From the Rector

We're busy as a church staff reaching out to many people within the congregation. There are a lot of people to make contact with. Please, don't just wait to hear from us - reach out to one another, especially those who you know are on their own and therefore especially isolated at this time.

As I've called people over the past couple of weeks, many of you have been grateful for the Sunday worship services and our daily reading, reflection and prayer offerings. I'm sure those of you with kids are also grateful for the ways in which youth and children's ministries have been working hard to keep in touch. I also know many of you are very much looking forward to the day when we can meet in person again.

On a zoom call yesterday with Diocesan clergy, and then in a follow up email, the bishop laid out a few things that update where the offices of the Diocese believe we are at with coronavirus restrictions and looking towards reopening churches.

Bishop Daniel will be providing detailed guidance about the protocols around how in-person services would be resumed that will provide talking and planning points for rectors and vestries. These will be available early May - hopefully before our next vestry meeting, which is May 11th. Do pray for the vestry as we discuss the what, how and when of looking towards in-person worship again.

The blanket closure of all in-person worship has been extended from the beginning of May until June 14th. At that point it is anticipated that just the smaller churches will be permitted to resume in-person worship (i.e. those with an average Sunday attendance under 50 people) That will be followed by a phasing in of other churches over time. This date is of course subject to change. But it is clear that we will not be one of those first churches allowed to gather again in person in the middle of June.

We are able to again have a few people gathered for the Sunday livestream rather than just one (and his household members). So I'm looking forward to Ben joining me and preaching 'live' rather than pre-recorded from his living room. Jonathan did a great job last week on that - thanks Jonathan. The guidelines have been reduced for that from 10 attendants to 6. We have piano, organ and offertory music recorded for the next two weeks and I hope that there will be further easing of the current restrictions over the next two weeks that will allow us to bring back Gary and a soloist live to those services.

The expectation from the Diocese is that the impact of the virus will last in the region of 18 months and that we should continue to run livestreams even after there are some of our people back in church. We have been asked to expect that some of the more vulnerable people in our churches will not be back in person until there is a vaccine available and to plan accordingly. Also, we should plan for a significant resurgence of the virus in the fall. We have been livestreaming for some time prior to corona virus, but we will certainly be thinking about how to improve the quality of that experience for those who need to stay at home once there are regular services back in place.

I'm grateful for each of you as part of the God's family in this particular church family. Prayers that God will sustain and strengthen each on of you in your faith in Him and your love of those around you,

Blessings,

Richard