This story is written by Colleen Reid, and will appear in the September print issue of Anglican Life.
The parishioners of St. Peter’s Anglican Church (Upper Gullies) blessed each other with their kind and caring actions during a very difficult year. When the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic, the people of St. Peter’s supported each other in many heartwarming ways. With a lockdown in place and businesses closed, people were restricted to their homes—the churches of the province were closed as well. We were instructed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, to remain socially distant. With our leader, the Rev’d William Strong, and support from the office administrator, Jack Morgan, St. Peter’s parish was creative in the ways we could help each other get through this difficult time.
Early in the pandemic, for those who live close to the church, the chimes became a beacon of hope. They were played weekly during the week days and could be heard far and wide. Parishioners were notified of the day and time that the chimes would ring. People would often take their daily walk to coincide with the ringing of the chimes. It was pleasing to hear the sweet song of the chimes ringing through the air. Many people reported back to the church office that this was comforting to them, and so the chimes have been ringing, other than Sundays, since the pandemic began. The chimes were welcome sounds that lightened the hearts of all the lonely and troubled people during the lockdowns that occurred during the pandemic.
The parishioners of St. Peter’s were very thankful for the frontline workers in our community and surrounding area. One evening, some families came to the church parking lot in their cars, so as we were to remain socially distant, to make a noise in appreciation of these essential workers. The families blew the horns of their cars, the bell rang, and the chimes played. It was a noisy display of appreciation for all those working to keep us safe during the pandemic.
Those in need of food from our local food bank were not forgotten by our parishioners during COVID-19. The church food bank box was placed outside on our hall steps each week. A notice would go out to all telling which day the box would be outside so we could avail of the safe drop off of food items for the food bank.
During the summer months, when outside visiting was appropriate and long awaited, St. Peter’s hired a student to do some work with the seniors in our parish. Darcy Scott was kept busy doing outside visits to the many elderly who were lonely throughout the pandemic. He helped seniors with technology questions, gardening work, sang songs, and played guitar. Darcy was a bright light in the darkness that COVID-19 had cast upon many parishioners.
St. Peter’s shawl ministry continued to be active throughout the pandemic. Shawls were blessed and given to people in need. This was an especially important time to deliver shawls as people who lost loved ones and were grieving, were also heavily laden by the worldwide pandemic.
While the pandemic and lockdown kept us at home our rector held one or two services a week via Facebook Live. This was a platform that was popular on social media, and easily accessible for many parishioners. So, even though we could not worship in person, Rev’d Bill led us in worship, and we could join in or watch at a later time.
During the fall of 2020 our church was able to reopen in a modified manner. A group of Parishioners came together to plan how people could safely return to church. So, with the guidelines from our diocese, we proceeded to plan for less people, more space, masks, no singing and stricter cleaning measures. It was a different time, for sure. Things were looking different, but people wanted to go to church and the “Covid Church Team” made it happen safely. Parishioners registered in advance so contact tracing would be easy, if necessary. There was no denying that people were happy to return, we had just about full capacity for each Sunday service. Those numbers were reduced from normal attendance because of social distancing and restrictions put in place but, we had about 50 people participating in each service.
During COVID-19, our church saw the need to purchase technology equipment (a computer, monitors, and a camera) to better serve the people in our new pandemic world. The monitors helped with the service when people were there in person because the books had been removed from the church as we could not be sharing them. The camera and computer helped broadcast the service live on Facebook to those who were more comfortable watching from their homes. The purchase of this equipment has proven to be beneficial to us all. Parishioners are enjoying watching safely at home. Some of our most senior members have learned to use their home technology and remain safe from COVID-19 while taking part virtually in the church service. What a blessing!
The gestures of kindness that were evident throughout COVID-19 were a blessing to all of us. As with many acts of kindness, sometimes they are often unknown to us. I’m sure there were many more kind gestures and good news stories that I have not mentioned. But I do know that we as a parish witnessed many blessings and the weight of COVID-19 was a little lighter because of our care, kindness, and respect for one another. God Bless St. Peter’s.
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” Princess Diana
This story, by the Rev’d Charlie Cox, will be in the June print issue of Anglican Life.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACW of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Fogo Island East parish, has been limited in their ways to reach out to the community.
A project that involved making homemade quilts for the residents of the Christina Cole Memorial Longterm Care Facility was suggested, and agreed on. Pictured here are the 11 quilts that were made, donated, and graciously appreciated and received by the staff of the Fogo Island Health Centre.
This article, by Woody King, will appear in print in the June issue of Anglican Life.
Despite the copious amount of distance from St David’s Anglican church in Pasadena, NL, to the Gambia, the smallest country in West Africa, there is a connection between the two.
A former Mayor of Pasadena, William (Bill) Pardy, made the transition to the Gambia some years ago and took up residency there. What he saw in the West African country was not appealing to him and he wondered to himself many times over, “What can I do to improve conditions for the children living in the area?”
The Gambia has no social assistance programs and families struggle to survive. This densely populated country has very limited resources, and they rely heavily on the tourism industry to meet their basic needs.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, the tourism industry has collapsed. COVID-19, however, is not the greatest fear in the Gambia. The greatest fear is starvation.
Life in the Gambia is very fragile: child mortality is also high with many young people dying, and most of the elderly population having a relatively short life expectancy.
Bill Pardy has been using his own limited personal resources to help about 30 Gambian families with children, and is now spreading his story in hopes to build on what he has been doing.
Bill has kept in close contact with his work colleagues in Pasadena since leaving the area, and is quick to give an update on the progress that he’s been able to achieve.
One of Bill’s close contacts is Emmie Penney of Pasadena. Emmie is a business person who has a penchant for helping out others, especially when it involves children. When Emmie heard about Bill’s story, she too knew that she had to play a vital role in helping destitute Gambians.
She immediately devised her own plan and was confident that things would work in her favour. She knew who to call upon in times of urgency.
Emmie approached our Community Cares Online Auction Group. This is a group consists of a mom, dad, daughter, and best friend that are devout Anglicans and affiliated with St David’s Anglican church, and have been in the same bubble over the last year.
Emmie donated a plethora of inventory from her business to be auctioned off and the proceeds given to those needy children.
After the week-long auction concluded, the Community Cares Online Auction Group had received just over $3000 plus in donations. Thanks also go out to bidders, buyers, and people who contributed.
Thanks to the work of the Community Cares Online Auction Group, who normally do auctions to raise monies for different groups, charities, and people in need. They’re a selfless group who really cares about others, and get very little in return, other than the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing God’s work.
This is undoubtedly a great example of the Mark of Mission # 3: to respond to human need by loving service.
This story, by The Rev’d Beverly Buffett, will appear in the May print issue of Anglican Life.
It all started with a sheet of plywood in the shed. The Rev’d Neal Buffett, of the Anglican Parish of The Living Water in Arnold’s Cove, wanted to promote encouragement and positivity within the community. He knew that Pastor Taylor, of the Pentecostal congregation in town, had organized a treasure hunt throughout the town, and Rev’d Neal wanted to build upon this to help continue to encourage and engage the community. He called a parishioner and asked if their children could paint the logo “Hold Fast NL” on the plywood. They eagerly accepted the invitation. Once the sign was completed and mounted beside the church, Pastor Taylor, Pastor Sarah, and Rev’d Neal joined forces and decided to host a poster contest. Community businesses donated the 12×12 boards which would be decorated for the contest and also five prizes for the draw. It was a great success, and people continue to drive by the church to admire these uplifting posters/messages.
In these times of uncertainty, mission and outreach have been a challenge. This initiative was a great beginning. With God’s help, Pastor Taylor and Rev’d Neal are already planning their next outreach endeavour.
Life has kept Anglican Journal editor Matthew Towsend away from The Rock and The Big Land—but it can’t do that forever, he writes
This column, by Anglican Journal Editor Matthew Townsend, will appear in the April issue of Anglican Life.
Back in 2016, on the eve of our marriage, Kate and I considered where we might take a honeymoon. We lived in Rochester, New York, at the time—she was from the area, and I was working for the Episcopal bishop of Rochester—and we both had ideas about where we might go. Being a bit of a Canadaphile, I had made lots of suggestions that would bring us north, while Kate tended to gravitate more towards Europe and the United Kingdom, especially Scotland.
I love Europe, but our wedding coincided with both Brexit and migration crises. We decided to figure out something else. What’s like Canada and the northern British Isles? It didn’t take long for us to consider Newfoundland and Labrador, and we began a fevered phase of research. Stunned by the beauty we were seeing online, I texted to a friend that I’d never even looked at photos of St. John’s or the Avalon Peninsula. We also realized we could incorporate Europe into our honeymoon with an excursion to St. Pierre and Miquelon. We imagined hiking in Gros Morne, touring L’Anse aux Meadows, and perhaps biking across the island. I also dreamed of heading to Labrador, up to the Torngat Mountains—a landscape that couldn’t be more different from my native Florida. (OK, so that part of the trip was very unlikely. But I dreamt.) We became very excited.
We went as far as reaching out to the Rev’d Moses Tucker (now a priest in Lewisporte) to discuss the possibilities. I had met Moses during my year at Trinity College in 2006, and I figured he wouldn’t steer us wrong. He was also, at the time, the only person I knew in all of Newfoundland and Labrador. Moses left an extremely positive impression on me about The Rock. I still recall some of his explanations and jokes about the province. Why is the porch called the bridge? “Well, it connects your home to the world.” I’ve heard people joke that Newfoundland may one day attach propellers to the island, to head towards Ireland—but wouldn’t helicopter rotors be faster? “Well, we’ve always been a seafaring people.” Is St. John’s like Toronto? “Yes, we even have skyscrapers—but we put them on their sides and call them malls.”
Moses gave us a number of suggestions about when and where to honeymoon, but we didn’t get to use them. As fate would have it, my father wasn’t well enough to travel to our New York wedding, so we spent our honeymoon roasting in Florida’s July heat. It felt important to see family.
And yet Newfoundland and Labrador were still on our minds—the province had wormed its way in. We even decided to bring a dash of Atlantic Canadian style to our street in Rochester, painting our home’s exterior “100 Mph Red.” The choice offered stark contrast to the drab, landlord-driven palette on a street that straddled working class neighbourhoods and pretty intense poverty. The colour was so brilliant that it cast a crimson hue on our neighbours’ home in the afternoon sun, spilling into their kitchen and calling to mind The Martian Chronicles. Many neighbours complimented the choice, noting the improvement over the horrid hues previously found on the home: a muddled brown with trim we called “Painter’s Tape Blue.” One passerby asked if it was legal to paint your house that red in Rochester. The question was serious.
A few years later, life found us immigrating to Canada and settling in Nova Scotia, where Kate could study for a master’s degree at Dalhousie University while I looked for work. (Once again, we decided to average our preferred destinations of immigration, Canada and Scotland, as New Scotland). Part of my excitement in moving to Nova Scotia was the opportunity to see and know Newfoundland, with the ferry only four hours away. And then we would make it to Labrador, as well! And having met people here from Newfoundland and Labrador, that trip felt both inevitable and important—a chance to encounter the kindness we’ve continuously experienced from Newfoundlanders here and also see a place that, I think, many Canadians don’t bother to understand.
Of course, it’d have been hard to go while Kate is studying—Cape Breton seemed a more reasonable destination in her first summer break—but after graduation, of course! Come the summer of 2020, Newfoundland, here we come!
Sigh. With the Atlantic bubble, that may have been possible—even COVID-19 has struggled to break the connections that seem to run so deep in Atlantic Canada. However, Kate became pregnant in the summer, rendering the prospect of a long ferry voyage unattractive. So, we stayed closer to home.
All of this finds me writing a love letter to a place I’ve never been to, which is a very odd feeling. And yet, I can’t help but believe that I do love Newfoundland and Labrador, and Kate feels the same. On the day that 100 new cases were announced in the province, I told Kate and she audibly gasped—something I’ve witnessed very rarely from my wife. Newfoundland and Labrador have been in our prayers during the pandemic—everyone there, as well as the church. We were both deeply saddened by Bishop Geoff Peddle’s death last year. I think often of people I’ve interviewed by phone in St. John’s, Churchill Falls, and Rigolet. We feel connected, in relationship, even from this distance.
My friends, I know I will see you soon—that our now-growing family will join you in worship, laughter and, I’m told, fish kissing. Until that time, know that you all remain in our prayers through the pandemic and beyond. And please keep us in yours. As I write this in early March, the birth of our daughter, our firstborn, is but weeks away. She will need prayers as she enters our beleaguered world. And yet, I also know she will be blessed—to be born in this place we call Atlantic Canada, where the people are decent enough to look after one another, to concern themselves with the well-being of the aged and the sick, and to imagine that we weather storms best when we batten down the hatches together. As we’ve all learned in the last year, not everywhere, not everyone, is like this. We feel very lucky.
Matthew Townsend is the editor of the Anglican Journal. He and his wife Kate (and daughter-to-be) live in Dartmouth, N.S.
This story, by Mabel White, will appear in the April print issue of Anglican Life.
Last year, I submitted an article from St. Peter’s Church in Upper Gullies pertaining to the Izzy Dolls that have been sent to third world countries from our parish. Those dolls have brought smiles to so many underprivileged children. The lady in the picture is Mary Pike, a faithful member of the Salvation Army in Carbonear, who at the age of 92 continues to knit hundreds of Izzy Dolls. Members of our congregation at St. Peter’s, with the aid of ladies from the Salvation Army in Carbonear, have sent approximately 31,000 dolls to countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Guatemala.
All Izzy Dolls are blessed by clergy and packed with care by Mr. John Metcalfe (a former peacekeeper), and are sent with doctors and other healthcare professionals inside humanitarian medical kits, which contain essential medicines and medical supplies. In most cases, the dolls are a child’s first toy and cuddly friend. Thank you to all who donate the yarn/wool, and especially to Mary and all of the knitters. The child who receives the Izzy Doll will certainly know you made something with love and care just for him/her.
“The needy will not be forgotten or the hope of the afflicted perish.” Psalm 9:19