Dear St. Peter’s
My first day in the parish was June 1, 1989 and I have learned so much from all of you over those years. We have seen clergy changes, challenges to our finances and building, deaths of dear members let alone the ups and downs of the world around us that we have prayed through together. Now we have a new challenge and we will face it together. The Diocese, with the Provincial House of Bishops have closed all the Anglican Churches from March 15th until further notice.
I have never cared for you through a pandemic before. Be patient with me as we find our way. During the events of 9/11 we found solace in gathering in the church, lighting candles, sharing stories and breaking bread in a holy space. We cried and listened and became a stronger parish. In 2008, a large number of our families faced job losses and a financial crisis; we pooled our resources, shared our talents and became a stronger parish. I am certain we can do the same through COVID-19.
With our buildings being closed for corporate worship and our usual meetings and studies we have the opportunity to think about what being CHURCH means. I am remembering in my many chats with children on the chancel steps saying ‘people are the church, not the stones and pews’. How do we live our being the church when we cannot gather?
We can pray. Pray for everyone affected, and everyone is affected. Pray for yourselves, for strength, for peace and for wisdom. Pray for the church, that we will continue to serve with compassion and hope. If you would like someone to pray with you on the phone, call the church office (905-828-2095) and leave a message at extension 52. Rev. Nightingale will ensure you have a prayer partner.
We can serve. Look around you and check in on each other. Who usually sits near you in the pews? Can you give them a call and ask how they are? Can you share some of the extra food you bought this week and drop it off for the Deacon’s Cupboard? Can you bring groceries to an elderly neighbour who can’t manage the line ups?
We can give. There will be a huge financial cost to our people, community and the parish itself. If you can continue your giving to the church through this pandemic you will enable us to maintain the pastoral care and building needs so we can quickly resume our normal operations. Using CanadaHelps, search for St. Peter’s Church Erindale and make a donation. You can also send an etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can grow. Read your Bible, find online resources that inspire you, connect with each other through the internet. If you use Facebook, we have a St. Peter’s Erindale group where we can chat. We also hope to have live posts from the clergy as we find our footing. Check out our website for any further updates.
Thank you for all of the questions, concerns and prayers you have been sharing with us. Thank you to all of our ministries and teams who are struggling to adjust to these sudden changes. The heart of Jesus beats in all of you and we will continue to be his voice of love and compassion, and calm, through the days ahead.
PS: Wash your hands!