A Message from Executive Minister Treena Duncan
Last week Author and Lutheran Minister Nadia Bolz Weber published a sermon called Between Exhaustion and the Deep. It’s based on Luke 5 where Jesus encourages fishermen who are tired after a night of unsuccessful fishing to throw their nets into deep water again.
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 finishes 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. Bolz Weber goes on to reflect what it must have been like to be the disciples, exhausted and disheartened from an unsuccessful night of fishing, and being sent back out to fish deeper waters. Her powerful reflection (which I encourage you to read) 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.”
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 in society, reminding each other 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.
On Tuesday, the Government of Alberta announced that they will be lifting the restrictions that were in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For us this means that effective immediately, there are no restrictions on the numbers attending worship and proof of vaccination is not required. Masking remains mandatory. (Note that for those 12 and under masking will not be required beginning February 14, 2022). While some of you have already returned to in-person or hybrid worship, many of you have not, and 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 Region 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.
- Minimize singing. Soloists and choirs should be distanced from the congregation, and congregational singing must be masked.
- Keep services on the shorter side.
- Use only single-serve communion (not a common loaf or cup)
I, and the entire Regional staff team, are available to respond to your questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Executive Minister, Chinook Winds and Pacific Mountain Regional Councils