The week of March 22nd

Dear St. Stephen’s church family,

Love and greetings on this snowy Tuesday. I hope that everybody is cozy and warm and socially isolating! It has been a strange week, for sure, with so many changes to keep up with as we work together to keep this virus from spreading. It is so important that we cooperate with the instructions being given to us by our health care professionals. Keep calm, keep away from others, pray on! Notice the calm and prayer is constant, no matter what happens. We trust in God, we do our part.
1. If you are on Facebook, you will have noticed that we are doing Music Mondays! 

Cathryn is going to put together a short reflection on a hymn or song, along with a link to hear the song played. This week she shared some thoughts on the hymn: Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness. Even though we are not able to meet, we are still continuing to find ways to keep in touch, spiritually and in other ways. You can find the hymn and the words here:

 2. Julie has put together an Easter/Holy Week mail out for the children in the parish.

It’s especially good for school aged children. It should be in your mailboxes next week. If your grandchildren or neighbours would like a copy, we can make it available for pick up in the church mailbox or we can mail to them by snail mail. Just let me know and we’ll put them on our list! 

  3. One thing I’m aware of is the number of children at home and the challenge that poses! 

Do you have children’s books, games, toys, puzzles…things that can help to pass the time in a meaningful way? Libraries and rec centres are closed, as are schools, as you know. I have been able to deliver a few care packages of activities for kids to families who don’t have a lot of resources, but whose children have a lot of energy! If you have some good quality stuff to donate, please drop off at the church or my house. Or be in touch. We must be very careful with donated items, making sure they are clean and sanitary, so no stuffies or fabric, please.

4. We will record another Sunday message/sermon. 

This coming Sunday is The Rev. John Chuol’s assigned Sunday to preach for his preaching assignment. He will be sharing a recorded message with us. I will introduce and share a few words also. Please send me any important dates: birthdays, anniversaries. It will be good to mention these! 

5. Keep on praying!

 There are many and various resources out there to keep our prayer life vibrant in spite of isolation. Maybe this is a time for you to explore a new way of praying? The daily offices—morning and evening prayer—are posted on the Diocesan website.

In addition, Bishop Chris posted an online service from the Cathedral on Sunday, and has been leading Evening Prayer on Facebook each evening. 

So we are blessed with many options and invitations. I try not to be overwhelmed by the many options, and to limit my screen time (wow, I have said that to my kids many many times!). But this situation really does make me appreciate the importance of being connected by snail mail, email, website, social media and the telephone! Let’s keep in touch.  

Parish Cycle of Prayer: 

 We pray for all affected by this new virus. We pray for health care workers, for families who are separated, for people who are afraid. May the opportunities for reflection and a different change of pace help us to better embrace the blessings we have been given. Help us to study, read and pray. Help us to reach out, not only for the sake of our neighbour and friend, but for our own sake, lest we imagine ourselves to be self sufficient. In this season of Lent, may be grow closer to Jesus, who fasted and prayed, and who is with us in our suffering.  

Tuesday: Julie and Skeeter with Luke, Ben and Josh and family

Wednesday: Thyatira and family 

Thursday: Brody and Sarah and family 

Friday: Eldin and Phyllis and family, including Julie and Phil with Odin 

Love and blessings to all, 

In Christ,

The Rev. Amy <><