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Keeping calm and carrying on at All Saints Greely

Photo of the welcome sign at All Saints Greely
By on January 1, 2022
Photography: 
Grace Jones

How does a small parish in the southern part of Ottawa continue to thrive and prosper throughout a pandemic?  At All Saints Greely, the answer has been to find ways to keep doing what we do and to develop new ways of being church.  With God’s loving support and guidance, teamwork, and a strong underlying focus on pastoral care for our community, All Saints Greely has had a positive pandemic experience and is continuing to do so.

Worship, in one form or another, didn’t miss a beat thanks to the Rev. Joan Riding, our Priest-in-Charge, who also leads St. James Leitrim.  When COVID-19 began to take hold and our doors were closed to in-person worship, Rev Joan immediately provided a printed service which was distributed for personal worship.  Within just a few weeks, with the expertise of a parishioner at St. James, we were able to offer worship services on Zoom and Webex together with St. James.  A complete service bulletin was provided to all for use when joining virtually or for personal use with printed copies being delivered to those who requested them. This is continuing for people not yet comfortable coming to church in-person

We are home to a very well visited cemetery. Each year in June, we hold a cemetery service that often overflows the church with people from near and far. This service provides a time to reflect and remember, as well as update those attending on maintenance and upkeep being completed or planned for the cemetery. The offering collected that day is the main source of funds for maintenance. In order to address isolation and promote community, we sent letters to known family visitors in lieu of a physical gathering for the service. The mailing was very well received, and led to an increase of 42% of the usual cemetery maintenance givings.

Outreach, one of our primary focuses, continued with only a few interruptions due to COVID restrictions.  Our outreach has two parts, one which touches people’s lives directly and the other providing financial assistance. The parish gardens provided fresh produce for the Osgoode emergency food cupboard and Harvest House.  Donations to the food cupboard, cupcakes to St. Luke’s Table, financial donations to Naomi House in lieu of purchased gifts at Christmas all carried on when allowed.  To assist financially, one of our major fundraisers, an annual yard sale, was moved to postings on local buy/sell Facebook groups and received amazing community support.  And, our annual end of year financial donations to various diocesan and community ministries and projects were not hindered by the pandemic with $3,600 being distributed in 2020 and $3,800 in 2021.

“Hook, Knit & Stitch,” a crafting group that is open to everyone and provides a time to be creative and socialize with friends and neighbours, did go by the wayside for a while.  When it was restarted in March 2021 on Zoom, it attracted new people, some local and some from outside our physical area.  It has become apparent that there is a desire and need to offer both in-person and virtual gatherings going forward.

So, how does a small parish continue through a pandemic?  By continuing to care for others, holding tight onto God’s hand and never letting go.

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