Dear Friends in Christ,
It is the decision of the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, which includes the Diocese of Toronto, that all worship services are to be temporarily suspended until further notice, effective Sunday, March 15.
Bishop Andrew writes: “Although we cannot gather for corporate worship, it has never been more important that we lift our prayers and praises to a merciful God, and to exercise care and charity for ourselves and our neighbours. Please continue in your personal devotions, privately and with your family, particularly on Sunday. Pray for this situation and for those most affected by it, especially the sick. Check in by telephone or email with others, particularly the isolated and vulnerable.”
Our pastoral leadership team, in consultation with our Wardens and lay leadership, will be facilitating ways for our community to worship from home, and to continue to support the ministry of St. Clement’s remotely. Resources will include taking our Lenten exploration of The John Experience online through frequent engagement with scripture and reflections from our clergy. And we will be working to ensure that our commitment to social justice via our Lenten envelope givings continues unabated. Stay tuned for more details.
Our first priority is on the pastoral care of the most vulnerable in our midst, and the work of staying in touch by phone, email and other means has already begun. While we will continue to monitor and update re: access to the physical church building, at this time our building will remain closed.
When we are no longer able to go to Church, there opens before us the even more fundamental call to be the Church. I see before us, in the midst of a time of tremendous anxiety and fear, signs of great hope: of the ways, mostly small, often hidden, in which the fruits of the Spirit are being lived out. It is, indeed, our privilege to continue learning to follow Jesus Christ for the sake of our neighbours in need.
Yours in the hope and healing that is found in Christ,
The Rev. Andrew P. Federle
Rector, St. Clement’s Church, Toronto
Bishop Andrew’s letter is available here. The letter from Archbishop Anne, Metropolitan for the Province, is here. For updates on the COVID-19 outbreak, consult Toronto Public Health and Ontario Health.