As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” Luke 24.28-32
Sunday, April 12
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
The reading from the gospel for Easter Evening is the road to Emmaus – a story we are reminded of each time we gather for worship in our church, for it is the centre window in our chancel. Above the altar, it is a reminder that when we gather to break bread together, Jesus is with us.
This Lent and Holy Week has been like no other. We have not been able to gather at the church for worship, faith formation, and meetings. We have not been able to break bread together. We may feel like those walking on the road to Emmaus, wondering what will come of all that has happened and what is yet to come.
As we adjust to gathering as a community in this time of COVID-19, we may have some answers both for now and some insights for the future.
I write to you today, to say three things. The first is thank you. Thank you to our staff, lay leadership, and volunteers who have been rising to the challenge in beautiful and profound ways. And thank you to you, the people who are the Church of the Redeemer, for adapting to these new ways of being together with graciousness and good humour.
Everyone may not be aware of all the ways the ministry of our parish is continuing. To highlight a few:
- The children and youth meet each Sunday through Zoom. Activities to share together and at home as a family have been an important part of their gathering. Thank you to Roshni, Hilary and all who are part of creating these times together. Their programs will continue on Sunday mornings and the opportunity to try new things will be embraced.
- Nate moved the adult Sunday school program, Marginalia, online and will expand this series to continue through the season of Easter. The Learning at Redeemer committee is putting into place a way for the community to reflect on the Sunday readings and share glimpses of resurrection they notice each week.
- Through the tireless efforts of Susan and the pastoral care team, calls are made to members of our community to ensure all are well and respond to emerging needs as they are able.
- The Common Table, with the leadership of Angie and her team, continues to serve those on the margins of society by providing nutritious ‘to-go’ meals to increasing numbers of people and outreach support. Thanks to the team of staff and volunteers that support this vital ministry. Creating partnerships with local restaurants who prepare meals for a reduced cost has been significant in being able to keep feeding those who are part of our community.
- The administrative and facility teams have worked hard with Karen to keep on top of the administrative needs of the parish and ensure that the building is clean and secure.
- We gathered for worship through Zoom and with recorded services over the past few weeks. Our pastoral team, and Dan, Mike, Will and Jill, in particular, has been remarkable in how they have learned new programs and technology to help bring us together through word and song. Our Easter Vigil even included the famous Redeemer resurrection party with Morgan as our DJ.
I am so grateful, so moved, by how we have come through these past few weeks, together. We don’t know how long this way of gathering as community will continue but we do know it will be for a while yet.
This brings me to the second part of this message. So many of you have been generous in responding to the appeal to continue your financial support of our parish. Thank you. Holy Week is a time when our donations go up with special gifts and the donations of visitors. This year is different, and those gifts won’t arrive. If you have been inspired by our Holy Week services and if you want to help us keep the Common Table open, I invite you to respond out of gratitude for all we have received and out of hope for all that we will continue to do in being the community that, while apart, still worships and learns and serves together.
Lastly, I want to tell you how much you mean to me. I have missed seeing you, speaking with you – face to face – and sharing our joys and sorrows Sunday by Sunday and in between. At the same time, I am so grateful for the ways in which we have been able to continue to stay connected, despite everything. I look forward to the time when we will be together again and share in the breaking of the bread.
The Reverend Canon Steven Mackison
Please consider An Easter Donation as a way of expressing your gratitude for the ministry we share together.
A One-Time Donation: If you are not able to donate to the ministry of the community on an on-going basis, consider a one-time gift.
A Donation in Memory of or Thanksgiving for Someone Special in Your Life: Is there a family member or friend whom you would like to remember with a financial gift to sustain our ministry.
A Donation in Thanksgiving: There is so much wonderful outreach and care continuing to happen in these days when COVID-19 prevents us from gathering as a community and reaching out as we normally would. In thanksgiving, a gift in support of our sustaining and Common Table programs is appreciated.
How to Donate:
Click here to give online.
Please indicate if your donation is in support of Sustaining Ministry or Common Table – COVID-19 Response.
Mail a cheque made payable to Church of the Redeemer to:
162 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1M4