After typing that short post title I was struck by how this Lent has unfolded so differently from my original expectations. In some ways if there has to be a season in which we are catapulted into a worldwide pandemic Lent is probably the best choice 😊

For me the additional prayer disciplines, especially the crafting of pysanky have certainly helped to ground me and given me something solid to hang onto as we travel through uncharted waters.
    The huge proliferation of online resources has also been such a gift. For several years now I have always listened to podcasts and special music while writing my pysanky and now there is such a treasure trove of materials to choose from that I find myself with a backlog of cool things to which I can look forward.
   The work of Day Camps has continued for me although, like the rest of life, it has taken a different route than expected.
     This week the draft of the complete 2020 Program Manual appeared in my inbox and so each day I have set aside a couple of hours for careful proofreading. Other items in my inbox are not quite so enjoyable as I try to respond to the many enquiries from across the country. 
     I am thankful that a special Board of Directors meeting has been called for this coming Monday evening. It will be so good to be able to exchange ideas with the other ministry directors and hear their thoughts on what summer 2020 might look like.
Of course CTM’s residential camps are localised in the countryside not far from Montreal and each of them only runs for one week, in mid-August for a set number of campers with a staff of experienced adults so the whole “package” looks very different from Day Camps, which seems to have a gazillion moving parts! It is possible that those ministry directors will still feel quite hopeful that their camps will happen this summer whereas the future of Day Camps looks less likely each day.
   Despite the majority of preparation at this end being done online there are also various aspects of the Program itself that are currently on hold due to our inability to gather.
   We cannot come together to film the Liturgical Dance video, we cannot gather to make craft samples, we cannot gather to record all the Day Camp songs, the list goes on and on.
    With all churches across the country closed for the foreseeable future we recognise that no one wants to commit to begin a registration process for campers and then have to reimburse parents due to cancellation.
    With school closures across the country, teens and young adults do not know what their summers will look like and so are unwilling to apply as Team Members. Some parents of prospective Team Members have also expressed grave concerns about allowing their young people to travel at all this summer and have removed those applications.
   Police forces have temporarily closed their departments that provide Police Checks and CTM has been advised not to submit any forms with the protocol we have with the SPVM for Montreal-based applicants.
    Suffice it to say that it is extremely difficult to remain positive. 
Not being able to cook and bake for the Retreat is really hard as food prep is one of my very favourite things to do and while I cook I love to think about and pray for each of the young people who will eat the food on hot July days and give thanks for the privilege I have to nourish both their bodies and souls during that one special week before they head out on their missions.
    Instead I have been researching chicken breeds and I’m still going to craft the chicken awards, as I trust they can be presented if not this summer then in 2021😊 By making those gifts I can push away the scary fears that if Day Camps do not take place this summer they will never happen again.  Yes that fear may be irrational but knowing that on one level doesn’t magically remove it from my brain😊
Today I’m baking more Hot Cross Buns, hoping I will find a way to share them with friends at the great Festival of Easter. Sadly all Anglicans will continue to fast from the Eucharist at Easter but Anglicans and Roman Catholics in this province have covenanted to ring their church bells at 11 am on Easter Day- that will be pretty awesome 😊
I’m off now  to punch down the dough and shape the buns for baking but before  going let’s close with a recipe.
My Instagram account is only used to post #trayforone photos and in this time of quarantine EVERY meal for me is just a “tray for one”. I hope that many of you are still able to sit with family as you eat and to recognise what a blessing that is even in the midst of a pandemic.
Here is a recipe that makes 4-6 generous servings, may you enjoy it with those you love.
Easy Vegan Pho

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger root
2 Tbsps. sesame oil
8 cups vegetable broth
3 Tbsps. Tamari
2 Tbsps. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsps. raw sugar
¼ tsp. each ground fennel and ground cloves
½ tsp. ground black pepper
8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
2 small heads of bok choy, roughly chopped
1 lb. brown rice noodles
In a Dutch oven heat the sesame oil on medium-high and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the broth, Tamari, Sriracha, vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile cook the pasta until just al dente then drain and rinse with cold water.
When the broth is ready, add the mushrooms and bok choy and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Divide the noodles between 4-6 individual deep bowls then ladle the soup over them.
Serves 4-6