Thursday, December 9, clergy of the Edmonton diocese were invited to a clergy day at All Saint’s Cathedral, the first opportunity in almost two years to spend time together in person.
As is appropriate for activities other than worship services, those who were able to attend were screened at the door according to the provincial Restrictions Exemption Program. Inside, masks were worn and social distancing observed as required.
Bishop Steve addressed the gathering as the day began, thankful for the chance to meet, but acknowledging how difficult the pandemic has been.
“It has been tough,” he said. “But I want to say that I am grateful for all you have done to continue to allow people to hear the word of God in community, to continue to celebrate the sacraments of Jesus together, to continue to preach the gospel of reconciliation and life, to continue to speak words of hope to people who are struggling in this time. My friends you are walking signs of the love of God. But the truth is, we too are struggling, just like everyone else. Just because we are ordained servants of the Gospel, this does not make us immune from the tiredness, frustration, isolation and loneliness. We too need to be fed spiritually…”
The bishop encouraged everyone to be constant in prayer: “It is so important to come to God everyday and warm ourselves at the fire of his love and mercy, to bring to God our struggles, shortcomings, fears and desires, and to hopefully hear a word from God personally for this day and in this place.”
He also encouraged those gathered, in person and online, to remain connected to each other or to re-connect, if necessary; “to build relationship and trust and to be a real support and community for one another.”
While most clergy days focus on a specific aspect of professional development, this day provided opportunities to make or renew those personal connections, especially for the many clergy who arrived in the diocese during the pandemic and are meeting colleagues for the first time. The day included times for sharing and working together in activities that foster relationship, culminating in a communion service.
“This is not just a clergy day,” said Bishop Steve. “This is a gospel day. This is about Jesus Christ who binds us all together in his inexhaustible love, like the light that shines inexhaustibly from the sun.”