"We'll see what tomorrow brings" seems to be a common refrain of late. People keep asking me if or when the church might close for in-house services. This past week each "tomorrow" has brought heart-breaking, record-breaking bad news.
There is compassion in hesitating to shut down non-essential services. We live in the real world with a real economy and it is Christmas - a time when not only churches look to increase offerings, many businesses depend on the income of this season. Shutting down will mean the end of many businesses and the consequences this will have on many lives.
I think it is called "a rock and hard place" where we find ourselves.
We are people of God, followers of Christ. And this is the season in which we celebrate that truth. I have felt deeply convicted by stories I've heard. The stories on the news. The stories from our very own parishioners who have lost loved ones to covid. The conviciton I've been feeling is the call to love.
What is the most loving action we can take right now?
As I write this we are all waiting to hear what the Ontario Government is going to say and do regarding tighter restrictions. Our Diocese has given the choice of staying open or closing for in-house services to the local corporation of the church, that is the wardens and the priest, prior to such restrictions being mandated by the government or diocese. This weekend we - the corporation - are praying and listening before we meet on Sunday to consider whether or not to cancel our in-house Christmas Eve services.
Even as I write that I feel my heart drop and my eyes get misty. I cannot remember a year when I did not go to church on Christmas Eve - ever. And I know many of you would say the same.
Yet that deep conviction to consider how I love this year - my parish, my neighbours, local health care workers, those who are currently sick with Covid and other ailments that have them isolated....the list goes on - is leading me to confront a hard and heart-breaking choice.
I share these thoughts with you (knowing it may be a moot point by the time Sunday comes) because this decision is not simply for me and wardens to make. It is one we make together on behalf of you - our community who we love and we strive to serve in faithfulness.
Please feel free to share with us your own thoughts, convictions, sorrows and worries. You can write to us:
We will send out a notice to the parish late Sunday indicating how we are moving forward with worship in this holy week and in the weeks to come.
With a prayerful heart in these difficult times,