Dear Friends in Christ,
After all the preparation, the cleaning, the planning and the worry, the day has finally come. After marking the pews, erecting the signs, putting up the posters, the day has finally come. After all the worry, some handwringing, phone calls and letters, the day has finally come. For most of our parishes from Mississauga to Collingwood, from Midland to Haliburton, from Peterborough to Brighton and all points in between, the day has finally come for us to return.
For 182 days our church buildings, sanctuaries and places of worship have been closed-up tight. This Sunday marks the moment when we venture to open the doors once again and to gather in person to see each other, to pray, to break bread, to remember.
I am so grateful for all who have helped to design the re-opening protocols for the Diocese of Toronto. I am grateful for all parishes and communities in the Diocese who have worked so hard to put into place measure enough to open our spaces. I am grateful for all parishes that believe they aren’t quite there yet – being prudent and safe is paramount. And I am thankful for a sustained presence online that keeps the community of believers connected, especially when gathering in person is not possible.
As we make our way back, we are conscious that the number of COVID-19 cases in the province of Ontario is on the rise. It is hard to know just how long we may be permitted to gather in person if this trend continues. For as long as we are able, be safe, be present and take one Sunday at a time. And most importantly, remember to place all that we do in the love and care of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
And may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto