It has now been a little over a month since we all went into our homes and self-isolated.
A little more than a month, the time has both seemed to speed by and felt like an eternity.
I have been gratified to know from the phone calls that you are all doing well. You are weathering isolation with grace, and humour and sometimes creativity. I have heard of a luncheon where the guests were invited to bring their own food, and then asked to sit at one end of a six foot picnic table while the hosts sat at the other end. I live in a building where we never see each other, so it was nice one day in the grocery store to talk with one of the other residents.
Then there are all the stories that I am hearing, of the creative ways that you are working together to make worship meaningful to you. I am grateful to John Hanna who figured out how to put links in so that we could sing the hymns along with music and sometimes even other voices to help us feel connected in worship. I am also grateful to Don Cann who found out all the information we needed to make sure that we are continuing to give to our community needs. And to Gloria and Diane and Janet who figured out a couple of ways in which we can give our regular offerings. It truly takes a community to be a Church and you are proving that we don’t need a building to be that community.
This has been a time for learning for me. Part of that has come as I have tried to work on being spiritually strong. I am watching videos of lectures from the Worship Symposium at Calvin College. I am zooming in every Monday for a discussion time with the Centre for Missional Leadership where we worship, pray and break into small groups. Then we have a lecture on a pastorally significant topic for being the scattered church and then again into small breakout rooms to talk about how that is working for us in our congregations. I have so much to share about how you are working as a congregation, from sending letters, to phoning each other, to continuing to plant the garden. God’s work continues and every time I tell a story about you, I am grateful to be your minister at this time. So grateful.
As for me, I am learning other things as well. I have been the Chaplain coordinator at the Hospital since I moved here. It’s not a big job, just assign the ministers who are signed up to the weeks they are on call and then giving the list to the volunteer coordinator. Since the hospital has closed those lists have stopped, but I have been asked to work with them on a way of doing Pastoral Care and Death and Dying ministry from a distance. So I have downloaded and learned how to administer Zoom conversations. I have learned how to record the meetings, which I can have alone with only me, so that I am playing with how to record the Sermon and John thinks he can post it or embed it in the printed service on the website. We will see how it goes. I had thought we could use it for meetings but not enough people have the tools or the skills so we will continue as we are.
But if you have a need, or a desire for face to face conversations I am always willing. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to set up a zoom talk with you. No need to get your own zoom account you can be a guest on my account.
The scheduled Bible study is finished but I asked the group if they wanted to continue. I got three votes yes, no votes no and everyone else abstained. In Presbyterian Polity if you abstain you vote with the majority. So we will continue starting in mid May. Between now and then I will come up with an outline. Then I have a week’s vacation and a week’s study leave booked. I am no longer going to Ontario, but have cleared with the Presbytery a reading course on Mission. So that’s what I will do—all by myself in my shrinking apartment.
Personally I am well. Craving human company, but study, work, lectures, blogging and going to zoom meetings are certainly helping.
I like all of you have been affected by this virus. My cousin in Penticton had the virus and is now well. I have another cousin in Abbotsford who is waiting for a kidney transplant and very nervous about going in for dialysis 3 times a week. Sadly a son of one of my Mom’s second cousin has died of the virus. We know about this because Tabitha started a face book group for family photos, which has become a way of sharing, but also to get to know relatives in Europe and across Canada.
What am I doing with the time on my hands? I have tried my hand at oven drying fruit, if I am at home with no where to give the 5-6 hours it takes is really nothing. The other day I learned about ginger pickled carrots for which I will get the ingredients the next time I leave my bubble and go to the grocery store.
In the meantime you are all in my prayers. I will continue to reach out to you from time to time, and I am grateful to hear how you use the worship services, and what they mean to you. We continue to be the church triumphant. Thanks be to God. Blessings to you all. Ena