15th March 2021
Thank you for your persistent self-discipline and patience as COVID-19 continues to have its way with us and to inhibit full parish life. I am proud of our unremitting willingness to attend to the welfare of others as well as ourselves at this time.
You may know that last Friday, Bishop Asbil sent a letter to the diocese giving permission to all clergy and wardens to reopen for in-person worship at 15% capacity in the Toronto area, and you may be wondering what that means for Christ Church Deer Park.
As Rector, I received the Bishop’s news with caution. Though vaccinations have begun (I will be receiving my first shot on Wednesday), I remain cautious because variants are “at large,” and it will be months before the majority of us are inoculated against COVID-19. I also foresee a third lockdown in the near future.
With these thoughts in mind and in consultation with the reopening committee, I have therefore decided not to reinstitute in-person worship immediately. I will continue to offer online worship for another month rather than opening up to close again in two to three weeks, a scenario that I believe would be demoralizing. In a month’s time, with the help of the reopening committee, I will reassess the situation and make an informed decision about opening for in-person worship.
I expect that this news is disappointing to most of us, as we want to be together in-person for both worship and fellowship. I understand that desire. Indeed I share it: I would like to reopen the church and begin to rebuild our community. I would like to share in the Eucharistic celebration with our parishioners. But if a third lockdown is imminent, it is more prudent to continue our worship at home until such time as we may be open for a more extended period of time. Therefore, for now, I encourage you to worship with me by means of our live stream and pre-recorded liturgies, and as soon as there are plans to change this pattern, I will let you know.
COVID-19 continues to disrupt our lives, but I give thanks that our community remains intact and connected.
Many blessings to you and your family,