From the Presiding Bishop in midst of the COVID-19 quarantines
Greetings to you all in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of you at the present time are like me, at home. It is a strange feeling being at home for most of the day alone (but never alone) or with your wife and family as the case may be. In many ways, it seems to be a very ordinary spring day. The assault of the coronavirus has changed what would seem very much like every other day into one strangely ominous. We are continuously warned by the CDC and the media to avoid many behaviors we enjoy and routinely do, e.g., handshaking, hugging, and instead maintaining at least a 6-feet separation from others. After some 50+ years of ordained ministry, I have never experienced anything quite like our present situation. Of course the same could be said about 9/11, HIV and Ebola to name just a few. And as we will no doubt say in retrospect about this present situation, “It came to pass, it didn’t come to stay.”
But as uncertain as the situation around us in our world seems to be, St. Paul reminds us in II Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” As Clergy of the Church, we must reflect and communicate this spiritual attitude to our people. Never-the-less, we must adhere to the policies and practices of good public health for the safety and welfare of our people. God-none-the-less is with us at all times. We can be confident in His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I am impressed with the uplifting communications that many of you have been sending to your parishioners and copying them to me and others, thank you. I also appreciate the media presentations that some are doing to keep people involved with their spiritual duties, their clergy and fellow parishioners. I encourage you to offer online services or if you are unable to do Morning and Evening Prayer online, you may wish to join us on Facebook at St. Alban’s Anglican Cathedral with the Dean Ralph Waterhouse each day at 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. Also, St. Barnabas is posting a Mass celebrated by Bishop Coadjutor Chad Jones on their YouTube channel on Sunday evening and also a weekly video on Wednesdays. You can connect to that channel though the St. Barnabas website. Several other churches around our Province are hosting online services as well. I am most gratified that although some of you have had reservations about the directive from the House of Bishops not to hold public/in-person Services, that as far as I know all are complying. Please remember none of us wish to impose restrictions on our Clergy. However, we felt compelled to adhere to the advice of the professionals, and the recommendations of our government regarding the danger of this contagion and how best to protect both our Clergy and parishioners, many of whom are elderly and the most vulnerable.
I know you have heard it before, but I hope all of you who are able will take the time to either contact parishioners and others who are alone or organize your Vestry or others to do so. If we can help deliver groceries or medications to vulnerable persons, or just let them know we care about them and are there for them, this is a vital ministry.
Once again, please know I am very encouraged by all I know you are doing during this difficult time. Know I am proud to be your Bishop and feel privileged to be part of the most dedicated, responsible and resourceful Clergy in the Continuing Church. I sincerely believe we are nearing the end of this saga and that soon we will begin to regain normalcy. And I trust, in retrospect, we will be able to see the good that has come of it all.
With love and blessings to all,
+Walter, Presiding Bishop