Beloved in Christ,
I don’t know about you, but I was very relieved this past week to hear of the province’s plan for reopening. At this point, we don’t mind so much what’s in the plan, but we’d love to just be able to make plans! To do anything—book a staycation, a meal out, or visiting with friends after such a long time apart.
And as a parish, we want to know what the plan is too—when will we be gathering together again in our church building?
This week, the province and the Diocese announced allowing religious services to reopen with 15% capacity with Phase 1, and then 25% capacity in Phase 2, approximately 3 weeks from now.
Our community is thriving while worshipping virtually. We are meeting each Sunday and through the week to worship, pray, share fellowship and grow as disciples. It has been our great joy to welcome newcomers during our lockdown!
But we need to wait until all of us have had the opportunity to receive both vaccinations before we can all safely gather again. We also need there to be a larger capacity permitted in our building so we can all be together at the same time. We also know that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ will continue to join us from home even when our building does open for worship again. And that is why we will continue to offer virtual worship!
With all of this in mind, your wardens and I have been prayerfully discerning and discussing our response, and here is our plan:
Now, of course, we will reopen our building only with provincial and Diocesan approvals, and there will be COVID protocols in place—which we are all used to by now!
Our hope is to open our church building with celebration on that first Sunday after Labour Day, offering a joyful Welcome Sunday, and inviting our kids and teens to have their backpacks blessed in time for school.
Our church never closed—only the building did, and so I know that this summer we will continue to meet together Sunday by Sunday from wherever we happen to be—that’s the beauty of ZOOM and Livestream!
We want to follow the example of the early Church as Luke describes in Acts:
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (Acts 2:42)
On another note, if you’re a mom to teens like I am, you may be brainstorming ways to keep them occupied this summer. Our kids need a plan too! Our incoming Youth Minister and Postulant Yohan Dumpala and his brother Aaron have a recording studio and they are offering an opportunity for our parish to partner with Grace Church Markham in a summer recording adventure for teens. Check out their website for information and registration. It sounds like an awesome program!
Finally, my dear friends, I know many of you, like me, wonder what we can do to help address the continued injustices of the Residential School system after the news of the discovery of the 215 children a couple of weeks ago. I attach here some educational resources provided by our Diocese to help us all learn more. I will have more details on what our Parish will be doing to learn together in the weeks ahead.
May God’s Peace cover each one of you,