Letter of Reflection

   by Brent Neumann

March 16, 2020

Day 6

Good Morning Everyone,

This letter is intended for our whole community with the awareness that some of you are not able to receive information electronically. We will address this issue by mailing out information to those who are in need of this service. We have stepped into a brand-new reality for our world, and this is creating a lot of unknowns, as well as fear. It makes it somewhat difficult for many to remain centered on the things that are important for all of us.

Let’s not forget that we are a faith-filled community. Our faith begins with the knowledge that God is with us regardless. We are all forgiven for our past wrongs, connected to God through our faith and we can access God through our prayers and reflections. We can remind one another about the common sense aspects of life. A doctor friend I was talking to yesterday told me a story about a medical instructor who asked his first-year students what was the best form of defense when it comes to infections. Of course, the usual was offered: bleach, cleaners, safety wipes, antibiotics, etc., all of which work. Yet, after this discussion, the instructor told them that they were actually all incorrect. Water is by far the most effective, as it dilutes, washes away, or otherwise reduces the risk of becoming infected. Good, old-fashioned soap and water.

There are so many things that we can do that simply takes us back to the days when people did not have near as much. Vinegar, baking soda, are two very common things that we use every day and are both excellent cleaners. Run out of toilet paper – remember the old Stompin’ Tom tune done to ‘Green, Green Grass of Home’. The line went like ‘The old outhouse is still as standin’ – although the catalogues are used and gone.’ Paper is paper, and frankly, this is a respiratory infection. The old remedies are still there for us. Things like mustard packs, steam, Vicks Vaporub, etc., remembering that the vast majority of our society will only be mildly affected.  Fear is rampant in our society, and you and I can offer a voice of reason.

There are so many things that we can do to ease the tension and burden for our families and friends. We can reach out to each other, share our abundancy, ensure that people are in touch and their needs met. We can go out and pick things up for people, we can call people regularly, we can stay in touch with one and another. I will continue to connect with the community through our web site which we are going to begin improving this week.

One of the things that I am going to try and get created are videos of the services, to be posted to the website and have a link on the Facebook page. I will do it on my own with one or two assistants who can help with the technical end. That way we can at least reach out on a weekly basis. The other thing that we can do is ask people to send in their prayer requests to us so that we can review the requests and inform the greater community of the needs coming forward. People are welcome to contact me so that we can tailor your requests according to your needs.

Right off of the top, I want to provide everyone a complete contact list of people who are in leadership positions in the church:

Sandi Mielitz: (204) 891-4046; email srmielitz@gmail.com (Sandi is the new Rector’s warden.)

Gela Stach: (204) 793- 5206; email gelagaia@hotmail.com (Gela is the Deputy Rector’s warden.)

Jocelyn Bartel: (204) 782-5206; email djbartel@mymts.net (Jocelyn is the People’s warden.)

Carl Harrison is our Deputy People’s warden, who is unfortunately stuck in Britain right now. He just contacted me this morning to inform me that he has a flight booked but will not be here until the end of the week. The problem when he comes back is that he will still have to self-isolate for 14 days so will be unavailable to the church until the end of March.

Vestry is made up of wardens, clergy and volunteers.

We have: John Van Bentham, Margaret Van Bentham, Mark McLellan, Robin Simmons, David Wilson, Maeva Kennedy, Don Phillips, and Julie Collings, plus the wardens and myself.

These are contacts available to you to reach out.

Please feel free to contact anyone of these. Feel free to reach out if you are anxious, lonely, not feeling well and need support, want a friendly ear to simply connect with. All of these are opportunities to talk and to share. If you would like to speak to anyone from our team, please call or email me (Brent: (204) 794-5567; email brentneumann@mymts.net ).

There are lots of resources available on-line: Vanderbilt University has a website devoted to the lectionary, the Anglican Church of Canada has liturgical texts online (including Book of Common Prayer and the Book of Alternative Services) online, there are numerous websites devoted to prayer, Richard Rohr has daily meditations that he sends out and you can sign up for, etc. All of these things are currently available.

We are looking at a blog type format for some kind of daily reflection and I am exploring how to set up a streaming system for some kind of weekly worship. I am sorting through the ‘how to’ issues on our end right now.

Based on safest practices, we will be setting Catherine up at home so that she can do the work without having to take the bus every day. That is in the works right now.

The question that I have for all of you is: What are the things that you would like to be able to access from the church while we are living through these concerns? If you have suggestions, comments, or thoughts, let me know as this will help me figure out the best way of continuing the work here in our community. Extraordinary times require extraordinary responses.

Yours in Christ.

Brent