This past Sunday’s gospel speaks of the disciples in a boat when a storm comes up and how Jesus meet them in the midst of their fear and concern for their personal safety. Jesus reassures them, and us, that with faith despite the storms of life, the God of love is with us all the time. Sometime we find it hard to hear the voice of God in the storms of our lives. In the Central Interior we can take great comfort in the fact that God is with us as we deal with the effects of the wildfires that are causing storms in our lives this summer. The voice of God is often heard through the actions of others…. As we requested prayer and assistance the wider church has responded with a loud message …That they stand with us in the midst of this storm for us. I want to share with you some of the many messages I have received from around the world.
When information was first shared on my Facebook page with the church, it was shared around the world more than 600 times; hundreds took the time to write a message of support and encouragement to us on Facebook or messaged me.
Almost immediately the PWRDF fund was in touch with us and we have received an initial donation of $5,000.00 which we immediately gave to our clergy and parishes to response directly to the needs of those who were evacuated. We helped with meals, provided funds for personal needs, bought bus tickets, filled tanks of gas, provided food and clothing to those who left home without anything, and many more actions of kindness which have not yet been reported as I write to you.
Along with the pouring out of prayers for us, many have sent funds to assist us and I want to share with you some of the messages the Territory office has received.
Messages from the wider church that came along with donations…
“I pray daily for you and for all who are at risk or at work in the face of the fires in the Central Interior.” from the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada.
“It is hard for us to imagine the challenges that you and your people are facing with the wild forest fires in the B.C. Interior. However, we do know that we are part of your Anglican family and want to assist the diocese in maintaining the ministry of your clergy and congregations as they care for one another and their communities in the midst of this crisis.” From the Diocese of Huron.
Along with the funds from the Diocese of Huron, the Rt. Rev Linda Nicolls, many parishioners in Brantford, and London, Ontario have made numerous contributions.
”I’ve been praying for you and your people daily. What you’ve been doing and the way you have been handling the crisis is so impressive!” from Diocese of Toronto.
“This cheque comes with love and prayers from the people of the Diocese of Niagara.”
“I was saddened to read the article in the Church Times about the wildfires in your Diocese. The photograph of St John by the Latin Gate prompted a connection which I will explain. I was an undergraduate at St John’s College, Cambridge. The feast day of St John the Evangelist was in the Christmas vacation when no one was around to celebrate. The college, therefore, transferred celebrations to St John by the Latin Gate in May when we were treated to smoked salmon at dinner. I therefore, feel a kinship with your church and would like you to accept the enclosed (70 pounds to mark my 70th birthday this month) as a small contribution towards your relief efforts." From Preston UK.
“For the last five years I have been hosting the Bathurst Hospitality Day Breakfast. I turn over $1000.00 per year over to our St George’s Anglican Church. This year with all the forest fires in BC, I decided to send some funds your way.” From loyal volunteers who make this project what it is in Bathurst, NB.
Donations have come from others in Bathurst and Fredericton, NB.
Donations have also come from St Mary’s Anglican Church, Whitewood SK, Estevan SK, St David’s by the Lake, Celista, BC, through the Diocese of BC and many from our own people within the Territory.
One of the first letters of support came from our brother and sisters in Christ of All Saints’ Fort along with a generous donation. The Bishop of the Diocese of Athabasca and his staff have called us almost weekly to offer guidance and support to our office.
We are grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support we have received. These are just some samples of the voice of God to us, in this storm of wildfires, that have come through the kindness of others. May we be the voice of God to those whom we serve within our communities.
For the full bulletin which includes Announcements, Prayer Requests, and the Bishop's Schedule please see the attached PDF or go to the Bishop's Bulletin Page to download it in Word or PDF.