November 24, 2020
Dear St. Matthias and St. Luke Family,
This Sunday, November 29 marks the beginning of a new church year with the start of Advent. This past year has been an incredibly challenging one for us as a church community. Last November our rector had a life-threatening fall, which mercifully he recovered from after much prayer and truly miraculous healing. Since then we have experienced more challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of regular services, Rev. Timothy’s retirement, and the challenge of relocating in the middle of everything else. Alongside these very large, unforeseen trials, we have experienced God’s miraculous provision and grace to us all: Timothy’s rapid recovery, an unexpected new location opening up for us at the last moment, tireless service from many members ranging from increased giving to helping move to renovated our new building, and the Lord calling Rev. Angus Wu to be our next rector. On the cusp of a new year, and an Advent and Christmas season that will likely look very different, I want to provide a brief update:
Rev. Angus’ Arrival
Due to the pandemic and limitations on international travel, obtaining the necessary immigration visas is taking longer than expected. Our new rector, Rev. Wu, and his family were planning to arrive in Vancouver at the end of this month, and to be with us by mid-December, but due to delays in the Canadian Government processing visas at this time Rev. Wu and his family have not been able to obtain the necessary visas required for their imminent immigration. Our hope and prayer is that they will be able to arrive soon, but until their application is reviewed and approved we will need to postpone expecting their arrival until sometime in 2021.
Bishop Stephen Leung, Rector (Interim) and Rev. Deacon Walter Wong (Vocational Deacon) ministering the Chinese service
During the time gap and the prolonged interval between Rev. Timothy Fong’s retirement and
the delayed arrival of Rev. Angus Wu to Vancouver, Bishop Stephen will continue to serve as the interim Rector of SMSL. This means he is the chair of our Board of Directors and Church Committee for ongoing ministry. He will oversee the clergy and Chinese services until Rev. Angus Wu arrives and is ordained a priest. Vocational Deacon Walter Wong is now working with Bishop Stephen in providing online Chinese services, preaching, bible study and pastoral care to those in need, particularly Chinese-speaking parishioners. In the absence of Bishop Stephen in person, Rev. Chris Ley will be the deputy for Bishop Stephen in SMSL. Please pray for the unity and good health for our Bishop, clergy and lay leaders.
Relocation and Renovation
Our relocation and renovation team continues to work incredibly hard to ensure our new space is ready for us once the current Provincial Orders on Social Gatherings are lifted. The faithfulness of many of our members to give their time and energy to our relocation and renovation leaves us all indebted to their generosity and service. We have seen the very best of our community in their sacrificial service for our church.
Our church is committed to glorifying God through loving our neighbours and respecting the authorities placed over us. We are committed to following all Provincial Safety Guidelines to ensure we can worship safely. We therefore are suspending all future services indefinitely until the current Provincial Order on Social Gatherings is lifted, on December 7 at the earliest. This means the earliest possible in-person worship service we will have at our new location will be December 13. Once we are permitted to resume services and can safely do so, we will publish a letter and open an online sign-up for these services.
For Christmas Day, if in-person gatherings are permitted, we will have a Bi-Lingual (English and Chinese) Holy Communion Service at 11am December 25. Due to the space limitations of our new sanctuary, services will be limited to around 35 people to ensure social distancing measures can be observed. If needed to accommodate overflow, we will offer an additional, identical service at 9:30am December 25.
The mission of our church is to praise, pursue and proclaim Jesus as Lord, and for the last 10 months we have needed to add the words, “from home” to the end of this mission statement. I encourage you now in the season of advent to focus fully on the coming of our King, to look to Him in your life, to pray to Him, and to proclaim Him to everyone you encounter.
May God Bless you,
Rev. Chris Ley
本主日 (十一月廿九日) 隨著將臨節的開始，表示教會已踏入教會年曆的一個新年度。過去的一年對我們這個教會家庭來說是非常艱鉅的一年。去年十一月，我們的主任牧師經歷了一次危及生命的跌倒，藉著禱告和真正奇蹟般的醫治，他蒙恩得康復。自此之後，我們經歷了更多的挑戰：COVID-19新冠疫病和暫停正常的主日崇拜、方文傑牧師的退休以及在這一切困境中，再加上搬遷的挑戰。在經歷這些巨大、前所未遇過的考驗之同時，我們體驗了上帝給我們各人奇妙的供應和恩典：方牧師的迅速康復、一個意想不到的新堂址在最後一刻為我們預備、教友們不懈的事奉 – 從從增加捐款到幫助搬遷到翻修新教堂、主呼召胡玉藩牧師為我們的下一任主任牧師。在新的一年即將來臨之際，並且在我們將要渡過一個不一樣的將臨和聖誕節期時，我想向大家作一個簡短的報告：
梁永康主教 (臨時) 主任牧師和王華達會吏主理中文崇拜
我們教會的使命是敬拜、追隨、傳揚耶穌為主。在過去的十個月中，我們真的需要在牧區使命加上 ｢從家中｣ 一詞為註腳。我鼓勵您在將臨節裡定睛貫注我們君王的來臨、在生命中仰望祂，向祂祈禱，並向遇到的每個人宣揚祂。
Chris Ley 牧師