Annual General Meeting February 2022
Greetings in the name of our God among us!
A look over the past year:
Our AGM by Zoom last year was well-attended and heartening.
Around that time we were putting out a weekly video for Sunday worship at home, but just before Easter we received permission to begin celebrating Communion by Zoom again.
We had only videos for the services of Holy Week, but celebrated Easter together outdoors in Agnes Green Space before a spike in infection rate pushed us back to Zoom Communions for a while.
All summer we had Communion services in Agnes Green Space, and were able to meet in our sanctuary when it got colder in the fall (and some houseless people were using the outdoor space – since we had another option and they didn’t, we moved inside).
In August, the Rev. Deacon Colleen M was appointed to discern Diaconal Ministry together with our parish (and was licensed to this parish a few weeks ago! – Note that we’ll be celebrating Colleen’s ministry with us the 2nd Sunday in Lent, March 13th)
Not many ended up together at our October Service of Lamentation in the sanctuary
that allowed some grieving for the people and the time and the hopes that we had lost while we could not be together; but it was still lovely, and a Do-It-Yourself version of the service went out by email as well.
It was very disappointing to move to Zoom for Christmas instead of being together in our beautifully decorated sanctuary;
but we had had the blessing of a good Advent in our now reliably-warm space (remember how it used to be?!). I was awed by the lovely and generous donations that our small parish made to Wichetewin and to the community ministry as part of our Advent.
This past spring we had the very painful funerals of Rev. Lorna H and of her mother, Beryl T. Because of pandemic restrictions, we were not able to gather in support of the family and to hold our grief together; not even all of the family was able to attend. It was very hard. But I was really heartened by how the family really supported each other in expressing their grief, in a way so many of us are not able.
In late summer St. Matthew’s hosted the wedding of Sarah W and Brock P. They had attended a few times and we didn’t know them well, but it was a deeply blessed experience to share in the covenanting together of the couple and their families.
By the end of 2021 we had two families waiting to have their children baptized; one connected through the community ministry, and also Camille A’s and Trevor S’s grandchild, Julian. However, because of waves of pandemic variants, the baptisms have been repeatedly deferred. I am hoping that Easter will be the time for that joyful occasion.
In November Jude C was accepted by the diocese into the process of discernment for priestly ministry, and a parish team will be walking that process with Jude through the first part of 2022.
Weekly Sunday morning worship has continued through the year in the formats you heard above. Throughout the year there have also been mini-service videos posted on our website (stmatthewswinnipeg.ca) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/stmatthewswinnipeg) for those who could not attend in person or for the Zoom.
This year we have continued to have our small Centering Prayer services together by Zoom; most of those who attend now could not be there if it were in person. Likewise Virtual Coffee Times on Fridays have continued with a small group of regulars, even when we’ve had in-person service.
Beyond St. Matthew’s, I have been involved in monthly Communion services at Lion’s Place once again, but this time in a team with Rev. Colleen, Rev. Jamie H, and Rev. Tony H, so that we each only take a service every few months. It is good to be able to support one another and fill in for each other. I have also continued in the role of District Dean for the Central Deanery. All our clergy meetings have been by Zoom so far. The opportunity to visit other parishes, as is required by the Dean’s role, appears to be opening up for this year, and the Rev. Deacon Elaine P has been appointed Co-District Dean to take on this part of the role. Thanks be to God, as I have great appreciation for Elaine’s pastoral ability, and my ability to visit on Sunday mornings is clearly limited.
I believe that we are likely to meet in-person for worship during most of the coming year, although we will continue to use masks and to distance for the next while, and later may have to return to doing so in another wave of Covid infections.
I’m hoping to focus this year on building communications in the parish and online, and making more room to visit with parishioners.
We have three parishioners looking at being Confirmed, so we can expect a service of Confirmation with the bishop, perhaps in June.
When it becomes both possible and reasonable, I look forward to a return to having meals together and coffee after church.
My heart is warmed by the constancy of the people of our parish, by the stubborn love that has held us together even without any way at times to live out our calling to be a community of God’s love in the world. How good it will be to increasingly be able to be together again this year. May you all, and the bonds of love and commitment between us, be blessed and strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Joyfully submitted by the Rev. Gwen McAllister