COVID-19 restrictions through January
On Friday, January 7, we received a letter from Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson and the Covid-19 Task Force of the Diocese of Calgary, closing churches to in person worship for the rest of the month of January. The rationale is contained in the following section of the letter:
The Omicron Variant is highly contagious and is working its way through the population at rates higher than anything we have witnessed to date with COVID-19. Hospital admissions in Alberta are on the rise again and the evidence from other jurisdictions that have been dealing with this variant longer suggests that we can expect a dramatic rise in hospitalization in the next two weeks. While this variant generally causes less severe infections, by sheer numbers of infections alone it threatens to tax our health care resources. While many experts concede that most of us could become infected with this variant, we should do our part to slow the rate of infection so as to lessen the stress and strain, not only on healthcare resources, but on our family, friends, and neighbours who work in healthcare and live daily with the stress and fatigue that comes from shouldering an unimaginable burden for almost two years.
In light of this, St. Augustine’s will be closed to in-person worship starting immediately and continuing until at least January 30. It is our hope that this latest wave will come and go quickly and that we can resume our usual worship schedule beginning on the first Sunday in February. As we plan for the next several weeks, we will keep you apprised of any changes which may become necessary to other activities including our Annual Meeting of Parishioners.
We can assure you that as parish clergy and staff we will spare no effort to stay in touch as best we can during this next month. We appreciate your prayers as we seek to make the changes necessary. We realize that this could be especially challenging for parishioners who are unable to access computer technology to watch online services. We ask that those who are receiving this email spread the word, especially to those who are not able to use computers, that Rev. Steve and Rev. Gillian are setting aside as much time as possible in the next month for telephone appointments in which we can hear what is going on in the lives of parishioners, pray together, and offer what support we can. Anyone who wishes may schedule a telephone appointment by calling the church office.
We will miss seeing you all terribly over the next several weeks, but we stand in the confident hope that God is bigger than these current challenges and will see us through together. As Psalm 91:1 reminds us:
“Whose dwelleth under the defense of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say unto the Lord, ‘Thou are my refuge and my stronghold; my God in whom I will trust.’”
Livestream Prayer and Worship
Facebook users can watch on Facebook Live on our St. Augustine's page here. For those of you who are not on Facebook, you can click the link below which will take you directly to the livestream. Livestream links for home worship will be posted here approximately 15 minutes prior to the service.
Click here for January 16, Sunday service livestream @ 10AM (stream will go live at 9:45 AM)
Click here for January 16, 10 am Sunday service bulletin
Click here to read music for The Kilcreggan Mass
The Daily Office
Links for these services will become active right at scheduled time
Compline (traditional) 8:45 PM, Wednesday http://www.facebook.com/staugustinesanglican/video
- Use this link for Wednesday traditional Compline https://prayerbook.ca/bcp-online/compline/
Compline (Night Prayer - modern language) 8:45 PM, Monday http://www.facebook.com/staugustinesanglican/video
- Download the booklet for Monday and Thursday Night Prayer.
A note about "Spiritual Eucharist" services
What is spiritual communion?
Spiritual communion is an ancient practice of the church which takes place during exceptional circumstances when individuals or communities desire to receive the Holy Eucharist but are unable to do so through no fault of their own. This would include the persecuted, prisoners, the gravely sick, and all who are denied access to the sacrament.
The book of common prayer on p, 584 states: "But if a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness, or for want of warning in due time to the Curate, or by any other just impediment, do not receive the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood: he shall be instructed that if he do truly repent him of his sins, and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed his Blood for his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and giving him hearty thanks therefor; he doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably to his soul’s health, although he do not receive the Sacrament with his mouth."
Is it allowed in these circumstances?
Shortly after the pandemic began, clergy from the Anglican Diocese of Calgary received a letter from Archbishop, Greg Kerr-Wilson, in which he discusses the use of Spiritual Communion in online services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other important things, he says “I am, therefore, writing to say that those priests who wish to offer this form of ministry certainly have permission to do so.”
What do I need to do?
Simply be present for our services (either the livestream or the video recorded version, later), prayerfully participate, and when we come to that part of the service where you would normally come to the altar and physically receive communion, instead, simply join the celebrant in the short prayer which is printed in your service bulletin. It is that simple.