By Reverend Neil Elliot
Last week we passed the one year anniversary of Covid being declared a worldwide pandemic.
It was a sad anniversary.
So much has been lost for so many people in that time, even here in the Kootenays where we have been relatively sheltered from Covid infections.
We have still had people infected and die from the disease.
But all of us have had to give up our freedoms.
Young people especially have suffered because they had to sacrifice social gatherings.
Older people have often felt isolated from those they love. Covid has been hard on everyone, even here.
The Churches have suffered too. For much of the year we have not been able to meet in our buildings.
There has been much confusion about what we can, and what we should do.
Every time we think we know what we are doing, Covid has changed and we have had to change too.
We have been desperately trying to support our members and maintain our community.
But these challenges have resulted in the most creative time I have ever known in the church.
Faced with the challenges of Covid we have adapted and found new ways to be.
Almost as soon as our buildings were closed we moved online – livestreaming or putting our recorded services.
When we were allowed we had outdoor services or gatherings.
When we could have small indoor gatherings we made that work too.
Our response to Covid has given us solutions to some of the problems which have faced us for decades.
Small rural churches are now able to connect to worship in cities a long way away.
People who had to leave their community or who are housebound can now re-connect.
Those who work on Sunday can have the recorded service on a Monday.
My colleagues are gathering every week over zoom to support each other.
I know we will get through this pandemic.
And I am exceedingly hopeful for the state of the church when we do get through COVID.
The new normal for the church will be better than the pre-COVID normal.
At Easter we remember God bringing the joy of the resurrection from the darkness of Jesus’s crucifixion.
God is always in the business of bringing good out of evil, hope out of despair, joy out of sadness.
May you too know hope in the midst of this crisis, and the peace of Christ which can strengthen and sustain you through dark times.
Reverend Neil Elliot
St. Andrews Anglican Church, Trail