Kars, ON, Canada
Periodic email messages from our minister
Special email messages from our minister
March 17, 2020
I write this update and pastoral note to members of the Osgoode-Kars Pastoral Charge at this time of great upheaval and uncertainty. These are uncharted waters for all of us as we adjust to a global pandemic that is impacting lives around the world, including our own.
Some of us may be fearful and lonely. Some of us may be on the verge of exhaustion (parents with kids) while others may be on the verge of boredom (children and youth). All of us rely on a structure to our day, with things to do and places to go. Those things have changed and in some cases have disappeared. We miss seeing one another, in person, at church or in the community. We miss getting together for coffee or tea or a game of cards or just a visit. It is different. It is hard. And as we look to the coming days and weeks it may become more challenging.
As a community of faith, OKPC has weathered many challenges in the past and I am confident we can come together to support each other through this one as well. But how can we continue to be "community" if we can't be together in person? Here are a few ideas, and you may have others. Use the telephone or social media to stay in touch with others. Take your spouse, your kids or a friend for a walk on a mild day, while maintaining "social distancing" best practices. Check in on your neighbour. Ask if they need any groceries or offer to pick up prescriptions. Pray for all those working endlessly to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and all those affected by shuttered restaurants, daycares and so much more. Pray for your church family.
In an effort for us to keep connected until we can be together again at worship and our other activities, we are working on a couple of ideas.
The first is to create a "telephone tree" that will be used to check in on people, to be a friendly voice and to keep our connections in place. We need more people who would be willing to help our Pastoral Visitation Team make telephone calls on a regular basis over the next while. If you can help with this, please send me an email or give me a call.
The second is to create a different way to worship when we can't be together on Sunday.
We are preparing worship materials for Sunday worship and we invite you to gather with your family (if under the same roof) or with someone over the phone to worship together. The materials would be emailed out on Friday and for those without email, arrangements would be made to safely drop them off at the person's home. As it is the Season of Lent, I encourage you take time away from the news each day for a time of Sabbath rest while "Practicing Lent." The "Practising Lent" booklet was given out at church at the beginning of Lent and I invite you to read the booklet and go deeper into the Season of Lent, remembering who you are, who loves you and who calls you to new life.
We are the Body of Christ in our communities and in the world. Let us live this out in how we care for one another and those in our circles of care. Even if we can't be together in person, we can minister to one another.
If you have any questions or needs, please drop me an email or give me a call.
May God bless you and keep you.
Rev. Grant McNeil
March 16, 2020
To help with slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to ensure the health and well-being of our members, families and wider community, I write on behalf of the boards of Trinity and St. James to share that both have unanimously decided to suspend all activities related to the church including worship services until Monday, April 6, 2020. We will re-evaluate where things stand at that time.
This is a difficult and challenging time for all of us, but we will get through it individually and collectively as we care for one another and our wider community.
More information will be shared in the next few days including ideas of how we might intentionally care for one another and how we might make materials available in some fashion for at-home worship until we are able to gather in community once again.
We recognize there are a few members who do not have email and need to be called with this news. Might I suggest members of the pastoral care team reach out to them to share this news. I can provide a list if needed.
God bless you and keep you, Rev. Grant McNeil
January 30, 2017
As I pray and reflect on the news over the weekend: of refugees being turned away in the USA; and, our collective sorrow and anger at the killing of 6 and injury of so many others who were at prayer at their place of worship in Quebec City on Sunday evening, my mind turns to the hymn "God Weeps" in More Voices. The first verse is "God weeps at love withheld, at strength misused, at children's innocence abused, and till we change the way we love, God weeps."
God weeps and weeps and weeps. With us. For us. There are no other words I can think of at this terrible time except to invite you to pray for peace and justice and love to break forth in our broken world.
With this note, I also share below a letter from our Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell which was released today.
We share your grief, as we share your determination to stop the forces of hate that seek to divide and destroy us
Published on January 30, 2017
To all of our Muslim brothers and sisters,
Our hearts overflow with sorrow for the victims of the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec last night. Shock and outrage mingle with our tears at this horrific act of terror perpetrated against innocent, faithful people. We are holding you all in our prayers at this most terrible time.
This heinous violent act and other recent attacks targeting Muslims in Quebec and elsewhere are designed to instill fear and division within and between our communities. We will not let this happen. The United Church of Canada stands with our Muslim neighbours. We share your grief, as we share your determination to stop the forces of hate that seek to divide and destroy us. Trusting in a compassionate and just God, we will resist fear and prejudice with love.
In love we reach out to you, our sisters and brothers, our fellow Canadians, to offer support and comfort. We open our hearts to you as we extend the hand of solidarity. We commit to redoubling our efforts to seek peace and justice for all peoples within and beyond Canada. We will work side by side with our neighbours of every faith and of no faith to heal the brokenness that fractures our communities and forge bonds of friendship and cooperation.
You are not alone. As people of faith across this country hold prayer vigils for the victims of the shooting and their families, know that you are embraced by the arms of love.
May the Creator, Allah, God, who gives us our common humanity, give us the strength of spirit and will to walk in unity and love in these troubled times.
In peace and solidarity,
The Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell