Dear Friends in Christ,
The Anglican bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario have collectively made the decision to temporarily suspend public worship in church effective immediately (as of this weekend). This will remain in effect until Holy Week at which time Bishop Chapman, in consultation with the Bishops of the Province will re-evaluate. Attached is the letter from our Metropolitan, The Most Reverend Anne Germond speaking to this decision.
To this end, worship services at St. John's are cancelled as of Saturday March 14. All meetings and gatherings are suspended. The Community Dinner Team will be exploring how it might be possible to do "take out" Community Dinner, so please stay tuned and wait to hear from Virginia about how that might unfold.
I will be meeting with the wardens later today or tomorrow to formalize steps going forward as we seek to care for the needs of the parish and the needs for those beyond our parish walls that are both safe and supportive.
I will preside at a said service of Holy Eucharist tomorrow morning (Sun Mar 15) which will be recorded and broadcast per regular scheduling on Cogeco cable (the following Sunday at 8am and 1pm). It is hoped that we can also post it to our FB page or parish website. We will explore how this might be possible going forward.
I am available through the parish office for pastoral emergencies and questions. We will do our very best to keep up to date information available to you all.
I encourage you to set aside the time you would normally spend in worship this weekend to engage in intentional prayer and devotion. Small groups may still gather in homes and I encourage everyone to remain connected insofar as possible. Social media is a helpful tool in this regard, but please, avoid obsessive following of "fake news" sites and articles about the pandemic and seek information from authorized sources such as Leeds, Grenville & Lanark Public Health, government health agencies and reputable media outlets. Practice good media hygiene along with your hand hygiene! Of course, if you are not feeling well, please stay home.
This rather drastic measure is being taken in a spirit of protecting our most vulnerable. It is not being taken out of a spirit of fear and it is important to remember that. By working collectively, we can do much to help limit the spread of the virus and this will go a very long way in allowing health care professionals and researchers do what they do to care for the sick and to work towards treatments.
The peace and love of Christ be with us all as we continue to be the Body of Christ int he world.