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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear friends,

The last day of school. I have fond memories of picking the girls up from elementary school on the last day. A gaggle of parents who had loitered in the school yard all year gathered in small and large groups to gab one last time before the break. The bell rang, the doors opened wide, a horde of kids screamed and ran to play. School was out for the summer. Happier than the kids were the teachers whose faces could not contain their glee.

School’s out for the summer. Alice Cooper released a song with that title back in 1972. I was in Grade 6. For a whole generation of kids, that song would become the anthem for the start of summer vacation. The rectory on Yates Street in St. Catharines vibrated with the joy of playing that tune over and over again. I remember my father looking at the album cover and not being very impressed with Cooper’s rather dramatic make-up. And I took delight in reminding him that the singer’s father was a pastor and so was his grandfather.

If you are anything like me, elementary and high school was a long time ago, but the memories of breaking into summer linger. As kids, summer seemed to stretch on forever. The days were long and free from care or concern. Travelling, cottaging, bike riding, hanging out with friends, playing hide and go seek, fishing, campfires, BBQs and more. What was true then continues to be true now. Summer signals another way of being. Slower pace, sleeping in, reading books, rest. We who live in the northern hemisphere know just how precious summer is for relaxation, recreation and spending time with family and friends. And the older we become, the more quickly summer seems to fly by.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:30-32.

Jesus knew well the need for rest and quiet, prayer and reflection, play and parties, and BBQs on the beach. Without a break, we can break apart and lose a sense of ourselves. Summer gives us an opportunity to slow down and even stop. When we stop, we allow our souls to catch up with our bodies that are tired from work, responsibility, busyness and stress. We remember who we are. Some of us will hit the road and be back in September. Some of us will stay home and read in the backyard. Some of us will go for long walks in the evenings when the heat of the day has dissipated. Some will find a body of water to sit nearby and cool off. And some of us will even take a break from Church.

Alice Cooper took a long break from Church. When the rock and roll lifestyle lost its appeal and took its toll on him, the prodigal son would come home. The pastor’s son would embrace the Christian journey anew. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

May this summer be a time of refreshment for you. May you find grace and peace.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto


P.S. This will be my last letter before the summer break. See you in September.