March 16, 2020
By Will Postma
This article has been updated.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted rapid restrictions around the world. Many of us might turn to our churches for hope and comfort amid the chaos, but worship services have either been modified or in many dioceses, cancelled altogether. We pray that your church is still a source of comfort to you and your parish during this stressful time. We are grateful for the many churches that have found ways to share encouragement and even hold services online and record them too.
Staff are continuing the important work of PWRDF from home. Staff travelling overseas have returned safely to Canada and are working in self-isolation as required by local health authorities.
On March 13, PWRDF board chair Valerie Maier and I emailed our partners around the world, including here in Canada, to express our concern and solidarity. Many of our partners were glad for our message of support. They are also doing their part to increase awareness of how to prevent infection while connecting with their local health authorities to collaborate efficiently and minimize the impact of COVID-19 in their communities. We will stay in contact with all of our partners to monitor community health and local needs and are thankful for their work.
We continue to support partners in their ongoing work in food security and health care, such as in Gaza. This month we are disbursing more funds to support those affected by the Syrian conflict as well as Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. These programs provide safe water, nutrition, shelter and protection for very vulnerable families, made more vulnerable during this pandemic.
How you can help
PWRDF is accepting donations to support our partners responding to COVID-19. Please make your gift in Emergency Response and indicate COVID-19 in the message box. You can also donate by phone by calling 1-866-308-7973 toll-free (please leave a message and we will return your call), or 416-822-9083. You can also donate by mail. Simply write COVID-19 in the memo field of your cheque and mail to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.
Many of our volunteers in Canada working on behalf of PWRDF have had to cancel or postpone events, or take a pause in planning. We urge all of our volunteers to follow the guidelines of their dioceses to stay healthy, and are encouraged and grateful for their support. We are confident that Canadians can weather the calls of our governments to do what is needed in this potentially destabilizing time.
We are grateful for the continued support of our donors. The communities we serve depend on your donations to support them. As the world responds to this pandemic, vulnerable communities that do not have access to quality health care will be even harder hit. If your church is not available to receive your offerings for PWRDF right now, please consider giving to our general funds by donating online or becoming a monthly donor.
As friends and family are taking care to “socially distance” themselves or self-isolate after travel, we are grateful to be able to continue working together towards a just, healthy and peaceful world.
Prayer for a Pandemic
(from St. Paul’s Church, Lexington, Ken., shared by the Primate, Archbishop Linda Nicholls)
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close,
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our country,
Let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbour.