
'Tis the "Merry Month of May" or so they say. Most laughter, however, these days comes from our cyber connections. We have contributed some originals and shared many others as, daily, we connect with friends and family online. Thank you to all the joy you share our way.
We have begun a whole new set of rituals on Sunday mornings: candles are lit, the table is prepared, snacks and beverages are at the ready, heart symbols are on display, our usual Sunday morning ablutions are completed and, this last Sunday, our worry stones were ready to be lowered into water. Rev. Peggy has been guiding us through a series she has entitled "Heart of the Matter," as she considers with us how our lives have been impacted by self-isolation and the radical changes we have undergone in society during the past seven weeks. Drawing from the gospel of John for input, we have taken a serious look at our attitudes, at what we value and the difference it makes in our life at home, in our community and in the world.
Today is Day 50 by my count. Our day started early with an 8 a.m. appointment at South Alberta Eye Centre. The traffic was light - less than 20 minutes to drive from 32nd Ave. NW to 52 Ave. SE. (one of those radical changes!) Another milestone in our family was the completion by Dave of 520 weeks of Wii every morning. That is 10 years of "stick-to-it-ness" by a fellow, dedicated to his health and well-being. Grandchildren have stood by patiently on the sailboat while Grandpa "did his Wii" - never settling for anything but achieving age 20 before calling it a day. Congratulations, Dave.
The sun is shining, the patio chairs have been set up, a gentle rain has 'greened' everything and we are more than ready to move into our summery seasons. All over the city, gardens have been readied for growing and our little black squirrel is coming to the door for her peanut snack. Life is good. We have much to be thankful for as we apply the wisdom we share on Sunday morning. P.S. If you missed Sunday's service you can click on this link at any time. https://youtu.be/OAf7mm2iHlo As well, I make masks! Give me a call if you need one.
Wayne Holst, our Adult Spiritual Development leader, sent me this link which gives insight into our current condition. The Yahoo Adultforum is another way we can stay connected. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/02/opinion/coronavirus-church-christianity.html