Reopening for worship
July 26 – We are Re-opening August 15!
Dear St.Paul’s Community,
I am so pleased to have announced yesterday during our YouTube service that we are re-opening our beautifully renovated sanctuary for public worship on Sunday, August 15th. We will have a single 10:30am service that will continue to be a musical and liturgical blend of our different traditions here at St. Paul’s. You will be able to register for this service on our website at least a few days in advance, as we will have limited seating capacity. We will continue with our 10:30am service on YouTube for those who of you who are unable to join us in person.
Starting on August 15th, children will be welcome to attend with their parents – we love having children in the house of God – with several play areas being designated around the church. Our full children and youth programs will resume on Sunday, September 12th, when we begin having our contemporary Bridge service at 9:30am and our classic 11:00am service. When the COVID cleaning protocols are less cumbersome and we feel confident that we can continue to ensure the safety of those who attend our worship, we will look at re-introducing our 8:15am service.
As we get closer to the 15th we will give you more information about what to expect with regard to COVID protocols etc, but this short video will hopefully answer a lot of your initial questions. It will be simply marvellous to worship our Heavenly Father with you in person, to meet many of you for the first time, to share in the sacrament of Holy Communion together, smile at how tall our children have grown, and listen to live music being offered to the glory of God!
Don’t hesitate to reach out directly with any questions or concerns. Looking forward to seeing you in person soon.
July 8 – Pray as We Prepare
Bishop Jenny is inviting our community to join her in praying over the summer as we prepare to re-open our building for public worship in August. You are warmly invited to join at least one of the following sessions over Zoom and you do not need to be an expert at prayer to participate – complete novices very welcome and the more the merrier! Please consider putting one of these dates in your calendar.
Thursday, July 15 at 7:30 pm led by Bishop Jenny Andison
Sunday, July 25 at 11:10 am led by Janet Earle (after the service in place of Getting Traction)
Monday, August 9 at 7:30 pm led by Tyler Wigg-Stevenson
Monday, August 23 at 12 pm led by Steve Shaw
Wednesday, September 8 at 7:30 pm led by Lay Person (tbd)
The Zoom link is the same for all of the meetings to keep things simple. Here’s the info for your calendars:
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 824 0950 4326
July 6 – We Need a Team!
Dear St. Paul’s Community,
I hope you had some time for rest and reflection over the long weekend.
As I announced two weeks ago, we are planning to re-open for public worship in August and, while I won’t clog up your inbox, I committed to giving you timely and clear information as our plans unfold. We will have a single in-person service at 10:30 am on Sundays starting in mid-August, and then on September 12 we will host the Bridge at 9:30 am and the 11:00 am service, with in-person Children’s and Youth Ministry. Safety will be a top priority in all our re-opening plans, and we will continue to have some form of online worship service going forward.
Did you know, that before the pandemic, it took nearly 100 people volunteering to host a Sunday morning at St. Paul’s?! We are really excited to re-open and are building a team of people to help us safely do this – are you able to join?
Watch this lighthearted video about why we need your help.
We would be so grateful if you could visit our serve page to share with us your availability and comfort level with serving in a wide variety of roles on Sunday mornings, either in August or September (or both!).
There are of course many other ways that people serve at St. Paul’s (in Alpha, GriefShare, ESL, Connect Groups etc.), but we are focusing, for now, on the team that we need to re-open on Sunday mornings. Some new volunteer roles are needed (help with registration, audio/visual team…) and other roles (cookie bakers, collection counters, Communion administrants etc.) won’t be needed until restrictions are lifted further.
Maybe you have served in the past and can’t wait to get back at it, or you have never volunteered before – either way, we need you (as you feel comfortable) and are really looking forward to serving alongside you again.
“Now the body is not made up of one part, but many. You are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:14,17
Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns
June 20 – Re-Opening Our Building for Worship
Dear St. Paul’s Community,
I am so looking forward to meeting all of you, in person, in the not-too-distant future.
You do not need me to tell you that we are in a time of huge disruption – revolution, even – and so I wanted to take this opportunity to give you some clear and timely information about our current reopening plans at St. Paul’s while also recognizing the complexities of a fluid Covid situation. I am sure that you are experiencing the same dynamics in your own planning these days, whether with friends, family, or work.
As we move forward in the second half of 2021, I am going to resist two equal temptations as your Rector. The first temptation would be to quickly identify what I think the “new normal” will now be in our church community. The second temptation would be to simply attempt to lead our community back to the way things used to be before the pandemic. Both such attempts will fail, and neither, I believe, is what our Heavenly Father is calling us to.
This is where the Bible can be both comforting and disconcerting. It is story after story of God calling people to move forward into new territory: Abraham taking his family into an unknown land; the earliest followers of Jesus going on risky journeys, from town to town, with no guarantee of what would happen next. Story after story of movement and uncertainty, with few details and little advance notice … and not even any contact tracing! But each story is about people who trusted who it was that they were following, not where they were going. An argument can be made that comfort and stability can become unhealthy for the Church, and that God is using the great disruption of the pandemic to strengthen us; because people are just as hungry, lonely, anxious and in need of hope and new life as they were before the pandemic, and Toronto needs the good news of the gospel more than it ever did before.
Mindful of all of this, there are four concrete steps that we are going to take over the next few months, as we rebuild our congregation, so we can continue to bless this city as we have been doing since 1841. Each of these steps begin with the same word – pray.
#1 Pray, as we discern new Music Directors for our classic 11 am service and for our contemporary Bridge service. We are interviewing candidates during the summer and hope to have people in place sometime in the fall.
#2 Pray, as we plan to re-open our building for in-person worship early in August. We will have a single service at 10:30 am while also keeping our current online service. More details about how you can register for this service, and what to expect, will be forthcoming.
#3 Pray, as we hope to be able to begin hosting two in-person services – the Bridge at 9:30 am and our classic service at 11 am – on Sunday, September 12. Both, we hope, will have in-person children’s and youth ministry. We will continue to have some form of online worship as well.
#4 Pray, as we discern how our online worship will need to evolve in September. We are excited about doing ministry in this hybrid context because we know how so many of us long to be together in person; but a hybrid model of worship will also allow us to continue to expand our ministry to include others, who may be sick or traveling, or who are still unsure and only starting to explore church.
I need you, our St. Paul’s community, to join me in prayer in the coming months. We are going to create some intentional times over the summer for us to pray together, still over Zoom, as a community, so we can ask for God’s favor and protection as we begin to reopen. After Canada Day, you will receive an email inviting you to join a session in July, August or early September, to pray for these four important steps. Whether you have been praying all your life, or you are new and have never prayed, I do hope you will come to one session. You do not need at all to be an expert in prayer to join in.
While life is not going back to the way it was, and we can feel real grief about that, we are going to continue to adapt and evolve at St. Paul’s as we seek faithfully to follow Jesus Christ.
Vincent Donavan was a Roman Catholic priest who worked with the Maasai people in Tanzania in the 1960s. When talking about journeys that people do not necessarily want to take, he wrote: “Do not try to call people back to where they were, and do not try to call them to where you are, as beautiful as it may seem to you. You must have the courage to go with them to a place that neither you nor they have ever been before.”
Thanks to this pandemic, God is taking us to a place we have never been before. The staff and Board of Trustees of St. Paul’s are making careful plans for what the next few months will hold, as we begin to re-gather physically as a community, young and old; and there will undoubtedly be more twists and turns in the road. Along with the invitation to pray together, you will also be receiving in the coming weeks an invitation to indicate your willingness to offer your gifts of service by volunteering to help us host in-person worship (as a greeter, serving in Children’s Ministry, etc.). We so look forward to serving alongside you again.
Let us be of good courage, since God goes before us, and we are going to follow wherever God is leading, together. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.
P.S. I’m off to dye my hair purple, since the Youth Group met their fundraising goal for COVID relief in India!
This page will be updated when we have more information to share.
It takes nearly 100 people to help us host a Sunday morning! We are building a team to help us re-open safely, can you help?
Connect with us!
St. Paul's Bloor Street
227 Bloor Street East
Toronto, ON M4W 1C8
Weekday Online Connections
Mon-Thurs at 5 pm: Happy Hour Bible Study
Wed at 12 noon: Break With The Bishop
Wed at 7 pm - Compline
Wed at 7 pm - Youth Group
9:30 am - Children's Ministry
10:30 am - Online Worship
11:10 am - Getting Traction
11:30 am - Youth Ministry