A Message from Rev. Maya Landell (November 27, 2020)

It’s almost time . . .

Dear Islington Community:

This message comes to you in the midst of so many messages – regular updates from the prime minister, premier, mayor, health officials, not to mention all the things being sold to us for Black Friday and consumeristic Christmas. I want to reassure our IUC family that, as we have throughout the pandemic, we continue to follow all mandated protocols regarding the use of our building, staff in their work, recording projects, outreach initiatives and offering community care. The school and construction teams are aligned and following their own mandated protocols.

Drive-in and drive-thru events are permitted during this time of lockdown in Toronto. And we will continue with Light Up the Night this Sunday, November 29. The décor and facilities teams have worked very hard to safely put up extra lights this year. Everyone is invited to “drive thru” between 5:00 and 7:00 pm, turning into the one way circular drive from Burnhamthorpe Road to see the lights and nativity display. In front of the new playground, beside the Chapel entrance, my family bubble will be masked and handing out Advent packages using a basket on the end of a decorated Christmas shovel!

The Advent packages have been prepared by the Hospitality team and the Faith Formation team well in advance to sit waiting, virus-free, for people to receive them at Light Up the Night this Sunday. Each package contain an Advent calendar, prayer, Christmas Eve candle and homemade cookie treats.

From your car, and wearing your masks, roll down your car window to receive your package at a safe distance via the basket at the end of the Christmas shovel. Financial donations for Youth Without Shelter can be returned in the same basket. Bring a non-paper ornament from home, drop it in the basket and we’ll place it on the tree for the neighbourhood to enjoy. (You can also bring your ornament at another time.)

Poinsettias are also being delivered to bring some Christmas joy to people who are homebound, feeling isolated and missing our church community. Eight volunteer drivers are picking up the flowers for delivery, which have been prepared by members of the pastoral care team. Worku Gebrekidan, our facilities staff person, will safely move the flowers from the church into the drivers’ car trunks. The drivers will then head out, calling ahead to the recipients delivering the package to their porch or steps and, masked and socially distanced, bringing warm greetings from IUC. Blue Christmas invitation packages and prayer shawls are also being distributed this way.

We are grateful to Leslee Armstrong, Ministry Team Support, for her valuable leadership in the coordination of these projects. A HUGE thank you to the volunteers and their families who have made this happen, particularly the Emergency Response Team, the Green Team, Kim and Jackie Blackwell and Isla and Jack Grady.

Worship continues to be pre-recorded using a team of seven people, all of us masked until we are in our designated recording spots and with the staff singer remaining masked during the entire service. We plan to bring these protocols into a move to live-streaming effective January 10, 2021 as government guidelines permit.

We make this road by walking,
Rev. Maya