Reflecting on a Year of Ministry in a Pandemic – Forget your Perfect Offering

By the Reverend Ann Turner

There is no doubt that Canadian poet Leonard Cohen taps easily into the heart and soul of our people. Although a much-used text these days, his words capture our experience in ministry here at St. James in Fergus over the last, strange year. 

“Ring the bells that still can ring/ Forget your perfect offering/ There is a crack, a crack in everything/ That’s how the light gets in” speaks into being the realities we encountered as we pared away the unnecessary, risked the unknown, and opened our hearts and building to those experiencing food insecurity throughout our region. 

We were not prepared for the compassion and generosity that poured into our parish as we took on the work of hosting free meals for all in our community who identified by need or desire. There was no “perfect offering” and we learned as we traveled together. We found grants. Volunteers — including three professional chefs — from across the community simply appeared! 

St. James Fergus parishioners prepare to make a delivery as part of the parish’s food security ministry.

“The light [got] in” as we fed hundreds, daily, throughout the most difficult pandemic times. The community of St. James has in turn been blessed by holy surprise; by new, shared-ministry relationships, and by a conviction that hope and possibility reside in our commitment to direct our resources to community outreach. 

Our ministry continues as we adhere to our own measure of being good neighbours: we are committed to engaging our community, to discovering just how God is already at work in Fergus and surrounds, and discerning where and how we might come alongside in our own small way to help lift up God’s kingdom here in Centre Wellington.

Ann is the rector of St. James, Fergus and regional dean of Greater Wellington.