Despite it being summer, things haven't really slowed down as they often do at this time of year. There has been work to do, ministry to attend to, conversations to initiate, planning for the fall, getting things in place for while I'm on vacation as well as the usual. And into that this week has been the attention drawn to Vancouver and General Synod.
This year at St. Paul's, we are supporting the Salvation Army
as they distribute backpacks to children in need
before school begins.
As a result, we are doing things earlier this year!!
The back packs are usually given out in the 3rd week of August.
Needed ... small childrens back packs , USB flash drives for the older teens,
pencil cases, pencils, rulers, erasers,
new pair of socks for the first day of school.
We will turn the altar around to receive any donated items.
Please have them to the church by August 11
so we can deliver them to the Salvation Army.
Thank you for your support of this outreach initiative!!
Last Sunday was the end of Dora's role at St. Paul's
as Director of Music.
As well as saying goodbye to her,
we also said farewell to her daughter Iris
who often sang at St. Paul's.
We are grateful for their gifts of music
and for all they offered our ministry of music.
We prayed over them
and showered them with gifts showing our appreciation.
God's blessing upon them both!!
A message from Dora ...
I just got home a few minutes ago, so finally had a chance to look at the cards, open the presents. Both Iris and I were and are overwhelmed by your love and kindness towards us today and during our affiliation with St Paul's! Thank you for allowing us to be part of your community for the last 2 years. It has been a blessing to us and we will not forget you and the time spent serving alongside you.
The gifts are amazing! I love each and every gift, the flowers, the art pieces: the beautiful silk shawl, the porcelain stoneware, and Mark, your photography. (Is it a serendipitous "coincidence"(?) that I just last week bought a display stand that is perfect for exactly that size of a picture frame! .... however, I do not believe in coincidences, so it meant to happen! many thanks!) Thank you, choir, for the gift card and to all who contributed, the gift of money also. Jan, Reese loves his present, too, he has tasted it and he approves! (FYI Reese is my parrot...)
It was hard to say good-bye, but let's hope it is not a final parting and we will have many opportunities in the future not just to keep in touch, but also to collaborate in special events.
God's rich blessing on each and every one of you, at St Paul's! and enjoy the rest of the Summer,
Dora (and Iris)
Last Sunday we enjoyed "Sundae Sunday"!!
Ice cream with all the fixings to put on top.
Thank you to our Advisory Board for pulling this together.
The response of St. Paul's
to the recent decisions of General Synod\
concering the marriage Canon.
It was important for us
to make a public statement
that we are affirming of everyone
and that everyone is welcome here!!
If you would like more information out of the recent General Synod
here is an interview with Bishop John Chapman from Ottawa
that is a good summary and speaks of where we go from here ...
There will be an Altar Guild meeting
on July 21
following the 1045 am service.
New members are always welcome!!!!!
Thursday July 18 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study at Mae's Saturday July 20 ... 2 to 4 pm, Uxbridge Gay Straight Alliance Sunday July 21 ... 8:15 am, Quiet Traditional Communion(BCP); 9:30 am, "The Table"; 10:45 am, Classic Communion (BAS) Sunday July 21 ... following 1045 service, Altar Guild meeting Thursday July 25 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study at Mae's Friday July 26 ... 7 to 9 pm, Gaymes Night Sunday July 28 ... Food Bank Sunday ... 8:15 am, Quiet Traditional Communion(BCP); 9:30 am, "The Table"; 10:45 am, Classic Communion (BAS) Sunday July 28 ... following 1045 service, St. Paul's Green Team meeting Sunday July 28 ... 2 pm, Communion service at Douglas Crossing Monday July 29 ... "holy spirits", 7 to 9 pm at Wixan's
On Wednesday, August 14,
St. Paul's will be providing a "Summer Picnic"
lunch for approximately 70 clients
of the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank.
Thank you to everyone who has volunteered to help
and to contribute toward the picnic lunch.
If you're interested, please speak to Gail Browne
"As the dust settles ..."
As I write these words of musing this week, I am also attentive to the last moments of General Synod ending this afternoon in Vancouver. There is no doubt that this has been a tumultuous week with much emotion and grief out of the debate and vote on the marriage canon on Friday evening. I know how tired and spent I am feeling watching the live stream here. I can't imagine what it feels like being on the floor of Synod immersed in all that is being said and done. My prayers and my gratitude to delegates who have gathered, and especially those from the Diocese of Toronto.
As the dust has been settling over these past few days, there has been much analysis and deeper reflection on what actually happened at General Synod and what did not happen. The change to the marriage canon failed and as a result caused an overwhelming feeling of sadness, isolation, exclusion, pain and grief to name only some of the emotions. They were and are all merited; they were real and for many remain something to struggle with in the days to come. There was a clear injustice in how our process allowed the voice of the majority of General Synod to be silenced through the voting of a few bishops. This isn't appropriate and should not be allowed to happen again in the future.
A motion was passed today asking that the membership and the way the synod is run be evaluated with recommendations to come back for how things can be modified in a way that is fair and equitable. This passed by a large majority. So there is work to be done; and it will be done, of that I am sure. This is good news!!
When it comes to equal marriage, there is actually good news as the dust settles. The way the church makes decisions through synod is complex and not easy to understand or explain. To put it as simply as I can, through another motion earlier on Friday, the General Synod affirmed by over 85% that bishops and dioceses across the Anglican Church of Canada can legitimately offer same sex marriage as a sacrament of the church. In doing so there would be no contravention of the current canon on marriage as it exists. That is good news!!
For us in the Diocese of Toronto, we have had a process where clergy and parishes have petitioned the bishop to be able to offer same sex marriages. As such, there have been many same sex weddings in our diocese officiated over by priests of our diocese. This will not change going forward; we will not stop offering the sacrament of marriage to same sex couples across our Diocese. That is good news!!
On a national scale, I have little doubt that more diocese across the country will also begin to offer same sex marriage as an option. In the coming weeks, there will likely be a wave across the Anglican Church of Canada of diocese who take concrete steps to implement the will of General Synod in their diocese. That is good news!!
Bishop Asbil, our Diocesan Bishop, has created a video available at the link in an above notice. He has said that for the time being, we will proceed with the pastoral provision in place in the Diocese of Toronto. He indicated that parishes can approach him if they desire to be authorized to offer same sex marriages and he will grant that request. Bishop Andrew called us to pray for each other and to pray for him as the journey continues to bring equal marriage and honor those who continue to hold a traditional view of marriage. That is good news!!
For us at St. Paul's ... we will continue to be allies for our LGTBQ2S+ sisblings by standing with and alongside them, by welcoming and affirming them as beloved children of God, by advocating with them in our wider community and by supporting them in way that is helpful to them.
The message on the sign this week says ... "God can make miracles out of messes and mistakes". I have no doubt that God is up to something in our Canadian church, across our diocese and in our own parish too. And the mess that this synod has contributed to will become a miracle by God's grace. May that indeed be our prayer.
I offer us this prayer for the unity of the church...
Dear God, we pray that You will help every member of our Church,
the Anglican Church of Canada,
to live in harmony with each other.
May we be united in love.
Enable us to pray with the mind of Christ,
to be guided by the Holy Spirit
and to glorify You with heart and voice.
Keep us from worldly ways,
but rather may our lives be a witness of Your love,
not only in what we say but in all that we do,
and especially in how we treat each other,
and those in the world around us.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Remember, if you have a question, I encourage you to send it to me in an email and I will do my best to answer it either in a weekly update or in a sermon.
As always, my inbox is open, and so is my office door if you'd like to chat. I'm usually in my office most mornings Monday through Thursday unless otherwise announced due to a meeting. Stop by or make an appointment!