"Rescued and Adopted"

"Mark's Midweek Musings ... September 15, 2021

September 10, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,

I remember that it was a particularly beautiful morning. It was clear – not a cloud in the sky. The children had returned to school. The traffic on the highway moved at a pace as commuters made their way to work. Life after summer holidays was returning to normal. And yet that day in September would be anything but normal.

The first hint that something was terribly wrong came when I turned on the radio in the car. Andy Barrie, the host of Metro Morning on CBC, seemed distracted. His usual smooth and comforting voice was clipped as he tried to describe what was happening in New York City. Something about a plane… about the south tower of the World Trade Centre… about the Pentagon. I couldn’t make sense of it.

I was on my way to clericus. It would be my last meeting with colleagues in the Diocese of Niagara, as I was taking leave from my ministry at Church of the Incarnation to become the incumbent of Church of the Redeemer in this Diocese. I don’t remember much about the gathering; it was a blur. I was too preoccupied with wanting to know about what was happening south of the border. When the meeting was finally adjourned, I raced home to watch things unfold on television. The images that came flooding through the screen will be forever imprinted in my mind’s eye.

Do you remember where you were 20 years ago, when the towers collapsed? Do you remember what you were doing when a plane fell from the sky in a field in Pennsylvania? Do you remember who you were with, when the Pentagon burned?

Congregations across the land scrambled to open their doors and to pull together makeshift prayer vigils and worship services to provide sanctuary in the face of the terror. Folks left work and went straight home to be with family. We watched the skies for any sign of further threat. We tried to make sense of what we were seeing, feeling and experiencing. We were bewildered and grief stricken. 2,977 people were killed that day, 6,000 more were injured. Many of us knew someone who knew someone who lost their lives that day.

In the wake of 9/11, our lives would be forever changed. After that day, we looked at tall buildings in a different way. They were not just residences and workplaces, symbols of progress and ingenuity, but potential targets. After that day, we saw first responders in a whole new light, heroes in our midst. Security became more than a word: it became our mantra. We longed to feel secure in crowds, in airports, in the subway, on a plane. Our response was visceral.

A few days after 9/11, I was invited to be a speaker, among a number of speakers, at a memorial gathering in Toronto. It was an event sponsored by the Democrats Abroad and Republicans Abroad. There were a host of singers, dignitaries and religious leaders who offered their reflections in the hopes of bringing some peace, some solace and some perspective.

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30.19) This was the text that I chose for my reflection that night. Long ago, our Biblical ancestors stood on the threshold of the promised land. They were stepping out of wilderness, the place of grief and bewilderment, to embrace a new life of promise, of home, of security and of plenty. Moses reminded the people to remember where they had come from and how they had arrived at that moment, that it was God who lifted them out of slavery, that it was God who led them by day and by night all the way to the land of promise. Moses was imploring them to see that the promise of plenty, of peace, of abundance relied on the providence of God’s love and by the choices they would make. Choose life. Be a blessing. Love your neighbour, love the sojourner in your midst. Love even your enemy, Jesus would tell us.

These challenging words of Deuteronomy 30.19 came to mind for me as the last military flight left Kabul on August 30th. The two events are of course linked. Sometimes the decisions we make linger and they have consequences that we cannot foresee. It’s not always clear whether a choice we made long ago was a blessing or a curse. I know this to be true in my own life. Don’t you? Yet, the overwhelming thrust of our faith is to try again, to make amends, to bless and to make things better. The compelling hope that draws us together in Jesus is that love will prevail. And that is our part… love your neighbour. Always.

Tomorrow, bring to mind those who died. Remember those who continue to grieve the loss of family and friend. Give thanks for those who placed themselves in harm’s way for the sake of life. Pray for peace in our world, in our communities, in our homes. May God grant us courage to choose life.

Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto
Yesterday, Bishop Andrew Asbil distributed
a pastoral letter
on vaccines and church life and worship.

The full text can be found here ...

He wrote ...
"As followers of Jesus Christ, we are committed to loving our neighbours in word and deed, by our witness, and in the very structures that guide us as a Diocese. To that end, we are introducing a policy that requires clergy, diocesan employees and volunteers, and parish employees and volunteers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The full policy will include more details about how we will implement this; we will make it available when it is finalized."

The wardens, pandemic response team and I
will review the policy once it is finalized
and do what is necessary for St. Paul's to respond accordingly.

Thank you for your patience
and your cooperation as we continue
to keep our worship safe for everyone.

If you missed our worship
for last Sunday, September 12
here's the link ...
In September, the Outreach Committee
is planning to have a sale of house plants
and perennials.

September 25 from 11 am to 1 pm

All proceeds will support
St. Paul's Outreach ministry.

If you have any plants you would like to donate
please contact Gail Browne at 905-852-6853
In order to assist us
in knowing ahead of time
how many will be attending in person Sunday worship
please register in advance.

We have accommodated for 35
to allow for those who might not register
or those who might show up at our door.

Simply go to the link
and follow the directions
filling in your name, number attending
and contact email.

Here's the link to register ...

Thank you in advance for your help!!!
  • please ensure you are healthy with no symptoms of Covid 19 and that you haven’t been in contact with anyone who has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid 19 or is in quarantine
  • please self-screen by asking yourself the following questions … do you have a new cough, runny nose, or any new respiratory issues; do you have a fever; do you have any nausea, gastro issues, diarrhea; have you traveled outside Canada in the last 14 days; have you had contact with anyone who has been told to self-isolate in the last 14 days; have you been told to self-isolate in the last 14 days … If you answer yes to any of these questions please stay home and consider getting tested.
  • everyone attending worship is expected to wear a mask
  • please arrive early for the service to allow an easy flow into the church
  • there will be markers on the sidewalk leading to the church to ensure appropriate physical distancing as people arrive
  • please use the main front doors to access the church … those who use the right front door will be sitting on the right side of the church and those who use the left front door will sit on the left side of the church … the entrance on the south side of the church will be reserved for those requiring the elevator
  • a record will be kept of those who attend worship at the church for tracking purposes in case we should need to make contact
  • you will be asked to verify that you are well and do not have any symptoms of Covid 19
  • your temperature will be taken as a precaution
  • there will be hand sanitizer available at each entrance
  • please take your coats or umbrellas with you to your seat … no coats are to be hung at the back of the church
  • you will be ushered to where you will sit in the church … beginning with pews at the front, working to the back … please sit where you are assigned, appropriately and safely distanced from those around you
  • there will be no hymn or prayer books in the pew … everything for the liturgy will be projected at the front
  • children will stay in church with their families and are encouraged to bring soft toys or books for during the service
  • there will be no congregational singing … music will be instrumental and soloists
  • you will be encouraged to remain seated throughout the worship service
  • the priest, readers, intercessor, musicians and soloists will be wearing masks
  • there will be no congregational responses to the prayers
  • offering plates will not be passed from person-to-person … parishioners may deposit their offering into plates which will be prominently placed near the entrance/exit … offerings will be counted and deposited every two weeks
  • we discourage using cash in your envelopes preferring a check and encourage other options such as PAR, Canada Helps or E-transfers
  • instructions will be given about leaving the church at the end of the worship service exiting from the back to the front using the same door you entered
  • communion will be administered as you leave at two stations, one at each exit ... please stop 6 feet from the administrator, come forward holding out your hands to receive the bread, remove your mask and consume the bread as you leave
  • please remain at least 6 feet apart on the lawn if you are having a conversation with someone
  • please leave the church as quickly as you can to avoid gathering as a group
  • the washroom on the main level will be available for use with instructions for sanitizing after each use
Spirituality in Nature with Geoff Carpentier

Tuesday September 28
gather at 5:30 pm 

Please not the time change

Meet at Conc. 12 at the rail trail in Scugog
that's about 5 km north of intersection of Reach and Lakeridge
and then go about 2.5 km east

Please contact Geoff by email at
or by telephone at 905-852-2011

Each week, I will share 
The Truth and Reconciliations "Calls to Action"

May we not only read them
but pray over them ...

Settlement Agreement Parties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

48. We call upon the church parties to the Settlement Agreement, and all other faith groups and interfaith social justice groups in Canada who have not already done so, to formally adopt and comply with the principles, norms, and  standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.  This would include, but not be limited to, the following commitments:
  • Ensuring that their institutions, policies, programs, and practices comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Respecting Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination in spiritual matters, including the right to practise, develop, and teach their own spiritual and religious traditions, customs, and ceremonies, consistent with Article 12:1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Engaging in ongoing public dialogue and actions to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 
  • Issuing a statement no later than March 31, 2016, from all religious denominations and faith groups, as to how they will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
49. We call upon all religious denominations and faith groups who have not already done so to repudiate concepts  used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.
"A Home for All?"

"Creation-supporting tips from St. Paul's Green Team" 
Protect our forests:

* Go to paper-less billing and statements.
* Use paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled paper.
* Support local tree-planting endeavors and/or do it yourself.
This week ...
  • Mark's Midweek Musings ... Wednesday
  • Thurs ... Conference Call Bible Study; 11 am
  • Saturday email with links to the live streaming of our worship service and our You Tube channel for the video link following the service
  • Sunday ... in person communion; 10:30 am ... live streamed for those not worshiping in person
I have been asked to share
some scripture passages
that people can read over the week
and reflect in their own personal times
of prayer and bible reading.

These are the appointed lectionary readings
from the psalm and the gospel
for celebrations of the Eucharist
  • Wednesday ... Psalm 111:1-6; Luke 7:31-35
  • Thursday ... Psalm 111:7-10; Luke 7:36-50
  • Friday ... Psalm 49:1-9; Luke 8:1-3
  • Saturday ... Psalm 100; Luke 8:4-15
  • Sunday ... 17th Sunday of Pentecost ... Psalm 1; Mark 9:30-37
  • Monday ... Psalm 126; Luke 8: 16-18
  • Tuesday ... St. Matthew the Apostle ... Psalm 119:33-40;   Matthew 9:9-13
NOTE ... starting the beginning of September there will be no Tuesday Connections; "Mark's Midweek Musings" will be emailed on Wednesdays; and we will not be having any further Zoom Coffee & Chat.

Wed September 15 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs September 16 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Sun September 19 ... 10:30 am; in person worship including communion ... an email will be sent with a link to the live stream and video
Tues September 21 ... "Celebrating the Saints" ... St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Tues September 22 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Compline
Tues September 22 ... email re. registering for In person Sun worship
Wed September 23 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs September 24 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Sun September 26... 10:30 am; in person worship including communion ... an email will be sent with a link to the live stream and video
Mon September 27 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom "holy spirits"
Tues September 28 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Prayer Group
Tues September 28 ... email re. registering for In person Sun worship
Tuesday September 28 ... 5:30 pm (notice the time change); Spirituality in Nature with Geoff Carpentier ... see announcement 
Wed September 29 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Thurs September 30 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs September 30 ... "Celebrating the Saints" ... St. Michael and All Angels
Thurs September 30 ... Orange Shirt Day ... Walk down Brock Street

An option to make your St. Paul's donations
which is easy and convenient

we have online banking available for e-transfers.

If this is helpful as you support the ministries of St. Paul's
the email address you need is

Please use the security question
"What town is the church located in?"
If you or someone you know
is in need of pastoral support
during this time

please leave a message
at the church office or email me.

Trust me when I say
it is no bother!!

This is what I'm here to do!!
Rescued and Adopted
As many of you already know, Beth and I welcomed a new addition into our home, Honey. She is about a year and a half old, a lab cross, and weights about 30 pounds. We found her and adopted her through a rescue agency in Owen Sound. We're looking forward to the joy and delight she will add to our lives.

We don't know a lot of Honey's back story. She was a stray on the streets in Tennessee, which as I understand it isn't unusual. She was taken to a farm that can have as many as 100 dogs and when they reach their capacity, some are euthanized. She was found by a rescue in Tennessee who works with Second Chance Animal Sanctuary and Rescue in Owen Sound. She's only been in Canada for less than a month. We brought her home last Saturday and she's settling in quite nicely.

Spending time with her, and keeping up the training she needs led me to some spiritual and theological reflections. Therein lies the reminder that spirituality isn't confined to what we do in church, but at all times throughout our lives.

First, it struck me that if Honey hadn't been rescued, she would have likely ended up being put down. That would have been tragic! But thankfully there are people and organizations who work tirelessly to rehome dogs that have been abandoned. 

We too as children of God and followers of Jesus have been rescued from all that has the potential to harm us, including death itself. God through Jesus, and his willingness to suffer and die in order to be raised to new life, is the way that God rescues us; the cross and the empty tomb are the constant reminders that in Christ we will never be separated from God and we will always have a home in God's glorious kingdom. What a gift from God to us just as those rescuers were a gift to Honey.

In being rescued, we are equally adopted by God as his children. And, there is nothing God wouldn't do to protect us simply because he loves us and claims us as His own. In Ephesians 1: 5, Paul tells us, "He [God] destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will". Or as Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message, "Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son." Again, what a gift from God to us just as our adoption is a gift to Honey.

A reality that goes along with having a new dog is the training she needs. She's pretty good about over 75% of what we hope for in a dog ... house trained; crate trained (she loves her crate even when she doesn't have to be in it!!); she's learning more and more to sit and come and stay; she's learning too not to jump up to get attention.

However, she does have areas we need to keep working on. The primary one is she has leash reactivity toward dogs when we're out walking. When she sees them she has a low growl and barks. That's likely a result of some of what she experienced before she was rescued. We are continuing the training by trying to focus her and re orient her attention. There's been progress, but it's likely to take a while. We continue to be patient. But I've thought a couple of times that it's hard work training a dog.

The other thing that sometimes happens is that she'll flop down on the ground, adamant and stubborn that she isn't moving. That's when we need to gently, but firmly pull her along and get her back on track with where we're headed.

All of this is to say, I had a thought at one point that that's likely exactly how God feels sometimes when it comes to us. We too can be adamant about where we're going in our lives and what we're going to do; we too can be stubborn. And we too can be distracted by so much that captivates our minds and spirits and potentially distances us from God. 

Yet, God doesn't give up on us because God loves us; God remains patient, giving us a nudge or a pull when we need it to get us back on track. Even when we are being disruptive and possibly causing a scene, God tries to redirect our attention and help us embrace the faithfulness he desires of us in our lives.

Finally, I thought how much Honey relies on us for the basics of her life. She needs us to feed her and fill her water dish; to walk her; to pet her and give her attention. And it brings us great joy to do all of those things that nurture the relationship and build up trust. 

God equally wants to provide for us what we need in our lives. God wants us to be fed and nourished, to drink from the water of new life he offers; to be affirmed and supported and encouraged to be the most faithful we can be as followers of Jesus. God gives us the scriptures, the sacraments, the opportunity to pray so that we will be exercised in our faith through spiritual rhythms and disciplines.

God may need to be stern with us from time to time; but even then, it is out of love, care and concern. 

Let's embrace that as children of God we have been rescued and we are adopted through the gift of Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for that gift and blessing!!
A prayer for a new day and new possibilities ... 

Good morning, Lord!
Today's a new day, a chance for a new start.
Yesterday is gone
and with it any regrets, mistakes, or failures
I may have experienced.
It's a good day to be glad and give thanks,
and I do, Lord.
Thank you for today,
a new opportunity to love, give,
and be all that you want me to be. Amen.
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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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