Beloved Carstairs Bancroft United Church Members,
I hope this message finds you well. I keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers, and besides these e-mails I try to make as many phone calls as possible to keep in touch with you. Please, feel free to e-mail or phone me when you feel you need any assistance, or just would like to talk.
As time passes by, and we can see that we have to fortify our patience and resilience in these unprecedented circumstances, here is a check list that can help you to stay well and strong, both in body and soul:
  • Keep the advise of the health officials: stay home as much as possible, if you have to go to public places practice enhanced personal hygiene: cough or sneeze into facial tissues or into your arm, don’t touch your face, wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • Keeping the above in mind, try to get fresh air daily. If you go for a walk, keep the 6 feet physical distance from others than your household members. 
  • Try to stay fit in soul by developing spiritual practices, such as daily quiet times with Scripture reading and prayer. Being fit in soul will also motivate you with the next point.
  • Try to stay fit in body, either by walks or by doing exercises, if you are able.
  • Try to develop and keep a daily routine. Daily routines play a very important role in keeping our physical and mental health. It is especially important if you can/have to work from home.
  • Keep a daily touch with family and friends by phone or video call tools, or e-mails. 
  • Count your blessings. Gratitude enables us to see that we are not alone, and that despite the upheaval around us we still can be grateful for many things. Gratefulness reinforces our spirits we need in these exceptional times.
  • Take all your fears and worries to God in prayers. You will find a lot of references of this encouragement in the Bible. Let me quote only two here:  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 ) Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
“The God of peace be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 15:33) 
I trust that today’s daily message from Rev. Alice – forwarded to you with her permission below – will also encourage and strengthen you for the day:
“What would you call a blessing?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. / Jeremiah 29:11

Ages ago I saw a movie about a minister in prison. When a friend asked him how he was, he said:
“Well, I am locked up with a Bible… it can be a blessing.”
We tend to have not just a narrow view on blessings but a wrong one too.
Remember, God used the greatest tragedy of humankind and turned into the “Greatest Blessing Ever…”
God has a power to do that, God likes perform those kinds of miracles.
It is in the Bible: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” / Hebrews 4:16
We, as children of God has the right to go before God and ask Him to turn our situation, our difficulties into a blessing. God is encouraging us to do that. “In Him (Jesus) and through faith in Him we may enter God’s presence with boldness and confidence.” / Ephesians 3:12
If you want to turn to God, you need to turn away from several other things. You instinctively know what helps or hinders your closer walk with Jesus, what moves you in the right direction.
Being locked up can be very difficult but if you realize that God is not just “everywhere” but He is with you, in the same house, in the same room, closer than anyone ever before… it can be a blessing, because it is a blessing.
Merciful God: We long for tenderness because this world can be hard.
We come longing for light because our lives are crowded with shadows.
We come needing direction. Fill us with your Presence: Your are our peace and our blessing. Amen.” 

Rev. Maria Szabo Berces
Carstairs Bancroft United Church