Anglican Parish of Derby and Blackville
From Our Bishop, David Edwards, March 16 2020:
BREAKING NEWS – WORSHIP SERVICES SUSPENDED
Message # 3 from Bishop David Edwards, RE: COVID-19
March 16, 2020
The situation we face is extremely fluid and, in most of our lifetimes, unprecedented. We have the need to balance pastoral concern with our role within civic society. The pandemic does not affect the Church as the Body of Christ, but it has an impact on the way we do things.
I issued a directive last week laying out expectations for services yesterday. In the light of further developments, and after consultation today, it saddens me to announce the SUSPENSION OF GATHERINGS FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP UNTIL PALM SUNDAY at the earliest. There should also be NO UNNECESSARY MEETINGS. Further information will follow later in the week.
In doing this, I encourage us all to maintain contact with each other. We should endeavour to at least contact people by telephone or other means. As I write there are no health guidelines about visiting others as long as they are not quarantined or self-isolating. If we visit, “social distance” should be maintained.
There are a number of our parishes and programs which provide meals and services for others. Several foodbanks and kitchens across the province have decided to give food packages to those who need them. Others are providing gift cards. I suggest we follow a similar method.
Some of our parishes have the ability to livestream their worship services and did so on Sunday. We will be seeking ways of making those available to a wider audience as well as trying to create a diocesan-wide act of worship. There will be more on this later in the week.
In addition, I would ask that we all pray and encourage prayer in this situation. There is a great deal of fear and disruption among us and in our communities at present. To that end I make two further points.
If practical, churches should be open for people to pray individually. Secondly, later in the week there will be prayers and meditations shared by me and others via social media.
Please ensure that all provincial and federal restrictions are followed. The links are below.
Once again, I am sorry that this action is necessary, but I believe it is the prudent course at this time.
May God bless you,
Gracious God thank you that you are over all, in all and through all. We lift our world before you as we face the advent of the COVID-19 virus. We pray for those who are suffering its effects, the medical personnel who are caring for them and those who are seeking a vaccine or cure. We are grateful for the lives of people who have died and pray for their families and friends in their bereavement. We ask that you enable us to know your love for all and give us your peace which passes all understanding.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
Information from Provincial and Federal Authorities:
- Federal Government’s information page:https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html
- Provincial Government’s information page: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/cdc/content/respiratory_diseases/coronavirus.html
From Fr. Gerry: “For Such a Time as This”
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
The Jewish community recently celebrated Purim, the commemoration of the saving of the People of Israel from the wicked plans of Haman as recounted for us in the Book of Esther. In that book of Holy Scripture, Esther, who from very humble beginnings becomes Queen of Persia, when the lives of the Jews are threatened rises to take action, Esther and her cousin, Mordecai (who had raised Esther after she was orphaned) come to play an important role in removing the Jewish people living in Persia from threat of death. Esther needed to be encouraged by Mordecai to recognize God’s call on her to do what needed to be done. We see clearly in this Scripture how God uses us all, even those of humble means, to do both the little and large things to reflect His love, truth and desire for us – His children. Mordecai reminds Esther, that through God’s grace, she has been born to do what needs to be done – “…for such a time as this”.
Part of what we – you and me – are called to do in our Christian journey, is to look to recognize those opportunities in life where we can also reflect God’s love, truth and desire for us. Jesus, often reminds us that we are to seek to be aware of the needs of others, and to act as He would in serving those who are in “want, sorrow, need or any other adversity”.
How, at this time, can we do that? In many ways – by keeping each other in prayer; by reaching out to those who may need a kind word, a phone call visit; picking up groceries or a prescription for someone is self-quarantined; by sharing information that comes from reliable sources; by finding appropriate ways to immerse ourselves in God’s Holy Word and incorporate worship in our routine – especially, as we cannot come together at this time physically in Common Prayer and worship. (I commend to you the offices of Morning and Evening Prayer and the simple order of Family Prayers found in our Book of Common Prayer – also available online at http://prayerbook.ca/resources/bcponline/ At such a time as this, God is calling on us to be faithful, resourceful and awake to His Calling on our Lives in this very moment. As one writer put it:
Although God was working behind the scenes, we should not overlook the existential choices Mordechai and Esther made throughout the narrative of Purim. God is eternal and unchanging, but the heroes of his biblical narrative grow and mature, offering us examples to imitate.
As you may know, the Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop David Edwards, has directed that all gatherings for public worship be suspended until at least Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Immediately, this means all services in our Parish are cancelled, until further notice. These services include our Sunday worship, our Lenten Stations of the Cross and all other public worship.
This is a significant loss in our Parish life as we will have to forego for a while our time together as the Body of Christ; but it is critically important that we use this time of social distancing as well as we can.for the welfare of all – especially those whose health may be compromised during this time.
As with everything we must approach this situation with caution and preparedness but without fear, remembering the words of the St Paul in Philippians:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Let us commit everything in this coming time, through prayer, to the One who loves us, the 0ne who is with us, and the One who has the power to heal and calm our fears.
In your prayers, I would ask that you continue to remember:
- All who are particularly vulnerable to the virus – the elderly and those with other health concerns – here and throughout the world
- For those whose lives will be severely compromised by the economic consequences of these disruptions.
- For all those working in our hospitals and public health services, who are putting themselves in harm’s way to prepare for and care for the sick
- For our leaders, political and spiritual, as they seek to help us all through this challenge.
- For all who are feeling anxious and lonely – may we reach out to them with Christ’s love
We are looking at what is possible to be offered in place of public communal worship. It is very important that the word of this development be shared. Please make phone calls to those you know who should hear this news and share this post on Facebook (.https://www.facebook.com/Anglican-Parish-of-Derby-and-Blackville-291008274299249/ )
For myself, I remain available to be of assistance in any capacity that is needed – this includes, in person visits (at home or in hospital), contact by phone , Email, through Facebook or using any of the contact information on the Contact page of this website – see above. .
I am available to be of support to anyone who cannot get supplies they require (groceries, prescriptions, etc). If we can be of any help in those matters, please do not hesitate to contact me. If others are willing to be on standby to assist their neighbours in a similar manner, please contact me and I will keep a list of those who step forward.
Stay in touch – follow the Facebook page and this website for updates and information.
Remember, I am here to serve you and yours – you are always in my daily prayers.
In His holy Lenten fast, and under His Mercy,
From our Friends at The Homely Hours (https://thehomelyhours.com/):