Rev. Jonathan Turtle (right) of St. Paul's Anglican Church in Midhurst. Photo from The Parish of Craighurst and Midhurst.

Turtle: 2020 taught us "the importance of having a solid foundation"

By Hale Mahon | Local News

January 14, 2021

Editor’s Note: As we enter 2021, we all have our goals and aspirations for the coming year. In the spirit of optimism, we decided to ask some of our local public figures about their thoughts on 2020 and what they see coming in the New Year.


COVID-19 has forced Fr. Jonathan Turtle to adapt. Used to engaging with his congregation at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Fr. Turtle has had to shift to Zoom sermons and physically distanced Christmas carolling. We caught up with him to ask his thoughts on a difficult year and see what he thinks 2021 will hold.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from 2020?

The importance of having a solid foundation. We've all seen how quickly things can (and do!) change. This can be a source of confusion, anxiety, fear, anger, and even despair. And for good reason. But a solid foundation makes it easier to withstand the various storms that life throws at us.

What are some of the strategies you used to remain positive in this difficult year?

As a Christian prayer is the first thing that comes to mind. But I think of prayer as more than just a strategy. It's a relationship with the God who, unlike the world around us, doesn't change. Prayer is life. Our family also made a priority of getting outside as much as possible in 2020. The blue trail at Springwater Park is a go-to for us.

What are you looking forward to personally to in 2021?

I'm looking forward to becoming a better learner. Generally, I want to approach the world and the people around me with greater curiosity. How do I respond to a person or an idea that I don't fully understand? Am I open to asking the right questions and learning or do I think I am right and already know all the answers? And am I willing to question my own answers? Specifically, I am a pretty avid reader but I'd like to read more broadly, there's an online course I plan to take, and I want to be more intentional about listening to my children, parishioners, and neighbours. I'm also looking forward to my summer holidays!

What professional items are you looking to achieve in the New Year?

Education is a big part of my ministry. I regularly offer courses on Tuesday evenings (we've been using Zoom during the pandemic) that are related to the Christian faith and life in some way. We'll continue to offer those in 2021 and I'm working on a new course on the parables of Jesus that I hope to roll out in the fall. On a bit of a grander scale I'm hoping to help start a religious fraternity/society this year. Historically these sorts of things are voluntary associations that revolve around a common rule of life. It would be for both clergy and laity in the Anglican Church of Canada that share a set of values and are committed to praying for the renewal of the Church in Canada.

What do you think the New Year will hold for your riding/ward/area/industry?

One of the things I think we're seeing and will continue to see is a renewed emphasis on nurturing faith in the home. When public, in-person gatherings are not possible then Christians need to take greater ownership of their faith. In the fourth century Saint John Chrysostom encouraged the Christians of Constantinople to make their home a "little church." I think that's increasingly important and I'd like to find ways to better resource individuals and families to do so.