31 July 2020 – Eighth Week after Pentecost
My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
First of all, I would like you to know that you are, and you have been, in my thoughts and prayer in these recent weeks and months. I miss you. I pray that each of you is safe and well and that you continue to be.
I think we will be contending with the implications of COVID-19 for some time to come. So, stay well. Keep the faith. Look after yourself and loved ones. As we look ahead into September, based on current public health trends at the end of July, we anticipate being able to re-gather as a community of faith around 27 September.
The Churchwardens, Marylou and Karen, and I have been working on the requirements as outlined by the Diocese of Toronto. The requirements are quite extensive and we will need to show our compliance prior to being able to re-open.
If you would like to take a look, the information is on the parish website in an item entitled Templates and Guidelines for Re-opening Anglican Churches. It includes links to all the details, timings and the protocols necessary as precautions against the spread of COVID-19. Things are going to look and feel quite different. So, here’s a bit of a ‘heads-up’ about that.
For example, one change is that we will use the parish hall for our liturgies since we can accommodate more people there than we could in the church given the limitations that physical distancing imposes. We will each wear a mask. There will be protocols for us to follow on entering and exiting. We’ll sanitize our hands. A lot of the process will be quite similar to what we’ve been accustomed in many shops, stores, and offices in recent months.
I know we can take this all in our stride. And I thank you for your understanding. We’ll let you know more when we get into September.
The primary concern in re-gathering in churches throughout the Diocese of Toronto is the safety and wellbeing of our people. If you feel reluctant about coming back to church right away in the fall, there is no compulsion to do so. I will be very happy to welcome each of you back to church when you are comfortable in coming. At the same time, we will continue to find additional ways to keep connected.
We will continue our ‘Zoom’ video-link evensongs during the fall. A number of you have already taken part. Congratulations, by the way, to those of you who have only recently ventured onto the ethers and wonders of the internet. See, you didn’t beak anything after all! We will also continue with our telephone contacts as I know many of you have been doing since mid-March. Thank you for that!
I would like also to thank you for keeping up your financial support for our ‘wee parish’. As some have been doing, you can use Canada Post or the Donate button on the parish website.
For the months of May to the end of July, the Diocese of Toronto declared a period of Jubilee. During that time, we were not required to pay our monthly apportionment to the Diocese or pay our portion of clergy stipend. The Jubilee has now come to an end. Your support is even more appreciated in these challenging times.
I know that the fallout from COVID-19 is indeed wearing. I feel that myself. Things have been quite busy for me; but, it has all been so very different. I encourage you in taking care of yourself and of your loved ones, Stay in touch with family and friends as best that is possible. Check in with your healthcare provider when you think that’s appropriate. And I know we are all praying for one another.
During the month of August, while I am away for vacation, Father Doug Woods will be covering any pastoral emergency that may arise. I pray that there is none. Marylou and Karen will have contact with Father Doug.
In spite of the ‘unprecedented’ and challenging times, I do hope and pray that you are doing well. The challenges do provide us with an opportunity to be thinking about how we can adjust to serve as the church in our community and to continue meeting our responsibilities to those in need.
Blessings, Peace, Hope, and Love to each of you.
Faithfully in Christ,