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Wow - time for that Christmas issue already. It seems like such a short time ago that I was taking over the Northern Lights Christmas issue for our editor while he was waiting for cataract surgery. It was a real struggle for me to pull that together last year. I’m so thankful and feeling very blessed that Dan is well and able to take this back. It has been such a bizarre year that we didn’t even get a chance to do another issue before now.

The global pandemic has taken us through some hoops - some real struggles. I think we were the last Diocese in the national church that had to close our church buildings back in March. Since that time we have been learning a lot about video recording and what to do and not to do. We are still learning. We are so blessed to be able to offer weekly recorded services.

Then just as we thought we were doing well at being back to in person worship services, the second wave has hit and we are now wearing masks and still can’t sing. We know that Yukon is doing fairly well and yet we also know that it is pos-sible we won’t be able to have in person services at Christmas. We are holding our breath on that decision.

Part of the struggles have been in our finances. Donations to the Diocese at end of October are down from $29,000 last year to $4,600 this year. Yet we have been blessed to be able to cut back on some of our expenses. We have been able to meet via zoom for executive and recently had our synod via zoom. Al-though it is not the ideal situation, how blessed that we are able to still gather and still get on with the business side of being the church. It is entirely possible that we will continue holding some of our meetings via zoom even when we are able to freely travel in safety.

I have been very blessed to have been to Haines Junction, Carcross, Mayo, Dawson City, Fort Nelson, Old Crow and Watson Lake over this past year. We have not been able to do the amount of travel for training that we wanted to do. Yet again, we have been blessed. Parish leaders were able to gather for some conversations together. At synod we were treated to a presentation on Human Trafficking and Modern Day slavery, and just last week I and the parish leaders were led in an Advent Retreat by retired Bishop Barbara Andrews.

As in any other year, there have been ups and downs. I imagine that Mary and Joseph faced very similar struggles and blessings as they headed off to Bethle-hem. Maybe not a pandemic but very real struggles for their time, in their context. They carried on because they knew they were being called by God to something amazing.

We too are called to something amaz-ing; in our time and in our context. We are called to be the Anglican Church in the Yukon and Northern British Co-lumbia. That calling and work is full of struggles and blessings, that we face to-gether. We are all needed in God’s world to do what we are called to do - build kingdom in a way that communicates God’s love for all people and all of the created order.

What will next year bring? The only thing we know for sure: God’s infinite love for each and every one of us. May your Christmas be full of joy, love, laughter and Blessings Beyond Measure.With love to each of you:


The Rt. Rev. Lesley Wheeler-Dame
Bishop, Diocese of Yukon