Dear People of Ascension,
Well, it hasn't exactly been a wonderful start to the new year, but none-the-less let me begin by wishing for you blessings for the year to come.
It certainly feels like déjà vu - doesn't it? Back to limited or no contacts, watching church on our computer, trying to limit how much news we consume each day, take-out dinners! I don’t know about you, but there is very much the feeling “been there, done that” around our house!
I imagine some of you are calmly resigned to this new time of restrictions, and others of you are mostly feeling frustration, fatigue and sadness. Some amongst us are struggling with anxiety and depression. It is a difficult time - again.
I think the best advice I’ve heard in recent days was - be kind. As more and more people get sick and the many services we rely on become more difficult to provide, let us dig deep to find patience and kindness to share with anyone we come across during our trips to the grocery store or on our walks around the block. And - be kind to yourself. Find something nice to do each day - maybe a cup of tea and chat with a friend over the phone, a walk with a friend, taking the time to cook a special dish usually reserved for special occasions. In our household, we’ve downloaded the free app “Duolingo” and are learning Spanish and Italian!
Around the church our priority is to offer as many connections as possible to our community. The Buddy System is being rebooted and you should hear, one way or another, from your buddy group leader in the next couple of weeks. If you don’t hear from someone, and want to be in touch, please reach out to me directly to let me know (416-576-7480 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sunday services will remain online for now. In the event that any of us producing those services becomes ill and cannot livestream, we will provide links to other church services for you.
Pastoral visiting will happen via telephone or Zoom. Do not hesitate to be in touch if you need a pastoral visit - for any reason! In person pastoral visits can still happen, for critical issues or emergencies, according to the comfort of those requesting such visits. All protocols - distancing, masks etc. will be used.
We are also going to offer other ways to connect online. We’ll start up “coffee hour” again, via Zoom, every other week starting with this week. Coffee hour will start at 11:15 am and anyone and everyone is welcome to Zoom in. (Please see separate newsletter item for Zoom Link or find it in the Sunday Service email on Saturday).
Bible Study happens each week on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 am. Do not hesitate to let me know if you’d like to join us and I will send you the link.
I pray daily for our community. I pray for you individually throughout the week (each day, I pray for part of the parish list). I pray for those who I know are dealing with particularly challenging times right now. I pray for our health care providers and all who continue to work and risk exposure every day. I pray for those who are attending school online, for their teachers and for their parents. And I am so grateful knowing that many of you are also praying along with me - thank you.
Feel free to be in touch with me - whether by phone, text or email - and for any reason at all. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have a specific need that someone in our community might be able to help you with or if you know of someone who needs something - even just a phone call.
Once again, and as many of you have continued to do so throughout this pandemic, let us be there for each other in the ways we can and in that, let us see the many ways in which God is caring for us, present with us and blessing us with a sustaining hope.
In a spirit of hope, Ruthanne