Beloved in Christ,
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
I love this ancient Easter greeting because it reminds me of how the first followers of Jesus would have met each other when they realized that the Lord had indeed risen from his tomb, and all was not lost (of course we know they wouldn’t have spoken to each other in English but likely in a Galilean form of Aramaic).
We must hold firm to our Easter hope this season because here we are, back in a lockdown. You may remember that before the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples, they too were locked down in that upper room, paralyzed by fear. They did not yet know as we do, that Jesus was alive!
So, let us go into Eastertide with a firm resolve to hold onto our Resurrection joy—reminding ourselves that the tomb is empty and because of that, God has victory over the grave and all the various little deaths that we seem to be vulnerable to in our own lives and the world around us.
Spring is a time of new beginnings. And we are going to celebrate our beloved Assistant Curate Benjamin Gillard as enters the next chapter of his life of ministry. Benjamin+ is in the process of quite intense discernment and interviews for his next appointment and will be with us until the end of the curacy contract on May 2, after which point, he will enjoy some well-deserved vacation time.
So please, save the date for Sunday May 2 at our ZOOM worship when we will thank and celebrate Benjamin+ and all the gifts that he contributed to the life of this community, especially at a time of lockdown and clergy transition. Please keep Benjamin+ in your prayers as he plans his next steps—we know that there is a very blessed parish that will soon be appointing him!
On a practical note (Benjamin, stop reading this now! :), we are giving Benjamin a beautiful leaving gift of a chasuble, with St. Monica’s gifting him the matching stole. If you would like to contribute to this lovely gift that he will wear for years to come, please make arrangements with the office by phone, email or send in a cheque marked “Benjamin’s gift.”
Unfortunately, we aren’t able to issue tax receipts for this. We want to send Benjamin out with generous love and in holy style!
We are also going to be welcoming The Rev. Harold Shepherd back this Sunday as our guest preacher so St. John’s can formally thank him for his service as The Rev. Tony Bassett’s Honorary Assistant. It will be wonderful to see Fr. Harold on ZOOM and to have an opportunity to thank him for his ministry with the parish.
Finally, friends, because the stay-at-home order is now issued, our Wednesday midweek Holy Eucharist is on hold, and the office is closed.
We marked a very special Holy Week and Easter in the parish even in these COVID times, and I’m grateful that many of you were able to be in your beautiful parish church and to receive Easter communion on that glorious Easter Sunday.
Be firm in the faith and remember—the tomb is empty and because of that, we are filled with joy!