Reflecting on a Year of Ministry in a Pandemic – A Special Feature

On March 13, 2020 the Bishop issued a pastoral letter suspending all Sunday worship services, in concert with all dioceses within the ecclesiastical province of Ontario. Two days later, the Bishop livestreamed the first diocesan service via Facebook.

by Bishop Susan Bell

What is a Christian response to COVID-19? Well, I think that these reflections from our fine Niagara leaders are a good start. Each has refracted their own experience of this pandemic through their various ministries and given us an idea of how they have managed to continue to minister in Jesus’ name in extremis.

These reflections also bring us to the throne of grace in prayer as we contemplate the toll that this pandemic has taken on those who have contracted it – and the pernicious long form of COVID-19 disease that some have had to endure. They lead us to pray for the communities that have suffered outbreaks: for frontline workers, long-term care home staff, and those who care for the workers as well. They lead us to pray for those who have lived alone, in isolation; and those who have lived in fear of contracting the virus. 

But they also lead us to pray, like Jesus, in faith and trust the prayer above all prayers: the Lord’s Prayer: a prayer for protection, for our daily needs to be met, and for our lives to be shaped by God’s leading. One of the most affecting liturgical lead-ins to the Lord’s Prayer I’ve heard is this: “We know that things are not as they should be and so we pray, … our Father, … ” and in so doing we pray for God’s kingdom to come — where sorrow and sighing shall be no more. Let it be so and in the meantime may we pray a blessing on all who minister and all who receive the care of servants like these.

Trust God, Trust Jesus, and Trust the Holy Spirit By The Reverend Garfield Wu

Forget your Perfect Offering By The Reverend Ann Turner

For I Am About To Do A New Thing By The Reverend Tom Vaughan

Prayer Beads by The Reverend Deacon Ann Vander Berg

Grace and Transformation Abide – By Andrew Hyde

God is in the socks – By Donna Ellis

A Year Unlike Any Other! – By The Venerable Michael Patterson