On this day when the eyes of the world are on Washington, D.C. observing the inauguration of a new President and Vice-President, my thoughts turn to coping with change and facing new realities.
I have tuned in to watch the pomp and ceremony associated with many inaugurations over the past years. There has never been another one that has been so impacted by the restrictions of the COVID pandemic, the civil unrest, the pain of loss and the fear of the future and yet, it proceeded in a way that was both uplifting and hopeful. It adapted to the restrictions of the circumstances.
We too, at Central, must adapt to the restrictions our Province is facing as a result of this pandemic. At this time, I would like to take this opportunity to give an update on the recent decision of the Board with regards to reopening the church building for worship and outside groups.
As a reminder, the Board made the decision to close the building to services and outside groups effective March 15, 2020. In June, the decision was made to remain closed over the summer. In September, the decision was made to not reopen before January 2021.
We are stunned, but shouldn’t be surprised, that the pandemic situation is worse now than it was at those times. Unfortunately, that is how viruses function. They are easily spread, they mutate, and they are indiscriminate as to who of the infected become seriously ill and who ultimately will die.
Taking into consideration the Provincial Public Health Orders, the direction of the United Church of Canada and the advice of our Duty of Care Officer, the Board reached the decision to continue to have the Church closed for worship services and outside groups. This will continue beyond Easter and will again be reviewed at the Board meeting on April 17, 2021.
On behalf of the Board, and the Congregation, I would like to say thank you to the staff for adapting to the new ways to offer up meaningful worship experiences. I must say, the recorded and online services are a great opportunity to continue to experience worship in our own homes.
I know we all long for the day we can make our way downtown to gather in our church and to worship together with each other in the same place at the same time. That day will come again – we just don’t know exactly when that will be or what it will look like when it happens.
In the meantime, your Church still needs your financial support. I thank you for faithfully continuing to give during this difficult time.
I would also like to express our gratitude for the various programs the different levels of government have instituted to help out faith-based organizations. As well, thanks to the greater church for their financial support to congregations.
We, as followers of Christ, have much to do. We can begin by acting on the direction of the Apostle Paul recorded in Romans 12:9-13 in the New Living Translation:
“9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
The following excerpt from a poem written and read by Amanda Gorman at this morning’s inauguration also offers direction for all of us:
Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished. There is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it if only we’re brave enough to be it. — Amanda Gorman
It may seem that the pandemic has broken what we have valued so much. It hasn’t, it has just moved us forward to carry on in new ways.
Stay safe, stay hopeful and keep praying for each other.
Chairman, Board of Elders