Dear People of St Paul,

I trust you are staying warm and well while we are experiencing the finest weather Edmonton winters have to offer and while our city and province are undergoing serious threat from the Omicron variant of COVID-19.Regrettably, I am writing to announce to you that we will NOT be meeting in-person this week - Sunday, January 9, 2022. We WILL meet on Sunday (the 9th), but the service will be streamed online only.

This decision was difficult to make, but we are making it in order to ensure everyone's safety and to minimize the potential of spreading the COVID-19 virus throughout the parish and our community. Early in the week the Parish Office was contacted by a member of our Parish, who attended church last Sunday (the 2nd), to let us know that they had just discovered they had been exposed to COVID-19 by someone the previous Saturday (the 1st). This person later contacted us to let us know that they have since tested positive for COVID-19. I spoke this morning (the 8th) with Vestry and the Wardens and the consensus is that we need to close for this week (Sunday the 9th). We are very happy with the parishioner who kept us informed and followed guidelines! We also wish to remind our parish that if you have symptoms that you should not attend church and should follow government guidelines regarding testing, isolation, restrictions, and safety.

Our concern is not to put anyone at risk or to spark an outbreak in our community. We know for certain that someone was in church last Sunday who was positive for COVID-19 but we do not know whom else - if anyone - was infected. So closing for this week seems necessary. We will then make a decision this upcoming week about next week. Please keep an eye on your email this next week as we will be communicating with you about the status of upcoming Sundays!

Over and over I am struck by how wonderful it is to serve in this Parish and I am bowled over by your commitment (to Christ and to each other) and your generosity. I find dealing with this stuff challenging and very frustrating, and I am sure you must as well. As some of our Vestry highlighted, it is a tricky balance we have to try to strike. Staying open is important for both practical and spiritual reasons, but also for psychological ones. Please continue to be in prayer with me about these issues and pray that we will be as "wise as serpents," as Jesus says in Mt 10.16, but also "as harmless as doves."

Grace and Peace,

The Rev Myron Penner, PhD
The Anglican Parish of St Paul’s, Edmonton