Wednesday, December 9, 2020

It's been quite a year.

Written by  Jim Nakoneshny

Like the rest of the population, our parish has been living with the realities of Covid since mid-March, when public activities were first suspended. As a facility where people traditionally gather together, this has affected every single aspect of what we do. As such, our staff has been keenly aware that how we respond to these challenges will directly affect our community. 

Of course, earlier this year we had no idea how long this was going to carry on. Surely, we assumed, by Easter everything will be getting back to normal. It would be simply unprecedented for the Church’s most important celebrations of the year to be curtailed, not only here but around the world. 

Yet Easter came and went without crowds. A small team consisting of the Bishop, music ministry and sound/video personnel (less than 10 people in total) scrambled to bring livestreaming of the Cathedral’s Holy Week celebrations to our parishioners, and to many viewing from outside our borders. That process would continue Sunday mornings week after week throughout the spring before small numbers were slowly allowed back into the church, and continues to this day. 

For other events in the facility, such as wedding receptions and banquets, we again assumed (wrongly) that normalcy would return by May, July, September, Christmas, January, spring 2021, fall 2021? 

Thinking back on this it put me in mind of the well-known 5 stages of grief, which have, over the years, been transferred to innumerable other aspects of life. Can they be applied to our experiences here as well?

Stage 1: Denial. Well, as I mentioned above, we certainly denied that this was going to be a long-lasting experience. Or at least we were overly optimistic as to the extent of the impact. As well, judging by ongoing news reports, some dissent is certainly present in the greater community. So yes, denial applies.  

Stage 2: Anger. We didn’t experience much anger here, but then again, we’re a pretty happy bunch. Maybe we were just too busy trying to keep up with ever-changing safety guidelines to notice. To be sure, some folks expressed their displeasure to us over disruptions to their usual routines, so I guess a certain amount of it is out there. 

Stage 3: Bargaining. Probably the closest we got to bargaining was hoping every week that they wouldn’t change the rules on Friday afternoon for that weekend’s activities, forcing last minute changes to all our signage and seating layouts.

Stage 4: Depression. Again, not really amongst our group, although at this point we could all use a bit of a rest. 

Stage 5: Acceptance. Well, we may not be ready to fully accept it yet, but with a very different Christmas just around the corner, it will be something that we’re called upon to embrace. 

So, mask up if you’re going out, stay home if you possibly can, wash your hands in between and do what you can (safely) to make each other’s Christmas just a little bit brighter.

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