Skip To Content
From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

It was Christmas Eve, some years ago now. I was standing in front of Church of the Redeemer, Bloor St., all gussied up in my liturgical finery, prior to the 7 p.m. Mass. As folks filed into the building, we greeted one another with joy and welcome. It was another green Christmas, but it was cold. With just a few minutes to go before the service was to start, I heard a vehicle come to a screeching stop on the south side of Bloor Street. A fellow got out of the SUV, looked both ways to avoid traffic, and ran across the road in the direction of the church.

He clambered up the stairs toward me. A bit breathless, he said, I pass by this church every day and I see that you feed and help homeless people. I want to give you this to help you do what you do. I am grateful.” He thrust an envelope in my hand and as quickly as he had arrived, he disappeared. The SUV moved off down the road.

I stood there for a couple of moments. The choir was assembling at the back and last-minute worshippers were making their way inside. I moved out of the flow of foot traffic and opened the envelope. No note, just a cheque for $1,500. I was overwhelmed by the random act of generosity.

The organ sounded the first few chords of the opening hymn. The choir assembled in formation and the cheque was tucked away for safe keeping. I shared this little story at the offertory. And like me, the community was moved by this extraordinary act of magnanimity. It was a moment of grace. And we needed the money.

Every church I know operates on a shoestring budget, close to the line. Every church I have served in thrived on the generosity of parishioners giving of their time, talent and treasure. And every thriving church I know strives to serve the world God loves. When you least expect it, people beyond the front doors notice. And when they notice, a surprise is surely to follow.

The birth of Jesus, God among us, took everyone by surprise – Mary, Joseph, Magi and Shepherds. And the incarnation of God’s love through our own faithful acts of generosity disarms, touches, surprises, and kindles in one another hope for a better day, a better way and the better angels of our nature.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto