UPDATE: St. Philip Church will be closed temporarily but indefinitely until medical health authorities let us know it is safe to meet together in groups once again.
In the meantime, our prayers are with all medical staff, emergency responders, frontline workers, cashiers all the many other people who are helping us through this crisis.
Forty years ago this month in Toronto, I was ordained a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada. In all the years of ministry since then I have encountered many strange and challenging situations, but never anything that comes close to the last couple of weeks.
In an email to the clergy of our Diocese today Archdeacon Barry Foster says, “Effective immediately all public worship in the Diocese of British Columbia is cancelled for sixty (60) days. Our church facilities are also to be closed for the same period of time, except to parish staff.”
I will go into the office at times, but there really is not a great deal of value in me being in the building. Anything I am able to do at the church I can do here at home.
Please know that I want to be accessible by email: [email protected] or by telephone: 250-858-4063.
Over the next few days, I will be exploring ways that I might maintain some kind of contact with you all.
I know that many of you are facing hardships much greater than the closure of your church. Please know that Heather and I hold you all in our hearts and prayers. I will miss our worship gathering and the encouragement and nurture I always feel from your presence on Sunday and through the week.
Over the coming confusing and uncertain days, may you find within yourself that deep place of trust and confidence where you know to be true the words of the Psalmist who wrote:
1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91:1-6)
Worship is one of the places that helps us find this strong deep place of reassurance within ourselves. But, most of all, we need to know that Jesus came to enable all people to gain access within themselves to the profound steady place of trust, confidence, beauty and peace that is our true nature.
May you find strength and sustenance in the challenging days.
God Bless you all,
Here is a short video that helps explain why closing churches is an important move and how we can all participate in helping lessen this crisis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSQztKXR6k0