This has been a time of challenges and blessings for the parish of St. Patrick’s in Whitecourt. As a rural parish we have been challenged by unreliable technology which oft repeats the simple, yet disruptive message: ‘your connection is not stable!’ Because technology has not always been on our side, we decided to go a different route to reach people and overcome social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vestry members were equipped with a list of people to contact on a regular basis (at least once a week). Although we initially saw this as a challenge, it has turned out to be a wonderful blessing! Those who are phoning are enjoying new relationships with others, and those receiving the calls are thankful someone is reaching out to them. God is blessing all!
In early April I wrote reflections on the days of Holy Week and sent them out by mail or email. This was another challenge for me, but the feedback has indicated these reflections were, indeed, received as a blessing. I offered a prayer for all of us to use each day and it has been a comfort and blessing to know that when we pray others are doing the same.
Many times I have been asked if it is okay to pass along the reflections, devotionals and prayers to others beyond our parish. Wow, our parishioners are becoming evangelists: disciples who are sharing God with others. This is certainly another blessing from God. We are truly learning what it means to love and serve God by loving and serving others.
Not having an opportunity to gather with community on Easter Sunday was my biggest challenge. However, I went to the church, cranked up a CD recording of "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today," stepped outside and blew bubbles. We set bubble containers at the church entrance and invited all who were interested to pick up a container of bubbles to show that Jesus is risen as the bubbles also rise to the sky.
When parishioners were asked to share their thoughts, one person said, ‘There are many things that we cannot do but so many things we can.’ Thanks be to God for his blessing of enabling us to help.
Our adventures continue. When I am sending out mail to parishioners, I will also send mail to their children as a reminder that God loves them, too, and is with them. Thanks, God, for the inspiration. Yes, it is another blessing for sure! I see God working in wonderful ways and this keeps me hopeful and I thank him every day for all his blessings during this difficult time. Submitted by the Rev. Rita Milne, St. Patrick's, Whitecourt