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. 

Our Sunday School Lenten series on the Parables of Jesus had just started when services were suspended. Beans had been planted in “good soil” for all the kids. These ended up at my place to be nurtured. Unfortunately, not many survived. The picture shows the two surviving pots being delivered to twins Liam and Rhys for planting in their garden.

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. 

The Church was silent at Easter — but our altar and church were filled with the celebration. 

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. 

Easter Sunday school treats from Jan were delivered the Parish Kids this year by car and left at their front door. Jillian, Charlotte and Jackson are opening their goody bags.

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. 

A plea from Neighbour to Neighbour prompted the Outreach Committee to place a basket outside the church to welcome donations of food and cash donations from parishioners. The church building maybe closed but our wallets and generosity were not. Barb and Al Olsen spearheaded the collection.

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.