St. Nicholas Birch Cliff

Anglican Church

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Welcome to St. Nicholas!

RE: Closing of the Church:

Dear friends in Christ,

Grace and peace to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The past 5 weeks have been a true blessing for me as your interim priest in-charge. After many weeks of hard planning and preparations from so many, we held our first in-person service of worship and holy communion here on Thanksgiving Sunday since our closure back in March.  Each week since we have been seeing increased numbers in attendance and I know that returning to in-person worship has held great value to those who have decided to come. I am incredibly grateful for the staff and volunteers here at St. Nick’s who have been such a great help in making these services a reality.


However, during this same period, I have been keenly aware of the consistent rise in new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, and in the Toronto area in particular. We are now seeing numbers that are higher than the numbers back in the spring when we were locked down. This week I received an e-mail outlining the move to cease all non-essential meetings and gathering in the church, except for Sunday worship.  Government officials are now appealing for people in Toronto to stay at home as much as possible.  With this in mind, as well as seeing a drop in reservations for this week’s service, I have consulted with the wardens and come to the difficult decision to cancel this week’s service.


We will therefore follow the lead of local government and cease in-person worship for the next 4 weeks and review the numbers at that point. We still pray and hope for the ability to safely gather for Christmas. The office and church will also be closed to all non-essential activities and meetings. I understand that for some of you this will be a welcomed decision, others will be greatly disappointed.


Please know that this decision was not taken lightly, the wardens and I also have mixed feelings about having to make this choice.  Keeping in mind that a high percentage of our congregation likely falls into the elevated risk categories, it seems more loving and pastoral to side with caution and the health and safety of our parish at this time. Bishop Kevin has also assured us that we have his full support in this decision.


In the meantime, there are still several options for virtual services. St. James Cathedral continues to broadcast services each Sunday morning, I will continue to post weekly sermons on-line and starting on November 17th we are offering a 5-week Advent course through zoom. 


Yours in Christ’s service,


Fr. Ken Johnstone.


Readings for Sunday, November 29th,  The First Sunday of Advent.   



Isaiah 64:  1-9

Psalm 80:  1-7, 16-18

1 Corinthians 1:  3-9

Mark 13:  24-37 

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