Alecia Greenfield
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Developments continue in our city and world in relation to the covid-19 virus, some of it is helpful information and some of it remains unhelpful. Our Archbishop has been proactively working to ensure her clergy remain in the loop regarding developments, and any impacts on the parish. Locally, our wardens and I have been having conversations regarding impact, risk mitigation, and short term planning, regarding our renters, our worship, and our commitment to safeguarding all people. Please continue to check trusted sources for health news updates.

Our Archbishop shared with her clergy the contents of a phone call she had with Minister Adriene Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, along with other faith leaders across the province. In it, Her Grace was reminded of the importance of our existing measures, and our continued need for vigilance going forward to offer a safe place for people. I want to thank everyone who continues to come for worship, and those who are choosing to stay home because of the unknown nature of this virus. It's so important that we both self monitor and follow the hygiene guidelines we are being given. Continue to frequently wash your hands, and avoid touching your ears, nose, mouth, or eyes.

While gatherings and worship are not yet suspended, the province has restricted gatherings larger than 250 people, and the Archbishop has asked us to prepare for the potential closure of the building to worship. The wardens and I, along with the Archbishop, hope that this is not the case, but the nature of this challenge means things are changing rapidly. So what does this mean for us, for those who can't come, our Christian education, and for pastoral visiting?

  • We will live stream the services as soon as we can get the pieces in place
    • The wardens and I are working on a live-streaming technology to allow you to watch and hear the service from the church in your homes. You will not need any special equipment, just a computer, speakers, and an internet connection. Links to the live stream will be available via our weekly email, and are hoping to have this active as soon as possible, regardless of closure, for those who are unable to attend.
  • We will continue with the Archbishop’s directives
    • Coffee hour and other food related gatherings remain suspended, as does the use of the common cup at the Eucharist. We will continue to offer the peace in a no contact way to our neighbours, and observe heightened hand hygiene.
  • What about pastoral visiting to the care homes and our Neighbourhood Ministry?
    • We will continue to support Purdey Care Home and our Neighbourhood Ministry for as long as it is safe to do so, for both our friends and us. Audrey and I at Purdey Care home have a plan in place to keep their residents connected to the parish and the sacraments, and the NHM is providing guidance to only take part if you feel healthy to help safeguard our friends on the street. Donations of gifts cards to McDonalds ($10 value suggested) are welcome at this time to supplement our packages to our friends on the street due to the deceased availability of some items we normally provide.
  • What about our Christian Education?
    • We will be suspending in-person meetings out of an abundance of caution. For those involved in the “Signs of Life” sunday program, we will move to an online reflection.

So does anything change? Yes, and No. Yes, it does in that we are preparing for something we hope that doesn't have to happen- closing our building. No, in that we will continue to worship as we are able from wherever we are able. As I said in my last note to you, when the world doesn't make sense, as Christians, we get on our knees and pray. I continue to ask you to join me in prayer and worship as the needs and scope of this virus change and grow.

The wardens and I are working hard to develop best practices for the other side of this challenge, so that in the event we have to close, once we are given the all clear we can open immediately with invigorated ministry. One of the ways you can help us in that is to consider signing up for PreAuthorized Debit or using our secure online givings system for your weekly contributions, so that even if you are not at church for a short or long time, we will have the resources necessary to continue offering immediate ministry to those affected. Our Treasurer Emiliano, our Wardens or our Vicar can help set that up for you.

Remember, friends, we are one in the Body of Christ, which means no single person is alone in this. This challenge affects us all, and will raise all kinds of concerns and feelings within us. Fear is real right now, with a lot of unknowns, but fear will not win. Remember there is enough for everyone, we are enough, and hoarding materials and food is not the answer to this challenge. Keep your eyes out for the more vulnerable around you, and share as you can with the abundance of Christ, to help others get through this too.

Be present for each other in prayer. Pray for this world and our city. Pray for me, as I pray for you. Pray for those affected by this. Pray for those treating this. Pray. I will be in touch again soon, as news changes. In the meantime, may the healing of God’s mercy, life, and love, be with you all.

With prayers and thanksgivings,