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A Call from Our Bishop to be “Salt and Light for Our Neighbours and Our World in This Challenging Time”

June 25, 2013

High River

Embedded below is a Pastoral Letter which our Bishop sent today via email. You can access the Bishop’s June 22 Pastoral Letter, and a Pastoral Letter from our Primate, by clicking here. Today’s letter from the Bishop contains ideas of ways we can offer support at this time as a Parish family. For other ways we can help, please click here. If you’d like to share feedback on the possibilities mentioned, or if you have other ideas you’d like to put forth, please post them as comments on my blog, send them to me via email, or contact the Office at 403-256-1428.

High River-2

As our Bishop encourages us, we dedicate ourselves to being the Church at work, “salt and light to our neighbours and our world in this challenging time.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bishop GregDear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In response to expressions of concern and interest, I write to provide you with an update on what is happening around the diocese with our church people and buildings in relation to the current flooding and to provide some thoughts and information about how we might respond to the emerging needs.

Updates:

Of our parish churches, St. Benedict’s High River is the only one that has experienced serious flooding.  The extent of that is unknown at this time as that city is still closed.  St. Luke’s Blairmore has had flooding in their basement and some onto the main floor.  The water is now gone, but things will need drying out.  St. Michael’s Canmore had some water incursion under the historic church, but no significant damage to report.  All the rest of our churches report no flooding and no damage – for which we give heartfelt thanks.

Most importantly, there are many of our members who have been evacuated.  Some have been able to return, others not, and many are returning to homes significantly damaged by the flooding.  Do please keep praying for all of these folks – and look to how you may provide a helping hand.

Siksika

Responding:

While many of the day to day routines of parish life and ministry will and should go on, in this time of upheaval we do need to give permission to both clergy and lay leadership to lay aside some of their regular responsibilities.  This will allow us to prayerfully determine what action will be taken as we seek to give expression to the love of Christ in this moment in the Church’s life; and finally, of course, to commit energy and resources in carrying out those actions.

In my previous letter I encouraged both individuals and congregations to seek ways to reach out to those around them in need.  One way for our church members to do this is to volunteer for one or more of the opportunities offered by your local community.  In the city of Calgary, going on line to www.yychelps.ca is a good way to do that; there are likely others.  Congregations might consider some or all of the following:  opening your church as a place of retreat and refuge, for quiet, relaxation and prayer away from the demands of the tasks at hand (and let the community know you are doing it!); providing food & beverages for when people come to the church, or at some meal times during the week; offer special services of prayer with a focus on the issues of the current situation; forming clean-up crews and connecting to folks needing help in your local area.  Undoubtedly the Spirit will bring to mind other things as the days ahead unfold.

Many of our congregations are already organizing their response to the flooding.  The Cathedral is organizing “in-house” clean-up crews to help parishioners work to get their homes back in order – and is co-ordinating efforts from other parishes that would like to help.  Christ Church Calgary, is opening its doors to the Elbow Park community as well as the surrounding area.  They are offering dinner from 5 – 6 each day, hot coffee, cell phone charging and a place to rest.  St. Michael’s Canmore is moving forward with their “Food & Friends” night on Mondays to provide a place of hospitality and some sense of normalcy.  Various congregations from areas not directly affected have been in touch to get working on fundraising to help with relief and restoration efforts.  Others are undoubtedly doing similar things.

Over the next few days we will be considering if there are particular things that might warrant co-ordinated efforts for the diocese as a whole to focus on.  Of particular concern at the moment are the situations in High River and Siksika First Nation – and the needs of those in assisted housing and the Drop-In Centre in Calgary who have been evacuated.  We have already had conversation with PWRDF about providing immediate emergency relief – and in the medium term (in the next week) opening an appeal fund to which people may donate funds for flood relief in the affected areas.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus refers to his disciples as “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” (Mt. 5:13-16)  In faithfulness to our Lord Jesus Christ, let us indeed be salt and light to our neighbours and our world in this challenging time.

I continue to hold you all in my prayers.

In Christ,
+Greg
The Rt. Rev’d Gregory Kerr-Wilson
Bishop of Calgary

Siksika-2

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