Dear Pacific Mountain region member and friends,
I’ve been a fan of author and minister Nadia Bolz Weber even before she joined us at the PMRC 2021 AGM as one of our keynote speakers, and I subscribe to her online publications. Last week Nadia posted a sermon called “Between Exhaustion and the Deep”, and I shared it with our sibling regional council, Chinook Winds. Her sermon is based on Luke 5 where Jesus encourages fishermen, tired after a night of unsuccessful fishing, to throw their nets into deep water again – and her writing and reflection on this story resonated with me deeply. In Luke’s telling:
Jesus sees two boats at the shore of the lake; the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Jesus gets into the boat belonging to Simon and asks him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus teaches the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he says to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon (Peter) answers, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they do this, they catch so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.
Nadia goes on to reflect what it must have been like to be the disciples, exhausted and disheartened from an unsuccessful night of fishing, to then be sent out to fish deeper waters. Her powerful sermon (which I encourage you to read in full) reminds us that:
“we are indeed in the space between exhaustion and the deep, and facing the deep can be terrifying and we may long to return to the shores of 2019… and yet we can know that we will not be separated from the mothering, protective love of God.”
Friends, we are entering yet another new phase of this pandemic, in the context of divisions and protests that threaten to damage the fabric of society. As a Church, we are called to be a prophetic voice, ever-reminding one another that Love is an all-important value. We are being called into the deep, as it were, but as always, we are reminded that we don’t go there alone. I encourage you to turn to faith and to one another. We walk this journey together with an ever-constant God who will never fail us.
Details on Restrictions Lifted
Yesterday, February 15 2022, Dr Henry announced that BC’s carefully placed restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 are being lifted. For those of us in the province of BC this means that effective immediately, there are no restrictions on the numbers attending worship if proof of vaccination is presented. Note:
- At this stage we remain at 50% capacity if you do not check for vaccinations
- Masking remains mandatory.
I encourage those in Whitehorse to continue the practices that BC-based communities of faith are following, while being sure to first following Yukon public health measures, whichever is more cautious. While some of communities of faith have already returned to in-person or hybrid worship, many of communities of faith have not. Those will be faced with making a decision about a return to in-person worship in the coming days and weeks.
As you make decisions, the Pacific Mountain Regional Council recommends the following:
- Be cautious, the virus is still present and spreading. We have consistently recommended choosing caution to protect those most vulnerable among us. Please keep this as a core value in your decision-making process
- When gathering, continue to manage distance
- Wear masks with a minimum of 3 layers
- Within reason, do what you can to improve ventilation
- Soloists and choirs should be distanced from the congregation
- Congregational singing must be masked
- Keep services on the shorter side
- Use only single serve communion (not a common loaf or cup)
I, and our entire PMRC staff team, are available to respond to your questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Please know that I will be out of the office on holidays for the next couple of weeks for some much-needed rest. During that time my staff colleagues will be available to respond to your questions in my absence; my email autoreply will have details.
Deep gratitude for your presence in our region. You being part of our community makes a difference.