Celebrating Black
History Month

Mark's Midweek Musings ... February 16, 2022

In person worship
will resume at St. Paul's on 
Sunday March 6 at 10:30 am

We will continue to follow Diocesan protocols
of masking and physical distancing
and limit the congregational singing.

The service will be live streamed
and a video available on our You Tube channel.

Watch for details to register
so we are prepared for how many will attend.

Thank you for you understanding
and your patience
to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Midweek Communion
Wednesday's at 10 am

No pre registration required.

Face masks and physical distancing
will continue as usual.

During the season of Lent
beginning on Wednesday March 2, Ash Wednesday
we will also offer an evening Candlelight Communion Service.
We will hold our annual meeting over zoom
on Thursday February 24 at 7:30 pm

A copy of the vestry report and 2021 finances
is available on our website ...

Vestry Report

2021 Financial Statement

A paper copy of the vestry report
will be available from the church office.
Please speak to Evelyn to make arrangements.

I encourage you to pray as you read it
aware of what God is doing in our midst
and what we are doing in God's name.

If you have any items of business
to be included in the agenda
and discussed at vestry.
please send it to Mark as the chair of vestry
by tomorrow.

Watch for more information
and the zoom link later in the week.
This week ...
  • Wed Feb 16  ... 10 am; In person Communion Service
  • Thurs Feb 17... Conference Call Bible Study
  • Fri Feb 18 ... Pre Vestry Email ... General Information
  • Sunday Feb 20 ... Seventh Sunday After Epiphany ... an email will be sent out with a link to the online video worship service
  • Monday Feb 21 ... Spiritual Formation Monday's
  • Monday Feb 21 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Choir practice
  • Tuesday Feb 22 ... Zoom Prayer Group

February 11, 2020

Dear Friends,

The news of Wanda Robson’s death last weekend has stayed with me all this week.

Wanda Robson, a Black woman from Nova Scotia, was a civil rights activist who in the latter decades of her life worked for the pardon and recognition of her sister, Viola Desmond. Viola, of course, is best remembered for her courageous act of resistance in 1946, when she was forcibly removed from a whites-only section of a movie theatre in Nova Scotia, and then later charged and convicted with “tax evasion.” Viola’s fight for racial justice challenged a province and nation, and raised awareness of segregation and anti-Black racism in this country. It was Wanda who took up the fight after Viola’s death, and it was Wanda’s tenacity that resulted in the first-ever posthumous free pardon ever granted in Canada, for her sister. Viola’s legacy is now commemorated on the $10 bill. She is the first Canadian woman to be represented on the face of our currency. “The Queen is in good company,” Wanda said proudly at the currency launch in 2018.

Honouring the history, legacy and achievements of Black Canadians is something we are called to do each and every day. Black History Month gives us a particular opportunity to enter into the joy of celebrating the accomplishments, diversity, art, music and cultures of Black communities. And we have occasion to mark this celebration in the Church. Our congregations are formed and shaped by so many faithful Black clergy and laity throughout our history. Anglicans especially this past Christmas grieved the loss of our beloved Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was a faithful teacher, pastor, champion of human rights and a prophetic voice for the “rainbow people of God.” The leadership and witness of Archbishop Tutu and Wanda Robson remind us that we still have work to do in dismantling anti-Black and systemic racism. Sadly, bias too often plays a part in our neglecting to honour the perspective, wisdom and experience of our Black communities.

This recognition and celebration should never be confined to a singular month. Indeed, the UN has declared that the years 2015-2024 are the International Decade for the People of African Descent, stating, “In proclaiming this Decade, the international community is recognizing that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.”  Exactly a year ago, at the February 2021 Diocesan Council meeting, I endorsed this UN recognition and Diocesan Council supported my endorsement unanimously by consensus. 

I want to encourage everyone to tune in to the Black Anglicans of Canada service, “Strangers No Longer,” streamed over YouTube on Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. Now national in its scope, the Diocese of Toronto has proudly been associated with this annual event since it started in 1995, and as it has gone from strength to strength. It is a powerful and rich worship experience.  

I want to encourage everyone to find ways to learn, to recall, to tell and to hear the stories that celebrate Black History. May we deepen our commitment to be more authentically the rainbow people of God.

Yours in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto

If you missed our worship
for last Sunday,December 19
here's the link ...
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 ... Ps 15; Mk 8:22-26
  • Thursday ...  Ps 72:1-4, 13-14; Mk 8:27-33
  • Friday ... Ps 112; Mk 8:34—9:1
  • Saturday ... Ps 12:1-7; Mk 8:2-13
  • Sunday ... 7h Sun After Epiphany ... Ps 37:1-12, 41-42;                  Lk 6:27-38
  • Monday ... Ps 19:7-14; Mk 9:14-29
  • Tuesday ... Ps 51:11-18; Mk 9:30-37

Wed February 16 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Wed February 16 ... 10 am; In Person Communion Service
Thurs February 17 .. 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Sun February 20 ... 7th Sunday After Epiphany ... a link will be emailed to a pre recorded video of prayers, readings, a sermon and music
Mon February 21 ... Faith Formation Mondays
Mon February 21 ... 7:30 pm; Virtual Choir practice
Tues February 22 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Prayer Group
Wed February 23 ... Mark's Midweek Musings
Wed February 23 ... 10 am; In Person Communion Service
Wed February 23 ... 11 am; Zoom Coffee and Chat
Thurs February 24 ... 11 am; Conference Call Bible Study
Thurs February 24 ... 7:30 pm; Zoom Vestry Meeting
Sun February 27 ... Last Sunday After Epiphany (Transfiguration) ... a link will be emailed to a pre recorded video of prayers, readings, a sermon and music
Mon February 28 ... Faith Formation Mondays

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Celebrating Black History Month

It was January, 1970 in the United States and 1995 in Canada when Black History Month started. During the month of February there is a focus on culture, history and issues of justice, both past and present. As much as it is about culture and history, though, I also believe it is about spirituality, faith and faithfulness. Black History Month has gained momentum in the church for that very reason, because it is equally about spirituality and faith. 

Many of the most faithful followers of Jesus I have known over the years have come from Africa and the Caribbean. Their sense of spirituality is so ingrained within them that it is integrated into their whole outlook on life. God is very central and Jesus is a foundation as blessings are recognized, even though their life experiences haven't always been the easiest to rise above. And yet, they are clear that they have done so with God's help, by knowing and trusting in Jesus as the source of all that has grown into goodness and newness of life.

I remember a parishioner from St. Vincent who bought a new car. One of the first things she did was drive it to church and ask me to bless it. That wasn't out of superstition, but a genuine desire to offer thanks and praise to God for the blessing of this new car to drive. Other parishioners from Nigeria celebrated every milestone in their lives with all their family and friends gathered at the church to worship. That was especially true for milestone birthdays. God needed to be front and center to receive glory, honor and praise. And there was no doubt any longevity of life was a gift from God to be appropriately celebrated. I remember too the offertory procession of dancing up the center aisle of the church as each person make their offering. And again it was about giving back to God some of what had given to them. That was an integral part of their spirituality and and expression of their faith and faithfulness.

I hate to admit it, but I wasn't aware of the amount of black history that there is here in Canada. I knew of Lincoln Alexander from when he was Governor General of Ontario. I hadn't known that he was the first black Member of Parliament, elected in 1968. 

On September 20, 1968, he made his maiden speech in the House of Commons saying: "I am not the spokesman for the Negro; that honour has not been given to me. Do not let me ever give anyone that impression. However, I want the record to show that I accept the responsibility of speaking for him and all others in this great nation who feel that they are the subjects of discrimination because of race, creed or colour." He also became the first black federal cabinet minister.

I also just learned that it was In 1995 that Toronto Area MP Jean Augustine introduced a motion that was passed unanimously by the House of Commons to recognize Black History Month across Canada. That's about the same time as I remember the Diocese of Toronto holding their annual Black History Month service that filled St. Paul's, Bloor Street with lively singing, dancing in such joy and spirit filled worship.

Part of what we do in honoring this month is recognize that there are still injustices that are racially motivated and lived out in the everyday lived experience of so many people who are black. We still have systemic issues that need to be addressed. And, that includes within the church too.

Late last fall, I attended a seminar on anti racism training. As a white male, I don't know or experience the kind of issues that friends and colleagues have had in life and in the church. We need to learn what that means and how as a society we have been complicit in the kind of injustices and racist comments that are a matter of course in their lives. And in so doing, we need to confess that to God and ask for forgiveness with prayers that God will help us to become faithful in contributing to justice where there has been far too much hatred and discrimination.

We live in a community that doesn't on the surface have very much cultural diversity. I think it is imperative that especially in places like Uxbridge we open ourselves up to learn more, to be educated so that we can better understand the realities that so many experience, some who no doubt actually live right here in our community. Knowledge and understanding can't help but motivate us to desire and to work for a better and fairer experience for those who are often vulnerable simply because of the color of their skin or where they were born.

As I think about celebrating this Black History month, it doesn't in any way diminish who I am. But, it does enhance who we are together as a community embracing our diversity and recognizing the value of every person. That too is the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are called to live out in our churches.

I encourage each of us to do something to educate ourselves so we can do better going forward. It will make a difference; and I believe it is God's greatest desire.

May it indeed be so!!!
A prayer for Black History Month... 

Lord God,

We thank you for the significance of this month.
We lift up and thank you
for our Black brothers and sisters who have shaped history.
We thank you for the opportunity to learn
and reflect particularly at this time, here and now.
We pray that the learning happening in schools,
homes, faith communities and workplaces
will be meaningful and deep-rooted.
We pray for open hearts and minds,
And spirits willing to learn and be transformed by you.
May this month be a time of curiosity and sharing,
Conversations and celebrations,
Challenge and encouragement.
Heavenly Father, help us to dig deeper,
Look closer, and think bigger.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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St. Paul's Anglican Church, Uxbridge · 59 Toronto Street · Uxbridge, On L9P1H1 · Canada

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