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Dear  St. Laurence, 

I am back from a good vacation spent with family, friends and the great outdoors, and I am now out of quarantine.  I have some good news.  

Our parish has long been committed to maintaining an active youth program and ministry to families with younger children.  As our culture has shifted and changed, many churches have seen their youth programs dry up.  We are blessed to be one  of the few Anglican parishes in the diocese that still has an active youth group and Sunday School.  But even we have not been immune to the challenges of our changing culture, and it’s been necessary for us to form a joint youth group with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church here in Coquitlam.  We have discerned that, in order for our youth and family ministry programs to flourish, we need someone who’s time and energy is dedicated to nurturing and growing them.   So, at our Vestry meeting last February, we voted to create a new Youth & Family Ministry position.  We were able to do so financially, because we have always believed that investing in our youth was worth it, and because of a parishioner’s generous gift of $87,000.  

In May, we advertised in a great variety of places that we were seeking a full-time Youth & Family Ministries Coordinator.  In June, a hiring committee of Connie Keen, Erin Barr, Rev. Eric Krushel of Good Shepherd Lutheran, and myself interviewed our applicants.  We were fortunate to have two individuals who stood out, and the committee was able to discern that sometimes your best option is the one you’ve already got.  I am pleased to announce that we have hired Jason Wood as our new Youth & Family Ministry Coordinator.  It was clear that Jason’s talents would best suit the dual challenge of this position of working with both teenagers and with families with younger children.   But in the process we also had the privilege of meeting Melody Burns, who is currently the staff coordinator at Sorrento Centre.  We appreciated her energy and excitement for this ministry, and we offered her the part-time position of Youth Program Collaborator.  We are able to hire both individuals because of the financial support the Good Shepherd also provides.  

I think that Jason and Melody will make a great team, and I am excited for the energy that their new synergy will bring.  They will be introducing themselves to you at a later date.  This feels like a significant step for us to take, especially in this moment where our society is being challenged by COVID.  This is a difficult time, and I am glad that we as a community can attend to the spiritual and social needs of the teenagers and children among us.  

I hope your summer is going well, and that you’ve been able to enjoy this beautiful land that we live in.  As we look forward, our current worship pattern will change on September 13.  We are still in the process of making plans for what that might look like.  The Archbishop has given us the OK to begin celebrating the Eucharist  (though only with bread, no wine).  At this point, it makes the most sense to shift our live-stream to 9:30am, and make our 10:30am the main in-person gathering.  We would still be limited to a 50 person capacity.  If we have more than 50  who want to attend in-person services, we will broaden our scope.  I’ll keep you updated as our plans crystallize.

Finally, here is something beautiful that fed my soul this week:

Peace to you,