Dear Friends in Christ,
I received an email this week from a priest of this Diocese. It read:
Dear Bishop Andrew,
I was deeply grateful for the $2,000 from the Bishop’s Company when I needed it, and especially for the care about me and my ministry it conveyed. In gratitude for that, I have donated $2,000 to the Bishop’s Company, so that if there are other priests during this pandemic with financial needs, the money can be a blessing in their lives, as it was in mine.
I don’t mind telling you that this message of generosity moved me to tears.
“Families pull together in times of crisis,” I wrote on March 27, and over the past month, time and again, I have seen and heard of acts of goodwill and faithfulness – actions of hope – offered by Anglicans across the Diocese. Individuals and parishes have made offerings both large and small. People are taking care of each other. Congregations are carrying on with the work of ministry and discipleship. Indeed, despite social distancing, gathering restrictions, self-isolation and quarantine, the Church continues in God’s mission. Romans 8 reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing. Not pandemic, not disease, not death, not even government restrictions! We have witnessed to that unconquerable love of God in how we have responded to this crisis. I am so proud of our Church.
To those of you running errands for quarantined neighbours, thank you. To our overworked front-line, emergency and essential workers, thank you. To the mask-makers, food-donators, care-providers and technology-suppliers, thank you. To the dear clergy of this Diocese who have become reluctant YouTubers, thank you. While there is still more work to do, with the end of this crisis still a way off, we bring glory to God in how we have adapted in these challenging times. We are modelling what it is to be Christ-followers to the world despite great challenges and an uncertain future.
The needs are great. And whether you choose to respond to those needs at this time with your time, your talents or your treasure, please know that all gifts are deeply appreciated. They speak to our faith in the generous God who created and sustains us all during times of plenty and want. Please don’t forget the gift of prayer, which is the greatest of your offerings, at all times.
Thank you to each and every one of you for what you are doing at this extraordinary time. May you be blessed as you have blessed others.
I look forward to writing you again next week.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto