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Dear Friends,

Last night the people of Parham endured the frightening spectre of violence in their community. An active shooter was present for several hours, first responders and bystanders were fired upon and fire consumed a residence along with the Church of St. James. My heart goes out to the people of the community and to the parishioners of St. James Church. I am deeply thankful that the incident resolved without further violence and today we extend out deepest thanks to the first responders in the police and fire services.

St. James Church and those who have worshipped and ministered there have been a presence in the community of Parham for 133 years. I remember with great fondness, the celebrations I have attended marking significant milestones in the life of the parish, most recently the 130th anniversary celebration in 2017.

While this marks one more sad incident in a string of tragedies that have become all too familiar throughout 2020, nothing can detract from the strength of the shared life within our communities. We have seen the strength of community spirit quickly bring healing and support to grieving people. It is truly inspiring. I am certain the people of Parham will feel the love and support that is part of their common life, as well as that which is being directed your way from across our region this morning. The diocese stands ready to offer our support during these days both pastorally and administratively.

We recently celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ, and heard the words of Jesus that he would be with us always, even to the end of the age. The Holy Spirit was sent to us as comforter and sustainer. Together we lean into that comfort on this day. Please be assured of my ongoing prayers, joined with those of your brothers and sisters across the Diocese of Ontario. May peace be with you, the Spirit sustain you and together we will take the first steps into the future which is always in the hands of our Loving God.

Yours in the Hope of Christ,

Bishop Michael