During the 50 Days of Easter, I began writing a letter a day to people on the parish list, starting with those who were most likely to be isolated. I had a few people write back to me, a few emails and telephone calls to thank me for this connection. During the remainder of the year I wrote sporadically to individuals or families that I knew were struggling either due to illness, deaths in the family or other challenges.
During the warmer months we set up a tent at the back of the church and held outdoor services within the guidelines provided by public health with respect to numbers and distancing. Later in the fall we obtained patio heaters and had a fire pit which allowed us to continue outdoor worship during the week and allowed our knitting group to come together to continue their ministry. More than 20 prayer shawls were distributed as well as toques and mitts being provided for the homeless in our city.
In the fall when we were allowed back into our worship space we held 3 Sunday services using a reservation system for each service and cleaning between services as dictated by public health. The middle service was also broadcast live on Facebook and available for viewing later on YouTube. Mid week services and book studies continued to be offered on Zoom.
With the closure again before Christmas we reverted to our on-line service schedule as before and we determined who needed regular contact by phone.
During the fall we did hold one funeral in the church, again following all public health guidelines. It was good to be together but very strange with everyone in masks.
One of the greatest challenges during this time has been not being able to visit those in hospital or Long term care settings. Our parish provided worship services to 5 Long-term care/retirement homes each month prior to Covid.
I continue writing letters in 2021.
Patrick Ferguson, Parish Nurse
St. Aidan’s Parish, London, ON