From the Desk of the Pastor: For the Common Good
Good morning everyone.
Please excuse the intrusion on your Saturday morning. I have attached two files that I thought you might find helpful [click the text highlighted blue to open]. The first is a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Crosby that speaks to the decision to close our churches for a second time after Christmas. The bishop and almost every pastor in the diocese of Hamilton have received letters, phone calls, emails and have had personal encounters with parishioners and non parishioners who are not happy that the churches have been closed again. Some believe that the bishops especially, have acted inappropriately and should have stood up more forcibly to the provincial and local authorities who have the responsibility to manage the pandemic. For two weekends before Christmas at St. Andrew’s, some of our ushers and staff experienced shouting and bullying behaviour from a small and loud procession of people (mostly non parishioners) who demanded access to the church even though we were at capacity. Two Sundays in a row, one couple repeatedly removed their masks and insisted that it was their right to be in church without them despite the notices they had passed and the constant reminders to put them back on. Meanwhile, five blocks from the church, twenty one people died from and outbreak of the Covid pandemic and close to forty staff, some who became very ill, had to isolate because of it. Bishop Crosby speaks to the reason why, for the sake of the common good of all, the churches are closed.
The second file is taken from a series of brief handouts that Mental Health Ontario has distributed through our schools. It is a short read and addresses the need to take care of our mental health during this time of uncertainty and fear. As I have the opportunity to catch up with parishioners, I have noticed in the last few months especially, that our conversation often lands on mental health issues, so I hope that this can be and encouragement and support.