Worship at St. John’s, Norway, and in the province of Ontario is currently suspended effective Sunday, March 15, until further notice.
Online worship – we will be continuing to refresh this section with information regarding online worship as it becomes available.
Diocesan webpage with updates regarding COVID-19.
Update: June 10, 2020 – Suspension of public worship in church buildings extended until at least September.
In a letter to parishes sent out last week, the Toronto bishops have extended the suspension of public worship in buildings to last until at least September. This upholds the decision in the letter from the Ontario House of Bishops that was distributed the previous week. Dial-in and virtual worship will continue through the summer months until worship in the church building resumes.
Update: April 7, 2020 – Letter to Parish from Clergy and Lay Leadership
Dear Friends in Christ,
As the clergy and lay leadership team of St. John’s Norway, we wish to thank everyone for playing their part at this time by practicing physical distancing, while also continuing to safely and appropriately check in with vulnerable neighbours, friends, and family. We are also writing to you to provide several updates. Although the church building remains closed, the life and work of the parish continues.
Welcome to Fr. Jeffry Kennedy
On behalf of the parish, the wardens have welcomed the Reverend Father Jeffry Kennedy as interim priest-in-charge. Fr. Jeffry has made substantial contributions to the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of Toronto over the past several years. He has specific experience leading parishes through periods of transition, and we are looking forward to his leadership during this time of change at St. Johns Norway. Fr. Jeffry began his duties officially on April 1st. His full biography and introductory remarks to the parish are posted to the Clergy page of the website.
Sunday Morning Worship
We have established a pattern of Sunday worship going forward (and lasting until further notice) that follows the Service for Morning Prayer in the green Book of Alternative Services, beginning on pg. 47. This is offered in both a dial-in format on the phone and in a pre-recorded version posted to the Online Worship page of the website. On Sunday mornings, parishioners are encouraged to dial into the conference line between 10:15 and 10:30 to greet each other before the service. To join the conference line, dial 416-933-3854. When prompted, enter the conference ID, 9903106# (be sure to include the #). The order of service can be found on the Online Worship page of the website. Please refer any questions to Fr. Benjamin (email@example.com, 647-608-5608).
Our website is being updated regularly and is the most reliable way to receive information. Please check it often. We are also using Facebook, Instagram, and email, and are currently organizing a ‘buddy system’ so that those who do not have internet or email are matched with those who do. If you or someone who you know has not been receiving emails, please let Fr. Benjamin know (firstname.lastname@example.org, 647-608-5608).
Holy Week Services
For Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we are encouraging people to join the services being livestreamed from St. James Cathedral on the Diocese of Toronto’s Facebook Page. Maundy Thursday’s liturgy will begin at 7:00 PM and Good Friday’s at 12:00 noon. Please visit the Cathedral’s website for further details. On Easter Morning, St. John’s will host a dial-in service at 10:30. The dial-in information is listed above under “Sunday Morning Worship.”
Ministries for Children and Youth
For children, our Sunday School coordinator Elisabeth Westberg has organized weekly lessons using Zoom, beginning at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings. For our youth, Elisabeth and Fr. Benjamin are hosting a weekly check-in over Zoom on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 – 7:30 PM. For information about how to connect over Zoom, please email Elisabeth directly at email@example.com.
Opportunities to Gather During the Week
Beginning after Easter, we will be offering two opportunities weekly to gather on Zoom for learning and fellowship. On Thursdays at 5:00 PM, Fr. Jeffry and Fr. Benjamin will be holding a bible study. On Fridays at 5:00 PM, we will be holding “Happy almost-an-Hour!” Grab some snacks, tune into Zoom, and catch up with other parishioners! Both events are being organized using Zoom and can be accessed online or on the phone. To join online, follow the link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/2035813958. To dial in on the phone, first dial: 647-558-0588. When prompted, enter the meeting ID: 203 581 3958#. Please refer any questions to Fr. Benjamin.
Some of you have asked how to donate at this time. If you do not have preauthorized payments in place, or would like to make an online donation, we have moved our online donation link to the front page of the website. Online donations to St John’s Norway are done through CanadaHelps.
As the clergy and lay leaders of the parish, we hold our community and its members in our prayers, now and always. Yet in our current context of transition and physical distancing, we are called more than ever to pray for each other, for our parish, and for the wider church and world. We are called to live more fully into the promise of the Easter resurrection that we will encounter in a few short days. This is a promise of hope, healing, and new life, all of which go hand-in-hand with change.
We wish you all a safe and sacred Holy Week and look forward to gathering with you for Easter this coming Sunday.
Fr. Jeffry Kennedy, Interim Priest-in-Charge
Fr. Benjamin Gillard, Assistant Curate
Curt Smith, Rector’s Warden
Katya Park, People’s Warden
Update: March 25, 2020 – Dial-In Service of Morning Prayer
Beginning this Sunday, March 29th, we are offering a live dial-in service of Morning Prayer at 10:30 am:
- You can download the text of the Order of Service by visiting our Online Worship page (a complete set of instructions are posted there as well).
- Between 10:25 and 10:30 am on Sunday morning, please dial: 416-933-3854.
- When prompted, enter the following Conference ID Number followed by the # sign: 9903106# (Don’t forget the # sign!).
- You’ll then be part of a conference line and will be able to hear and be heard by others on the line.
- Please try to limit excessive background noise or conversation. If you need to mute the receiver on your phone, press *6 (to unmute, press *7). This will allow you to hear the service without being heard by others.
- Scripture readings will be taken from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.
If you have any questions, you can email Benjamin or reach him by phone at 647-608-5608.
Update: March 23, 2020 – COVID Creations Contest for St. John’s Youth!
If you are a St. John’s teen (or friend of), between 13-17 years old, you are eligible to participate in a contest to win 1 of 3 cash prizes:
- 1st place: $50
- 2nd place: $30
- 3rd place: $20
(Elisabeth will e-transfer)
HERE ARE THE RULES:
- Theme: COVID-19
- Winners will be selected based upon imagination and creativity
- Judges: Elisabeth and Benjamin (Curt if we need a tie-breaker)
- The submissions can be art, video, poem, prose (500 words or less)
- With permission, submissions will be posted online in a collection
For inspiration, consider the following:
- If COVID-19 were a piece of art, what would it look like?
- If COVID-19 were a poem, what words would it contain?
- If COVID-19 were a song, what would it sound like?
Feel free to approach this creation in any way that makes sense to you.
Deadline for submission is 31 March. Winners will be announced April Fools Day (no foolin’). Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. If you don’t need the cash, consider directing some of the winnings to The Red Door Shelter, who are in need of extra financial support during the pandemic. https://www.reddoorshelter.ca/news/announcements/how-you-can-help-our-families.
Update: March 23, 2020 – Resources Posted for March 26 Diocesan Day of Prayer & Fasting
Diocesan Day of Prayer & Fasting: prayer resources
Suggested prayers for the morning, noon and evening.
Diocesan Day of Prayer & Fasting: guidelines for fasting
How you might fast on Thursday.
Update: March 23, 2020 – Letter from Diocesan Bishop Andrew Asbil
Dear Friends in Christ,
This morning I was delighted to see how some of our clergy and laity have been inspired for ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their stories are posted on the diocese’s website and I encourage you to read them – and to send in your own moments of inspiration. They are truly uplifting and capture some of the creativity, love and kindness that so many of us are experiencing these days.
I’d like to draw your attention to some important initiatives that are happening in our Diocese this week.
As you’re already aware, your area bishops and I are inviting the Diocese to a day of prayer and fasting this Thursday, March 26. Resources for the day have been posted on the diocese’s website. Choose from among the suggested prayers for morning, noon and evening, or say your own as you join with Anglicans from all corners of our Diocese, each in our own place. You’ll also find guidelines for intentional fasting in a safe and prayerful way, if you choose to do so. Let us pray as one and turn our hearts to God during this difficult time.
As I mentioned in my last letter, our Executive Director, Robert Saffrey, has circulated a financial worksheet to gather information from parishes. We are grateful for the care and constructive input being offered by each parish sharing financial forecasts. Thank you! With your input and suggestions coming in today, Rob will be providing the College of Bishops with a financial update. A proposal for a way forward will be brought to Diocesan Council on Thursday, March 26. We trust that the decisions we make at Council will offer needed financial relief and encourage a renewed sense of confidence. I will keep you updated on this.
To ensure that our clergy are well informed on financial and human resources matters during the pandemic, we’re exploring the possibility of holding meetings on Zoom, so that everyone can ask questions and get the answers that they’re seeking. Some clergy have already begun to do this and I am grateful for their participation. All clergy will be notified of these meetings as they are finalized.
Many parish leaders have been in touch with our Director of Stewardship Development, Peter Misiaszek, about promoting Pre-Authorized Remittance during this time of social distancing and the suspension of corporate worship. Please see Peter’s information about Pre-Authorized Remittance and other ways to give during this time.
While I have been thrilled by the efforts of our churches to provide worship services online, I’d like to remind everyone that our buildings should be closed to our parishioners and to the public. All corporate worship and other in-person gatherings should be cancelled. (Ministries of service to marginalized and disadvantaged communities may continue using the utmost care, acting consistent with the Ministry of Health directives. Please connect with Angie Hocking, email@example.com, or Elin Goulden, firstname.lastname@example.org, for best practices.)
Last week, I joined other faith leaders in a meeting with Toronto Mayor John Tory. He expressed his deep thanks and support for the work that all our churches, temples, mosques and houses of worship are doing to help the most vulnerable members of our society. I look forward to working with him and our ecumenical siblings and interfaith partners in the days ahead, and I will update you on those efforts.
I am grateful for our College of Bishops and our priests and deacons who serve each day in trying times. I am thankful for parish administrators who keep the community in touch, for musicians sharing song to comfort and inspire both from church steps and on-line, and for children’s ministry and youth gatherings that engage our young people in virtual ways. Your efforts are a blessing!
Friends, let us continue to pray without ceasing for God’s world.
I look forward to writing to you again on Wednesday.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto
Update: March 20, 2020 – Invitation to Diocesan Day of Prayer & Fasting on March 26
The College of Bishops is inviting all people in the Diocese of Toronto to a day of prayer and fasting on Thursday, March 26, during the unfolding situation with COVID-19.
Throughout the centuries, God’s people have joined in unified prayer across the world in times of need. In prayerful fasting, we are brought closer to the humble reality of our dependence on God in Christ for all things.
Resources, including suggestions of prayers to use throughout the day, will be made available on Monday. Let us come together as a Diocese, each in our place, and pray as one, turning our hearts to God.
Archbishop Linda Nicholls has also called all Canadian Anglicans to a day of prayer on March 29. Let us take every opportunity to pray for one another, and for our world, during this difficult time.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Update: March 19, 2020 – Parish Operations & Communications
Due to COVID-19, the clergy and lay leadership team of St. John’s have suspended all activities and meetings at the parish until further notice. Tenants and space users of the parish have also been instructed not to use the church facilities until further notice.
During this time, the office will not be staffed. Our clergy and parish administrator are equipped to work offsite and emails to email@example.com and voicemail messages left at the phone number for the parish (416-691-4560) will be monitored during regular offices hours (Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm).
If you wish to speak with one of the clergy:
- The Rev’d Anthony Bassett – firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Rev’d Benjamin Gillard – email@example.com, or 647-608-5608.
Update: March 18, 2020 – A message from our Diocesan Bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew Asbil
Update: March 14, 2020 – Suspension of public worship services
Late last evening Bishop Asbil sent a letter to the Diocese indicating measures all parishes should take in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The purpose of these measures is to protect the vulnerable members of society as well as slowing the spread of the virus.
Until further notice, all gatherings are cancelled at St. John the Baptist, Norway. This includes Sunday and weekday worship as well as events. We ask that you please share this news with anyone it might affect. We also ask that you pray for those dealing with the crisis or suffering with the virus.
The Bishop will be addressing the city and diocese in a live-streamed Choral Mattins Sunday, March 15, at 11:00am. Please tune into the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Facebook Page if you would like to participate. If you do not have Facebook, you will still be able to watch the live-stream. Attending in person is not an option due to the Bishop’s directive.
These are troubling times and many of you may feel vulnerable and alone. God is with us in all things, so personal prayer is very important at this time. Please know that your clergy are available to you if you need to talk.