Letter from Bishop Todd Atkinson
Anglican Church of North America
To my Via family and beloved friends of Via,
I am writing this letter to announce that we have no option but to cancel our Canon Conference which was to be held May 15-17. Canon has been an important time for us all. Each year we have gathered from across Canada into what has been described as our 'Via family reunion.' Also, having dear friends from the USA, the UK, and Africa visit us for this time has added greatly to it. Without exaggeration, it has been a 'heaven come to earth' moment for those who have attended. However, it is critical that we respect our Government's request for social distancing.
For the last few weeks, I have been praying about what I could do to help strengthen people's walk with the Lord during this time of pandemic. I have deeply appreciated the clergy who are leading morning and/or evening prayer online using the Daily Office. I want to offer something that could be participated in alongside the Daily Office and not in place of it.
For anyone who would like to join me (within Via or not), I am going to host a weekly Zoom meeting for people who would like to deepen their practice of meeting with God through contemplative prayer. We will be praying through the Biblical narratives that pertain to the very first individuals to receive Christ, and especially Mary, the mother of our Lord. Providentially, today is the Feast of the Annunciation! The Annunciation will be the first passage we pray through in detail.
I have sensed that God is giving a special grace for His Church to deepen in prayer at this time. In the Holy Scripture times of isolation often proved to be times of revelation. And further to that, times of preparation. In the will of God, times of aloneness from people became times of nearness to God which gave people a shining godliness they hadn't previously possessed. St. John's time of exile to the Island of Patmos is a prime example of this truth. With that in mind, I am going to call this time PATMOS PRAYER - Isolation to Revelation.
I would like to begin one week from today (Wednesday, April 1st) at 8 pm MST. If you would be interested in this, please join the Facebook event found here
. If you know someone who you think would like to participate, please pass along the Facebook event link.
A few additional details:
-We will do this weekly for 8 weeks.
-Each week will be recorded for those who are unable to join us live. Having said that, please try and join us live as there is a unique spiritual dynamic to that.
-Each week builds upon the previous weeks. If someone could not make the first meeting they would have to watch the recording before participating in the second week.
-This takes a level of commitment.
If you are a Pastor/Rector, this could be a good opportunity for you to do this with a group from your congregation. My recommendation would be that you contact people from your congregation that you think could have an appetite for this. You and them should register. Then plan a second meeting each week where you can have your own Zoom meeting with those members of your congregation so that you can pastor them through the material. This will give them the opportunity to ask you questions, gain your help, and share the ways in which God is encountering them, and you the opportunity to walk alongside them in this unique way.