News From St. John The Evangelist, Topsail

Sharon Smith

A gentle click activates my laptop for another day. The first thing that catches my eye on the screen is the date: March 14. 

This is no ordinary date on the 2021 calendar. It actually marks the first anniversary of a worldwide epidemic that has occurred just this one time in our generation; albeit, not exactly one to be celebrated: the coronavirus.

For the last twelve months, our regular church activities have been, for the most part, executed virtually, to minimize the spread of this highly contagious disease. 

When Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison patented the telephone and the light bulb in 1876 and 1878 respectively, they were, for a very long time, the world’s greatest inventions. But we had to experience the self-isolation due to a  world wide pandemic to fully realize and appreciate the value of today’s advanced social media, especially as it relates to the computer.

We greatly miss our church family, it is true. But with the availability of Facebook and related technology, Archdeacon Greg and Rev’d Lisa have provided us all with uninterrupted Sunday services online, as well as special events with the approach of Holy Week.

On February 14th, they graced us with the liturgy pertaining to Ash Wednesday, which is the antecedent, or starting point, of worship during the season of Lent. Even though we could not share in the anointing with ashes, which is a prerequisite for the many commitments which we would endeavour to uphold leading up to the celebration of Easter, Archdeacon Greg’s sermon certainly compensated for this deprivation.

Traditionally, Lent was about self-denial—about giving up something for forty days. Experiences of the past year, confined in a bubble through necessary isolation, have broadened our vision of an equally significant meaning: it’s a time when concern for other people’s struggles should be paramount. Archdeacon Greg likened our situation to the ancient Israelites who were held captive in exile and cut off from one another. He emphasized and stressed  the true meaning of Lent, with such a powerful delivery, that I am sure it will remain with us long after the forty days.

For over a month now, we have been coping with the second wave or variant. But despite its initial severity, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be reflecting a tiny spark. Throughout this ordeal, our strength has been with Dr. Fitzgerald and her team, Archdeacon Greg, and Rev’d Lisa.

It has been a difficult twelve months. But I believe, that together, giving and receiving, we are more dynamic than we ever dreamed we could be.

“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works,
Ready to give, willing to share.”

Timothy 6:18

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