Greetings in the name of our Lord.
2020 is finally past us. We pray 2021 will be a more gracious year. Though, understandably, there is some hesitancy. The early arrival of vaccines offers us hope that crowd immunity will lessen the deadly impact of CoVid-19 and will allow us to gather in large groups again. We need to remember that pandemics usually have 3 waves, as the new variants begin to move through populations. (This is not something we want to be reminded of as we are still in the midst of the 2nd wave, but it’s important to acknowledge this.) With this in mind, we call upon the Lord to strengthen all who are isolated, working in the medical field, and everyone as we move through these difficult days.
By the way, I am Bishop David Lehmann and the new Chair of the Council of the North. Three years ago, I became the Bishop of Caledonia and live in Prince Rupert, BC.
Most of my ministry has been in the Council of the North. I was raised in Fort Smith, NT in the Diocese of the Arctic. I was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Anglican Church in Fort Smith. My parish ministry was bookended with 2 parishes in the Arctic and I have ministered in a remote parish in the Diocese of Edmonton. My parents still live in Fort Smith. This pandemic has meant that my travel in the Diocese of Caledonia reduced, but I also could not attend my mother’s 75th birthday in December.
My hope for my time as Chair of the Council is to enter into a process of conversation with Council members and the national Church about our Mission and common life. As the Anglican Church of Canada develops a new strategic plan, this is an opportune moment to review our work. Parishes in the Diocese of Caledonia are working on Mission Action Plans as we look at the ministry each has done and is called to engage in. This is an important step as we look forward to life after CoVid. As a Council formed over 50 years ago, what do we want to celebrate and rethink, by the leading of the Spirit? I hope to discuss such questions at our spring meeting.
This is a full year, not only with pandemic life, but it is also the end of a triennium for the Council’s grant cycles. New proposals and accountability reports will be gathered later this spring for the Grants Allocation Committee.
A positive that has come out of this pandemic is that we can work remotely. This requires planning and different pacing. Zoom fog is a real thing. But the work of the Kingdom does continue and we are blessed to be part of it.
To quote Dr. Bonnie Henry, “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe.” And at all times, remember that God loves you.
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