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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—

Looking back on the last year, we have come through a lot, haven’t we?

As Anglican Christians in Valhalla Parish, this has been another year in which we have sought to love and serve our neighbours as best we can. In and of itself, this is not different from any other year—for this is the call to the church in every age.

And yet, with an ever shifting public health environment, we have not always been able to lean on the practices that we usually rely on to do these things.

My report this year does not focus on the things we haven’t been able to do, but rather on those that, by God’s grace, we have been able to do. There have been so many beautiful moments throughout this year, and for this I say “thanks be to God!”

When I think about these things—and I do often—I am incredibly proud of this parish community for the ways in which we have adapted to serve God and Neighbour in the ebbs and flows of life. While we anticipate ways of deepening our ministry in the days ahead, it is so vitally important to pause in gratitude to celebrate God’s faithfulness. It is also good to pay attention to the many ways in which we have served faithfully in response to God’s invitation. 

I am often reminded by parishioners and members of the broader community of the ways in which St. David’s is known: as partners with the Community Harvest Food Bank and generous volunteers at the St. David’s Thrift Shop. So too am I reminded of the ways in which St. Stephen’s is known and loved as an important community resource in New Denver. 

Over the last year of serving amongst you, I have heard from many that these three ministries are sources of great delight. These are ways in which the wider community knows Valhalla Parish. And yet, I wonder what you would say are some of the meaningful ways in which this faithful community has sought to embody the gospel this year. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Through offering prayer for one another in times of hardship, struggle, and loss
  • Through the extension of hospitality to one another and the wider community
  • Through the offer of running errands for others in times of illness or injury
  • Through weekly Zoom Coffee Hour gatherings
  • Through our Wednesday and Thursday mid-week worship services
  • Through opportunities for Study and Learning, including our Revive: Lent series
  • Through our Sunday worship, whether in-person (indoors and outdoors)  or on Zoom
  • Through the many ways members of this parish live out their baptismal identity and calling by contributing to many other good causes and organizations
  • Through the work of the altar guild and those who decorate the church at important feasts
  • Through offering time and energy and money to support the renewal of our rectory
  • Through those coming together to clean the church, to maintain the property, and to lead the charge in replacing aging windows and doors
  • Through our various opportunities for outreach during Advent, including donations of warm clothing and sleeping bags 
  • Through the dedicated work of parish council and our representatives to Synod

I’m sure you can think of many more! Looking back on this last year, I am so grateful for each and every one who contributes to the life and vitality of our parish community. I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to minister together to the wider community, and to both proclaim and embody the reality of God’s deep love for us and for all of creation. 

Every Blessing,

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner

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