By Sue Crawford
The news that the Diocese was suspending services until further notice hit all of us like a bolt of lightning ~ shattering parish life at St. Michael’s (Hamilton). It was a struggle at first realizing that Easter Sunday services and all others would be indefinitely experienced on an iPad or laptop or read from the weekly bulletin. It brought many tears to the eyes of this parishioner.
Through the months of COVID19 restrictions we have come a long way. God was always with us: we just needed to remind ourselves of that fact. He spoke through our strong leadership in our clergy and staff. In particular Mary, our interim priest, who has contacted all parishioners by phone twice no less and Jan, our church secretary, without whom we would not have the wonderful service bulletins filled with pictures from our parishioners highlighting their own personal events. These take hours to compile, print, and mail out. Through contact with telephoning, emails and “end of driveway” connections we have built an even stronger parish. Our Sunday services by new-found technology (YouTube) took only a few weeks with help from Mary’s family for live sermons to become the norm.
God was there in the many events that happened in different and unexpected ways. Realizing that we might have a huge gap in our 2020 Vestry picture gallery, a plea went out for parishioners to take their own photos of family events. Many photos have already been included in the weekly bulletin. It has been a joy to see our friends (albeit in picture form). Some have been frustrated by missing milestones in their new grandchildren’s lives. We had one new parishioner born Easter Monday and another birth is imminent. As restrictions eased, families have had alley way, parking lot and driveway meetings to keep in touch.
Even though services are suspended one person from the Altar Guild has changed the church altar hangings as each new liturgical season arrives. Flowers appeared on the stands behind the altar for various memorials.
I am not sure how all parishioners are coping but from the pictures that we have received, many are surviving and doing their best to overcome the times. That one phone call, that one email or “driveway” visit, have made all the difference.
Thanks be to God and our parish of St. Michael’s.