• Seth Barker

Newsletter, March 2021

Updated: Mar 24

In this issue:

Holy Week

Caroline Bourget, RIP

Choir Notes

Vaccination —our experience

Tuesday Group

From Behind the Camera

Editor's Note

Editors: Joy and Geoff

Holy Week

We call the week from Palm Sunday to Easter “Holy Week”, because we remember the events that happened in the last week of Jesus’ life on earth. On Palm Sunday we think of the children and adults who waved palm branches as Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the King on a donkey. We distribute palm crosses which are then taken home and placed somewhere prominent. On Maundy Thursday we remember the Last Supper which Jesus held in the Upper Room with his disciples: the name comes from the “new com-mand-ment” which Jesus gave us, to love one another as he has loved us. At the end of the Eucharist, commemorating the Last Supper, the altar is stripped of its hangings to remind us of Jesus stripped of his clothes by the mocking soldiers who arrested him. Good Friday is a strange name to give to the day when we remember the awful pain in which Jesus died on the cross, but he showed there how God shares and understands our pain, and promises that death will be followed by eternal life. So we venerate the cross in commemoration of his sacrifice.

Fr. Paul

Caroline Bourget RIP

We were all shocked to learn of the sudden death of Caroline Bourget on Sunday, 14th February. She was a faithful member of St John’s for more than 30 years during which she served as Council member, Church Warden, Sacristan, member of the Renovation Committee, Trustee of the Endowment Fund, and, not least, member of the choir. But that was not all: for many years she played a leading role in organising the Church Sales and the Book Stall, and decorating the Church for Christmas and for other festivals. She also embroidered the hassocks and cushions in the choir stalls, and the Bishop’s Chair. In addition to all this, every year, she hosted a sumptuous Summer Buffet at her lovely home in Jongny in aid of Church funds - this event was enjoyed by 30 to 40 members of the congregation and was a key date in the church calendar. And it was Caroline who supplied the mince pies, much appreciated after the annual Carol Service, as well as the Christmas Cakes, beautifully iced and decorated, which were snapped up at the Christmas Sale. As her closest friend, Jacqueline Martinet, wrote in the eulogy read out at her funeral service on March 1st:‘’Caroline was a reserved person, hating publicity, or any form of being in the limelight. She did a lot of good, both in the Church and in the community at large, but there was never any fanfare of trumpets. One says of a generous person that they would give you their shirt. Not Caroline: she would have gone out and bought material, run up a shirt on her sewing machine – for she was an excellent seamstress – and then sewn on the buttons for you.

May she rest in peace, and rise in the glory of the risen Christ.

Choir Notes

When the pandemic began, it was agreed that the choir would continue to lead the singing at St John’s subject to maintaining the recommended distance between singers. Sung Eucharist resumed on Sunday, August 23rd and continued for the next few weeks. Unfortunately, as health restrictions tightened, singing in church was forbidden, on-line services were introduced using recorded music, and the choir went into lock-down.

Plans to record the choir leading a traditional Nine Lessons and Carols service also had to be abandoned because of cantonal directives but in its place on December 20th a lovely celebration of readings and carols was streamed on line and we are very grateful to Richard Townend for flying in from London to accompany Marian Green and Steve Alexander singing a selection of favourite carols.

Meanwhile on-line services continue without singing, but we have all greatly appreciated our organist, Steve Alexander, who plays the hymns for us as well as inspiring us all with the beautiful voluntaries that he performs Sunday by Sunday. Thank you Steve!

Vaccination - our experience

Vaccination against Covid-19 has been described as ‘’the light at the end of the tunnel’’ and indeed statistics seem to show that in countries like Switzerland, the UK, and the United States, infection rates are declining as more and more people are vaccinated. In spite of this, some people are wary about applying for vaccination. If this is the case with you, perhaps our experience may give some encouragement.

As ‘’senior citizens’’ we qualified for a priority appointment, but it does not (yet) mean that you just wait for the health authorities to call you. At first we tried to make an on-line appointment, but IT problems frustrated our effort. After much persistence we managed to telephone the call centre and from that point on everything went like clockwork. We were given an appointment for our first jab at the CHUV (Cantonal University Hospital in Lausanne) for 08.15 on 15th January. The difficult part was fighting with early morning traffic on the motorway on a snowy morning, but we made it on time. The personnel at the CHUV could not have been more kind and helpful. The whole process – registration, waiting time, and vaccination - took less than half-an-hour, and by the time we got home, we had received an e-mailed Vaccination Certificate. The second jab followed on February 12th. at a more civilised hour, and again everything went smoothly.

For those who have yet to register there will be the added advantage of being able to have the vaccination closer to home at the new cantonal hospital in Rennaz – or soon, even at your own GP or pharmacy. And for the record, it did not hurt, and we suffered no unpleasant after-effects.

The whole process – registration, waiting time, and vaccination - took less than half-an-hour, and by the time we got home, we had received an e-mailed Vaccination Certificate. The second jab followed on February 12th. at a more civilised hour, and again everything went smoothly.

For those who have yet to register there will be the added advantage of being able to have the vaccination closer to home at the new cantonal hospital in Rennaz – or soon, even at your own GP or pharmacy. And for the record, it did not hurt, and we suffered no unpleasant after-effects.

Tuesday Group

No doubt you have all heard the announcement on Sundays that the regular meeting for Bible Study and informal discussion will take place on the following Tuesday at 3 pm, and all are welcome. Maybe you have thought about joining the group, but never got round to it. Perhaps a few words about the group, and what happens will encourage you to give us a try.

The group in its current form started several years ago with the encouragement of our previous chaplain, Fr Paul Dalzell. Originally meetings were held in Chamby at the home of Monika Harbaugh, in a delightfully informal atmosphere. One of the attractions was the supply of delicious cakes provided by different members of the group. Typically we would begin with ‘’catching up’’ with each other’s news, followed by study of the coming Sunday’s Gospel reading, or other subjects, including the lives and teaching of St. Augustine and Martin Luther.

During the last inter-regnum, for logistical reasons, the meetings moved to Church House and these continued until Covid 19 put a stop to house meetings. We then converted to Zoom meetings, which still take place most Tuesdays from 3 until about 4.30 pm. Most weeks we number about 10, and discussions are lively. Although Zoom meetings may not be an ideal solution they do allow participation from ‘’Swallows’’ (members of the congregation who do not live full-time in Switzerland), and they have proved to be an excellent way of keeping in touch during the Lockdown! So, if you would like to give the ‘’Tuesday Group’’ a try, please don’t hesitate to ask Fr Paul how to access the meetings on Zoom.

From Behind the Camera

Exactly a year ago and with almost no notice, we had to cancel live services in church because of the pandemic. Looking back now I realise just how much it was a time of great uncertainty. None of us knew what the future would hold or what the virus would do. In the midst of all that, in consultation with the churchwardens, we made a decision that, if we could not hold services in church, we would offer services online. In normal times we would work collaboratively and use different people’s skills. But these were not normal times. Paul would be able to carry on doing what he has always done, leading worship, but who would be responsible for setting up a makeshift studio in Paul’s study (the church, we were told, was out of bounds), filming the service, setting up lighting, posting it on Facebook? ME!

Those early days are a bit of a blur now and we have come a long way. At least when subsequently we had to stop holding services in person for a while, we were able to film in church and we were able to make the most of a difficult situation on Remembrance Sunday for example and film the entire service with the War Memorial at the back of the Church as a background. Another memorable occasion was the reflection for Ascension Day which we filmed outdoors in Glion looking down on the Lake.

I have developed a routine now for our weekly services. It helps that we live next door! Preparation begins on Friday night, when I type up the hymns for Sunday. I form an idea of the focus for communion, using flowers, icons, pictures and other visual resources and seek them out on Saturday. Saturday night I check the tripod, set up the ‘tableau’ (which stands up above the pew, for those of you present in church).

On Sunday morning I have to concentrate hard on what is happening during the service, which is fairly difficult for me, as you will know if you know me well! Worship has changed for me, I cannot switch off and just enjoy the music or prayers; there have been moments when I have switched off and left the camera on a corner of the pulpit or filming the rafters!

I still say technology is not my ‘thing’ but I seem to be coping and in fact, becoming quite knowledgable! I always said that God has a sense of humour when he comes to me!


Editor’s Note

In spite of the virus, and in common with most other organisations, churches and similar institutions, most of our running costs remain unchanged. For instance, the salaries of our Chaplain and organist must still be paid, together with the heating, cleaning, insurances and travel costs which still need to be met.

The chaplaincy is completely self-financed locally but during the current crisis we have received reduced income from weekly collections. We are most thankful for the continuous support of so many of you during the pandemic and its ensuing problems. Please consider making a gift to the church to support its work. Our Postfinance account number is 18-4182-2. The corresponding IBAN is CH66 0900 0000 1800 4182 2. The Swift code is POFICHBEXXX. You can also contribute online through the chaplaincy website. Just follow the instructions.

Thank you!

Do please keep in touch! If you have anything you’d like to share with us, or would perhaps like us to share with you do tell us (on paper or online).

Joy & Geoff

St John's Montreux


Avenue de Chillon 92, 1820 Montreux, Switzerland

+41 21 963 43 54 | chaplain@stjohns-montreux.ch

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