There is a lot of news in our world these days on the development of Covid-19. The challenge before us is how to understand what we are hearing, as the news broadcasters continue to sensationalize the unknown reality we now live in. The scope of this disease is still unknown, the fear is high in some regions of our city, and communities like ours are poised to respond in times like this- but how? In order to respond, however, we first must take appropriate safeguards ourselves so that we can continue to offer a safe and welcoming space for people during this outbreak.
Our Bishop has written to her clergy twice regarding the practice of worship, giving us some teaching around how we are to respond given the circumstances. Her grace has now expanded that teaching and has laid out some requirements for us to abide by while our city wades through this challenge.
There is a lot of misinformation going around at the moment and it's important for us to be aware of what is real and what is not regarding what we read or hear. I commend to you all the Government of Canada’s Health page related to this outbreak for information about what is happening. Remember, the Government will not call you with health advice. There are, however, some steps for us to take individually to help keep this parish a safe space for everyone.
All is not lost, and rules and requirements are not the only answer to this challenge. There is good news in the midst of this too, because parishes like ours exist. Often when the world doesn't make sense, I fall to my knees in prayer, prayer which is both for my own needs and those of the world I'm struggling to understand. Our good news in this is Jesus and the power of prayer for ourselves and our neighbour that Jesus teaches us as we seek to be present for the community in which we live and work.
As long as it is safe for us to do, I promise that our parish will remain an open center of worship and community for all peoples- and all means all- and I invite you to continue with me in the work of being an active and welcoming presence to all people during this virus. Isolation, fear, and racism are bringing out the worst of our society in the midst of this challenge, which is anathema to us as Christians because the faith of Christ tells us these dark powers have no dominion over us. The cross obliterated all of this darkness forever, which calls us as followers of Christ to be beacons of his light in the midst of this darkness around us. Keep connected via phone with those who are unwell. Pray for each other. Smile at a stranger on the street and say good morning. Continue to help people feel welcome and seen in a world which is isolating and fearful.
Over the next season of life together in the midst of this virus, the unknown, and our fears, I invite you to join me in prayer for those affected and for those serving the affected. For our leaders and their councils, and for our world. May the healing power of Christ’s presence in our world bring us to newness of health and life. My door remains open to all of you to pray with this letter, with you and your concerns, and wrestle with what it means to be a community in the midst of social challenges like this.
Know of my prayers, with thanksgiving, for each and everyone of you.
these lands upon which we worship as the ancestral, cultural, traditional and unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people from time immemorial.