A Christmas note ‘from the Rector’s Desk.’

Beloved in Christ,

In this is my final note “From the Rector’s Desk” for 2020 let me just say what a delight it is to be your pastor. This has been a tremendously challenging year but I have been encouraged over and over again by your grace and patience, and by the faithfulness of our blessed Lord.

Looking back to this time last year who could have anticipated what lay ahead? The word of the year seemed to be “pivot,” and pivot we did, again, and again, and again. Some Sundays our services were livestreamed, some were pre-recorded, some were morning prayer, some were holy communion, some were in-person, some were not, some were outdoors with the horses, and some were back inside our buildings, finally.

One pleasant ministry surprise for me in 2020 was the growth of our Tuesday evening small group. Despite the fact that we have been meeting on Zoom since April the group has grown in both number and vigour and is composed of regular parishioners and members of the wider community. It is always a joy to study and pray together!

As we move now into Christmastide and beyond change is upon us yet again. Let me say a few things. First, our Christmas services remain unchanged. Second, we have prepared a service of Christmas Lessons & Carols for you to watch from home. Thank you to all of our readers who made it happen and to Adam Coleridge for filming it and putting it all together. You can watch the video on YouTube beginning today! Third, with the province wide lockdown beginning December 26 our in-person worship will be suspended. Until further notice, beginning December 27, all Sunday worship will be online only, streamed to Facebook and our website at 10:30am on Sundays.

In these times of heightened anxiety and uncertainty a helpful practice is to close each day by lighting a candle and praying Compline. One prayer in particular from that short service has been often on my mind and I’ll leave you with it now:

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the silent hours of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world, may repose upon thy eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A very Happy Christmas to you all.

JRT+

ps – The beautiful image above is of the new Nativity scene at St John’s made by Peter Hanks and Blair Gilchrist. Photograph taken and edited by Sig Rannem.

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