Renewal | Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins
ecause of the vagaries of circumstance the Transfiguration of Our Lord (August 6th) is customarily celebrated at St. James’ with simplicity — a Low Mass. Our patronal festival (July 25th) is observed with a High Mass, and this year the beginning of a celebration of who we really are by celebrating the grace of God at work within us and among us. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th) is the next major feast which the Parish observes with a High Mass and fellowship meal. Realistically, the offering of a weekday High Mass three times in less than one month appears unsustainable. So one of the great feasts of Our Lord, the Transfiguration, is lost between our customary Parish observance of our Patronal festival and the Assumption. As I offered the Mass for the Transfiguration of Our Lord with the Faithful of the Parish this year, these circumstances of the calendar led me to wonder whether our corporate neglect of the Transfiguration might just be emblematic of our inattention to God’s work of transfiguration in our lives, the Church and the world? For me, transfiguration is a paradigm through which I can better understand the mission of God and my relationship with Jesus. Knowing Jesus is transfiguring, and being in relationship with Jesus Christ is to embark upon a journey of transformation. It is to give ourselves to the mystery of grace. As Catholic Christians, we seek to live a sacramental life so that every day we constantly seek, through cooperation, to be converted by the Holy Spirit. Through conversion, grace, and transfiguration we are being redeemed and made whole, even being saved. Through this relationship with Jesus, who shows us the way into the life of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, we are becoming God’s new creation. All this is God’s work into which we are constantly being invited to delight and participate. So the season of renewal continues at St. James’. For the first time in many years, a Visitation will be facilitated throughout the whole Parish this October. I pray it will be a renewed opportunity for the Parish to get to know one another much better. After a number of years
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of transition, the clergy team is stabilizing into a “slimmer” configuration of rector, curate, street outreach priest and a couple of honorary assistants. One hopes that the Rector’s consultation on the Liturgy will come to fruition by Advent and the Parish will have had an opportunity to renew the provision of worship, fellowship and formation on Sundays. We seem to have inherited from our past a confusion between Catholicism and clericalism. And so for the first time ever in our Parish’s history the faithful are now routinely leading the public daily offices of morning and evening prayer. We have also begun to discuss the need for lay Eucharistic ministers in the liturgy and for the giving of Holy Communion to the housebound. And how better to equip the faithful to work with the clergy in the provision of pastoral care! Parishioners have begun sharing with the clergy in the work of formation. Notably a number of parishioners contributed to the confirmation course and a few individuals have begun offering spiritual accompaniment and friendship. For many months now the Trustees have tried to ensure that all the core business and information before them is made available to the wider Parish. At times this knowledge can be unsettling, especially when we are in the midst of a deficit budget. It is hoped that the Parish Foundation will soon be fully functional. This will create new opportunities for us to manage and increase our financial resources for the support of the mission of God in and through the Parish. All this is not change for its own sake, but rather renewal as transfiguration and conversion. Each of us resists and embraces change for many different reasons. But dare we understand and relate to the current transitions in the Parish as God’s work of transfiguration among us? If we can embrace all these transitions, in this season of renewal as occasions of grace and conversion, then, and only then, might we be given the deep assurance that we are both friends of Jesus and participants in the life of the Holy Trinity.
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A Renewal of Faith
Love, Lover & Beloved
n the early centuries of the church, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was hotly debated. Even in the marketplaces and shops people could be heard discussing their various understandings about the nature of God. Today, it is hardly the kind of talk we hear around the water cooler and yet the doctrine of the Trinity is meant to have such a transformative effect on what we believe about God, the world, and ourselves, that it changes the very fabric of everyday life. So let us explore how a church that whole-heartedly embraces this doctrine might be renewed, shaped and moulded. A church that commits to growing into the life of the Trinity discovers this: that the nature and activity of God is known in relationship. The persons of the Trinity are only distinguishable by virtue of how they are related to one another. St. Augustine offers an understanding of the relationality that is at the heart of God. He explains that if we reflect on the experience of Love then we learn that Love is one but only exists in relation. Love requires a lover, a beloved, and love itself. Thus lover, beloved, and love is a Trinitarian image par excellence since love can only exist as three but is one. A church that wholeheartedly embraces the Holy Trinity, then, is committed to understanding itself as existing only in terms of this loving relationship, as invited into the life of divine loving and as empowered to extend and share that life, drawing ever more into its embrace. A church that commits to growing into the life of the Trinity also discovers this: that the Holy Trinity is about giving without diminishment. The mutual self-giving of the Father and the Son does not result in their mutual
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diminishment, but rather an increase in the life and goodness and truth that is available for the world. The life of the Spirit is about surplus and richness and flowing over. Picture a waterwheel that pours itself out and yet ever draws again and becomes filled from the sea. What if we as a church were to give of ourselves with the absolute conviction and trust that this sea is very deep, very wide and that this mutual self-giving is the very way to more and more abundant life, not only for us but for the world? Finally, a church that commits to growing into the life of the Trinity discovers this: that the Holy Trinity is holy mystery. This mystery encourages us in humility, in growing in right perspective, and knowing ourselves to be ever on a journey. As we grow closer in relationship to God and offer more and more of ourselves, the depth and life of God, we learn, is unfathomable and infinite. The holy mystery of Trinitarian life also allows us to pray for the church and call it “that wonderful and sacred mystery.” And the church which grows into this vocation comes to understand, too, as Gregory of Nyssa explains, that God is the source of boundless goodness, truth, and beauty. And, as we are made in the image of God, we can reflect and participate to ever increasing levels of capacity in that goodness, truth, and beauty. So a church that becomes convicted of and renewed in this doctrine will ground its identity and strength in the relationship of the divine Lover, Beloved, and Love. It will so nurture its life that it may offer itself as a gift for the increase of abundant life in the world. And, it will grow in its own capacity to reflect the unfathomable depths, the holy mystery of the Triune God. — Mother Jessica Schaap
When my son, Dan, aged 28, stepped off the plane from Taiwan on July 8th of 2008, his sister Erin and I knew something was really wrong. He’d lost 20 pounds, looked a greenish grey, and he was past exhausted. However, I was completely unprepared, four days later, to be repeating Rocky’s words received via my cell phone: “Dan has Leukemia?!” as I literally spun to the ground of the parking lot in which I was standing. That was the day our world changed forever. That was the day we began to need our Faith Family in a way we had never needed one before. Rocky has attended St. James’ off and on since he was 5 years old (sixty years!), and I have attended with him faithfully for the past 15 years, subsequent to our marriage in 1992. July 12th of 2008 was the day that the ‘wash’ of 15 years of the bells, smells, prayers, liturgy, music, coffee gatherings, feasts, committees and participation suddenly came sharply into focus as never before... and became an absolute lifeline. Since Dan died, the loss is huge and so deep. Still you are there. I have been asked how Dan’s death has affected my faith, and this has made me want to reach out to you, beyond the loss, to show you who you are — and how beautiful you are — and the difference you have made in my faith journey over the last year. Before Dan became sick, I thought I knew you, but now I know you so much more. Truly, the richness of family and faith at St. James’ has never been more evident than in this past year, whether it has been the squeezing of my hand, the beautiful hugs (especially at the “Peace”), the enquiries, the phenomenal prayers, and the constancy of emails bearing more prayers, or poems, or “how are you doing’s”.
There is a small group of people at St. James’ who have dealt with huge loss, or lost a child or a sibling, before their time. They know the dual sword of living with faith, hope and quiet desperation in this situation. How much I have valued their looks of assurance, often without words, and their constancy and heartfelt hugs during this time. Many of you knew that Dan had very low odds due to the kind of leukemia he had (with significantly damaged or non-existent chromosomes), but that did not stop you from assuring and re-assuring me of God’s love and grace. Knowing how intent Dan was on never giving up, and how much I needed the strength to support him in his journey — when I could not find the words, you prayed with me, or sent me the words I needed. You did not stop. You were always there. Even after Dan died, you still prayed, for his soul, and for us, and particularly for his sister Erin. Over the last year, as you and your prayers were supporting us, we were witness to truly profound love around Dan. It was as if there were a vibration and a connectedness. Whether he was in hospital, at his apartment, or living with us in the final months, scores of his friends and family gave Dan the gift of normalcy and constancy, while you continued to pray & care, and so giving me the fuel to carry on. St. James’, if only you could see yourself as I see you now. How thankful I am to be a part of this Faith Family. Your gift to me has been to show me the face of God at such a difficult time, assuring me of His Grace, and giving to me a renewal of faith. Thanks be to God for my beautiful son’s life, for God’s Grace, and for my Faith Family. —Tanya Northcott
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Fr. Clarence by Diane Jones
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ather Clarence has always known that God is the Creator of all. Being a practising Christian has never been an issue for him. But even in a Christian home, religion has its complications. His mother was Anglican and his father was Roman Catholic, so Clarence’s baptism was postponed until he was an adult. Schooling, however, was Roman Catholic. Through six years of primary school and five years of secondary, Clarence and his elder brother Andy attended a boys’ school run by the Christian Brothers of La Salle. They had entered the school’s two-year matriculation programme when the question of post-secondary education arose. The family decided that the boys would have a better chance in Canada than in Hong Kong. The family moved to Canada in stages. There were five of them: Mother and Father, the two boys, and Grandma Peggy, the stepmother of Clarence’s father. They had relatives in Vancouver. Aunt Carrie was a single mom with two children, and members of the Li family eventually came in stages to live with them. In November 1989, nineteen-year-old Clarence and his twenty-year-old brother Andrew, came first. For the first year, they lived in separate home-stays, and then their parents arrived as landed immigrants. “Sort of.” His father never left his job as an accountant at the Asia headquarters of Reader’s Digest and returned after a year to live full time in Hong Kong until he retired for the first time in 1998. Clarence’s mother stayed with them in Vancouver for a few years, off and on. Aunt Carrie and her family attended Good Shepherd Anglican Church, so Clarence and his brother went with her. Before long the two young men were active in the Youth Fellowship. And in time, they were baptized and confirmed as Anglicans. As their father was an accountant, the sons were following that professional path. Andrew completed the goal. However, for Clarence while working in a chartered accounting firm in Vancouver, there was a different and more compelling call. After his involvement in church activities at Good Shepherd, Clarence was also active in the founding and launching of Church of Emmanuel in Richmond.
In 1997, with these two congregations as his sponsors, Clarence went to Toronto to attend seminary at Wycliffe College. Important highlights there include weekend missions at the First Nations sacred place on Manitoulin Island near Sudbury, a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and involvement with L’Arche communities. He learned more than theology at seminary. It was his first Christmas at L’Arche that Clarence first met gay Christians. After struggling for years with a sexual orientation that met with general disapproval at every turn, at last he met Christian role models for people like him. Being away from home, with new acquaintances and philosophies such as the encouraging writings of Henry Nouwen, Clarence was glad to have the added freedom to choose his own learning goals at seminary. The lesson learned was that even gay people are made in God’s image, God, whose name is “I am”, or “I am what I am.” Gay people too, are God’s beloved children. That meant that it was important to be honest about his identity. And so it was that at his ordination on June 23, 2002, the people who came to help him celebrate were not the friends he had hoped would be there. The parishes that had sponsored him opposed homosexuality. Instead, Christ Church Cathedral was filled with new and wonderfully supportive friends. He likened it to the parable of the invitation to the wedding banquet (Mark 22:1—14 & Luke 14:15—24), where those who were expected did not come, but others took their place. It was a painful yet joyful occasion. About a week later, July 1, 2002, Clarence arrived at St. James’. Priested in December of the same year, Clarence served as Curate until two years later when he became assistant priest. Asked what highlights stood out in his memory about his time at St. James’, Clarence was momentarily stumped. Simply, the past seven years have been filled with highlights, too many to enumerate. He
is grateful for the time he has had with parishioners, being welcomed into their lives. He counts that as precious time, where he was called to witness death and resurrection. He values the collegiality with other clergy, most especially with David Retter, Lloyd Wright and William Derby. There have also been times of celebration and fun, especially being involved in outreach work, such as participation in the Heart of the City Festival. His vision for St. James’ is to have the Parish move from the place where people sleep on steps in front of locked doors, to become a sign of hope and healing with outward vision. Rather than dwell on the past, Clarence is looking forward to the future. He feels called to a ministry of reconciliation. He hopes to strengthen the Church as a community of people, parishes where people relate to one another at a deep level of trust, willing to build on shared vulnerabilities. Clarence is hoping to stay in this diocese. Four years ago he met a fellow Christian who would come to play a central role in Clarence’s life. David Todd had moved to Vancouver from his home town of Calgary the previous year and the partnership which he and Clarence have formed has been a delight to all who know them. In recent years they have been renovating their home in Richmond and they feel settled there and very much a part of life on the West Coast. So we hope and pray while bidding him farewell, that it will not be forever. Wherever he goes, the diocese, the parish, the community that receives him into their fold, will find him to be well prepared to serve them. With the breadth of experience in training in the vast range of Christian traditions, from Roman Catholic through Evangelical and Charismatic and Anglo-Catholic, and above all with his commitment to honesty and diligence, Clarence will be a man of integrity, worthy to be God’s beloved servant.
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Come Holy Ghost & Renew the Face of the Earth by Ruth Greenaway-Robbins
ith yellow hands covered in cuts and calluses, shaking from exhaustion and low blood sugar I reached for the hymn book in front of me. My total sleep value for the last three days probably didn’t exceed eight hours. Total calories consumed no more than 500 in three days — on target! As I opened the hymn book that Easter morning I had been told at the beginning of the Triduum that my life hung in the balance, a life I had come to care little about: a life given and bestowed by God that had become consumed by this hideous and frightening disease. As the page fell open in my hymn book I had little hope left in my heart, for all my dreams were crashing around me. My body was failing, I could feel the beats slowing each night, my body at the mercy of seizures crying out for nutrition. As I glanced down at the page of my hymn book I had convinced myself to be unworthy of God’s love. If I held my life in such contempt, how could he ever love me again? How could anyone ever love me again? Reading the hymn in front of me, my heart very nearly stopped; it felt as if the world stood still; I was aware of nothing around me, because my whole being was absorbing some very simple words.
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Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, And lighten with celestial fire. Thou the anointing Spirit art, Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart. Thy blessed unction from above Is comfort, life, and fire of love. Enable with perpetual light The dullness of our blinded sight. Anoint and cheer our soiled face With the abundance of thy grace. Keep far our foes, give peace at home: Where thou art guide, no ill can come. Teach us to know the Father, Son, And thee, of both, to be but One. That through the ages all along, This may be our endless song: Praise to thy eternal merit, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For eighteen months I had been on a path of complete selfdestruction. I had become so consumed by inner hatred that I could no longer contain it and finally the disease Anorexia was about to win. Then this, like a last ditch attempt — here was the Holy Spirit holding out her hand ready to guide me to safety, wrapping me in love and moving me away from the danger — myself. Come Holy Ghost my Soul inspire: as she led me to safety, she was whispering gently. She told me of the many gifts God had graciously given me, that God’s love was my fire and my life and that all my attempts to run away and not listen to God were fruitless, she was guiding me back, I was not unlovable. Although my pain was and is great, the Trinity was protecting me and keeping the sources of pain far from me. I turned to her and asked for the knowledge of God’s love — to be with me so that I might finally honour my vocation, “to sing our endless song” of praise to God and for God. She held my hand that day, wrapping me in the warm blankets of love, pouring forth the grace of healing like warm sweet tea to a sick child, whispering of God’s love for me, so that soon I might believe her. She hasn’t left. I had over the years become all too aware that I had been given this unbelievable gift of song. Able to draw people
into something, greater than ourselves, never knowing quite how and where it came from within me — but it did and it does, and it moves people. But as I carried on in this path of self-destruction, self-loathing and inner hate, all of God’s gifts were crashing about me. My longed-for place at UBC would have to be given up, for I was too sick to study. My beloved children I could barely care for any longer. My dear husband had to watch as I wasted away in front of him, he never knowing when I left through a door if he would see me again. As I read that hymn on that Resurrection morning the tears began to fall hot and hard but I wasn’t scared. In all my pain I knew God was calling from a long way off, calling his child, searching me out frantically as Mary and Joseph had done in Jerusalem looking for Jesus. And God saw me at a distance and was calling to me from afar, sending his Spirit to sweep me back into his arms and to be ready to fulfill my vocation. That day I began to encounter something awesome. As I am of God, his love for me is awesome, and if God is lovable then I must be also. It’s pretty radical and yet so simple. I had encountered God and now after being broken and humbled I might now see how I must serve my vocation, only through the grace of love. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for me now to write about how PAX: MICHAELMAS 2009 | 8
I went home and ate my first meal in eight months without purging and after lunch then went on to run a marathon and conquer the world. Well I did and I didn’t. That Triduum was the beginning of a new chapter. But like all things worth doing, it wasn’t and it isn’t easy. On Maundy Thursday afternoon my family doctor had asked that I be admitted into hospital. I was severely dehydrated and shook constantly. I was a mottled colour of yellow and grey. My blood pressure was through the floor and my heart rate was very slow. But I refused. Anorexia/ Bulimia has a great ability to twist truth and it distorts all things. I was convinced I wasn’t really so sick and of course I must be present at all the liturgies — Anorexia will even use your religion against you. The doctor in vain asked again, and at the least asked me to get some urgent blood work and an ECG. As I left the room she looked me in the eye and told me I was playing with fire because my heart could give out at any time. As I sat in the liturgy that night I was overwhelmed by those words “I was playing with fire”. And I knew for the first time in eighteen months that I didn’t want to die — I was terrified that I had no idea how to get off this ride. I was trapped and at the mercy of this disease. I desperately wanted saving, I wanted God — but felt unworthy, unlovable. That night I slept little, lay in the darkness finally terrified by my death sentence. I wanted so badly to reach out to God, but I was too scared of being rejected. How or why would God want me now? In my terror I reached out to the grieving Mother of God, Theotokos to intercede, to help save me. As I went to the Liturgy on Good Friday I was on the edge. I needed God so much. As I knelt before the Cross, humbled to kneel and kiss Christ’s feet, I knew that I had to leave everything at Christ’s feet of all that I was carrying, and leave it there for Him to transform; for I could do nothing to help myself now. So I surrendered all of myself and left it at Christ’s feet. Sorry, if you are still waiting for choirs of angels and cart wheeling saints. But little by little my life is transforming. I left my fragile life at Christ’s feet. And I am finally allowing myself to fall into his arms once again. He has fed me (literally and metaphorically) and is restoring me to health.
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Over the months I began to eat, at first with a little food here and there. I gave up purging on Good Friday and have been purge free since. And one day the Holy Spirit filled me once again and gave me an unimaginable strength to take my recovery to a whole new level, and I began eating three meals a day. The path some days has been exhausting and I didn’t think I could manage, but somehow I did. As the journey continues I am coming to encounter a God to whom I am of infinite worth. We can do nothing to destroy His love, nothing to earn it - it will always be there. I will have to keep working to know that, for that is part of the vocation of all of us — to love ourselves as Christ loves us. No self-indulgence here, but a commandment of Christ. I have to remember this as I battle this disease. Sadly Anorexia is not something that ever goes away; however, it is something that one can learn to manage. So, I am going to have to keep allowing God to love me. That will mean allowing my medical team to care for me when I don’t want to be cared for. It will mean nourishing and caring for my body so that I can sing praises to God. On September 8th 2009, I’ll begin my Master’s degree in opera. I had lost all hope that I would get to that day. But God never lost hope. God and I have work to do. My soul needs to sing; I want to sing of God’s divine Love I in the Trinity. Every day now is a renewal as I have to let go of the not so good days, when the meals have been hard to consume and the image of myself in the mirror is enormous and unlovable to my eyes. I must start afresh and move on and be ready to encounter God, my heart open to his awesome, unbelievable, reckless love.
“Come, Holy Ghost”, or Veni Creator is an ancient office hymn, English translation by John Cosin (1627). The hymn is quoted from the New English Hymnal; it appears also in Common Praise, № 637. For more information about eating disorders visit: www.something-fishy.com or www.something-fishy.org
The Joy of Catholicism | By Betty Vogel
hen I was a teenager I was desperately seeking God. I tried Christian fundamentalism, but did not find Him there. The terrible knowledge that both my parents and friends were destined for Hell destroyed any joy I might feel. I tried the liberal Protestant church, but did not find Him there, either. The “unmoved mover” offers no consolation in times of distress. Luckily, when I was in second- year at university, a friend brought me to St. James’ and I found Him here. The friend who brought me thought I would surely be converted by the beauty of the liturgy, but that was not the case. Like many suspicious Protestants I did not know if the clergy “meant” the words they said, as beautiful as they were. What I needed to see was Christ in someone’s face before I could believe. I saw this immediately in the face of Fr. Hulford, one of the clergy here at the time, and I was converted instantly. In him I found all the warmth, kindness and humanity which our Lord expressed Fr. Hulford had a very healthy and open attitude to life, and expressed a natural joy and love of life in God. He never criticized anyone, but thought the best of everyone. When he gave counsel at private confession he would always avoid commenting on one’s embarrassing and humiliating faults, preferring, instead, to discuss “ wandering thoughts at prayer.” In him I found the ideal Catholic spirituality - joyous, humorous, profound, spontaneous and open to all.
Healthy and authentic Catholicism is also devoid of puritanism. This is particularly true in connection with the consumption of alcohol. There is wine drinking throughout the Old and New Testament and nowhere in scripture is total abstinence ever proscribed. At the wedding feast of Cana it is estimated that Our Lord turned over 40 gallons of water into wine! And it was the best wine. When God finished creation “He saw that it was good.” We are to rejoice in what God created and be grateful for it. One of my favourite phrases from the Psalms is “wine which maketh glad the heart of man.” One of the things which has helped me the most in the spiritual life is the Church’s beautiful literature. There is a writer for every personality. Even though we cannot fully emulate the saints in their holiness, we can know what human beings are able to become when they are truly devoted to God. The great mystics of the church continue to inspire , whether they lived in the middle ages, the seventeenth century, or the modern era. The anonymous medieval English Cloud of Unknowing, the 14th century German Meister Eckhart , the 16th century Spanish St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and Thomas Merton of our own time , offer profound wisdom for the soul which never ages. Their books (available in the Parish library) offer instruction and comfort to everyone.
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Global Stories of the Mothers’ Union | Celia Dodds
s the newly elected Mothers’ Union Canadian President I was privileged to attend the MU Provincial Presidents’ Conference which is held every four years. This time the conference took place at the International Study Centre in the precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, and it drew twentysix registrants from all over the world, wherever there are branches of the Mothers’ Union. The theme of the conference was Pilgrimage: journeying together. It was a great joy to study, worship together and enjoy one another’s company in proximity of the Cathedral that has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries. The program contained Bible study and discussion groups designed to help us connect with one another in small family groups. In these group sessions we shared our own stories, responded to speakers’ inputs and expressed our opinions, confident that we were being heard. I was blessed in being placed with five wonderful women: Lynne Tembey, Provincial President of York, Mathilde Nkwirikiye PP of Burundi, Maud Patten PP of Indian Ocean (Madagascar, Mauritius and the Seychelles), Naomi Katanda PP of Congo, and Patricia Menendez of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia and Chile). Each Province was given a 15 minute spotlight to share the achievements and needs of her Province by means of a talk, photographs, and/or power point presentations. During the week we were joined by Unit Coordinators and staff from Mary Sumner House, the World Wide MU Headquarters, who spoke about their different areas of expertise and suggested to us the direction we should be heading in our Provinces. We heard stories from each of the delegates. I will describe just three. Matihilde Nkwirikiye is the wife of a bishop, and she is Provincial President of Burundi, a country of 27,000 sq.
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km and 8,000,000 people of whom 12,000 are MU members. After the civil war in that country, MU members, trained in peace and reconciliation, held seminars and workshops. There were many orphans to be taken care of and MU found foster parents for orphaned and abandoned children. They support the widows and pay hospital bills of those violated and injured. Violence to women is being addressed. The MU Literacy and Development Program was introduced into Burundi and was attended by 30,000 people. There, as well as learning how to read and write, they were trained to discuss social issues, marriage preparation, HIV/AIDS and income-generating micro industries. This program is greatly improving daily life and the conservation of land. Sheila Redwood is the Provincial President for Scotland and on the Board of Trustees. The national church is Presbyterian but there are six Episcopal dioceses which have 800 MU members. Five out of seven bishops are MU members. Though presently small in number all members are very active and their number is increasing. Some of their activities include visiting a women’s prison, giving Christmas gifts to inmates, and looking after the children. They have a drop-in centre, a contact centre for teens who have left home, and they support an AFITA (Away From It All) holiday home. The Wave of Prayer is very important to them. Our own Diocese of New Westminster is linked with Aberdeen Orkney Diocese on the World Wide Wave of Prayer. The MU Parenting Program has been initiated, and the hope is that there will be one facilitator for each diocese. Canon Edida Mujinja is the Provincial President of Uganda which has 1,000,000 MU members throughout its towns and parishes. Uganda is 40% Anglican and 41% Roman Catholic. Achievements include the MU Parenting Program and the Family Life Program which have resulted
in a decrease of childhood diseases through improved hygiene, environmental protection through the introduction of model homes, better cooking stoves, and roof ventilation to decrease respiratory problems. There are MU members taking important positions – Faith Monda is a member of Parliament and Miriam Matendi is President. Uganda even has a Fathers’ Union in some places. On Sunday morning we attended the Sung Eucharist in the Cathedral with the men and boys’ choir from the Kings Boarding School. Besides regular parishioners, a number of Mothers Union’ members from the Canterbury area also attended. Jane Williams, wife of Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, hosted all the conference participants in the Old Palace for a buffet supper. The Old Palace is next to the cathedral and has a grand driveway and entrance hall, a large dining room and other spacious rooms. Mrs. Williams is a great supporter of the Mothers’ Union and contributed to the Home & Family magazine, now called Families First. On the penultimate evening we had a candle-lit pilgrimage in the cathedral. After lighting our candles we gathered in the nave to enrol four new members in the Mothers’ Union: the Vice Dean of the Cathedral; two translators at the conference, one for the Korean president, Hellen Yeo, and one for the Myanmar President, Nan Myint Yee; and Patricia Menendez, who though representing the Province of the Southern Cone, was not herself a member. We were then led though the tunnel to the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury and down into the crypt, a vast area of tombs and chapels set aside for quiet prayer. We each lit a votive candle for a special person and gathered for prayers before quietly processing back to the nave. — Celia Dodds
ASK ! BEAR
Dear Bear: Fr. Mark has informed us, through the Parish Council, that he intends we renew the guilds of the Parish. Can you help – what is a guild? —Paul Stanwood The custom at St. James’ has been to organize all the ministries which support the offering of the Liturgy into guilds: Choir, Flower, Hospitality, Narthex, Readers & Intercessors, Sanctuary and Servers. The Women’s Guild is an exception insofar that it is nonliturgical. A guild in the life of a parish is bound together by a corporate rule of life. This rule, or pattern of commitment, has elements which are common to every guild. One element is prayer. Members of a guild commit to regular prayer with one another and private prayer, both for the members of the guild and the work of the guild. A second element has to do with commitment. This begins with a probationary period of service which may culminate with a rite of admission into the guild. Also, there is liturgical provision to give thanks & recognize whenever a member leaves a guild. A third element is fellowship. Every guild makes opportunities for fellowship so that we may grow in our love for one another in Christ. The forth element has to do with service. Each guild needs to be very clear about the work of God which is entrusted to it. Every member is serving Christ and is aware of God’s grace which brings joy and responsibility. We may be helping the parish and the work of the Church, but serving in a guild, most of all, is a privileged way of directly serving Christ. Therefore it is part of a sacred trust. — Bear PAX: MICHAELMAS PAX: ADVENT 2009 2008 | 12 11
Book Notes from the Holy Faith Library Each of us may, by God’s grace, find our own practice or form of renewal. The following titles from the Parish library may be of assistance. The noted travel writer H.V. Morton made a journey to the Holy Land in the 1930s. in the steps of the master is the record of “...the thoughts of a man as he travels through Palestine with a New Testament in his hands.” It is sometimes helpful to follow others down the same path. We may find fresh insight in this act, and at the same time, heed our Lord’s command: “Follow me”. Tom Wright, the Bishop of Durham in England, takes the long view of current history and practice in his bringing the church to the world: renewing
A Meditation When I was a teenager we had a Mission (a week of preaching, praying and singing) at St. Philip’s Dunbar, my parish church at the time. The theme of the Mission was: “Revive Thy Church O Christ Beginning With Me”. The theme of this issue of PAX is about renewal so I would like to reflect briefly on that Mission theme of so long ago. “Beginning with me” are the operative words — as I have said many times in the pulpit here and in other places. This means that we must have a personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. Although we may know a lot about Jesus, do we really know him? The constant in New Testament spirituality is a personal commitment to Christ’s person — it’s not merely commitment to his cause, to his social teaching, nor to his salvific work. To be his disciple in the New Testament is to love him personally, to be devoted to him. We do this by being like him; and to be anchored in Christ we pray, we read scripture with an open mind, we 13 | PAX: MICHAELMAS 2009
the church to confront the paganism entrenched in western culture. He helps us to understand the times in which we live while offering a “practical Christianity” in the struggle against many modern idols. Keeping our bearings and, at the same time, reclaiming “genuine humanness” are integral to the renewal he advocates. listen to the desert: secrets of spiritual maturit y from the desert fathers and mothers, by Gregory Mayer, is a collection of “loosely connected” passages, some of which are 1500 years old. They do not comprise, the author notes, a “how to manual” but a means of seeing in parables “sagas of transformation” in helping us to do what “the human heart craves”. — Tim Firth
have a rule of life, and most importantly we partake of the mystery of Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion — for the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life (Vatican II). These are my thoughts about renewal; and I close with the words of the old hymn, from Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (John Bunyan, 1684): He who would valiant be ‘Gainst all disaster, Let him in constancy Follow the Master. There’s no discouragement Shall make him once relent His first avowed intent To be a pilgrim.
To All the Saints Clarence, servant of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at St. James’, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you, who have faithfully witnessed the love of God in this corner of town for so many years. St. James’ is not an easy church to belong to. In fact it is just the opposite. You might have heard me joke about St. James’ as an “extreme sports parish” — it is not for the faint-hearted. The pews are harder, the Mass is longer, the incense makes you choke and tear up, and you might have to fight your way through neighbours approaching you for change or for street drugs before you even make it to the door. But you have made this church your home, a home to cultivate and share your spiritual life, a place to worship and to serve. You have not allowed yourselves to be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, nor have you lost heart witnessing the many episodes of painful strife that are present in every community — St. James’ not the least. I remember how you welcomed me seven years ago as a stranger to you. And a stranger in every sense of the word: a low churchman from Wycliffe who would make our founders and benefactors roll in their graves, a young, non-Caucasian, gay young man new in Holy Orders holy orders, and someone who didn’t know left from right (that’s a metaphor, of course!). Nevertheless, you welcomed me, loved me, formed me, and even called me a Father and let me be your priest! You are my Mother-in-God, having raised and nurtured a new vocation patiently and lovingly. By the grace of God, we have witnessed many deaths and resurrections together. We’ve never ceased and will continue to wrestle with what it means to be church in the Downtown Eastside. We have
lost some friends through death and strife, but we have made some new ones too. We are now in a deeper relationship with our neighbouring schools and agencies, and are seen by others as an integral partner in strengthening community and improving lives in the neighbourhood. Friends, this is my prayer for you, that God will grant you an increase of grace so that you may continue to live your lives sacramentally, bearing the marks of the Cross cross of Jesus daily. I want you to know that my departure from you is to help to spread the Gospel, so that what I have learned from you and among Christ’s poor may be proclaimed to others whose lives have not been touched and transformed by the love of God that I have experienced at St. James’. Do not worry about me. Every transition in life can be a tremendous opportunity for spiritual growth. Perhaps when I have exhausted my plan B and plan C I will learn once again to trust and wait for that one and only plan G — God’s plan. God has been faithful and will be faithful to the end. Pray for me that I may discern the will of God that is being unfolded and that I may have the readiness to follow Christ more closely and single-mindedly. Continue to practice hospitality. Do not only welcome but become friends with Christ’s poor for his sake and for your own sake. Lastly, love your priests as Christ loves you and as you have loved me. Love them, and love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. —Fr. Clarence Li
—Fr. Michael Forshaw
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Then How Shall We Live? Reflecting on Stewardship Our Parish Visitation Mission Statement: “To share knowledge and information with fellow Parish family members in a loving and caring manner in the spirit of Jesus Christ; and to provide a database of the Parish Family with the talents which can be used to further God’s work at S. James’.” Many people associate stewardship with fundraising. While that is certainly part of stewardship, it is really the means, not the end. In the early years of Christianity, a small number of believers would gather wherever they could to share their faith. They may not have had much in common other than their beliefs, and they probably had few resources, but they were the Church. In some ways, our circumstances are similar to those of the early Church. Our congregation is small, and we are a varied group who come together to worship and to take our faith into the world. We have come to expect that in return for our faithful attendance and contributions, the church will be her; but in this increasingly secular age, we are the faithful few. And so it is vitally important that we be good stewards of our resources. The first, and obviously most important resource are the people of our faith community. Recognizing the benefits of a more closely knit parish family, our Stewardship task group is organizing a program of visitation to all of our members. Each of us in the task group will be meeting with a fellow parishioner in order to bring our information in the Parish records up to date. By doing this, com-
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munication will be much more effective, and we hope also that we may come to know each other better. This fall, every parishioner will be contacted by a member of the task group -- headed by Alice Rolfe and Rocky Rocksborough-Smith, and everyone will be invited to meet with one of the group for a short time. Of course, access to the information collected will be confidential and used only for Parish purposes. Another vital aspect of stewardship is “bricks and mortar”. We have clergy and staff to pay, and light, heat, telephone and all of the costs associated with a physical space to maintain. Unlike the early Christians, we cannot carve tunnels outside the city or create catacombs in order to have a place to gather. We know that a financial resource – money – is required for our ongoing operation. In November we will be asked to make an annual pledge to help finance the work of our church. It cannot be overemphasized that without the continued support of the congregation through financial contributions and volunteer action, we cannot survive. The phrase “time, talent and treasure” is one that will be heard often in the months to come. When I was a child a teacher in our church was fond of saying “May the Lord richly bless you”. I am happy to say that He has. I now realize, although I did not know it then, that blessings come in many forms and at times we do not expect. I am so grateful that there is St. James’ Anglican Church where the door is always open when we knock. May the Lord richly bless you. —Reece Wrightman
But I say unto you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. . . . Do unto others as you would have them do to you. . . . But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. — Luke 6: 27-36 When we are suddenly confronted by someone who is egregiously violating our conviction of the sacredness of life, we are deeply and morally offended. Caught unawares, our passions can furiously spiral out of control, following the ways of our world into thoughts of vengeance and retaliation. But if we dare to listen, we will hear God’s shocking and illuminating call to renewal — Love your enemies. The words of Jesus call us to enact the counter-culture values of the Kingdom of Heaven — which have the
power to break the natural cycle of violence. The words of Jesus call us to imitate God’s steadfast love, which is never limited by the responses of others. They call us to bring the transforming presence of the blessed Trinity to our suffering world by extending mercy even unto the wicked. As we bear witness to the evil that is occurring, and as we struggle to care for the enemy with agape love, we will come to better understand God’s true care for the enemy, the victim, and our world. As we glimpse God’s beauty and holiness, we remember that the evil we are trying to oppose is also in us. In humility and gratitude, we re-dedicate ourselves to the path of discipleship and sacramental living. — Jane Turner Based on a theological reflection done recently by members of the EfM seminar at St. James’
Dollars and $ense We have now hit ‘crunch’ time. That is, we have had to go into our capital, our investment funds, to finance our spending for the balance of 2009. As you know, I do not advocate doing this because capital that is spent is a gift that is only given the once, whilst capital kept within our investment funds is a gift that can keep giving year after year. My concerns now are with the budget and the year of 2010. A plus is that I have confidence in our brokers, Odlum Brown, for they have invested wisely and with a view to the future. During the ‘low’ of 2008/2009, they took advantage of buying stock that otherwise we would not have been able to afford, so our portfolio sits well and we hold
‘top ten’ stocks. A negative is that we will not have any funds at all to carry forward into 2010 as we have had in previous years. Usually our expenses are in the $620,000 range with our income from envelope giving close to $200,000. If our investment income is similar to that in 2008, around the $220,000 mark, then we shall be looking at a ‘gap’ of $200,000 next year. We need more committed people to fill the pews, and people to commit more to the giving to meet operational expenses. We are all St. James’. — Angela Van Luven
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π Thank-you Fr. Clarence!
Did You Know? Parish Life at St. James’ π Deep in conversation? π Enjoying cofee hour after Mass
π Fr. Martin cutting cake & Tyrell waiting to eat it! π Congratulations Frank!
π We’ll miss you Fr. Charles π Behind the scenes
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π Thank-you Fr. Den & Gretha!
DEPARTURES: Br. Shane Bengry, Ty Bengry & Br. Sean Beahen, dedicated members of the Servers’ Guild, have recently moved to Carberry, Manitoba, in the Diocese of Brandon, along with Shane’s mother and dog ‘Peaches’. Br. Shane has been appointed rector of a three-point parish — St. Agnes in Carberry (where the rectory is), St. Paul’s in McGregor, and Christ Church in Austin. He will be ordained deacon on October 6th, and will likely be ordained priest by December. This past summer has also seen the departure of three of our much loved Honorary Assistants. In July, Fr. Martin Brokenleg and his partner Gene Sederstrom moved to Victoria. Fr. Martin’s inspired homilies, which often included references to first nations spirituality, will be sorely missed. In August, Fr. Dennis Nichols returned to England with his wife Gretha (see below), after scarcely a year with us. They have taken up residence in a housing complex for retired clergy in Worthing, Sussex. Later in August, Fr. Charles Nixon also took his leave after seven years of serving the Parish, both in the sanctuary and in the community, and will be especially missed for his loving pastoral care to shut-ins and others who could no longer come to Mass. Prayers for their future and gifts to reflect our huge gratitude for their time among us were offered to Frs. Martin, Dennis and Charles at gatherings following High Mass. Gretha Nichols, Parish Administrative Assistant for the past nine years has moved to England with her husband Fr. Dennis Nichols (see above). Gretha came to St James’ at a time when the office was changing from a traditional ‘clergy secretary’ model to a centralized parish information centre, and she was the perfect person to oversee this change. Personable, capable and a deeply committed Christian, Gretha turned the office into a welcoming, highly functional operation and became a much loved parishioner. Her presence in the office and in the pews will be greatly missed.
HONOURED: Well-known City of Vancouver homelessness advocate and former St. James’ parishioner, Judy Graves was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by the University of British Columbia last June, in recognition of a lifetime of service to the city’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens. In receiving the honorary degree, Judy thanked the many people who had empowered her career, including brother and sister Christians who all affirm the belief that Christ is indeed present in everyone we greet. She assured those attending the ceremony that, in returning to the streets and lanes of her work, she intended to tell those she would encounter that this great institution had in fact honoured them. Long-time St. James’ parishioner and Office Manager, Linda Adams has been named by Bishop Michael Ingham to the newly established Order of the Diocese of New Westmister. Linda and her family have been active members of St. James’ for over 25 years. Her contributions to the life of the Parish have included many years as a Trustee and Warden, long-standing membership in the Mothers’ Union, the founding of the Coming Home Society and the operation of its recovery house for young aboriginal women, the Young Wolves Lodge. Bishop Michael will present Linda and recipients from other parishes of the Diocese with the insignia of the Order at a special choral Eucharist to be held at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, November 1st at 4:30 pm.
authored a children’s book, VIVA ZAPATA!, which received a favourable review in the Globe and Mail and will be presented and read from at Word on the Street – Vancouver’s Book Festival on September 27 th. APPOINTED: Former St. James’ associate priest Fr. Stephen Herbert has been appointed to serve in the Diocese of Newcastle, England as co-ordinator of MINE (Mission Initiative Newcastle East), being priest in charge of two of four parishes – St. Martin’s and St. Michael’s Byker. Fr. Stephen, whose work at St. James’ over a ten- year period included mission outreach, will also have responsibility for developing an urban ministry and theology project. For the past nine years he has been Rector of St. Richard’s Church in Wythenshawe, suburban Manchester. We are asked to pray for Fr. Stephen as he is ‘licensed’ at St Martin’s Byker in Newcastle on October 13th, at 7:30 pm. Profession: At the Mass on Tuesday, August 11th parishioner Frank Jones was admitted into profession in the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis. He joins his wife, Diane, who made her profession in May. A joyful reception followed the Mass. Born: Congratulations to Annie, Patrick and Ethan Chai. A new son and brother, Lucas Ryan, was born on September 1st. Welcome to our newest parishioner!
Mission: Twenty-five supporters, including 15 current and former parishioners from St. James’, gathered on August 16th at St Thomas’ Anglican Church and later at The Golden Swan Restaurant on Victoria Drive in support of former St. James’ honorary assistant priest Mo. Emilie Smith and her Partners -in-Mission assignment as assistant to the Bishop in Guatemala. Over $500 was raised for that mission. As if all the preparation for this two-year posting isn’t enough to keep her busy, Mo Emilie has recently coPAX: MICHAELMAS 2009 | 18
π Waiting for food!
WORSHIP & EVENTS: September 29 — Feast of St. Michael and All Angels Michaelmas High Mass & Potluck Supper 6:30 pm October 3 — Blessing of the Animals 2:30 pm October 4 – 18 — Parish Visitation 2009 October 11 — Harvest Thanksgiving October 23 — Pacific Baroque Orchestra (details to follow) October 24 — Parish Council Fall Meeting, 11 am following mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at 10:30 am
π We’ll miss you Bro. Seán!
October 30 — Bargain Sale, 11 am October 31 — Open House at St. James’ & Recital for the Heart of the City Festival November 1 — All Saints’ Day November 2 — All Souls’ Day Requiem High Mass 6:30 pm November 22 — Feast of Christ the King November 29 — First Sunday in Advent December 1 — World Aids Day | A service of thanksgiving, 7:30 pm December 5 — Advent Quiet Day December 18 — Pacific Baroque Orchestra (details to follow)
303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, v6a 1l4 Telephone: 604 685 2532 Email: email@example.com
www.stjames.bc.ca our vision: Discovering the beauty of holiness in our lives and neighbourhood, by living a Christ-centred sacramental life rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Managing Editor: Allan Duncan Designer & Art Director: Br. Shane Bengry Writers: Celia Dodds, Tim Firth, Fr. Michael Forshaw, Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins, Ruth Greenaway-Robbins, Diane Jones, Fr. Clarence Li, Tanya Northcott, Mother Jessica Schaap, Jane Turner, Angela Van Luven, Betty Vogel, Reece Wrightman Photography: Br. Shane Bengry & Elaine Jan Production Staff: Allan Duncan, Jane Turner, Charlene Donaghey, Elaine Jan, John Conway, Diane Palgova & Mary Brown Distributors: Mary Brown & Diane Jones Archivist: Jane Turner Communications Coordinator: Mother Jessica Schaap Pax is free but voluntary subscriptions of $10.00 a year are welcome. pax aims to be financially self-sustaining within the first year of publication and therefore donations to support this ministry are greatly appreciated, and may be offered through your envelope (clearly marked “pax”) or mailed to the church office. pax © 2009 St. James’ Anglican Church.
MIchaelmas 2009 Edition