Christ Church Cathedral continues to remain as current as possible with responses to the global situation with the COVID-19 virus. The responses of all of society are easily identifiable. Above all, we as Church need to continue to be, most especially, leaders and partners with government, corporate and private sectors, doing what is agreed upon to be necessary under the circumstances. Protocols for non-essential meetings as announced on 14 March continue and mean postponement, cancellation or relocation.
At about 2:00 p.m. on Monday, 16 March, David our Bishop issued further direction suspending public gatherings for worship throughout the Diocese until at least Palm Sunday, with on-going assessment as we progress. Our Bishop has also recommended that churches remain open where possible for personal prayer with added care and social distance.
God continues as close to us now as always
The Cathedral will remain open Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.. The daily offices will continue with the necessity of paying close attention to current protocols including social distancing, already in place for those who choose to participate. Once again, if you are ill, stay home. Those who have travelled, please self-isolate. Taking advantage of the many audio and written forms of daily devotional material, including the sometimes overlooked daily offices, can enable participation wherever you are. Praying the office from any one of these sources or one of our service books at 8:45 or 4:45 Monday to Friday joins you in prayer with the whole church. On the Cathedral website: Groups and Community tab –> Pray with us –> Daily Offices Online
The response is disruptive and for some distressing. While there is significant uncertainty all about, please be reminded that we are joining with others in a response that puts us ahead of the threats. While COVID-19 is serious, it is not a certain killer. Not taking it for granted, especially when we or those we love could be vulnerable and at risk is the best possible way to care for one another.
Please be reminded that God continues as close to us now as always, if not more so. We need to continue to pray for all in leadership, health care, researchers, government and those who are directly impacted, including by uncertainty of their livelihood, over work in essential services, those who are sick and those who in these times of separation are in mourning. May Christ grant wisdom and peace in all of the challenges.
“It is an ill wind that blows no good.” You may find a post by Kara Root at Faith and Leadership (formerly the Alban Institute), pointing out that the 20 second hand wash is about the length of time it takes to say the Lord’s Prayer. Being forced to slow down creates rich opportunities to focus, seek calm and affords the time we are too often convinced we don’t have to do that which is both nurturing for us and of help to others.
While we may be prevented from being together physically, we are the Body of Christ, very much “in communion” and together spiritually. While we are routinely the “Church gathered,” we are now being forced to be the “Church scattered.” Whatever your situation, you are never alone. Over the next little while, we’ll be exploring simple and practical ways to maintain community and contact, ways to encourage non-physical communication with one another and assure that Cathedral staff and leaders are available for pastoral care and/or advice. Watch for continuing email, check the website for podcasts and word about other ways to connect. Let’s get creative. The distance we are being asked to create between us may make possible more time with those closest to us, more time for prayer and reflection, and create somewhat unique opportunities to become more centred, more focused and more aware – all of which could be very good for all of us. Choosing to view the extraordinary circumstances in a positive light will be important for our own spiritual well-being. Concentrating on what we can control will help offset fear and anxiety over what we cannot.
An excellent example of that, still perhaps somewhere in the fog of the future, is the financial one. Over that we do have some control. Many could face personal economic hardship. Christ Church Cathedral and its ministry will be affected. While we sometimes jokingly speak of the sadder reality “those who don't attend don't contribute,” it doesn't have to be that way. We’ll be vigilant to identify ways to reduce our expenses, but bills will continue and you’re urged to give that your consideration. Read “But how do we give ... when we’re not in church?” to learn how you can help us address that potential earlier rather than later.
These times hold promise for making us stronger in many ways, caring more deeply for one another, a stern reminder about what we too easily take for granted and, make the appeal of the Apostle Paul all the more helpful – “give thanks to God in all circumstances.” Please reach out to one another in care, alert us if you have a need, and we’ll see this through together.
Dean of Fredericton
The Cathedral COVID-19 Response Team was assembled with representation from Bishop and Chapter, Cathedral Staff, and the Health Ministry Team on an as needed basis. The Dean thanks them for their contributions.