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26 March 2020 | Vicar Writes

An Online Season

By Terry Wong
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26th March 2020

Following the government’s directive, we are suspending our Services till past 30th April. During this season, our Services will go be going online. 

A word about Online Services. Many, including myself, have found it helpful to be intentional in setting aside time to participate in the Service. If you can do so with someone else or with your family, that will be even better. Follow the “rubrics” of the Service - pray, sit, kneel (if you are able) or stand.  Have your Bible in front of you and participate in the readings. We are keeping the Services very focussed with a duration of under an hour. 

We have inherited some beautiful prayers in our Morning Prayer liturgy such as the rich Prayer of General Thanksgiving. Some of these prayers were penned through the centuries by saints of the church and when we pray them, we are enjoined in space and time with the wider communion of saints.  

It should also be obvious that we will be running our Holy Week Services online. Perhaps for the first time in our church history, there will be no making or distribution of Palm Crosses. I can imagine that there will be many digital iterations of these crosses. It will however be an opportunity to share some liturgical prayers and rich hymns/songs and meditations to facilitate our worship and observance. For Maundy Thursday, we will be observing the Tenebrae in a different way. Good Friday will have her usual 7 meditations on the cross, accompanied by prayers and hymns. Easter Memorial Service at (3 pm) will be a simple Service to remember and thank those who have gone before us.  And you are welcome to wake up early on Easter Sunday, at the break of dawn, to recapture the emotions of the first Easter morning.  

There have been many Zoom meetings across the Cathedral community. Our PCC has been able to convene fruitful planning meetings via this channel; likewise, our staff and many Connect and Ministry Groups. The desire to communicate, connect and love is about the intention of the heart.  The forms and tools are always secondary, whether it is the ancient art of putting ink on papyrus or the modern form of sending bytes into the digital space. 

Another matter which some of you may have already experienced is an old-fashioned phone call from a pastor or staff. We are starting with our seniors, especially those whom we think may be less connected online. Or so we thought, as some have surprised us with their awareness of the online tools. It is also an opportunity for our Service Teams to have a better sensing of what is happening on the ground and perhaps during this season, this is an opportunity for new bonds to be formed or strengthened. 

Brothers and sisters, I indeed thank God for every remembrance of you, borrowing the words of St Paul in Philippians 1:3. Stay safe and walk closely with the Lord. 

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