March 19, 2020

The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw
Area Bishop of Trent-Durham
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto

Dear Friends in Christ ~ grace to you and peace this day.

I have been praying for you, without ceasing, as the days go by and the publications grow more intense. The Novel Coronavirus has arrived at our doorsteps and has come into our neighbourhoods, and we are being changed as a result. Let us not be afraid, rather, let us be courageous in communications and endeavours to connect with one another.

You have become very good at interactions through creative uses of social media, emails and telephone conversations, and I encourage you to develop and innovate further along these lines. This is a time when we must take seriously the instructions to keep physical distances – and when we must go to great lengths to support those who are vulnerable.

Please share your stories of how you are accomplishing your ministries! I have heard from a few of you, and strongly encourage each of you to send me a note, letting me now how you are doing, and sharing how I can pray for you. You can email or text, as you wish. Do make sure to send this note to our Honorary Assistants, Associates, Deacons, Wardens, Lay Readers etc, to widely encourage one another in faith, hope and love.

Our dear brother in Christ, the Rev Murray McColl, has died suddenly and unexpectedly this week.

We hold his cherished wife of 56 years, Sandra, and their family in our hearts, as they entrust Murray’s body and spirit to our Loving God on Friday, March 20th at 1:00pm. We also pray for the parishioners in the Parish of Apsley & Chandos, who have been lovingly and faithfully attended to by Murray for many years. In a small family group they will gather, surrounded and upheld by the collective and powerful prayers of our Christian family in Trent-Durham and beyond; we will gather for a burial in a public ceremony following the lifting of the Novel Coronavirus protocols.

On a more personal note, I also ask your prayers for my Mother, Ruth, at this time. On Saturday we learned that she has been diagnosed with bile-duct cancer, and since then, her surgeon has been quarantined – therefore unable to attend to her as planned. Since I was a child, she has taught me how to have faith in times of trouble ~ and now my siblings and I have the deep privilege of helping her to hold up the light of faith in this time of walking in the valley of the shadow of death.

Since before we were formed in the womb, God has known us ~ as we are promised in the words of the Prophet Jeremiah. God knows us and loves us now, as ever ~ so remember this! and remind others when they need good news. Our God is faithful.

In Peace,
Bishop Riscylla