A Pastoral Prayer
Offered at a meeting of the Western Ontario Waterways region
of the United Church of Canada in the Spring of 2020
We acknowledge that COVID-19 has infiltrated every fibre of our daily lives.
Because of COVID-19, our family relations have been altered;
our education and employment has been moved to our homes, or put on hold, or looks very
different than it did in the final months of 2019;
our daily news briefings are a whirlwind of statistics and new ‘best practices’.
All over the world, people are losing their lives, without the comfort of loved ones at their
COVID-19 has taken lives, loved ones, and livelihood from us.
We pause to name in word, image, or silence that which has been lost to COVID-19.
We acknowledge that some of the changes we’ve experienced because of COVID-19 have been
We know that less commuting to and from work is reducing emissions and air pollution.
Families are baking and crafting and doing puzzles together.
Friends are more intentional about checking in on one another.
Neighbours are sharing what they have.
We are becoming increasingly aware of how inclined we were to take simple comforts for
We pause to name in word, image, or silence the things we’ve taken for granted.
We acknowledge that while many of us were able to stay safe in our homes, many were asked to
sacrifice much to keep our systems functioning.
Some, because of what they do, and some simply because of who they are, have worked
tirelessly at keeping supplies on store shelves, caring for vulnerable members of our
communities, and raising morale.
With hearts full of gratitude, we pause to give name to the helpers:
Those who bring us food – the farmers and farm workers, the bakers and butchers, the burger
flippers and coffee makers, the package and warehouse staff, the truckers
Those who staff our markets and grocery stores – the cleaners, shelf stockers, and cashiers
Those who deliver our food, mail, and online goods
Those who are making and distributing food for neighbours in need
Those staff and volunteers who create safe spaces in shelters and community centres
Those staffing group homes and community residences
The retreat centres and camps offering sanctuary to arriving migrant workers
The mask, scrub cap, and gown sewers working around the clock to keep our communities safer
The worship leaders finding ways to connect, create meaning, celebrate, and provide care
The funeral directors walking with families who are grieving
Those providing spiritual, mental health, and emotional support – therapists, spiritual directors,
The parents and guardians caring for children, and the adult children caring for their parents
The educators and those in ministry with children and youth
The children and youth who have given up school friends, birthday parties, and team sports to
help flatten the curve.
The healthcare workers in institutions and homes – respiratory therapists, nurses, doctors,
pharmacists, PSWs, radiologists, technicians, dieticians, midwives, doulas, environmental
service workers, porters, physical and occupational therapists
The first responders – firefighters, police, paramedics, 911 operators
The lab techs and researchers processing tests, isolating antibodies, searching for answers
Those who care and provide necessary supplies for animal companions
Those who pick up, sort and cart off our recycling and weekly household waste
Those who drive and maintain our modes of public transit
Those maintaining our phone and internet, water, sewage and electrical infrastructure
The artists and entertainers sharing their music, choreography, paintings, and comedy sketches to
The journalists, videographers, reporters, radio DJs, and photographers who bring news
The decision makers – politicians, medical officers, policy writers
Holy One, we place all these named, and those whose names are written on our hearts, into your
loving hands, praying that we might live in gentler ways that honour their service.
May it be so.
© Prayer by Kevin Steeper
Pastoral Support Minister
Western Ontario Waterways Regional Staff
© photo by Stephanie Martin