Witness Faith Days, Prison Ministry, Affordable Housing Joint Justice and Peace Commission has a lot going on! 2
Rocking â€˜nâ€™ Rolling in Madoc Parish raises money for Military Family Resource Centre with morning Rock-a-Thon! 3
Season of Stewardship Archdeacon for Ministry and Program Wayne Varley invites members of the Diocese of Ontario to journey through the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany with his stewardship reflections. Use these reflections as guideposts to holistic stewardship. 6
Dialogue WINTER 2019
A Section of the ANGLICAN JOURNAL
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Ontario Diocese holds Special Synod Synod gathered on October 26, 2019, for single agenda item
Synod votes on consideration of a proposed motion requesting the Bishop of Ontario to authorize the marriage of same sex couples within the boundaries of the diocese, including the conditions for extending episcopal permission and protection for those whose conscience precludes officiating at such liturgies. Page 4-5
Bishop Linda Nicolls elected 14th Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
KINGSTON. The Reverend Canon Dr. David Ward casts his vote as a member of the House of Clergy at the Diocese of Ontario Special Synod, while scrutineer Jim Hopkins looks on. See story and more photos on page 4-5. Photo-Mark Hauser.
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
Justice and Peace Joint Commission between Anglican Diocese and Roman Catholic Archdiocese focus on events for youth, social justice and prison ministry Rev Valerie Kelly
PeaceQuest looks to host its WWI Memorial Walk on the City of Kingston Walking Tours web page. Photo-Mark Hauser.
he liturgical seasons of Advent and Christmas have a way of causing amnesia regarding the social issues we engage in the rest of the year, despite them still existing. This past Autumn was filled with a variety of events that support and increase awareness regarding our faith and help build bridges between the Diocese of Ontario and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston. The Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of Kingston offered Witness Faith Days the first week of October for all Grade 6 students in the Archdiocese with 1500 young people attending. This coincided with a diocesan Fall Education Campaign increasing awareness of development and peace in the secondary schools. As happened previously, a fall 4-5 week training session prepares volunteers to go into prisons. This valuable ministry touches the lives of many. There are many challenges in the prison system, including those imprisoned wrongfully. The City of
Kingston, for the fifth year, proclaimed Oct 2 Wrongful Conviction Day. Seeking to increase awareness of this, Deacon Sharon Dunlop organized and held an information session at St. James’ Anglican Church (Kingston) on Nov 2 with Rick Sauve as the guest speaker. The Archdiocese of Kingston welcomed Sister Nuala Kenny presenting on her book, “Rediscovering the art of dying.” A Sister of Charity, Sr. Kenny, drew on the passion of Christ and reflected on the inevitable questions we all face regarding health, illness, suffering, and dying. Building on past successes, the Kingston Interfaith Council organized the popular potluck dinner at Kingston City Hall in November. Another popular event organized by PeaceQuest was the Nov 11th concert held at the Isabel Bader Centre. Looking forward to 2020 is PeaceQuest’s WWI Memorial Walk, translated into French and recorded. It is hoped the entire walk will be hosted on the City of Kingston Walking Tours web page. The Social Planning Council, after its May
2019 ACTION Affordable Housing event, continues to be inspired and will be hosting further affordable housing sessions in 2020. As we plan for Christmas, how many of you ‘purchased’ gifts through PWRDF https://pwrdf. org/world-of-gifts/? At this time of the year in particular, it is easy to recognize our abundance. Therefore, in acknowledgment of the cooperative nature of the Kingston Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses, this joint commission of Justice & Peace will celebrate its 15th anniversary next fall. The Commission is in early planning stages for this event and want to give thanks to God for the blessings we’ve received over these past fifteen years. On behalf of the two dioceses, members of the Justice and Peace Commission offer a Christmas blessing of gratitude and peace.
WRDF is partnering with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and TSURO Trust in Zimbabwe to make a world of difference in the lives of approximately 28,900 people in Zimbabwe still reeling from the affects of Cyclone Idai. In four wards of Chimanimani district, one of the worst affected by Cyclone Idai, 4,910 families will receive a one-time package of 10 kg maize seed, 15 kg bean seed and 2 kg finger millet seed. The seeds will be distributed in time for planting in October to December 2019 to help re-establish
agricultural livelihoods. PWRDF is contributing $26,000 from fund donated to Cyclone Idai relief, as well as $59,000 from its Foodgrains Bank equity. A 4:1 match from Global Affairs Canada will make up the entire budget of $404,471. “We are grateful for our partnership with CFGB and with TSURO in Zimbabwe,” says Executive Director Will Postma. “They have worked hard on the project. We are glad to be of support too to communities so tragically affected by Cyclone Idai, still today.” Given the current food insecurity in the district, affected households in these wards will also be
Published by the Anglican Diocese of Ontario Anglican Church of Canada Editor: Mark Hauser Publisher: The Right Reverend Michael Oulton Bishop of Ontario Office of the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Ontario 165 Ontario Street Kingston, ON, K7L 2Y6 Ph: (613) 544-4774 www.ontario.anglican.ca Editorial and Advertising Office Mark Hauser, Editor 165 Ontario Street Kingston, ON, K7L 2Y6 Ph: (613) 777-0534 firstname.lastname@example.org Dialogue is published quarterly in September, December, March & June Individual suggested donation: $15.00 per year in Canada $23.00 in U.S. and overseas. The paper is printed on partially recycled paper using vegetable-based inks.
PWRDF, Foodgrains Bank and Zimbabwe partner support agricultural recovery post-Idai Janice Biehn
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Farmers in Chimanimani district in Zimbabwe need seed inputs to recover from Cyclone Idai. Photo-contributed. receiving food assistance from other agencies in the form of cash or food transfers. Households participating in the seed distribution must: • be food insecure • have crops that were affected by the cyclone • have sufficient land to utilize the full seed package • have prior experience growing maize, beans and finger millet • and are targeted to also receive food or cash assistance from
other agencies. Cyclone Idai hit eastern Zimbabwe with heavy rains and strong winds on March 15, 2019. The storm caused rivers to rise and flash flooding and subsequent deaths, destruction of property and livelihoods. Across Chimanimani district, 52% of all seed stocks were lost and farmers need assistance to jump-start agricultural recovery, regain their productive capacity and to restore food and nutritional security.
The Civil Protection Unit-Chimanimani estimates the cyclone affected 270,000 people in the district. According to the Department of Agriculture and Extension, 18,244 out of 39,789 hectares of arable land in Chimanimani district were damaged by the cyclone. Chimanimani district is projected to be at Integrated Food Security Phase Classication level 3 for October to December 2019.
Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor, the Diocese of Ontario or any representative thereof, except where expressly stated. All material subject to editing. Printed and mailed by Webnews Printing, North York, ON To subscribe, unsubscribe or change an address, please contact circulation at: 416-924-9199 Ext. 259/245 or email: circulation@national. anglican.ca
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
A tapestry of love Bishop Michael Oulton
oments in time can become powerfully etched in the album of memory over the years. I am thankful for the rich woven tapestry of memories I treasure each and every day. I am doubly thankful that, with few exceptions, the memories I can pull before my mind’s eye fill my heart with warmth and bring an easy smile to my face. The season of Christmas is one of those times that generate a treasure trove of memory. The coming together of family, the many services of worship in which I have participated or led, the beauty of a world decorated by the hand of God in a palate of ice and snow or by the hands of creative stringers of lights all become the fertile soil of memory. While my life and the
memories gathered over my sixty years have been a blessing, others have not been as fortunate. The journey of life can turn on a dime or remain a persistent challenge day in and day out. Recently, I attended the “Museum Without a Home” exhibit staged by Oxfam Canada as part of a cross Canada tour. The museum displays items given to refugees at one point or another during their perilous journey to safety or freedom. One item, a simple tin bowl, had at one time been handed to a mother by an anonymous stranger as she and her family were fleeing to Tanzania. It had been filled with bananas. The bowl represented the immense kindness of a stranger toward a women at the most vulnerable point of her life. For me it was an inexpensive item, for her it became an iconic
symbol of hope. This Christmas as I sift through the memories of years past, I am led to reflect on the beautiful golden cord that binds them all together. It is a simple phrase from the Gospel of John: “For God so Loved the World”. Jesus is the product of that boundless divine love. It is the love of Christ that grows within you and I and draws us to live that love each and every day. My prayer this Christmas is that our lives will radiate the divine love born into the world through Jesus. I pray that the love of Christ will be reflected every day through our words and actions so that when people remember us, it will be one of the beautiful threads of life’s tapestry of memory, woven into the heart and drawing an easy smile to their face.
“Christmas is one of those times that generate a treasure trove of memory” says Bishop Michael—pictured here as a 3 year old with his new Christmas sled. Photo-Michael Oulton.
Madoc Rock-a-thon 2019 A very successful fundraising event for the Military Family Resource Centre was held Sept. 28 at St. John the Baptist, Madoc with $1,595 raised. Thanks to the parishioners who rocked the morning away and all the people who sponsored the rockers. The representatives from the Resource Centre (Major Etienne LeGresley, and his wife) were very helpful explaining all the support that is offered to veterans and current members of our armed forces. Financial help and advice, counseling PTS victims, and many other areas of support are offered. Not only members of CFB Trenton, but members of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, Belleville and Peterborough branches are included. Coffee, tea and snacks were served by members of the ACW which were appreciated by the rockers. A special thank you to Madoc’s historian Brock Kerby who set up an excellent military display for the event.
Saturday December 7 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saint Lawrence Anglican Church Brockville Tea, Sandwiches, Desserts and Beverages served in tea room: $7 Free admission to sale and auction.
Many items at the sale and auction to fill your Christmas shopping list.
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ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
You can make a difference!
Become a member of the Diocese of Ontario Foundation Ven. John Robertson
ennon L. Callahan, author and teacher, a guest presenter in our diocese several years ago, writes, “The congregations who do the best in church finances have a rich, full, abiding compassion for mission. They are motivated by a theology of service, not a theology of survival. Their compelling, driving spirit is one of striving, serving, loving mission.” Dr. Callahan sums up perfectly what our Anglican Diocese of Ontario Foundation is all about... helping congregations— and their community partners—to make a difference in people’s lives through “striving, serving, loving mission.” The Foundation(ADOF) recently launched its 20192020 Annual Appeal, Fearless Generosity. It’s something like Love in Action, and prior to that, Anglican Appeal, where funds raised annually were shared in various ways with General Synod in our diocese with parishes, the diocese, and the Foundation. This annual support of individual donors and parishes made a significant impact in many quarters, especially to help form the capital from which our Foundation can make grants. With the addition of a substantial bequest, special gifts, a bishop’s dinner and other numerous and generous donations, the Foundation is ever closer now to responding more readily to grant applications from parishes, the diocese and other related groups for creative, vital ministry—including some infrastructure grants for accessibility, kitchen updates to permit feeding those less fortunate, and so forth. But, increasingly, grants will be earmarked for creative ministries, programmes and projects, especially those developed ecumenically (e.g., our Anglican/Roman Catholic DOORS refugee sponsorship programme) or with community partners (affordable housing), Corrections ministries, inter-parish educational/musical
events, and the list goes on....Imagine? You are invited to: (a) become a personal/family member of the Foundation—hopefully annually! (b) ask your wardens to sign-up your congregation/parish as a organizational member, again annually. HINT: That way your parish would then become eligible to make a grant request! And be counted as one of the, hopefully, 100 % of parish communities which make up our Foundation family. With both kinds of memberships, giving a share in the governance of the Foundation (see our website for the Benefits of Membership) and being part of something exciting and vitally important for our future, there are always opportunities for contributions of all kinds....special event donations, thanksgiving and memorial gifts, bequests and other gift planning opportunities, and on we go. Together, we CAN make a difference. For further information and forms, please see our website: www.dioceseofontariofoundation.ca. A few years ago the Anglican Foundation of Canada challenged the three bishops of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (or did the bishops and their lay and clergy leaders do this all by themselves?) to encourage all parishes to become annual members of the Foundation. At last count, 100% took up the challenge with enthusiasm and have maintained their high, wonderfully-helpful standard... making a difference in people’s lives, in this case, all across Canada! May I suggest...lay and clergy leaders in our Diocese of Ontario, and all members of our diocesan family who care so deeply about our parishes and communities, and engaging with our community partners in making a difference...let us go and do likewise. Develop our memberships to help build up our capital fund, and then contribute as generously as we can to maintain our ongoing grants, supporting “striving, loving, serving mission.”
(Left) Archdeacon Charles Morris mov (Top-Middle) Rev. Dr. Michael Michie (Top-Right) Chancellor Garth Allan an the discussion. (Above) Bob Pickens, B Simpkins. (Right) Synod members Co Rice, Al Danford and Rev. Don Bailey.
Special Synod votes to of same sex marriage in Bishop Oulton to authorize same sex marriages after considering vote at Special Synod Mark Hauser
elegates and clergy came together on Saturday morning, October 26, in Kingston to hold a Special Synod and deal with a single agenda item: consideration of a proposed motion requesting the Bishop of Ontario to authorize the marriage of same sex couples within the boundaries of the diocese, including the conditions for extending
episcopal permission and protection for those whose conscience precludes officiating at such liturgies. Petitioned by a quorum of members of our Synod, Bishop Michael Oulton was asked to convene this Special Synod to address the matter of solemnization of same sex marriages in the Diocese of Ontario. The Diocese of Ontario being just one of many dioceses across the Anglican Church of Canada to hold special meetings regarding same sex marriage in their dioceses following the failure of the second reading of the amendment to the Marriage Canon at General Synod this past July. The bishop stressed his awareness that Synod was “dealing with an issue that is deeply within the hearts of all that are gathered here today.”
Not a legislative decision, the motion was a request of the office of the bishop as the chief liturgical officer of the diocese to ‘authorize the solemnization of the marriage of same sex couples in the Diocese of Ontario by those clergy who choose to do so and with the support of the church wardens’ read the motion. Prior to the motion being presented Bishop Michael asked for a vote by orders of House of Clergy and House of Laity. The motion was moved by the Incumbent of St. Mary Magdalene, Picton, and Archdeacon of Ontario, The Venerable Charles Morris. Earnestly hoping that the Synod would make this request of the bishop, Charles related how growing up in the church he heard “Jesus’ proclama-
tion of God’s Kingdom as a place of inclusion and welcome for everyone. Especially for those whom the world appeared not to value.” With the motion moved and seconded, debate began, and over the course of an hour and a half, 26 members of Synod came forward to address the bishop as the chair and express their reasons for either supporting the motion or asking Synod to defeat it. The Rev. Dr. David Smith, priest associate of All Saints South Grenville, spoke to what he saw as the divided narrative of the discussion. Supporters of same sex marriage believe the debate to be about social justice and inclusion for all, while those in opposition to same sex marriage maintain this is a discussion around Biblical law
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
Reflections from General Synod 2019 Three Diocese of Ontario delegates share their thoughts and memories from General Synod in Vancouver this past July Nancy MacLeod General Synod 2019—It is impossible to capture seven very full days in a few words and there is no one moment I can point to, so I share just a few impressions what I hope will provoke you to spend time learning about this pivotal event in our church life: Inspiring and varied experiences of worship; Strong calls to renewed discipleship; Fond farewell to a beloved Primate, Fred Hiltz, and rejoicing in the election of our new Primate, Linda Nicholls; Relationships built and strengthened through respectful dialogue on challenging issues; Archbishop Hiltz’s deeply moving spology for spiritual harm and the elders gracious reception of it; Truth and Reconciliation upheld in a multitude of ways, and hope embodied in the Vision Keepers Council; Adoption of “A Word to the Church” from our bishops, and both pain and grace experienced following defeat, on second reading, of a motion to permit marriage of all those duly qualified by civil law; Learning about, celebrating and committing to the many ways our church is engaged in social and ecological justice initiatives; Care and attention to the ways in which we structure ourselves, resource our mission, communicate, prioritize and enrich our worship; Expressions of our place within a diverse Anglican Communion, and a rich ecumenical and interfaith engagement. On our final day we discussed what would be different in the life of the church because of this General Synod. For these days to matter, we must have true engagement by the wider church. I pray that this will be the case and that in this engagement our church will be profoundly renewed. Please be part of that.
ves the motion. elin casts his vote. nd Bishop Oulton listen to Bishop Michael and Victor olleen Parks, Rev. Michael . Photos-Mark Hauser.
request authorization n Diocese of Ontario and a case of God’s people rebelling against his will. Rev Lynn Mitchell, incumbent of The Anglican Churches of Quinte West asked the Synod to consider that the churches understanding of what marriage is has changed significantly over many years. “The church changes and moves not simply because it is caving into the culture around it, because it continues to read scripture through new and faithful eyes bringing in everything around it” she said. Speaking against the motion, John Barron of St. Mark’s Barriefield said “The Anglican church seems to have the desire to embrace a secular decision—to be part of the current popular consensus that supports same sex marriage. Choosing to base itself on equality and human rights
instead of our unchanging God and his word.” Trish Miller, priest associate for the Anglican Regional Minstries of North Leeds, stated that the Anglican Church is supposed to allow for a spectrum of interpretation of Scripture. “We do not deny the sacrament of baptism nor the sacrament of holy communion to those in the LGBTQ community. Therefore it follows that we should not deny access to the sacramental rite of marriage to those who want to make a monogamous, covenant relationship in the eyes of God and with the support of their community” she said. Discussion closed and the Synod voted. The result? In the House of Clergy, 63% were in favour and 37% voted against. The House of Laity saw 74% in
favour and 26% against. Bishop Michael went on to explain that following the vote he would “Take what I hear today, what I have heard in the clergy day on Thursday [held before the Saturday Synod] and what I have heard over the months and years of this discussion, and I am going to take some time, probably about a week to pray and to consider what I have heard before I make a decision.” He extended his deep thanks and appreciation to the Synod of the Diocese of Ontario for their prayerful consideration and what people had brought to the discussion. “You have all spoken from your heart, you have spoken from your mind, you have spoken from your faith, you have spoken from your love of Christ, your love for one
another and your love of the church” he said. In an e-letter dated Saturday November 2, Bishop Michael informed the diocese that he would be prepared to authorize same sex marriages for clergy, wardens, and congregations who have reached consensus and who would make a request to the bishop’s office. A diocesan policy on authorization of same sex marriages has been made available on the diocesan website. In the policy, the bishop struck a balance between “pastoral generosity which some wish to extend and the gracious restraint to which others wish to adhere.”
Vancouver 2019 was my first experience with General Synod. I had no idea what to expect and I was not anticipating how hard, rewarding, and tiring It was going to be. An incredible amount of work was accomplished but there are two things that have stood out for me. The first would be the Primates apology to the members of the Indigenous Church for spiritual harm. Although this apology was given on behalf of our whole church it was obviously deeply personal for Archbishop Fred and for many Indigenous members of General Synod. Although this was a very important moment it was the response over the subsequent days that moved me most deeply. As many Indigenous members told us their stories, often deeply painful stories, so many of them addressed General Synod as brothers and sisters. This simple and yet profound action spoke to me more of what reconciliation is than anything else that happened at General Synod and during the difficult and emotional times for everyone after the vote on same gender marriage. It helped me to see that there is a way to move forward together. Anne Patterson
The 42nd General Synod was called to order by our Primate, Fred Hiltz, with the theme ‘I have Called You by Name; You are Mine’, says the Lord. Precious, honoured and loved in His sight—we need to hear these comforting words and speak them to others. Pass on this Good News! Archbishop Fred, a dear friend, patient and kind, steadfast and loyal to his office as Primate retired at the conclusion of Synod. We pray for well-deserved rest and a return to family life. We were people of prayer choosing a new primate. It was exciting and challenging to witness the changing culture of our church. There is need for ongoing pastoral care from the outcome of the vote; a new vision and strategic plan will be forthcoming. This will fall on the shoulders of our new Primate, the Right Reverend Linda Nicholls, first woman Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Her consecration service was a beautiful celebration and gives new, challenging and renewed hope for our church.
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
Based on the Revised Common Lectionary - Liturgical Year A
The following reflections are intended to encourage individuals and parishes to think about holistic stewardship and guideposts for reflection along the way. Bless you as we seek to take care of the gift and practice of faith; our relationships; Christ’s Church; our local communities; and the wider world — Archdeacon for Ministry and Program Wayne Varley
December 1, 2019
First sunday of advent
December 8, 2019
second sunday of advent
A reflection based on Matthew 24: 36-44
A reflection based on Isaiah 11: 1-10
The start of Advent is an invitation for us to renew our understanding of stewardship. Faithful stewards seek to care for others, be generous, and remain ever prayerful.
The passage reads in part, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding...the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” As faithful stewards, how may we better seek those spirits and discern what God is asking of us?
December 15, 2019
third sunday of advent
December 22, 2019
fourth sunday of advent
A reflection based on Matthew 11: 2-11
A reflection based on Matthew 1: 18-25
December 24 & 25, 2019
A reflection based on all of the readings
December 29, 2019
A reflection based on Matthew 2: 13-23
january 1, 2020
A reflection on New Year’s Day
january 5, 2020
A reflection based on Matthew 2: 1-12
january 12, 2020
A reflection based on The Baptismal Covenant (Book of Alternative Services pages 158 and 159)
John the Baptist was called to be a herald of the Messiah. Each of us is called to our own role to play in the coming of God’s dream and realm. To what is our Lord calling me and our parish to do in the coming year?
Like Joseph, faithful stewards put their trust in God including changing our plans. In what ways are we open to the leading of the Holy Spirit?
christmas eve and day
Creation rejoices in praise and glory to God that the scriptures are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. As faithful stewards, our gratitude should be unending for this awesome gift! In what ways can I offer my thanks?
first sunday after christmas
Joseph and his small family have to leave the familiar and go to the unfamiliar. As a faithful steward, how willing am I to leave what is familiar and go into what may make me feel uncomfortable?
the naming of jesus
A blessed New Year! Faithful stewards ask ourselves the question: Does my life reflect gratitude and praise for all the God of love has given me?
the epiphany of the lord
Faithful stewards “go and seek diligently for the child” by listening to his teaching; worship as a gathered community; and carry out his mission to love and serve others. May we in 2020 always be led by the star of Jesus’ generous and eternal love!
the baptism of the lord
Look at the verbs: continue; persevere; repent; proclaim; seek; serve; strive; and the added respect/sustain/renew the life of the earth. As faithful stewards do we apply our time, talents and treasure to further our baptismal ministry and mission?
january 19, 2020
second sunday after epiphany
january 26, 2020
third sunday after epiphany
february 2, 2020
fourth sunday after epiphany
february 9, 2020
fifth sunday after epiphany
february 16, 2020
sixth sunday after epiphany
february 23, 2020
last sunday after epiphany (The Transfiguration)
A reflection based on Psalm 40: 1-11
A reflection based on Matthew 4: 12-23
A reflection based on Micah 6: 1-8
A reflection based on Matthew 5: 13-20 and Isaiah 58: 1-9a
A reflection based on Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
A reflection offered by a friend of the diocese, Bishop Michael Pollesel, based on Matthew 17:1-9
The Psalmist offers the theme song of the faithful steward, “I love to do your will, 0 my God; your law is deep in my heart.” Are we ready to offer ourselves and gifts entrusted to us in service of God?
Andrew, James, John and Peter immediately respond to the call of Christ. Am I open to that which is entrusted to me as those first disciples did?
“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and walk humbly with your God?” Have I engraved that question in my heart, and am I willing to act accordingly?
Isaiah and Jesus remind us that our lives and deeds serve as examples to others as we faithfully feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and clothe those in need. It is a reminder that stewardship is practical and lived day by day.
The passage reads in part, “Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying God, and holding fast to God; for this means life to you...” These words clearly speak to those who seek to live as faithful stewards.
Three disciples have a “mountain top” experience with Jesus. However, that is not where they remain. They head back down the mountain, to where they live out their daily lives. A faithful steward knows that life is not lived as a series of mountain top experiences, but rather somewhere below. Sometimes, life down there gets pretty rough. How is it going for you?
ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF ONTARIO • DIALOGUE
When are rules wrong? Diana Duncan Fletcher
ccasionally, in the summertime, we attend services at the lovely little St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Bedford Mills. This church has special meaning to my husband, Fred, and me. We were married there 19 years ago on September 9, 2000, by the late Reverend Canon Gordon Hendra. On August 25 the sermon given by the Reverend Canon Dr. David Ward was entitled: “Bent Out of Shape.” It was based on the passage in Luke 13: 10-17 where Jesus heals a woman who had been bent over and crippled for the past 18 years. Jesus then came under fire by the leader of the synagogue for healing on the Sabbath. During the sermon it was suggested that sometimes rules and regulations should be thrown out the window. Good examples were given. Later, I mulled over these, and came up with a few of my own. In frustration, I sometimes raise my voice. Is this action ever justified? A quote from James 1: 19(b)—20 does not think so—“...take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for [wo] man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” Okay. What about the crazy driver who passes two cars on a double line near a curve, and barely misses scraping the paint off our car as he re-enters
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the lane? Or, the child in a park, who disobeys his mother’s wisdom and runs, carrying a full mug of chocolate milk, trips, and dumps it all over someone sitting on a bench? Or, someone who sniggers when a person with a distinct stutter fails to be able to pronounce a difficult word? I am sure we are all aware of similar occurrences. St. James’ advice is great on paper, but is it really possible to fulfill this rule? Children are taught never to talk to strangers. Adults usually don’t talk to unknown children, either. Once, a few years ago, my husband, Fred, saw a little girl carrying a doll and holding onto a security blanket. Her other hand was firmly stuck in her mouth. As she trailed behind her mother, who was pushing a baby carriage, the cute little dolly dropped unnoticed onto the ground. Fred saw this happen, and quickly picked
it up and ran ahead, giving it back to the little girl. The mother was appreciative, and reminded her child to thank him. Instead, the girl said to her mother: “No. You told me never to talk to strangers!” All of us realized that this child was just following the rules. Again, what about the following scenario: you are at work in a family business, and a stranger walks up to you and says something like “Follow me. Let’s go. I have something to show you and a new life to offer. Say goodbye to your father and mother and the others. It’s time to be off to a world you haven’t known.” Would you be inclined to drop everything and go? Not very likely. There would be lots of questions. We know this is exactly what Jesus did, shown in the passage beginning Mark 1:16. There is that little inner voice which nags or advises us when to do, or not do, something. Do you suppose that in Jesus time, his disciples heard that voice and disregarded it? Why would they follow a total stranger? If you read Mark 3: 20 - 30 it says Jesus’ own family believed he was crazed! Whose rules apply here? Obviously in the 21st Century, things are very different—or are they? This Advent, think about it. Let me know if you meet a wise man who knows of the birth of a King in a manger. Would you follow that star? Thanks be to God! email@example.com
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“Fear not, for I am with you” Isa 41:10
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