As our new reality begins to sink in for many of us, a note to let you know how things are at West End. We continue to face significant restrictions to our daily lives, but there is also goodness and hope to share.
First, thank you to all who participated in our worship service on Sunday. It was good to share a service together. We have received many notes and emails of appreciation. We will continue with this format for our services as long as they meet AHS guidelines. We would also encourage members to take pictures of how they are worshiping, so that we can share this together, either on the website or via social media. I saw many pictures on my Facebook and Instagram feed last week, they made me smile, it would be good to be able to share these more widely. The bulletin will contain information on how to do this.
Pastor Henry and I participated in a Tele-TownHall for religious leaders on Tuesday afternoon. This question and answer session featured Premier Kenney, Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw. They affirmed that the measures we are currently taking are appropriate, and necessary. They also discussed the unique role that faith communities can play in helping people cope with the anxiety that self-isolation and social distancing can bring, as well as the significant impact of the economic downturn.
Thanks to those who have volunteered to drive vulnerable members to appointments, for groceries etc. We are looking for a few younger people to help with this as well, so if you have time and the ability to do this please contact the office.
The expectation that we heard on Tuesday is that these restrictions on gatherings will last for at least 6-8 weeks, although it is impossible to put an exact date on it. Dr. Hinshaw acknowledged that both the pandemic uncertainty coupled with the economic downturn are causing and will continue to cause anxiety. We know that there are those in our congregation who own businesses and have made the difficult decisions to close which can involve staff disruptions. These things are hard, it is important for us to lean on each other and our faith. We know that this will also have negative impact on the most vulnerable in our community. Our deacons are seeking ways to help this as well, they are preparing messaging for the congregation.
I encourage all of you to continue to look at our website (https://www.westendcrc.ca/) for updates. We have also placed links to the AHS Covid 19 page on our webpage. It contains a lot of good information regarding social, financial and health supports that are available.
Even as this has been a very strange and challenging time, it is good to see; longer family dinners, more frequent contact with friends and family and in the helping hands, and notes of encouragement and hope. The words of Isaiah 41 have appeared many times in my social media feeds in the last week, and they have resonated with me “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. “ My prayer is that we will continue to find our hope in His strength.