Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Posted on July 24, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

I love my work. I love the endeavour of serving the Gospel as an ordained person. I have been engaged with the art of ministry for over thirty years and I can safely say that the enterprise of serving has continually challenged my creativity, imagination, passion, humility, and wonder for the way God works through us in Christ Jesus. I am one of those people who loves going to work every day. Note the word that I used. I love. I don’t always like what I have to do. Sometimes it’s hard beyond words. Sometimes the challenges facing us defy simple answers and require patience, worry and living with ambiguity. Sometimes the burdens that we are called to carry, when donning the mantle of leadership, seem too much. And yet, in spite of and sometimes because of the burden, it is a deep joy and privilege for me to bear the weight of leadership with you, with the College of Bishops, with the clergy of the Diocese, with the staff at 135 Adelaide, and with lay leaders throughout the Diocese. When we pull and bear the load with Christ, somehow it is not so heavy.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. It has been my experience that when we take Matthew 11.29 to heart, we join our souls, and minds and hearts with our Saviour, the burden is lighter and the way is clearer. We find rest for our souls!

Rest. It’s important to find rest and quiet, to withdraw from the crowds like Jesus was apt to do. It’s critical to stop and lay down worries and loose ends and just be apart from it all for a while. The loose ends, the things left undone will be waiting for us when we return. I love holidays. The word holiday from old English, literally meant holy day. A holy day is a time to celebrate, a time of observance of what is sacred and hallowed. Holy days, holidays keep us sound, healthy, complete, hale and hearty.

We each have our own idea of what constitutes a holiday. Some of us like laying on a beach on an island in the Caribbean, or hiking a mountain trail, or downhill skiing, or camping, or sitting in a European cafe. That all sounds good to me. With the realities of staying closer to home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am looking forward to working on the house. The roof needs some repair, so does the front porch. I am looking forward to campfires, swims, bike rides and beach days. And I am looking forward to sitting by the lake and reading. Four books have captured my imagination and are waiting for me under the shade of the oak tree by the lake: White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell and The Autobiography of Bruce Springsteen. See you when I get back.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil

Bishop of Toronto