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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

There is something about this time of year that invites one to remember, to look back and to recollect. It’s partly the shifting winds of fall, the release of leaves and barren branches left on the trees. It’s partly about rising in the dark in the morning and arriving home from work in the dark that mutes our senses and conjures reflection. It’s partly about festivals like Halloween. It doesn’t take much for us to remember that it was we who once ran from house to house with pillowcases in hand, burgeoning with candy, and not we who now stoop over to put treats in a bag. There is All Saints Day, when we ponder the lives of holy people whose bravery, constancy of faith and sacrifice brought the Kingdom of God a little closer to earth.

Then of course there is All Souls Day. It seems the older I get, the more All Souls Day touches me in profound ways. With the passage of time, the everyday saints who have collectively had a hand in shaping my life, one by one begin to fade from sight and take their place in the heavenly realm. It was the way they lived their belief, walked with purpose, tried to make a difference and taught me to do likewise. They were clergy, lay leaders, choir directors, Sunday school teachers, professors, outreach workers, drop-in participants, matriarchs, patriarchs, bazaar enthusiasts, ACW leaders and more. All Souls Day reminds us that the Church is made up of everyday people striving to make our way with Jesus. And along the way, our faith is shaped in profound ways by those who dwell with us in the pews. All Souls Day conjures grief and gratitude.

And then of course there is Remembrance Day. A day when poppy, Last Post, Reveille, procession, silence and the shuffling feet of war veterans remind us of the pain and sorrow endured by so many because of war. And this year our thoughts and prayers turn again to the suffering in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Sudan and the terrible tragedy that is deepening in Palestine and Israel. So many innocent men, women and children in Gaza are losing their homes, livelihoods and lives because they are caught in the middle. The images and stories of suffering on all sides of this war compel us to pray, and to urge our world leaders to summon a ceasefire and to find a better way. When one suffers, we all suffer.

In this time, remember you are a saint to others. You are someone that others look to for faith, strength and encouragement. And don’t forget the saints and souls who dwell in the realm of glory. May they give us the courage and joy to be the Church in this time and place.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto