Category Archives: Blog

The Space Between (Janet Taylor)

My husband and I are currently navigating the waters between receiving an offer to purchase on our house and the date when everything is finalized and the deal is sealed. It’s an anxious time of document retrieval, home inspection, financing approval, and countless sleepless nights contemplating hundreds of “what if” scenarios. We’re anxious to rush from the first day the For Sale sign went up to the day we watch burly movers manhandling our possessions on their way to a new home.

The same seems to happen with virtually any special event on our calendars: weddings, birthdays, vacations…and it happens with Advent, too. We rush to get Christmas decorations up, start singing along with carols on the radio on November 12, and focus on Christmas Day while bemoaning the rapid transit of the days leading up to the birth of our Saviour.

I think these situations exemplify a mindset which is endemic in our society: impatience and a desire to rush to the destination without savouring the journey. We’ve become so accustomed to instantaneous gratification of every whim that we’ve lost all sense of gratitude for the liminal space between our present presence and our future existence.

Advent invites us to recall with gratitude each relationship which has brought meaning to our lives as we write greeting cards. Quiet smiles and full hearts recall the memory behind each ornament hung on the tree and each family tradition faithfully re-enacted.

And just like moving, Advent offers us time to declutter and downsize, letting go of things we no longer need to carry, and imagine a world and a life different than the one we see around us.

The Big Day will come, whether it be moving day, Christmas Day, or any other event in our lives we long for impatiently. Let us try to remember that the growth and change that happens inside us during the liminal time of waiting is not a process to rush, but to savour. May your entire Christmas season, from Advent through to Epiphany, be filled with revelations and growth.

The Rev. Janet Taylor Minister, Braeside Church, St Albert & Interim Moderator, Sherwood Park Church).

Prevail (Lydia Calder)

In the fall of 2020, I chose my devotional book for 2021.  It’s called “Prevail”.  We don’t hear the word prevail very much. It old-fashioned and doesn’t fit well in a world of instant communication and quick fixes. For me the connotation is of a long, arduous struggle… or journey… or conflict …with an eventual win.

The title “Prevail” appealed to me because I suspected I was going to need to prevail through many more months of Covid 19.  Sadly, I was right.

As is the case with any book of 365 readings there have been some that, for a variety of reasons, did not touch my spirit – some were less relevant to my life phase…a few were odd…a couple I flat-out disagreed with.  But overall, it has certainly given me inspiration to carry on. It has helped me endure the regulations and restrictions of Covid 19. It has helped me survive the lethargy of too many months of relative inactivity and the futility of life with nothing new on the horizon.

William Shatner found something new and exciting to do and shot off into space for 10 minutes and 17 seconds. And, he went as a celebrity guest, so he didn’t even have to pay the estimated $350,000.00 for the privilege of doing so.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of us are still fully earthbound, stuck in this spot at this time. We keep looking forward to the day when things will return to normal — whatever that might look like in a post-Covid world. 

We have struggled over these past 20 months, dealing with things never-before seen in our lifetime. We’ve been threatened by an invisible enemy, confused by many voices, frightened by unsettling thoughts, and held captive in our own homes. Plans we had made crumbled to dust. Joys we had looked forward to evaporated. Although we’ve been doing practically nothing, life has been exhausting.

Prevail is a good word for these times. But the word prevail isn’t just about endurance or survival – it is about victory.  Right now, the Covid victory still seems rather far away.  How long will the 4th wave be?  And will there be a 5th?  I hold on to the words of Jesus: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Mandiesa sings a song called Overcomer.

The same Man, the Great I am,
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of you;
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life.
There’s nothing he can’t do,
He’s telling you
That you’re an overcomer,
You’re an overcomer. *

Some days I feel more like an under-achiever than an overcomer.  But feelings do not negate God’s truth. With the Spirit of Jesus living in us we too are overcomers. 

In this world we will face circumstances that leave us feeling weary, beleaguered, on the verge of collapse or defeat.  But let us never forget that God has equipped us to prevail, to be overcomers.  Even in these seemingly endless months of Covid 19, we hold on to the hope we have in Jesus Christ, the victor!

Submitted by Lydia Calder
On behalf of Mill Woods Presbyterian Church


*Songwriters: David Arthur Garcia / Benjamin Glover / Christopher E Stevens. Overcomer lyrics © Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publ., Spirit Catalogue Holdings S.a.r.l., D Soul

Emotional Viruses (Harry Currie)

Over the years I have done a lot of reading, research, study, and done workshops on Churches as Emotional Systems.

In the last year we have heard a lot about viruses and so I want to make the point that emotional viruses appear in families, groups and organizations such as churches.

Anxious people in a congregation often act like viruses and invade emotional space, break boundaries and try to control in a number of ways:

  • accuse someone without reasonable cause or without initially talking to the accused;
  • find “living tissue” (other people) in which to grow their gossip, rumors or careless talk;
  • disregard guidelines, policies, and procedures;
  • humiliate people, publicly or privately;
  • use verbal pressure to intimidate;
  • hold others hostage by threats or demands;
  • enlist others to attend secret meetings, distribute petitions for signature to discredit others, or send unauthorized messages containing disparaging information about someone;
  • ignore or neglect others, as if they don’t exist, for no other reason than the others hold different views;
  • Get upset easily over minor things, or try to turn an issue into a big crisis.
  • Say inappropriate things qualifying it with something like: “I am just telling it like it is” or “I am using my freedom of speech.”
  • hide their real agenda by appearing harmless, maybe even beneficial: “We’re only concerned for the good of everybody”;
  • break an agreement not to talk publicly about a matter until a later date;
  • withhold affection, approval, and appreciation to demean another;
  • label others with emotionally-packed words;
  • speak on behalf of others, as if they know what the other is thinking;
  • tell different accounts or share different information, depending on the hearers
  • attach fear to any issue in order to control others.

May I be so bold as to say that in a healthy church, healthy people and a healthy leadership act as an immune response. They do not listen, nor give support to, nor buy into the reactivity and inappropriate behavior.

They remain calm. They do not react or get upset. They provide clarity. They know when things are intrusive and are breaking boundaries. They refer people to the church’s proper procedures and its laws.

Remember in the Presbyterian Church in Canada it is our policy that people will be safe. That is not just physically, that is emotionally as well.

Healthy people and healthy leadership encourage the enforcement of healthy boundaries. With proper boundaries, love is possible.

The Reverend Harry Currie
Interim Moderator, Westmount Presbyterian Church

Let it Go (Harry Currie)

Eckhart Tolle in his book A New Earth uses the example of two ducks who are on a pond and get into a fight. The fight doesn’t last very long and then they go on their way releasing their surplus energy with a flapping of their wings. After that they go on as if nothing happened.

He goes on to suggest that if those ducks had human minds, they would keep the fight alive by story making in their heads. They would imagine the motives of the other duck and create a story in their head something like.

“The nerve of that guy. Who does that duck think he is? He thinks he is King of the pond, that’s what. He got into my space. The nerve of that guy. If he thinks he can run this pond he’s got another think coming.”

And on it goes and then the duck will share the story and emotions with its friends and try to turn them against the other duck, and maybe they even create factions on the pond, with distrust and lies and stories about that duck and its friends…. and maybe there will be wars between one side and another.

The point is that the human mind has this capacity to keep a fight alive for weeks and months and years. To take a painful story and not only keep it alive, but let it grow in intensity and meaning, is the way the human mind can seek to draw others into the drama and create sides with allies and enemies. And this is how most humans live.

According to Eckhart Tolle we are a species that has lost its way. The point of the duck story is that we need to listen to the ducks and flap our wings and “let go of the story,” and move on in the present. But for most of us we are seemingly unable, but more correctly unwilling to let go of the past. Imagine life where you can never put anything down or let go of any pain, stress, conflict, moral quandaries, guilt, grief, wounds, emotional scars and the like.

And every new pain, or stress just adds to the accumulation. And you understand what this world is like for many, many people, who carry burdens around all the time. Maybe, it is one of the reasons that Jesus said: Come unto me all you who are overburdened and I will give you rest.

I also think that when Jesus said that if we forgive the sins of another they are forgiven, but if we retain the sins of another they are retained, that Jesus was talking about the same idea. If we don’t forgive sin, we will end up retaining the sin. When we do not forgive, when do not let go, the sins and the hurts and the wounds take up residence within us. And we retain them.  And that is why it is so vital for us to forgive. It is not just matter of loving the other, it is a matter of our own health.

If we don’t let go of our negative energy it will hurt us and others. So my advice is to take all our negative energy and give it to Jesus. Pour our hearts out to him. Tell him about our wounds, our hurts, our grief, our anxiety, our grudges and let it go. And when we tell Jesus about our wounds…when we touch the nail scars in our own hands, the wounds in our sides…the rejections, the betrayals, the misunderstandings, the bitter words, the blows… and let them go… When we forgive everyone who has hurt us… We will become a healer…and those wounds in us, which heal, will become our source of energy. To give out positive energy.

To love, to forgive, to share, to turn away anger with kindness…to have compassion….to understand those who cannot let go of their inner hurt.

Grace and Peace to you
Rev. Harry
First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton

Remembering our heritage (Lydia Calder)

The first Monday in August is Heritage Day in Alberta, a day to reflect on our family history as well as celebrate the cultural mosaic of Canada.  Although I didn’t go this year, I always enjoy attending Heritage Days at Hawrelak Park.  The colourful costumes, the lively dancing, the delicious food!

It is interesting to hear the different languages and see how the terrain and the weather of a region affects the people – the way they dress, the food they eat and how it is prepared, the crafts they produce from the gifts of the land.

My father was from the Netherlands so I must go to the Netherlands Pavilion, to listen to the music, admire the wooden shoes and Delft pottery, and most importantly, eat poffertjes! (Tiny, thin pancakes served piping hot with butter and icing sugar.)

When my dad came to Canada in 1950 he left The Netherlands behind – completely.  It was a battle-scarred land filled with painful memories. He married a Canadian woman, so the Dutch language was not spoken in our home. Dutch food was never served and although he told us stories of Dutch traditions, they were never observed. “Waltzing Matilda” and “My Bonnie Lassie” were his songs of choice when he was whistling in the garden.

As for me, once I had children, I chose to embrace my Dutch heritage.  Our branch of the family celebrates St. Nicholas Day, with a special dinner, homemade Dutch cookies, secret gifts, and a sudden knock at the door which announces that St Nicholas has come and gone…

When I told my dad I was starting such traditions is his only comment was, “Why would you want to do that?”

Why?  Because there is value in connecting with past, of being part of a larger picture, of recognizing the culture that has shaped me.

We also have a heritage as Christians, a legacy that transcends familial connections.  In Hebrews 11 we read of those who exhibited great faith: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David. The New Testament also shares stories of such people: Peter and John, Mary Magdalene, Stephen, Paul. History reminds us of others: Augustine, John Newton, Fanny Crosby, Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr.  Each of them links us to previous generations of believers who remind us that we are part of a much larger picture.

These people were at the same time both ordinary and exceptional.  They were ordinary in that most came from average, if not humble beginnings.  None were born in palaces or in families of great wealth or stature.  Amongst them are those who were blatantly sinful and others who felt miserably inadequate.  Some struggled with physical disabilities and others with mental health problems. They were imperfect people – just like us. They had families and jobs, household responsibilities and community commitments – just like us.

What makes them exceptional is that they each saw a need and answered God’s call to serve.

Hebrews 12 speaks of that great cloud of witnesses, most of whom lived and died in supposed anonymity but who nonetheless are recognized by God and made an impact for the kingdom of God.

Heritage Day is a good opportunity to consider the heritage that our earthly families have given us.  But let’s also remember our Christian heritage and the sacrifices that were made by others that we too might believe and follow.

And let’s never forget that the heritage we have when we come into this world is far less important than the one we leave behind.

Submitted by Lydia Calder
On behalf of Mill Woods Presbyterian Church

The Gift of Vaccination (Amanda Currie)

On Friday, April 16, 2021, I became eligible, based on my age, to receive a vaccination to protect against COVID-19. Like many Gen-X Canadians, I had been cheering for several months as I watched the older generations of my friends and congregation members getting immunized. I “loved” every social media post about someone getting vaccinated, and I shared all the latest news about clinics and eligibility in my province. I was overjoyed when my sister (a front-line health worker) got the jab, and relieved when my parents and then finally my husband “Stuck it to COVID,” just a week before my turn came up.

On the day of my eligibility, I sat impatiently through several online church meetings, and then hopped in my car and went straight to the drive-through clinic not far from my home in Regina. It was a bit of a wait. I drove into a lane as directed, and then sat there for about an hour and a half. It felt just like the line-up of cars waiting to get onto a ferry. I rolled down the windows, enjoyed the sunshine and the breeze, and worked on a sermon until my lane began to move. Then followed about an hour of inching along towards the big garage doors of the clinic.

The nurse who vaccinated me was very friendly and professional. She asked me lots of questions, explained the possible side effects, and made sure I knew where I should wait my 15 minutes afterwards in my car and put on my hazard lights if I didn’t feel well and needed help. The jab itself felt just like my annual flu shot, but it meant so much more.

The next day I was exhausted, had a bit of a headache, and my arm was sore. I knew to expect a few minor side effects, but I was surprised by the flood of emotions that I experienced. A deep sense of relief, like I’d been holding my breath for a year and, finally, I could breathe freely. An amazing feeling of gratitude, having received a long-awaited and much-desired gift. And I wouldn’t say that the third emotion was guilt, but it was a real awareness of privilege.

I thought about younger people who were still waiting, people without vehicles who could not go to the drive-though clinic and would wait longer to access a vaccine, and essential workers whose turn still hadn’t come up. I also thought about people around the world—those in countries without the financial resources to buy vaccines, those in places where outbreaks are totally out of control and medical services are severely limited.

I felt like one of those ten people with leprosy who was healed by Jesus—the one who turned back, praising God with a loud voice, the one who lay down at Jesus’ feet and thanked him profusely. I’ve often wondered about that story, about what that thankful person did after Jesus sent him on his way. I can picture him telling the story of his healing again and again with excitement and joy. I can imagine him encountering other sick people and pointing them towards Jesus for help and hope.

But the more important question is what I will do in response to the free gift of my COVID-19 vaccination. Certainly, I will continue to give thanks to God for the amazing gift that I have received. I will continue to encourage others to get vaccinated as soon as their turn comes up—protecting their own health, protecting vulnerable people around them, and protecting our society as a whole from all the devastating effects of the ongoing pandemic.

In deep gratitude for the gift of being vaccinated, my husband and I have each given $250 to the Love My Neighbour project  to help UNICEF provide COVID-19 vaccines to the world’s most vulnerable people.

Love My Neighbour is a national movement for global vaccine equity, inspired by Millennium Kids and Canadian faith communities, to raise funds to help increase equitable access and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. Each gift of $25 provides funding to fully vaccinate a person who would not otherwise have access to this life-saving immunization. This includes vaccines, per-person cost for transport, cold chain protection, health worker training, and disposal of needles and waste.

If you also feel thankful and privileged to have access to vaccinations and the hope of a COVID-free community, I invite you also to turn back like the healed man did. Give thanks and praise to God, tell the story, encourage others, and consider gifting a vaccine to someone else who needs it too.

—The Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator of the 2019 General Assembly

Posting Season (Kenneth MacRae)

During the spring and summer many military families can begin to experience a high degree of anxiety. It is called “posting season”. Now many of us have experienced a move or two in our life time. However, have you ever been forced to go to a place you have no desire to go? With the price of homes skyrocketing across many places in Canada, people are worried when they are being told that they have to go to Ottawa, or Trenton, or Comox, BC, or many other communities. Finding an affordable home can be difficult. If you have children securing daycare can sometimes be hard. Learning a new job can be challenging. Finding new friends might not be easy. Finding a new church might also be difficult. A move is never easy.

If we have ever experienced a difficult move we can relate to the various stories in the Bible when God told people to “Go”. In Genesis 12 the Lord told Abram to go to Canaan. The Bible makes things seem easy but I assume the conversation that Abram had with God was more like this.

  • God, “Time for you to go to Canaan. There I will make you into a great nation”
  • Abram, “Can’t I become a great nation here?”
  • God, “No. Now pack up.”
  • Abram, “Is there a forwarding address? Where in Canaan am I supposed to live?”
  • God, “You will figure this out when you get there. Now get packing.”
  • Abram, “What about a moving company?”
  • God, “They don’t exist yet. Come on. Pack up.”
  • Abram, “What if my wife doesn’t want to leave? She likes it here.”
  • God, “Did I ask for your opinion? Or her opinion? Get moving.”
  • Abram, “What am I supposed to do there? How do I become a great nation?”
  • God, “Oy Vey. So many questions? I should have picked dogs as the superior race! Listen Abram. Trust me. Just leave will you! I’ve looked after you in the past I will look after you now”
  • Abram, “Ok, Ok. Just one more question. Do I have enough donkeys for the move?”
  • God does a face palm!

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. If you have ever had to write a biography or obituary you know that a few short words does not convey the full story. Mr X was a doctor. (It does not elaborate on the many years of studying and tests that Mr X had to endure to become a doctor. Ms X was a mechanic. (Nothing is told of the years of study, and scraped hands and knees trying to fix something). Mr and Mrs Y were proud parent of 3 children. (Nothing was said about the many sleepless nights, or rebelliousness of the children during their teen years).

Let us think about your church. “X” Presbyterian Church got established in 1912 (or whenever). Nothing was mentioned of the people having to go around sharing their faith and building up the church family. Nothing was said of the financial sacrifices many people made to build the church. Nothing was said of the decades of work that followed to keep the church going.

Nothing that we do as individuals or a church is ever “easy”. Yet, as God guided Abram, God continues to guide us. We may not always know where we are going but we have committed to God to keep going. We will have our ups and our downs. The journey is part of the adventure. May God’s blessing be upon all of us.

Written by Maj Kenneth MacRae, Chaplain for Canadian Armed Forces currently posted in Yellowknife, NWT

Caution, but not fear (Janet Taylor)

Many of us have become so used to the restrictions that to live without them seems risqué and foolhardy. Who could have imagined 16 months ago that we’d feel odd going into a store without a face mask on? I think that quite possibly the most challenging thing facing people of faith as we navigate Stage 3 reopening in the province is determining where caution ends and where fear begins. Fortunately, the Bible has some helping words.

I appreciate Proverbs 14:16, which tells us, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.” So there’s definitely a place for caution in how we live our lives. Perhaps some will continue to wear masks for a few weeks more. We might want to see numbers of new cases continue to fall before we bare our smile in public again. Perhaps we choose to wait a month or two before giving a handshake during the Passing of the Peace on Sunday mornings.

Paul tells the early church at Corinth that “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace.” (1 Cor. 14:33) He reminds us to allow space for both those who are fully vaccinated and ready to live without restrictions, as well as space for those who remain cautious. This might look like having half our sanctuary marked for social distancing and set aside for those who wish to remain masked, and half available without restrictions. This might look like allowing people to choose not to shake hands or hug and refraining from any judgement of those choices. It might look like congregants continuing to bring their own elements for communion or using prepackaged communion indefinitely. These are not fear-based decisions, but choices made out of an abundance of caution for ourselves and our beloved church families.

To those still struggling with decisions about worship attendance in person and going about in public, I invite you to ponder the words of James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” I pray that each of us finds our way in the “new normal” we’ve been pining for with wisdom and discernment, choosing caution but not fear, recalling that we come to worship the One who is the Prince of Peace and Healer of the nations.

The Rev. Janet Taylor
Braeside Church, St. Alberta, AB

THE MEANING OF THE MORNING (Stephen Haughland)

The other day I met up with a friend whom I often see during my morning walks. It was quite early, but the sun was rising, the day was warm, and there was time enough for a good visit before continuing on.

It was a perfect Morning, and a perfect day to be a Morning Person, just as this article is the perfect opportunity to do a shout-out to all the Morning People living in our midst!

So, are you a morning person? Perhaps you live with one, or know of one! I’m sure God created as many Morning People as he did members of that other illustrious demographic commonly known as South-Paws!  (Yes, I’m a South-Paw, and I admit it freely!)

So, dear Morning Person, tell us what it is about the Morning that beckons you from slumber? What is it about the morning that keeps your head from staying too long on your pillow?

To begin. Morning People are those who usually function best IN the morning. Once awakened they immediately get moving, and they are most creative and productive during that time of day when the sun has risen and the world is starting to stir. Morning People love clear skies and sunlight, and if you happen to be a morning person, you are blessed!

Then, there’s folks, like me, who (once) belonged to that opposite demographic – called “Night People.” We’re the folks whose alertness increases the closer it gets to midnight, and whose preferred hour of awakening is somewhere nearer the “Crack of Noon”. No doubt this is why Night People are often mistaken for “Afternoon People.” But that is a grievous error and not at all true!!! (LOL) But, it really doesn’t matter, of course, because God’s world always has enough space for all kinds of persons, regardless of the hour for which our internal clocks are set!

That being said, today I hope to offer you a very good reason to become a Morning Person, and it’s a reason that has nothing to do with when we awaken, but everything to do with pleasing God.

And that’s because a Morning Person, in God’s eyes, is any person whose kindness and caring brings a new and brighter Morning to the person whose life is filled with darkness, or grief, or gloom. A  Morning Person is anyone who is willing to offer even just a little light to someone in need.

A Morning Person trusts God, and listens when God says: “Fear not that your light is too little! Go and help another to be a little more at peace, to have a little more courage, a little more hope, or find a little more grace.

That’s how you can best share that Light which always Shines! That’s how you best give to others that Dawn which breaks the deepest darkness!”

“Anytime you help another find even just a little joy, that’s the same as bringing them a brighter morning! Anytime you help someone to sing, or to laugh, or to pray, or to find truth, that’s the same as bringing them a brighter dawn! That’s how you become a Morning Person in the best sense!”

God knows and so do we, just how desperately our world needs Morning People. God knows, and so do we, it’s not enough to have a morning only when the sun rises in the sky, or only when another day on the Calendar begins. God knows, and so do we, there will always be someone who needs a New Morning in the middle of the day, or the middle of a dark night. God knows, and so do we, there will always be folks who need a New Morning, a New Dawning, in their heart. In their soul. In their life.

Today, let’s let God help us to be The People of the Morning. He Can. He will.

And we can, too, if we keep remembering the words of His Son.

He said: ”You are the light of the world!  He also said: “Let your light shine!”

Rev. Steve.
Westminster Church, Chauvin

First year of ministry during a pandemic: a reflection (Elias Mendes-Gomes)

Very early in my faith journey I had an inkling that I would serve overseas. In college, though my major was theology, I took several classes on philology, language learning, ethnography, contextualization/indigenization, cultural anthropology, etc. The aim was to acquire tools that would facilitate future adaptation to a new culture.

A popular concept at the time was that of bonding proposed by Thomas and Elizabeth Brewster. Their research on imprinting in certain species (which happens when an animal is abandoned immediately after birth prompting them to attach to a surrogate mother, including other animal species or even a human being). The well-known picture of psychologist Konrad Lorenz being followed by goslings is a good example of the phenomenon.

Studies of human infants follow along the same reasoning. When mothers and new-borns are separated at birth, babies can become attached to a surrogate mother, including a doll or a particular nurse.

Critiquing the “compound mentality” of the traditional mission movements (in which the recruits are welcomed into a bubble by the expat community), the Brewsters proposed that – for those working in different cultures – the first few months in a new setting are crucial, as their senses are bombarded by a multitude of new sensations, sights, and sounds; an experience akin to that of a birth. Emotionally and physiologically they are ready to bond to the new environment and language, like a newborn.

Although this was written having mission personnel in mind, I believe the same principle applies to the first year of ministry in any community. It is during this time that we are in a state of unique readiness to develop a sense of belonging to the new environment.

Having been introduced to congregational ministry just a couple of months before the CoVid-19 lockdown, I feel cheated out of the opportunity, which sounds rather selfish. I am aware that the global pandemic has killed more than two-and-a-half million people across the globe, countless people have lost their livelihood, and many more have been touched by strained relationships and mental health challenges, but I still grieve my situation.

You may be surprised to learn that grief can be a reaction to events other than death. But, as a friend recently pointed out, we don’t just grieve when someone dies; we grieve whenever we lose something.

I grieve the loss of the dynamics that should have occurred in a first-year of ministry. It is in this period that bonding happens with both the pastoral charge and the surrounding community, which should bring about a sense of belonging. Sadly, we cannot recreate what ought to have happened.

Though we are all affected by the reality of grief brought about by CoVid-19’s dramatic changes, as followers of Christ, we do not journey through grief alone. Scriptures assure us that ours is a God who cares, who even stores our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). We can count on God’s comfort. In the midst of your personal grief, I hope you will, like myself, find solace in this promise.

The Rev. Elias Mendes-Gomes
Faith Presbyterian Church, Fort McMurray (AB)