photo: christine hatfull
A Bidding Prayer
eloved in Christ, in this season of Christmastide, let it be
our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go
even unto Bethlehem, to see the Babe lying in a manger. Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by his holy Child; and let us make this place glad with our carols of praise. But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for the mission and unity of the Church for which he died, and especially in this country and within this city. And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless; the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love. Lastly, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one. Amen.
The Call of Christ | Fr. Kevin Hunt
photo: christine hatfull
ur seasonal theme for this edition of PAX is taken from the now traditional Bidding Prayer written in 1918 for the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, by the then Dean, Eric Milner-White. We used an adapted form at our Advent Carols here at St James’: “And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved, the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or love him not or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.” Milner-White wrote in the aftermath of the First World War, when there were countless numbers of homeless and hungry, wounded and bereaved, including, of course, many in Canada: Dark times, indeed, in need of the light of Christ, which shines in the darkness and which the darkness cannot overcome. This Christmastide we too live in dark times, and the world is in desperate need of the light and peace of Christ.
The West is still reeling from the impact of the ISIL terrorist outrage in Paris. There is heightened tension between Christian and Muslim in several countries in Africa. The Middle East continues to be torn apart by violent conflict, in the Holy Land, Iraq and Syria. As PAX goes to press the news and social media are focused on the 25,000 Syrian refugees to be hosted in Canada (one family sponsored in part by St James’). Will this huge immigration be safe? Is Canada able to afford this? Where can we find room? Canada is justifiably proud of its reputation for offering hospitality to newcomers and outsiders: long may it remain so. How many remember that the Holy Family were refugees in Egypt, according to St. Matthew’s Gospel? The Egyptian Coptic Church still today regards it as a mark of honour that Joseph, Mary, and the child Jesus were made welcome and found safety there, when then, as now, there was traditional hostility between the Jewish and Egyptian peoples. Here at home St James’ is set in the midst of the Downtown Eastside, a lively and vibrant community beset by the social challenges of poverty, homelessness, addiction and mental health issues, but which also demonstrates mutual support, care and solidarity. It is this broken, divided and messy world which God loved so much that he chose in the person of his Son to enter into it and to make himself vulnerable; to become one of us, a human being; to share our life, with its joys and its trials; to share even our death, so that we might have a share in his divine life: “The Child of God became the child of man so that the children of men might become the Children of God.” This is the mystery Christians celebrate at Christmas, God revealing his glory through this humility, this self-giving of his Son. As God so loved then, still he continues to love this broken, messy, and divided world. He longs now as he did then for all to respond in love and service—of God and neighbour. He calls the Church, the Body of Christ, to live with his life and to love with his selfgiving love. Are we ready to answer the call, to take the risk? PAX: Christmas 2015 | 1
Season of Love | Greg Farmer
ome people complain about the early start to the Christmas season, especially when the signs begin in November or October; others welcome the early call and enjoy the extra time to prepare. Anticipating Christmas provides children with much excitement; parents make preparations for visits, dinners, and gift-giving; and adults reminisce about past Christmas events. All this excitement, well-wishing, gift-giving, visiting, feasting and fun makes for a generally happy time: a season of love. But the liturgical calendar includes four weeks of Advent before Christmas and extends its celebrations several weeks after Christmas with the season of Epiphany. And these celebrations, good feelings and kind gestures have a sound theological basis. In the Gospel of John we read:
photo: christine hatfull
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
John suggests that the Incarnation of God in Jesus is an act of divine love for us, and includes the further gift of faith. Theologian Karl Rahner explains how the Incarnation also includes three gifts Jesus brings to us: love, truth, and eternal life. If we add faith from John’s Gospel to these three we see that the Incarnation of Jesus brings us four divine gifts: faith, love, truth, and eternal life. Rahner suggests that the fact that God became a human person in Jesus points to a tremendous characteristic about our true nature, namely, its potential to receive God, to be transformed into God’s image; he explains: “God has taken on human nature, because it is essentially ready and adoptable…” (A Rahner Reader, ed. G. A. McCool, 1975, p.147). But as with any gift, the receiver must be open and willing to accept the gift. As Christians we have received all these gifts, and so at this time we especially give thanks and make celebrations of love. The Incarnation is a central mystery of our Christian faith, and we rightly celebrate it with all the excitement, joy, feasting and love we can. In our world so fouled with fear, hatred, violence and self-destruction, we need a long season of love.
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A Scene to Remember | Sheila Paterson
n an evening in 2013 at St. James’ Church, many First Nations people gathered at the invitation of the Social Justice Committee in support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Parish Hall was filled with people who wanted to participate by telling their stories. One of these has remained with me—a memory that returns whenever I am reminded of the sad history. It began with plans to separate First Nations children from their culture by removing them from their families and their customs, the traditions formed and taught by their parents. One of these parents, a mother, stood and told of the “capture” of her children by the governmental system that decided to encompass the culture of aboriginal people. At first the children had to be removed from their homes, then introduced to the discipline of school and a way of living, one which would instill into them a new way of speaking, and a proper respect for those overseeing the eradication of what they had known. “They took my children,” this parent said, “because they had to go to a school. They held onto them and pushed me away from them and lifted them into a waiting airplane. My children were crying, trying to get out, got pushed back in, and then the motor roared and the plane started to rise up. I ran after it, looking up, screaming, running, looking up, falling down, running faster, looking up, falling down. Looking up no more because the plane was gone; they were gone. I kept running after it because I could not let myself believe the plane with my children inside would not reappear. I kept looking, staring into the sky and asking God why he had let these intruders take my children. I screamed at the sky—why?” This is the scene that recurs in my mind. I could imagine the anguish that woman suffered as if I were
running with her, my children in the plane, terrified, crying. The scene still comes to me whenever I am confronted with the abuse of power—a rage for which there are no words, followed by helplessness and an awful emptiness. Again, at the meeting, there were other stories of loss, but this is the one that stays with me, as if I am somehow connected to it. Perhaps a year later, there was another Truth and Reconciliation Commission meeting, this one held at the PNE—lots of buildings, lots of events. I went to one session where stories were being told by women burdened with sadness and anger at the system which took their children. In this session, several nonIndigenous people offered suggestions for healing, expressed their distress at what had happened, and apologized for their—“our”—part in it. “Will you forgive us?” The people whose stories came from deep within themselves were being asked to forgive us for the grief they would always carry with them. There was more discussion about the meaning of reconciliation, but not of forgiveness. A week later, I was at St. James’, and the National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald was there, welcoming people. I told him about listening to the stories, and hearing the questions, especially “Can you forgive us?” Why should they forgive us? I wouldn’t forgive anyone who seized my children. His answer was the truth: “They, too, probably don’t forgive because they can’t, but we are here to seek reconciliation, and they know that our minds and hearts must be given to that.” Hope will stir as people in a common cause for the common good continue to talk together, and to face the stone walls of rationalization and individualism. Somewhere along the way, we will become reconciled to concentrating on life together.
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Welcoming our Neighbours | Doug Ibbott
ave you ever been a refugee or felt like one? Perhaps you were one of the boat people, escaping Southeast Asia in 1979. Or maybe you had a small taste of what it might feel like to be homeless, like getting lost in a foreign city or finding nowhere to spend the night. I recall ‘wild camping’ during my long distance bike trip to the Black Sea. Occasionally, there was no village or town to seek refuge before the sun dropped below the horizon. A small pathway into unknown woods was
spoke English, I was welcomed into this sanctuary of the faithful, given room and nourishment as a part of their ministry, and with no expectations other than the spiritual reward of obedience to their Order and to God. I was truly moved by their kind treatment of me. As a result, my bike grew wings for the final leg of my journey as I reflected on the brothers’ faithfulness to God through their kindness to me, a stranger. What does scripture teach us about providing refuge to the alienated? Both the Old and New Testaments
The family is currently surviving in a tent in Beirut, Lebanon.
the only chance for refuge until morning. But in that September of 2010, almost 10,000 kilometers away from home, tired and thinking about returning home, and about three days west of Constanta, I encountered an Eastern Orthodox Monastery, the Derwint Monastery, known for providing refuge for solo travellers. Although there was only one brother who 4 | PAX: Christmas 2015
implore us to protect the stranger: “For the Lord your God … loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Deut. 10:17–19). Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these [strangers], you did not do for me” (Matt. 25:45). These scriptures leave no room for
ambivalence about how we should respond to strangers, and, in our current context, the Syrian refugee crisis. Last August, the heart-wrenching photo of three year old Allan Kurdi, washed up face-down on a Turkish shore, broke our hearts. His dear little life ended so tragically because his family was attempting to escape tyranny, violence, and hopelessness in their homeland. This was one of many tragic events, but it was extremely shocking and so close to home, for it reflected on the lives of the little ones we know in our own families. Imagine the danger of being caught between two major regimes (there are others) such as Assad’s cruel government, and ISIS with its brutal ideology and intolerance. ISIS’ false interpretation of Islam would make the gentlest of families ‘run for it’—some to Europe, risking life through highly perilous journeys, or to refugee camps where hope for the future is minimal. To stay in Syria would offer two choices: get pushed to the sea, or be consumed by the tyranny of a barbarous movement. Archbishop Fred Hiltz and Bishop Melissa Skelton appealed nationally and to our Diocese to consider how we could respond to these circumstances, involving four million displaced persons—the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II. And so the St. James’ Outreach Committee met to discuss how we might act, given our limited means. We decided to commit half of our budget for this year and offer a grant of $2,500.00, with a request that the parish match this amount. The St. James’ congregation surpassed this target and raised $4,500.00 from individual parishioners, groups and guilds, including individuals outside the Parish who simply wanted to contribute. We approached the Reverend Michael McGee, Chair of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster’s Refugee Unit, to seek a partner whom we could support—a parish undertaking the financial burden of full sponsorship. We were directed to St. Helen’s, Vancouver, which was preparing an application for sponsorship of eight Syrian refugees. These refugees, who come from
a small farming village in Syria, are known to a parishioner at St. Helen’s who became acquainted with them through his archaeological research in Syria before 2011. The group consists of three brothers and a sister from one family, along with three of their spouses, and a two-year old daughter of one of the couples. The group is currently living in a two-roomed canvas-sided shack outside of Beirut. The family members try to manage on a very modest monthly stipend which they receive from the World Food Program, and also from whatever odd jobs they can find. Sponsorship efforts have been ongoing: filling out and completing the lengthy forms required by the Canadian government; raising the necessary funds to support the family for their first year in Canada; and working out a viable settlement plan upon their arrival. Given the cost of living in Vancouver, fundraising is the biggest challenge of sponsorship, along with the large size of the refugee group. St. Helen’s is being helped by the fundraising activity of other Anglican Parishes: the Parish of St. Luke’s Church in Rosemont, Ontario; our own Parish; and a dedicated student group at the University of British Columbia, known as UBC Refugee Relief. I recall pictures of refugees, many of parents with their small children, sleeping outside with no shelter, waiting to be admitted through a border crossing, many of them being closed off by fencing and barbed wire. From the day of his birth, Jesus experienced homelessness and discomfort as he travelled throughout the land to proclaim his purpose and fulfill the work of his kingdom. Jesus was a refugee by the calling of God, and he revolutionized the law as he implored us to love our neighbours as ourselves. There are no caveats to this love, and it applies to all people. Like the hospitality I experienced as a stranger at Derwint Monastery, we need to welcome refugees with open hearts in the spirit of Christ’s new commandment. Hopefully, others will know we are Christians by our love, as we welcome and embrace our global neighbours—the refugees. PAX: Christmas 2015 | 5
O Come, All Ye Faithful | PJ Janson
Come, All Ye Faithful” is one of the most popular Christmas carols, yet for more than a century its background was shrouded in mystery. The authorship of the text was long thought to be either of Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French, or German origin. Similarly, its music has been misattributed to various composers, including G.F. Handel, John Reading, organist at Winchester Cathedral, and even Marcos Antonio da Fonesca—a Portuguese musician who was born two decades after the first publication of the hymn. It was not until 1947 when the Benedictine monk John Stéphan drew open the curtain of darkness to let the light of truth shine in, revealing in his detailed treatise on the origin and development of Adeste Fideles that the true author of both words and music is in fact John Francis Wade.
he made his living by copying and selling plainchant. He was well-respected by his contemporary musicians, including Thomas Arne (who composed “Rule Brittania”) and Samuel Wesley. Without doubt, one of the reasons for the popularity of this hymn is its captivating melody. It was so well liked that parts of the tune were used for an Air Anglois in the opera Acajou, performed in Paris in 1744. Another reason is the way in which it recounts the Nativity. The first verse tells of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem—a journey we must also make in heart and mind to be reminded again of the royal lineage of the Child in the manger: 1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him Born the King of Angels: O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord. The significance of the Incarnation is marvellously described in the second verse where, reminiscent of the Nicene Creed, we affirm our faith and with it the mystery of the Incarnation:
John Wade was born in Leeds around 1711 into a Catholic family, just twenty-three years after the overthrow of King James II of England. It was a difficult time for Catholics in Britain as a series of uprisings, known as the Jacobite Rebellion, took place around that time. Many Catholics fled persecution by emigrating from Britain to the Continent, including John Wade who at twenty years of age went to study at a Dominican college in Belgium where he learned to copy plainchant. Wade later settled in Douai where 6 | PAX: Christmas 2015
2. God of God, light of light Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb Very God, begotten, not created, O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord. In the next verse the veil between heaven and earth is lifted as we join our voices with the angels in singing “Gloria in excelsis Deo”: 3. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of Heaven above, Glory to God, glory in the highest O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
As we greet our Saviour in the last stanza, we also affirm that he is both fully God (“Word of the Father”) and fully human (“Now in flesh appearing”); and so the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us: 4. Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning. Jesus, to thee be glory given, Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord.
Originally, John Wade’s hymn consisted of these four verses. But in the early 1800s Bishop Étienne Jean François Borderies added three more verses to expand on the Christmas story, and around 1850 yet an additional verse was added by an unknown author to be sung in place of Wade’s fourth verse. This change enabled the hymn to be sung throughout the twelve days of Christmas, and so to include the Feast of Epiphany. Whilst the additional verses are indicative of the popularity of the hymn, they risk obscuring the intent of the author; for it seems that there is something liturgically appropriate about John Wade’s original four verses. It will not have escaped the attentive reader that Wade’s hymn uses a structure that is aligned with the liturgy of the Mass: the introit in verse 1, the creed in verse 2, the great thanksgiving in verse 3 (“therefore with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven…”), and communion in verse 4, where we meet the Word made flesh. The subtext of Wade’s hymn is that the mystery of the Incarnation is not only an historical event; we are privileged to experience it here and now in the Mass. Just as at Christ’s birth, in the Eucharist we are led to a point where time and timelessness meet as we join in singing with the angelic choir. May he who by his Incarnation gathered into one thing earthly and heavenly, grant you the fullness of inward peace and goodwill.
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Dickens and Christmas | Christine Hatfull
t. James’ Victorian roots are splendidly evident at this time of the year with its Advent activities, greenery, music and especial focus on children; and yet we need to be rooted in a goodwill beyond our immediate gaze and needs. A recent re-reading of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens brought to mind the very people in our parish that our Bidding Prayer asks us to remember. Dickens is often blamed for inventing the material aspects of Christmas that hamper the season to ever elevated degrees. But he was not working in a vacuum, and there were other forces contributing to the veritable saving of the Christmas festival which had been mostly diminished to one day out of a long year. It was his understanding of spirituality and morality as dual participants in the older traditions alongside the re-imagining of holiday customs that made a lasting impact: Together they included family, church, and charity; carol singing; crêche, and decorating with evergreens; childhood memories and cultural nostalgia. His sentiments as portrayed in A Christmas Carol contributed to the cultural tapestry we have all inherited. By 1840 and with a new young queen on the throne, Great Britain was at a confident stage of empire building and indirectly ruled the world through economic influence and control of the sea. There were also numerous liberal movements gaining a foothold in the public imagination, including parliamentary reform, free trade, collective bargaining, Catholic emancipation, the Oxford Movement, abolishment of slavery, restraints on child labour, and local government and postal reforms as well as developments in science, medicine, exploration, and the railroad. A Christmas Carol is essentially a spiritual fairy tale about the value and joy of giving. It was written alongside Martin Chuzzlewit and published in December 1843 primarily, if ironically, because Dickens needed to make money in order to support his growing family and tangle of extended relations. It was an instant success although not as profitable initally as planned 8 | PAX: Christmas 2015
due to its high quality at a reasonable price. Within ten years he was giving lectures and readings, which often included his best-loved Christmas tale, all of them very much associated with his philanthropic activities and his belief that literature could advocate for the betterment of all. Dickens remains an intercessor between an industrial, material, and increasingly secular time and the humanity that he wanted to uplift. The focus on children and charity is especially and obviously reflective
of Christ’s continued presence in the season. Every year his tale seeks to re-invigorate and maintain an important sacred and secular event. His contributions to what we know as Christmas are now well established, and, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, we can note that “whether the Christmas visions would or would not convert Scrooge, they convert us.” In his own words Dickens tells us that with regard to the reformed miser, “He knew how to keep Christmas well.” The portrayal is effective because it is so visceral. Christ is present within the redemptive power of kindness and charity—that is the author’s emphasis. As a literary journalist, social reformer, and moralist, Dickens bids us not for just one day, but for all the days of the year.
An Altar in the Wilderness | Kaleeg Hainsworth
his book, while brief, “the scene . . .too immense to take in” eloquently defines “spirit(58). He took out his pocket Bible, and ual ecology.” Fr. Kaleeg began to read the final chapters of Hainsworth, an Orthodox Job, where God speaks from a whirlpriest, describes how a true and faithwind, not in answer to Job’s questions, ful ecology asks us to embrace the but rather to declare his immensnatural world through the sensitive ity: “Where were you when I laid the ordering of our conscious life. He foundations of the earth!” invites us on a journey whose ultimate We need to see through eyes destination is the heart—that is where that encounter God’s world everywe build our altar. But this journey where, for “beauty will save the requires preparation, just as any trip world,” an enigmatic statement that into the literal wilderness of mounoccurs in Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, tains and lakes, or figuratively into one which holds deep meaning in our ordinary existence. Our faithful Fr. Hainsworth’s explication; for An Altar in the journey begins in this ‘real’ wilder“beauty,” he writes, “is the language of Wilderness ness, for it shows us how and where to God in life, in the presence of which Kaleeg Hainsworth build a worthy altar. all our theological affirmations about Rocky Mountain Books, 2014. Fr. Hainsworth, as a life-long venthe divine must fall silent” (73). This pp. xxvii + 134. $16.00. turer into God’s created world of book reaches out so grandly and movwww.rmbooks.com mountains and wild beauty, describes ingly because it so firmly grows from his experiences in discovering nature, specific details and observations, set and in responding to the mystery of its bold yet intriout in a clear and attractive style. We are urged and cate rawness. And so a direct knowledge of nature is instructed to see how our world—God’s world—is essential for an ecological world view (neither romansacred: we must therefore embrace a sacramental view tic nor materialistic), for discovering and developing of life. In his remarkable book, Fr. Hainsworth offers a sacramental vision, and for building an altar in the a splendid summary: “At our heart’s altar, built of the wilderness. The four chapters of the book progressacrifice of our ecological stewardship, we become a sively evoke the way toward this goal. The author priest in whom and through whom the mysteries of relates, for example, his experience of a wilderness hike heaven and earth meet and kiss and dance before the in Wells Gray Park, in British Columbia. Finally, after love that lit the stars” (114). —Paul Stanwood a long and exhausting climb, he reached the summit of a mountain, where he is afforded magnificent views,
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Hearing Again | Fr. Matthew Johnson
eloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels; in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger. These words, from A Service of Lessons and Carols, call us again this year to imagine the mystery of the birth of Jesus: To both recall and anticipate the breathtaking moment when God enters time and space, as a part of his own Creation. For, in Jesus’s birth into our contingent, uncertain world, God becomes present among us.
A YOUNG COUPLE drive through Vancouver’s East Side. In a beat-up, propane converted ’89 Econoline van. A vehicle on its last legs, really. Plates long expired. A paper permit taped inside the back window. Vehicular propane is not easy to come by; so the aging wagon was at least affordable. Falling shadows and heavy rain add strain to the driving. Between halting stalls and restarts, the man at the wheel does his best to locate that neighbourhood where they have heard meal lines and social services can be found. A young woman rides at his side. She is pregnant. IT’S A STRETCH—affording a room in that rundown hotel on Main Street. A week’s rent, paid in cash, leaves just a hundred to go. After that, financial abyss. Beside the front desk, a doorway opens off the hotel lobby to a small tavern. Through the doorway wafts the odour of decades of spilled beer. Lotto numbers blink on and off on the screen above the bar. Behind them, a hand-lettered sign declares the elevator out of order. Steep stairs—two flights of them—are hard going when you’re nine months along. He shoulders their two heavy packs and begins the climb. She follows along more slowly. 10 | PAX: Christmas 2015
In the dark of that late solstice afternoon the couple enter their room. The snap of the light switch triggers scuttling in the corner. The bare, unfrosted lightbulb casts harsh shadows as they set down their things. The room is miniscule. About nine by ten. The smell of stale cigarette smoke eminates heavily from the walls. A MATTRESS stained dark with blood at one corner stands on a boxsprings without legs. Greying folded sheets sit atop it, ready for making. On peeling plaster, at the head of the bed, reddish splotches mark the wall. Traces of bed bugs, squashed and forgotten. A sink protruding from one wall is missing the drain pipe beneath it. Rust stains mark the filthy green shag carpet bellow. There will be no washing up here. Out the door, Maria heads to the bathroom at the end of the hallway. They share this with every suite on this floor. In a few seconds she is back, in tears. The bathroom light is burnt out, she tells her young man. And there is no bolt on the toilet stall door. For a young mom-to-be, at the end of a gruelling drive, it is the final insult. Jos returns with her this time. Standing there, holding the door, an icy draft passes over him. It proceeds from a jagged hole in a window above the tub. Filtering through it, along with the breeze, is the hissing of tires on wet pavement. TOBACCO SMOKE hangs acrid in that long narrow hallway, as they make their way back. At the corridor’s far end, in the light of the stairway there, a thin woman is bent over, strangely, at the waist, picking the floor. Oblivious to them, she raises up with a jerk, sees something else, and heaves forward again. All the while, as if by some unheard rhythm, her hands, arms, and torso twist back and forth grotesquely. Way out of any normal range of movement. A jarring sight, the likes of which they have not seen. Jos bolts the door behind them. That’s when the thudding starts. A ghetto-blaster unleashes a wall of sound next door. Heavy metal bass lines and throbbing kick drum resonate through the
wall. Oppressive. It wasn’t there a minute ago. It is enough to shatter the nerves. MARIA SETTLES on the single chair in this cell. She sits there, eyes closed. One hand on her massive belly, one grasping the back of her neck, pulling her head downward. As if to shut it all out. Jos opens the sheets, making the bed, with hands that are large compared to the rest of him. He had been working construction in Fort MacMurray. That is, before the collapse of the energy sector. For now, the dream of a carpenter’s ticket will wait. New to Vancouver, he’ll settle for day labour on any job site that’ll take him. In the corner, by their backpacks, lie a beat-up pair of paint-covered work boots, green hard hat, and dayglo vest. Although wiped-out from many hours on the road, hunger trumps their exhaustion. Donning still dripping rain gear, they head back downstairs. A pale, balding desk clerk slides open the glass window at the counter. In the murky office behind him a game show unfolds on TV. There’s All Night Chicken, he tells them, a block or so south. Through the door, pacing through puddles, they make their way there. OUT OF THE DELUGE, into stark flourescent light, this eatery is somehow a refuge. The air of fried food is unusually compelling. A man across the counter looks at Maria, and then at her belly. Raising eyebrows and widening eyes with exaggeration, he smiles at the father-to-be. As if to say, “Not long now.” Five drumsticks, large fries, gravy, and coleslaw, on styrofoam china. They can manage that. With this extravagance, tomorrow it’s the foodline. If they can find one. Maria wedges in, slightly sideways, barely fitting into the hard booth. This feast before them, they pause. Jos removes a dripping toque, and after a moment’s silence offers thanks. For a safe journey. For the gifts before them. And for that third soul, there with them. For now, quiet and unseen.
They’re about to begin when a plastic fork drops to the floor. Maria lets out a groan, and grabs wincing at her low back. Seconds pass and she looks up at Jos, with uncertain eyes. The eating stops before it started. They sit there for the moment, sipping tea and waiting. She wonders aloud how they’ll explain she’s lost her ID. With no health card, will a hospital take her? Maria winces through a second contraction. Jos steps to the counter and asks about the nearest hospital. He returns to the booth, ballpoint-on-napkin, map in his hand. It is time to go. They stand, she gingerly, and put on drenched jackets. Their banquet remains there at their table. Jos waves to the owner as the couple step back into darkness and the rain… And because this, of all things, would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed. FOR WHATEVER REASON God chooses to enter our world amidst the poor, the devalued, and the forgotten. Including those whose lives intersect with this Downtown East Side. That’s how Jesus’s story begins. Today, Jesus still comes to us in the person of poor and vulnerable men and women who surround us in this neighbourhood and throughout our world. When we speak in the Bidding Prayer of “the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed,” we describe Jesus himself. The One who comes to us in the person we least expect. The One who taught that in any act of kindness to others … what you did for the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you did it to me (Matt. 25:40). —Fr. Matthew is St. James’ Street Outreach Priest, serving in a ministry that marks its 10th anniversary this year. PAX: Christmas 2015 | 11
God is With Us: A Christmas Proclamation Gerald Harder
God is with us. Hear ye people, even to the uttermost end of the earth. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. The people that dwell in the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined. For unto us a child is born! For unto us a son is given! And the government shall be upon his shoulder; And his name shall be called Wonderful! Counsellor! The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace. Hear ye people, even to the uttermost end of the earth. God is with us. Christ is born! (Adapted from the Orthodox Great Compline for Christmas Eve)
he choral music of John Tavener (1944−2013) became increasingly well known during the last decade of the Twentieth Century, a situation aided in part by a renewed interest in Eastern Orthodox mysticism, of which his later works are representative, as well as by the advantageous performance of one of his finest small pieces (Song for Athene, 1993) at the close of the 1997 funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales. In the 1970s Tavener had gone through a period in which he attempted to reconcile his natural inclination toward mysticism with what he regarded as the pervasive humanism of Western art. Earlier works were influenced by Stravinsky, Messiaen, Penderecki and others, but after 1977 Tavener’s writing came to rely heavily on Byzantine drones, Orthodox liturgical chant, and other Eastern influences. Although in many of Tavener’s works form and content aspire to a kind of ineffable nonlinearity, a musical state in which time is suspended, some of Tavener’s works are not spiritual explorations, but rather spiritual affirmations. At their core, these pieces are not about mystery; music and text are resolute articles of faith and witnesses of belief. It is into this latter category that God is With Us falls. The communion 12 | PAX: Christmas 2015
motet for Midnight Mass this year, this work was composed in 1987. An adaptation of the text from the Orthodox service of Great Compline, Tavener describes God is With Us as “A Christmas Proclamation.” The piece’s eponymous first line sets a chant-like melody against a subterranean drone; this breaks into the exclamatory second line, “Here ye people, even to the uttermost ends of the Earth,” which is set with lush parallel thirds and sixths covering a spacious pitch range across the choir. This moving passage is repeated three times with Trinitarian symbolism, after which a baritone sings an unaccompanied solo. Again, the contour of the line is suggestive of eastern plainsong, with gracefully lilting ornaments and poignant turns. The end of the solo begins the famous messianic text from Isaiah, chapter 9 verse 6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” This is underscored with additional exclamations of “God is with us!” Tavener has been quoted as saying that the gospel of John resonates the most for him among biblical passages; he sees this book as the most extraordinary, the
most mysterious, the most mystical. We see this gospel’s powerful description of the Incarnation—“And the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14)—at a particularly striking moment near the end of Tavener’s piece, when the organ interrupts the
previously a cappella texture with a bold, harmonically startling chord; the previously stable tonality is suddenly sent on an upward trajectory in a brilliant flash which is surely a musical depiction of the moment God in Christ came to be fully among us. PAX: Christmas 2015 | 13
Wisdom of the Elders | Linda Adams
n the bidding prayer for the school system. They come from Advent Lessons and Carols families affected by trauma and service, we are asked to dislocation, and are often disconrecall “the loving purposes nected from the grandparents, of God from the first days of our aunties, and uncles who would be disobedience unto the glorious their traditional source of support redemption brought to us by this and guidance. holy child…” The prayer conThe “Wisdom of Elders” tinues: “And because this of all program will bring these youth things would rejoice his heart, let together with a core group of us at this time remember in his Aboriginal Elders who can name the poor and the helpless; provide the spiritual care, the the hungry and the oppressed; the individual support, and the teachsick and those who mourn; the ings that will give them a feeling lonely and the unloved; the aged of belonging and of cultural conand the little children…” When nectedness. From experience we commit ourselves to ‘rejoicing gained in its past work at Young God’s heart’ by showing his love Wolves Lodge, the Coming Home to those whom the world may have Society can resoundingly affirm overlooked, but are most precious Nisga’a Elder Victor Robinson that Aboriginal youth can only in his eyes, the road is not always photo: Jerry Adams heal if they are given the means easy. to reclaim their spiritual and cultural heritage. This The Coming Home Society, in March of this year, program will be delivered in partnership with the had to make the difficult decision to close Young Urban Native Youth Association, and is based in their Wolves Lodge and suspend its work with young new Native Youth Health and Wellness Centre. The Aboriginal women struggling with addiction. At the Centre also offers the services of nurse practitioners, closing ceremony, Squamish Aboriginal spiritual midwives, and counsellors. leader, Wes Nahanee, gently and wisely advised us that We are humbled and grateful, as we launch the “When one kind of work ends, it is because the Creator “Wisdom of Elders” program, to have the finanhas other work that needs to be done some place else.” cial support and backing of the national Anglican The Coming Home Society took those words to heart. Foundation and the United Church Healing Fund. We We have spent the last eight months seeking out, and hope that many will join us in supporting the work of preparing for, the new work that the Creator God is the Elders, who have suffered greatly, yet have so much calling us to do. to offer; and in affirming the courage and resiliency of As we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, the ‘hope Aboriginal youth who are reaching out to make life of the world,’ the Coming Home Society is excited to better for themselves and their children. God’s heart announce the birth of its own new and hope-filled will surely rejoice in this healing and reconciling initiative—the “Wisdom of Elders” program. Many work. inner city Aboriginal young people aged 12 to 24 are Linda Adams is president of the Coming Home struggling with physical, mental, emotional, and spiritSociety. ual issues that are the legacy of Canada’s residential 14 | PAX: Christmas 2015
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all photos: christine hatfull
Did You Know? Parish Life at St. James’ IN MEMORIAM In November a Requiem Mass was celebrated for two dear parishioners who spent many years at St. James’. Frank and Valerie Vaughn were active members until, in their advancing years, they moved to live with family in Saskatchewan. They both died during the past year, and it was Valerie’s wish that a joint memorial service be held for them here at St. James’. May Frank, Valerie, and all the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory. HEART OF THE CITY FESTIVAL St. James’ held a very successful Open House on Saturday, October 31st, as part of the Heart of the City Festival. Each year this ten-day Downtown Eastside event showcases the many and varied organizations and activities that make up this vibrant neighborhood. We opened our doors to the community and everyone enjoyed a varied and interesting program. The Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Traditional Dancers shared their songs and dances; Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe led an architectural tour of the church; our organist, Gerald Harder, gave an organ demonstration; and a group of parishioners performed a dramatic reading of a 1940s Dorothy Sayers radio play titled “The Man Born to be King.” The Heart of the City Festival activities at St. James’ also featured a Bargain Sale sponsored by the
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Women’s Guild, and very moving church services on All Saints’ and All Souls’ days. ORDER OF THE DIOCESE OF NEW WESTMINSTER In a packed service held November 1st at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, several members of St. James’ received the insignia of the Order. Peter Goodwin, Doug Ibbott, Elizabeth Murray, and Peter Symons became honoured members of the Order, which recognizes ten or more years of exemplary service to parish churches and the Diocese. Congratulations to you all! FELLOWSHIP LUNCH On Sunday, November 22nd, the Wardens and Trustees of the Parish sponsored a Fellowship Lunch as the culmination to this year’s Stewardship Campaign. Over a delicious meal, the many different groups and guilds that carry out our mission and ministry within and without the Parish were recognized and thanked. Our ministry in the neighbourhood and in the world was highlighted, as presenters talked about the work of the Street Outreach Ministry, the work of the PWRDF, and the Syrian Refugee Sponsorship fundraising campaign undertaken by our St. James’ Outreach Committee. I think we all recognized anew how much work being done in God’s name flows from this place.
bargain sale all photos: christine hatfull
NEWS OF A NEW MINISTRY Mother Alexis Saunders, who served St. James’ in so many capacities over the last few years, has a new ministry in Prince George. She has been appointed Interim Priest-In-Charge of St. Michael and All Angels. We send our congratulations, and wish her and all the members of St. Michael’s, a very fulfilling and rewarding time together! WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN In November the Mothers’ Union at St. James’ sponsored the annual White Ribbon Campaign which is known throughout the world as the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence.” It lasts every year from November 25th, the “International Day Against Violence Against Women,” to December 10th, which is “International Human Rights Day.” Throughout the world, women and girls are subject to many different forms of violence and abuse because of their gender. Everyone was invited to wear a white ribbon during the sixteen days to bring awareness to these injustices. SPECIAL FINANCIAL VESTRY MEETING On November 15th the Parish had its annual financial vestry meeting to approve the budget for the coming year. We are very grateful to those who pored over the finances in order to draft the proposed budget, and to
wedding bells: Kevin Bustard and Anna Marie Bustin with their children
those who came out to give it their diligent consideration. It is always wonderful to start the new financial year in January with an approved budget in place. ADVENT LESSONS AND CAROLS SERVICE On the first Sunday in Advent, St. James’ held a feast of songs and scripture by candlelight. The music included Matins & Vespers Responsories – G. P. da Palestrina / Adam lay ybounden – Philip Ledger / Benedictus in C – C. V. Stanford / Rejoice in the Lord alway – Anonymous (16th C.) / Ave Maria – Robert Parsons / Jesus Christ the apple tree – Elizabeth Poston / Advent Prose – plainsong. This event was a beautiful way to mark the beginning of Advent, and we are grateful to all who took part in the music, readings and prayers. COMING HOME SOCIETY ANNOUNCES NEW PROGRAM The Coming Home Society is excited to announce the beginning of a new initiative! The “Wisdom of Elders” program will be connecting at-risk inner city Aboriginal youth, who are struggling with many issues, to a core of Aboriginal Elders who will provide spiritual care, guidance, and cultural teachings and activities. This healing work is being launched with the support of the Anglican Foundation and the United Church Healing Fund. We hope many parishioners will add their own support to this healing, reconciling work.
performing sayers’ play
303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, v6a 1l4 Telephone: 604 685 2532 Fax: 604 685 7605 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. PAX no. 27 © 2015 St. James’ Anglican Church Editorial Panel: Paul Stanwood, Joyce Locht Designer & Art Director: Sean Birch Writers: Fr. Kevin Hunt, Fr. Matthew Johnson, Christine Hatfull, Paul Stanwood, PJ Janson, Doug Ibbott, Linda Adams, Gerald Harder, Sheila Paterson, Greg Farmer Photography: Christine Hatfull Distribution: Mary Brown PAX is free, but voluntary subscriptions of $10/year are welcome. PAX aims to be financially self-sustaining and therefore donations to support this ministry are greatly appreciated, and may be offered through your envelope (clearly marked PAX ), mailed to the church office, or submitted on the church website with a credit card. The material printed in PAX is produced by members and friends of St. James’ Church in Vancouver, Canada. A theme-based call for submissions is issued two to six weeks prior to each edition in the Sunday church bulletins. All submissions to PAX will receive acknowledgement of reception and be reviewed and edited by the editorial panel. Submissions are reviewed to the extent that they fit the mandate of PAX. All submissions may be edited for length, the maximum being 500 words unless otherwise specified.