Reflecting on a Year of Ministry in a Pandemic – For I Am About To Do A New Thing

By the Reverend Tom Vaughan

This pandemic which we are all experiencing has served as the impetus for many of us to attempt new and creative ventures in our parishes. The idea of doing something new is illustrated in Isaiah 43, verses 14–19, when the prophet recounts the mighty act of the Exodus and the drowning of the Egyptian army but then immediately instructs his listeners with the words “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” 

The topic of “a new thing” also appears in Revelation 21. Just before we read about the new heaven and the new earth, God says, “Behold I make all things new.”(Revelation 21:5)

How has everyone managed all the changes that have become part of our ministries during this pandemic? As we consider how our lives have been impacted, I see these passages as being relevant to our situation. Most noticeably, I felt called to appear at the church in front of a camera in order to speak to people in Welland, not only parishioners. So many were feeling fearful, uncertain, and anxious. We had not previously recorded our services but were blessed by a person who was adept in doing so. We have since upgraded our equipment to respond to the needs of a growing audience who tunes in on Sunday.

Tom Vaughn prepares to livestream from home to the people of St. David’s Welland.

I am blessed to serve in a parish such as Holy Trinity where its members choose to live by the good news of the Gospel. Our church community engages in ministry by serving the neighbourhood, and reaching out with the love of Jesus. This ministry was clearly illustrated with our pizza project for which money was collected in order to buy pizza for the frontline workers. They were then delivered to long-term care homes, hospitals, and similar places of employment. Notes of support written by our parishioners were also included with the boxes. This support was further extended at Christmas time when a concert was presented to frontline workers in order to bring a message of hope and peace.

In talking to many colleagues over the course of this chapter of our lives my sense is God has been a guiding hand in instigating new practices. I would love to hear about your Isaiah moments as a family of faith in the Diocese. Blessings to you as God continues to work through all of us.

Tom is the rector of Holy Trinity, Welland.