On late Friday evening, March 13th, 2020, the Bishop of Toronto sent out a notice to all congregations in our Diocese, that parishes are to cease public worship for the near future. Our public Sunday services at St. Mary’s have been cancelled as of this moment. To read the formal notice from Bishop Andrew, please click here.
The Bishop’s decision to close our local Anglican parishes to public worship, was made in conjunction with all Anglican Churches across the province of Ontario. The aim and effort is to help support the reduction of public gatherings, that could allow for greater spread of the current health pandemic related to the Corona Virus. It is with a heavy heart, but trusting in the wisdom of our Bishops and Public Health Officials that we formally close our doors for worship. The church will be officially closed to the worshipping public on Sunday, March 15th and for the next few weeks, until we are advised otherwise.
Thankfully our parish invested in our online streaming broadcasting upgrades in 2019, and so for those who may wish to worship with the parish brothers and sisters, St. Mary’s will continue to offer a 10:30 am service every Sunday, streaming live on our Website. Click here to be redirected to our broadcast page.
The notice from Bishop Andrew has given permission for parishes who have broadcasting capacity to have service leaders and volunteers present, so that we can continue to allow the liturgy to be shared weekly. We would ask that only those who have formal duties and wish to be present, attend services. Anyone who has pour health, has been exposed or feels uncomfortable in public places, please do not attend. Members of our choir and musicians, service readers and intercessors, altar ministers and other worship assistants are welcomed to attend our 10:30 am service each week, as you feel comfortable.
As we absorb the reality that the Corona Virus is now a full-fledged pandemic, we remember who and whose we are. Amid all the changes and chances of this mortal life, we can be assured of the sure and certain knowledge that we are the Lord’s — in this life and in the age to come. No matter what, we are the Lord’s — and our Lord Jesus knows each of us as his very own. He loves us as his own very Body, which we are.
Each year during Lent, we, like Jesus, are thrust into the wilderness — a place of uncertainty, disorientation, fear, and at times, even danger. We now find ourselves cast into a new kind of wilderness, that of our unsteady and confusing world. We can take great heart, though, as we give thanks for the precious gift of one another, and the opportunity to respond in love and with calm and clear-eyed faith in the One who loves us and gave himself for us. Let us remember: Be smart, isolate and self quarantine as needed. But let us never forget to love the Lord, and love our neighbours.
Blessings to you,
Fr. Matthew McMillan+
Rector, St. Mary’s Richmond Hill