THE DIOCESE OF QU’APPELLE
St. Cuthbert’s House
1501 College Avenue
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 1B8
Dear Friends in Christ
The Feast Day of the Ascension, 2020
Last week, together with 33 other faith leaders in Saskatchewan, we wrote a letter to the Premier, and to the Leader of the Opposition, requesting a conversation about guidelines that will relate specifically to safe practices for worship gatherings. You will have read and heard on the News today, that phase 3 (possibly June 8) of the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan now mentions, ‘places of worship – subject to guidelines that are being developed’. Ms. Richelle Bourgoin of the provincial COVID-19 response team has been appointed to be the liaison person the faith leaders requested. Representatives of the faith leaders group will meet Ms. Bourgoin on Monday and later that day with Dr. Ryan Meili, Leader of the Official Opposition. Please pray the meetings are productive.
Yesterday, by unanimous consensus, the diocesan Executive Committee agreed to wait for the requested guidelines to be developed before a decision is made as to when, how, where and whom may gather, when the churches of our diocese open once again.
Some dioceses and denominations are already beginning to allow small gatherings to worship in churches, however, I write to remind everyone that the regulations and guidelines issued March 18 still apply. Our church buildings will remain closed until further notice is given. The good health of all is our primary concern. It is hoped that when Diocesan Council meet on June 6, a further update, plan, timeline and specific guidelines may be approved.
The diocesan Executive Committee and myself thank you for your patience, your resolve and for the innovative ways your church is living out the Gospel so faithfully, so pastorally. Although we are still not gathering for worship in our usual ways, the voice of prayer is certainly not silent. We are well nourished through live-streamed and pre-recorded worship, and through emailed Scriptures and sermons. Social media channels, telephone, cards and email have allowed us to be in more frequent contact with one another, offering prayer and messages of hope and support. Thank you.
As we are hearing, both before and after the Easter Appeal, our churches are working with health authorities, food banks, and organizations that serve the homeless and seniors, to join our resources with theirs. Many masks are being made and donated and errands run, for those most vulnerable. Church staff and volunteers are doing an amazing job of reaching out to the most vulnerable ensuring needs are met and fears are stilled, and we bless you for all you do.
Today is a day when we recall the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. A day when Jesus went home to continue His ministry. A day when humanity was taken into heaven. A day filled with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit, to mark the faithful with the glorious presence of Christ, in the power of the Spirit. So, as the Revd. Dr. Dean Pinter shared in his fulsome reflection on the Ascension this morning ( youtube.com/c/staidananglicanchurch )“Fortified with Christ’s presence let us lift up our hearts and celebrate this day. It matters.” What you are doing for the Lord, and for others today, matters. Your prayers and your compassion matter, and it matters that we re-emerge as a Church safely and well. So, today, like those first disciples we are called to go back to our Jerusalem, to pray, to wait a little longer, and to continue to witness, in the power of the Holy Spirit till we are released to engage openly and in person again.
In the mean time I bid you pray “Thy Kingdom Come.”
Pray for wisdom, counsel and protection for all municipal, provincial, federal and health leaders.
Pray for our children, families, schools and colleges.
Pray for seniors and those in hospital or care homes.
Pray for clergy and lay leaders, for encouragement in the selfless work they do.
Pray for all worried about their job or business.
Pray for all medical personnel, first responders and essential workers who selflessly continue to serve their neighbours.
Pray for all affected by the Coronavirus and for the families of those who have died.
Pray for all at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, as they and family members, mourn the death of Captain Jennifer Casey.
Pray God will protect all in Burundi on this, the day after their presidential election.
Pray for peace in South Sudan following considerable violence and death.
Pray for those in Northern Saskatchewan affected by the fires.
Pray for all you know to be in need this day.
Pray “Thy Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven”
“The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now.”
Christ Jesus you are our Lord and our King and we bow before you.
May the ‘leaped forth from’ footprints of your ascension be found not just on a mountain top near Jerusalem, but in the marks and tokens of the witness of your disciples here and now,
living and serving in the majesty of your presence, our risen and ascended Lord.
+ Rob Hardwick