Dear Friends in Christ,
One of the griefs of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the scourge of loneliness. Self-isolation, lockdown, the postponement or cancellation of longed-for gatherings and celebrations, and the long Eucharistic Fast, which has only recently been lifted, has led many of us to feel deeply alone.
Yet I have taken profound comfort in the knowledge that being part of a large Church family means that we are never alone. We are always basking in the love and care of our Heavenly Father, even when we do not feel it. And we have fellow pilgrims on this strange journey. We can, and I hope we do, reach out to one another for support, for comfort, for solidarity and for companionship as we make our way through these confusing and anxious days.
One of the benefits of Anglicanism is that we are a global Communion, a national Church, and a Diocesan family. I have relied on my siblings in Christ – both Anglican and ecumenically – for prayers, for advice, and for support in new ways during this pandemic. I have learned from others’ wisdom, been buoyed by their encouragement, and been sustained by their gifts, generously given. I hope I have offered that to them, too.
How blessed we are in our Primate. The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls is a daughter of the Diocese of Toronto, ordained deacon and priest in our midst, and having served faithfully as a priest and later Suffragan Bishop here. Now as our Primate, she draws us together as part of the wonderful Anglican Church of Canada and reminds us that we are not alone. We are a part of something bigger – far bigger than the pandemic that threatens us.
I commend to you this video from Archbishop Linda on this Sunday when we celebrate All Saints. Together with all the faithful who surround us, inspire and support us, both here and in the life to come, we stand united in our faith in Christ Jesus. Please share her words of hope with your congregation as you are able this weekend.
We are not alone.
Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto