Georges de LA TOUR Saint Joseph charpentier Vers 1642
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Parented by the Holy Family | Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins
met Mary for the first time at St. Benedict’s Parish in the city of Birmingham, UK. At the time I was at seminary and was visiting one of the city’s AngloCatholic parishes. Strange as it now seems, until that time, for me, Mary and Joseph were simply characters in a narrative. I did not know them as saints, that is, as friends of God. And I certainly had not discovered that they were my friends and companions also. At the end of the Mass the people began to sing in honour of Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Angelus, or the memorial of the Incarnation, was sung as it is today at St. James’. Inexplicably, and to my astonishment, I found myself weeping during the Angelus. I had become acutely aware of the presence of Mary, Theotokos, the Mother of God. She was present to me in a way I had never experienced before. I look back upon this as our first encounter. A visitation. Within the mystery of the divine will, Mary, the very mother of Jesus, was revealed to me. Since that time our friendship has grown. During these years, I have discovered that Mary, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is also my mother. From the cross, Jesus entrusted her to the beloved disciple, indeed to all disciples, to the Church. She is the Mother of us all. She prays and yearns that we will grow to know and love Jesus as she did in this life. Most of all, I now experience and know her as my parent in Christ. Occasionally, for example, during a pastoral encounter, particularly when it is challenging, I sense her presence. She prays with us and for us as we talk and discern God’s will together. I became aware of the presence and prayers of Joseph, at first, through a painting in the Louvre, by Georges de La Tour. I worked in Paris for a year before studying in Birmingham. So I had the time and the opportunity to visit the Louvre, on average, once a week. As the months passed I found myself drawn to an image of St. Joseph in his place of work with the boy Jesus who was learning his trade from his foster-father. I became captivated by the depiction of Joseph’s gaze as he looked into the face of Jesus. His countenance was full of love and knowing. The knowledge
of suffering, actually the foreknowledge of Jesus’ suffering, was all there. I had never before understood the intimacy, trust and suffering of Joseph as he grew into his unique vocation as foster-father of Jesus and guardian of the Holy Family. As with Mary, during the passing years I have found myself befriended by Joseph. I have intimations of his presence and prayers especially during times of personal difficulty. As I have struggled to be a faithful Father in God to others, as I struggle to be a father to my children and companion to my wife, Joseph, the beloved of God supports me with his gentle, yet strong, and hidden presence. He also, I am discovering, is my parent in Christ. So my experience of “Advent”, that is to say the coming of Christ into my life, is being shaped by the Holy Family. For years Mary and Joseph were no more real to me than fictional characters. With time they revealed themselves to me as strangers, welcome, but unknown. These friends of God, these Saints, I now experience as parents in Christ. There is much I have yet to learn, I am sure; and probably much of it will be surprising. To be part of the Holy Family, to be the beloved of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is to be parented into the mystery of love, suffering and grace. This inner Advent, I can now see, is the unfolding of an invitation to share in the Divine Life of the Holy Trinity through participation in the life of the Holy Family. Through our parents in Christ, we can experience and know God’s unconditional and sheltering love in Christ. St. Mary and St. Joseph, in my experience, accept us as we are. Their constant prayer and desire for us is that we grow in our knowledge and love of Jesus, that is to say, that we should grow in our baptismal vocation throughout this life. Because of their prayers and presence we can know in our deepest selves, through their parenting of us, that we are truly the beloved of Christ. This is a nativity of grace. May the knowledge and love of God, and the blessing of the Holy Family, be with all of you in this sacred season. With affection and love from your clergy.
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The Elf or the Magi? When my children were little, I was determined—like most new parents, I suppose—not to make the same mistakes my parents had made with me. They put too much emphasis on Santa Claus at Christmas, and not enough on the birth of Jesus. In my childhood home, the reason for the season was what was under the tree. We didn’t even go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. So, when my children started asking about Santa Claus, I was ready for them. Not wishing to anger my neighbours, I said, “It’s a secret, but the fact is that Santa Claus is your dad. He’s the one who supplies all your ‘Santa’ gifts.” My children swore to keep the secret. Then after church on Christmas Eve, we drove around looking at the lights, hoping the children would fall asleep quickly. We got home about eleven. Imagine my surprise to find my four-year-old son weeping into his pillow. “Santa isn’t going to get to all the boys and girls. Children won’t get their gifts tonight,” he sobbed. I told him not to worry. “Your gifts will be under the tree in the morning,” I promised. “Not just our gifts, Mom. Other kids’ presents, too! “ “But Santa is your dad,” I said, thinking he hadn’t understood me earlier. I was mistaken. He had understood only too well. “But Mom,” he said through his tears, “Daddy hasn’t left yet, and he has to get all around the world before morning!” I continued to struggle with the commercial Christmas. As my children grew to adulthood, I heard them despair of the money they felt they had to spend to give gifts to everyone in our rather large family. When they wanted to draw names and set price limits, I drew the line. I said they could do that among themselves, but not at our house— where they always came on Christmas morning with their spouses and children. So we started a new tradition. In-
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stead of coming at Christmas, everyone was invited to an Epiphany brunch. At first, that turned into just another Christmas morning, but after the Boxing Day sales. The gifts got bigger and better because they were cheaper. To stop this, we suggested a game. Everyone could bring only one gift to be passed around to music. When the music stopped, the gift in your hand was what you got. It was a big hit. But the gifts got increasingly more expensive. And they were arriving in addition to the other gifts instead of replacing them. Frustrated, we banned all gifts other than the circle gift and added something new: a bucket game. I fill a bucket with small “nothing” gifts, like a package of candy or a second-hand book or a pair of socks, etc., wrapped in Christmas wrap, and everyone has a ticket with a number. When the number is called, that person comes and picks something out of the bucket. The others come when their number is called, and choose something from the bucket or take a gift that someone else has, and so on. The best of the Epiphany gifts, though, goes to Jesus. It is, after all, his birthday. Our five children have now become five families. So, we give each family a set amount of money and a World Vision catalogue. From it, the families decide what to buy. Some chickens and a rooster? Maybe supplies for a medical clinic or textbooks for a school? Last year, the most popular gift was a contribution towards the rehabilitation of child-soldiers. Now, instead of going home loaded with stuff they don’t especially want and no one could really afford, they have a circle gift and a bucket gift and an awareness of the true meaning of Christmas. (Matthew 25:35—40). — Diane Jones
The Great Privilege of Being a Parent
rom the moment a mother hears her child’s first cry she knows that her heart will forevermore be walking around outside her body. I remember how, in the final weeks before giving birth to my children, I savored the feeling of carrying them safe, protected, close to my heart, while at the same time looking forward to the moment when I would meet them. The profound bond a mother develops with the child in her womb is so strong that she would give her life to protect this person she is bringing into the world. The privilege of mothering her child through joys and trials alike, and being part of its journey to adulthood, is one of life’s greatest blessings. Imagine, then, experiencing that deep mother-child bond and raising your child to the age of six, only to have it snatched away. That is what happened to all the mothers who had their children taken away and sent to Residential School. Fr. David Retter sometimes spoke of the heavy pall of sadness and desolation that would descend on the Nisga’a villages each September as all the mothers and fathers returned from putting their children on the train to Edmonton, knowing they would not return until the following summer. My husband Jerry remembers as a little boy the emptiness of a village bereft of all children except the very young. Jerry’s brothers and sisters recall the way their mother used to cry and carry herself in silence each September after the older children had been sent back to school. Her greatest privilege, her inherent right to parent her children, was taken from her. At a cultural level, over several generations, the parentchild bond began to weaken. Children raised in Residen-
tial School for ten months of every year, did not have the experience of growing up in families. When they had children of their own, and were faced with the enormous job of parenting, they didn’t have that rich family repository of thousands of mother-child and father-child interactions and experiences to draw on. How do you be a mother or father, if you haven’t grown up experiencing their love and care? The young Aboriginal women we see on the streets of our parish are the legacy of that cultural family breakdown. They are the descendants of those mothers and fathers whose children were taken from them; they are the descendants of those children who grew up without the family experiences that would make them good parents. And now they have children of their own. And again the children are being taken from them. In sending his son to be born to Mary and raised by two loving parents, God has hallowed the human family. Everyone, then, who is serving Aboriginal peoples as they try to restore the lives of their young women and rebuild healthy families is doing God’s work. It is humbling to the point of tears to be a member of a culture and of a church that was responsible for that devastating familial destruction, and yet be warmly welcomed as an individual, as a Christian, and as a member of the Coming Home Society, and trusted to be part of the healing. It is a gift, given to me and to you, in an overwhelming generosity of spirit: A gift given as God gives, not ‘weighing our merits’, but inviting us to respond to love, with love. — Linda Adams
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The Burning Babe As I in hoary Winter’s night Stood shivering in the snow, Surprised I was with sudden heat, Which made my heart to glow;
Linda Adams Honoured
And lifting up a fearful eye, To view what fire was near, A pretty Babe all burning bright Did in the air appear; Who scorched with excessive heat, Such floods of tears did shed, As though his floods should quench his flames, Which with his tears were fed: Alas (quoth he) but newly borne, In fiery heats I fry, Yet none approach to warm their hearts, Or feel my fire, but I; My faultless breast the furnace is, The fuel wounding thorns: Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, The ashes, shame and scornes; The fuel Justice layeth on, And Mercy blows the coals, The metal in this furnace wrought, Are men’s defiled souls: For which, as now on fire I am To work them to their good, So will I melt into a bath, To wash them in my blood. With this he vanished out of sight, And swiftly shrunk away, And straight I called unto mind, That it was Christmas day. — Robert Southwell, 1561 – 1595
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Christ Church Cathedral was packed on Sunday afternoon, November 1st for the inaugural investiture of the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. The Order was established to recognize exemplary service on the part of lay members of the church and some 52 were named and awarded at this, the first of what will be an annual ceremony. Our own Linda Adams was nominated, and she received her medallion in recognition and gratitude for many years of service at St James’ Church at all levels. Following is Linda’s response to this honour:
On Sunday, November 1st, I was very proud to stand up at Christ Church Cathedral and represent St. James’ Church as I received the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. At the same time, I felt humbled to be included in such a remarkable group of people who have served their churches and the Diocese faithfully over the years. Thank you, people of St. James’, for nominating me for this great honour. In accepting it, I felt I was doing so on behalf of you all. It has been my great privilege to work side by side with so many of you over my thirty-two years at St. James’, and I thank you for all the joy and all the learning that has enriched my life. Thank you too for your trust in me during my years as your Warden, and for your support of the Coming Home Society, of which I am a founding member and current president. You are making it possible for young Aboriginal women from the streets of our parish to escape from the abuse and addiction that is the tragic legacy of Canada’s Residential School system, and find healing for themselves and their children. In speaking to the award recipients prior to the ceremony, the Cathedral’s Dean Peter Elliott reminded us that we are living out the Biblical exhortation — “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” There are many lights shining at St. James’ and throughout the Diocese, and I thank you for the opportunity to be recognized as one of them.
Sharing in the Feast of Life All Around Us
y day started at the dentist’s office: two kids, too many cavities and a lecture from the dentist about never, ever allowing my child to have a piercing in her mouth again because this ruins the gum. I sighed and wondered how I could possibly control an 18 year old to that degree. I rushed out of the office to get one daughter to high-school, help the other get a coffee shop opened and then off to get my iphone screen fixed because one of the kids smashed the glass. Next stop: Children’s Hospital with a shy and sweet little boy who has lived with my family over the past eight months. His arthritis is greatly improved. It seems that the simple things stable families take for granted really do make all the difference: regular sleep, healthy food, exercise and routine. While I met with various doctors and physical therapists I could feel the little life inside me moving, kicking, rolling, and I remembered another important appointment that will signal the beginning of a journey that will bring joy and hard work and suffering and more joy into the rest of my life. I picked up a car seat from a mom on craigslist and made it to the Music Academy in time to catch the last few minutes of a vocal class. I am usually at the Academy before everyone arrives; but today, coming in late, I felt like a visitor. It was as if I were seeing this place and all in it for the first time. I crept quietly into the church to listen -- as Shaina and Mercy practiced their duet for the Christmas recital. Gerald was close on my heels and we settled in to see how they were progressing. We listened, we looked at each other and we watched these two lovely girls singing so beautifully and I thought about how they have become sisters: sharing a bedroom, sharing a family, sharing music, sharing dreams -- and tears began to well up. Shaina has found her voice and she has found her way again. Shaina my God-daughter, reminds me in a multitude of ways that the light overcomes the darkness. I asked Gerald as we left
the church if they were really as good as I thought, or if it were just a ‘mom thing’ – he assured me it was more than a ‘mom thing’. A dozen scenes flash before my mind of all the accomplishments of these young musicians: little fingers making beautiful music on violins, pianos, cellos, guitars, little voices making big music in choir, our small orchestra striving for better and better, and I smiled. Each week our church is host to seventy-five children from our parish who will, I hope, always associate this sacred space with their love of music, caring teachers, friendship and fun. I walked away beaming and right into a hip-hop class in the hall. Again, I was taken aback, seeing this as if I were new on the scene. I know a little something about each of these kids and I watch as they move, bounce, spin and I see possibilities that are easy to forget when they are running around, distracted, rowdy, loud, and I remember the dance teacher telling me that teaching these kids is the highlight of her week. Some days are better than others and today I see my life with a deep sense of gratitude. On a good day, I take good care of all the children God has put in my life. On a bad day I forget what all this waiting, struggling, carrying, denying and hoping is for. Then there are the days when I pay attention, when I watch and catch a little glimpse of what has been hidden. I see that the hard times are the justbefore-the-important-things-happen-time. I am learning an Advent lesson: We prepare the way in our own hearts through self-denial, prayer, confession, reconciliation; we tend to the hearts of our families with patience and perseverance; we welcome and care for our neighbours as if they were our own family. And then we sit at the table and share in the feast of life all around us. — Kathy Walker
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The New English Hymnal | Gerald Harder
n our age of rapid change, the “normal” life span of a hymnal is considered to be around twenty years. The music of the church, along with much else in our lives, is regarded to be ephemeral. As a parish, we have just adopted a hymnal whose venerable forbear dates to 1906. Indeed, our new book, the New English Hymnal, was itself first published in 1986 and continues to be a standard-bearer for English hymnody to this day. Its stated aim is to be “what its predecessor claimed to be, ‘a humble companion’ to the common prayer and worship” of the church. With respect to hymnody, several decades after its inception, the Oxford Movement and its resultant influences culminated in Hymns Ancient and Modern, first published in 1860. Provision was made for appropriate hymns for feasts, fasts, and services of the Book of Common Prayer, occasions and saints’ days, including the Annunciation and Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Hymns Ancient and Modern quickly became a national institution in England and exerted extraordinary influence throughout the English-speaking world. All subsequent hymnal compilers are debtors to this hymnal, for they have reprinted its liturgical hymns, copied its format, and have maintained the marriages of many texts and tunes which appeared for the first time together. The English Hymnal of 1906 was a debtor to Hymns Ancient and Modern as well, but in another respect. A 1904 revision of the latter resulted in a volume which, for various reasons, among them an overabundance of sentimentality, prompted Percy Dearmer, an Anglo-Catholic priest and liturgist most famously known as the author of The Par-
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son’s Handbook, to engage the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams as the music editor of a new hymnal. The refusal of the proprietors of Hymns Ancient and Modern to grant permission for the use of forty-four copyrighted tunes caused Vaughan Williams to seek other tunes. He turned to folk melodies, and perhaps the outstanding contribution of the English Hymnal, and in its turn, its successor the New English Hymnal, was the popularizing of the use of folk material for hymn tunes. Two of Vaughan Williams’ folk-tune arrangements appearing in this hymnal are KINGSFOLD (NEH 376) and MONKS GATE (NEH 372). Among his original tunes appearing in this hymnal are SINE NOMINE (NEH 197), a tune to For All the Saints, and DOWN AMPNEY (NEH 137). Also included are a number of French church melodies, such as ISTE CONFESSOR, which appears as a tune for two hymns (NEH 210, 404). The standard of the original compositions and arrangements made the English Hymnal one of the most influential of the 20th century. This gave the editors of the New English Hymnal pause as they set out to create the successor of the 1906 book. The original book contained 656 hymns; of these, about 400 have been retained in the new book, with the addition of 100 from old and new sources. Some musical and textual revisions have been made; in the case of the latter, as the editors point out, this is “a process which has long been current.” However, revisions and alterations have been made moderately and judiciously, with well-known hymns being rarely amended. No attempt has been made to render into the “you” form hymns which use the second person singular in addressing God.
The New English Hymnal is widely used in the Anglican Communion, including in our own country at St Mary Magdalene, Toronto, and St John the Evangelist, Montreal, among others. What does it offer us, especially as a parish rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition? Chiefly, it is organized in a way that makes sense for a parish which hews to the Christian year and upholds the Church’s sacraments in the way we do. Several other features make this hymnal a great addition to our musical resources: • inclusion of the plainsong sequence hymns we have begun to incorporate into our celebrations of High Mass on certain feast days • an expanded section of eucharistic hymns • office hymns for Sundays and other holy days • a large selection of hymns proper to saints’ days • hymns suitable for use in procession • an extensive liturgical section, with significant resources for Holy Week and Easter The New English Hymnal contains a wealth of musical material which will serve our parish well for many years to come. We are very grateful to the benefactor who has made the acquisition of this hymnal possible. I encourage you to enjoy that in it which is already familiar, and take hold of that which is new and bound to become familiar and treasured in the days ahead!
ASK ! BEAR
Many parishioners have asked me and my pet (Fr. Mark) my feelings about the arrival of Dido in the Parish. I appreciate that some of you have feared for my sense of self and well-being since I was “the Parish canine”. I came to the Parish from a couple of broken homes. I know what it is to be abandoned – a refugee, if you like, just like the infant Jesus. However, the openheartedness of parishioners and their spirit of acceptance has been a healing and life-giving experience for me. I have loved the opportunity to meet and get to know so many of you on holy ground. I admit it was a shock when Dido first arrived. My pet had not prepared me for this transition so I recognize that I may have seemed ungracious towards Dido at first. Yet, she too has known neglect and abandonment by humans. I could sense this in her. In our world we learn how to be by nature and imitation. It is in her nature, as it is in mine, and she has learnt from me how to be a pastoral and healing presence to humans. In your world you describe this as grace and parenting. What Dido has become through nature and imitation, so in the world of humans, you depend upon grace and parental relationships (I mean in the baptismal sense, not biologically). So may our Parish celebration of the Nativity strengthen, by grace, those who parent you in Christ and those whom you parent! (PS I hope you will mention at Mass this year the presence of our ancestors at the birth of Jesus. We have much documentary evidence for this!) — Bear
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Book Notes from the Holy Faith Library Waiting, hope, and anticipation are three inseparable Advent themes and all feature in this issue’s titles. In waiting, we can be, as Rose Mary Docherty explains in discernment: a path to spiritual awakening, “cultivating a discerning heart”, a way of deepening our “sensitivity to the uniqueness of God’s way of guiding” each of us.
As we strive in Advent to live patiently, in hope and anticipation, we may also take encouragement from Joan Chittister’s wisdom distilled from the daily: living the rule of st. benedic t today. The spirituality of community and specifically how we work out our connectedness to God, one another, and ourselves, is her helpful focus.
In the meaning is in the waiting, Paula Gooder, Canon Theologian of Birmingham Cathedral, demonstrates how Abraham and Sarah, the Hebrew prophets, John the Baptist, and Mary all exemplified “how to wait upon God for wisdom, joy, and the meaning of life”.
A discussion will begin soon on revitalizing the Parish library with a report to Parish Council anticipated in the spring. If you have any preliminary thoughts, please contact: email@example.com Thank you. — Tim Firth
It’s cold. The snow crunches under my feet and I can feel the air in my nostrils freeze. But wow — is it starting to feel like Christmas! It’s been four months since I left St. James’ to becom the Rector of Christ Church, St. Paul’s and St. Agnes’ out here on the Canadian prairie. Four months. It feels much longer than that — in a good way. I remember when I told Fr. Den about the opportunities here in the Diocese of Brandon. He was my Father Confessor and was always willing to listen. I told him that I felt called to serve where there is need; and I told him that the Diocese of Brandon was poor, and that the parish grouping I fell in love with couldn’t afford a full-time priest. I told Fr. Den about my fears. “I don’t think I’ll be able to do it financially; I’ve got student loans to pay and a kid to raise.” “If you go where God wants you to go, God will provide for you” He said. “If you go where you want to go — you better be ready to provide for yourself!” Fr. Den’s words flowed from a mighty trust in the Lord; and when he said those words I believed them. Three weeks later, I packed up my things, and my family, and drove half way across the country... right into the unknown. 9 | PAX: CHRISTMAS 2009
Fr. Den was right. God provides indeed. We are poor out here — but we are quite happy in our poverty... and people have been so kind. My parishioners drop-in at the rectory with meat and vegetables. Good people at St. James’ have donated books, stoles, a home communion set and other ‘holy hardware’ to aid in my ministry. One kind soul even sent our little Ty some Christmas money. So many people have been so kind — it has been overwhelming. I thank God for you at St. James’. Quite frankly I don’t think I could do my work here in Manitoba without your love and support; training and mentorship. I found family among you... and I miss you. Leaving St. James’ and my fellow Benedictine’s, is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. And yet, I know deep in my heart, that where ever I serve others, I bring my training and formation at St. James’ with me — and so in a way — there’s a little piece of the parish out here on the prairie. I’ll run to evening prayer tonight, my cassock brushing the snow, and as I pray, I’ll feel your presence. Thank-you St. James’. —Br. Shane Bengry
Paws and Bear: A Christmas Charity | Betty Vogel One Advent evening Paws and Bear attended a meeting of the Fellowship of Cats and Dogs. It was very wet and cold outside. The snow was falling, but the fire crackled in the fireplace, and they all felt warm and cozy. After talking for a long time, Frideswide finally said, “You know, all this fellowship is very good, but all we ever do is talk. Why don’t we do something? Why don’t we do something about the poor homeless cats and dogs in this impoverished neighborhood who don’t have a merry Christmas to look forward to?” “I agree,” Paws said impetuously, “and as I’m the most intelligent, I’ll be in charge.” “I think we should run a food service,” Frideswide continued. “There are so many hungry cats and dogs in this area. What can we do to help them? ” “I know,” Bear suggested, in this slow, ponderous way. “I could pull a sled loaded with cat and dog treats. Paws could give them out while Frideswide gives counsel to those with relationship issues and other problems.” “Hurry!” said Paws. “We’ll put up a sign on the sled saying ‘Tasty Treats for Cats and Dogs’, and we’ll make stops all over the poorest parts of town!” The fellowship immediately got to work. Bill, the practical cat, made the sled and harness for Bear and installed seats on it for Paws and Frideswide. “All we need now is the food, Bill said.” Fluffy, who was a gourmet cook, was quick to volunteer. She brought out her favorite ethnic cook books, The Joy of Dog Food and Creative Cat Food, and spent the remaining time before Christmas cooking up delicious hot treats for the animals. Finally, the time came. After the Midnight Mass of Christmas they were all prepared to go. Bear was harnessed, Frideswide got dispensation to leave her enclosure for this special purpose, and they all hopped on. The church bells were ringing, the stars twinkling, and snowflakes fell softly as the sled sped down the street. Before they knew it, some cats and dogs noted them, and surrounded the sled, following after it. Bear stopped. Bill handed out steaming bowls of milk and hot snacks. Bear distributed warm blankets and mufflers. Many of their friends from church were in the crowd. Abigail with her
brood of young kittens crowded around Paws. “Look at me, Paws! I’m so unhappy! Floyd left me to bring up the kittens all by myself! What can we do! We’re so lonely and hungry!” Paws, who also had training as a social worker, took out her case book and filled out a form, referring them to a cat shelter. Frideswide helped attend to the animals’ spiritual needs. “I’ve lost my faith in God,” one dog confided. Frideswide assured him that God still cared for him because He looked after all His creatures, even the little birds in the trees. “And what am I to do?” Hortense complained. “My son, Hubert, has become addicted to catnip and just lies around all day and won’t even chase mice.” “How terrible,” Paws agreed. “I can refer him to a rehab centre where he can learn to change his ways and become a productive member of society again.” As the cats and dogs sipped the warm milk and enjoyed their treats, they huddled under their warm blankets and began to feel much better. They talked and enjoyed themselves for a long time until they had eaten up all the food and were ready to go. “Why, this has been wonderful!” A dog exclaimed, “Can you help us again?” “Well, of course,” Paws said. “We’re planning to open an outreach at St. Euphrosia’s soon. And you can all come over and have something good to eat. ” “Wow!” A cat replied. “This has been our best Christmas ever! Thanks so much, Paws! We’ll see you all again soon!” Bear was harnessed and they proceeded home. The snow had stopped and the stars twinkled brightly in the sky. A pristine silence pervaded everything around them. “In thanksgiving for this lovely night, I think we should sing a carol on the way home.” Frideswide suggested. And so Frideswide in her lyrical soprano, Bear in his rich baritone and Paws, in her enthusiastic, but rather scratchy mezzo, sang “ Hark the Herald Angels” all the way back to St. Euphrosia’s.
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A Stewardship Moment: In Anticipation As many of you know, I am the Rector’s Warden and have now served as a Trustee for St. James’ for the past five years. Before that, among other guilds and committees, I served with Rocky on the Stewardship Committee for eight years. Like most of you, St. James’ is my spiritual home. . . and you are my much loved extended spiritual family. As I expressed in a recent issue of Pax, you are “wonderful in my eyes” especially for all the prayers, support and love you gave us as we recently struggled through the illness and loss of our beautiful Dan. Ever since I began attending St. James’, over fifteen years ago, I have held this church in my heart as God’s welcoming Beacon for me and my family, for our parish family, for our neighbourhood, and for those all over the lower mainland in need of what we uniquely offer in praise and worship and in the feeding of souls. Fifteen years ago I realized, together with Rocky, that if St. James’ was to be our spiritual home and a Beacon for us, we wanted to commit, contribute, and help build it up with all our hearts and ability, and this had to be real and tangible in our lives. It was hard to get started, not the least of which because we already led very busy family, volunteer and business lives. Getting involved together on the Narthex Guild and the Stewardship Committee were great first steps as we started to know others and to understand how St. James’ worked. St. James’ soon began to take on deeper, richer meaning in our lives and we began to realize that what we had to offer was not insignificant, as we had perhaps thought. This was a two-way street. St. James’ needed us as much as we needed St. James’. Although we were raising a large family, we began to take to heart the words “time, talent and treasure”, all three being gifts that we could offer. Every year, when the envelopes came, we discussed what we could afford and what sort of time commitments we could make as our “gifts” for that year.
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We began to understand the critical importance of a monthly financial commitment to St. James’, no matter how big or small — whether we were in attendance or not. As Trustees, we’d come to realize that St. James’ as a Beacon required constant operational dollars in order to keep the doors open. Eventually, Rocky and I agreed that we would make regular monthly payments by credit card. This has not always been easy as, like everyone, we have had some very difficult financial years, but somehow, miraculously, we have always been able to manage. Over the years, as interest and need took us, our time and talent commitments were variously served on Stewardship, Narthex, Technology, Space Usage, Finance, Strategic direction, Buildings and Maintenance, Communications, Wishlist, and other groups, committees and all three Boards. Days and months and years of the beautiful liturgies, music, sermons and prayers that go to make up the very essence that is St. James’ and its people have filled and carried us through the ups and downs in our lives. We are so deeply grateful, and even more committed. So, why am I saying all this? Well, it really is still about Beacons! A Beacon needs fuel in order to shine, — just as we need that Beacon to guide us and shine light upon our way. I know how profoundly many of you are committed to St. James’; and through your service on various guilds, boards, committees and groups and your own deep devotion, you have helped keep our Beacon fueled and shining for over 125 years. To those of you who are newer to St. James’ and not sure of how to participate and deepen your commitment, just take that one first step and ask one of the clergy or a parishioner you know, “How do I get started?” As we celebrate once more the coming of our Lord, what better time to consider how you can become fuel for our Beacon with your own unique gifts so that it may shine ever more brightly. — Tanya Northcott
Then How Shall We Live? Jesus calls us to turn away from our idolatrous self-seeking, to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow him. But what does it mean to find our true self? Jesus calls us to a journey of daily conversion in which we continually re-orient our attention away from the world to follow him. We need not fear. Our gracious God will reveal the way, as we are able. We know the great cost of discipleship as we take up our cross daily. But we know the promise, that Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” St. Luke 9:23–27 Our post-modern society artfully entangles us in an en-
ticing culture of narcissism in which we constantly orient ourselves toward our self – our self-esteem and our selfenrichment. But the more we seek to buttress ourselves against the stresses of our culture, the more our sense of self evaporates into illusion, fear and loss too. For as we lose our life in the journey of discipleship, we find our true selves, transformed by the immanence of Christ in our midst. Grounded in the strength of our discipleship community, we go forward on our journey, seeking and serving Christ in every person, devoted to God’s redemptive will in empowering others, relieving oppression, and establishing justice and peace on earth. — Jane Turner Based on a theological reflection done recently by members of the EfM seminar at St. James’
Dollars and $ense The commercial side of Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier each year. Nowadays it is the moment that Halloween is over that prompts the advent of Christmas decorations and advertisements to appear in the stores, and after Remembrance Day, we seem to be going full bore into the ‘Holiday Season’. And it seems very hard not to get caught up in the shopping frenzy and hustle and bustle of the social scene at this time. Please imagine sitting quietly with me in a pew and taking a ‘time out’ to reflect on this spiritual home of ours – St. James’. As I look around the beloved space and place, I realize that there is so much for us to be thankful for… The many benefactors and ‘saints’ of St. James’, who over 130 years have built and worshipped in three churches with the same vision and passion as we do today (amazingly this St. James’ being built in the middle of the depression years). . .
As my eyes look up to the sanctuary, I am so thankful for the clergy who have faithfully and with love served the Parish throughout the years, for the servers and musicians who enhance our glorious liturgy, and for all the members of the various guilds who quietly do their work to beautify this sacred space. And as I look around at the other pews, I am so thankful for the Parish family, for those members who are able and willing to take on leadership roles, and for those on the staff who keep the church functioning. And then I close my eyes in prayer as I thank God For the birth of his Son, our Saviour and Redeemer. Current cost to keep St. James’ church running: $620,000; cost to be called to Christ at St. James’: priceless. — Angela Van Luven
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Did You Know? Parish Life at St. James’ COMINGS AND GOINGS: Several of our parishioners took trips to exotic foreign destinations this fall. Tanya and Rocky Rocksborough-Smith traveled to Turkey and visited places such as the unique fairy chimneys in Cappadocia, the ruins of ancient Ephesus, Topkapi Palace, and the old city of Istanbul. Mary Brown traveled to Namibia and was able to discover information about her uncle who helped the native Herero people with petitioning the United Nations to declare independence for the country. Her uncle has a street named after him in Windhoek, Namibia. Barry and Margaret Vickers spent a few weeks enjoying museums and concerts in London and making a trip to Bruges. While in England they visited Fr. Dennis and Gretha Nichols who are ‘happy as larks’. Fr. Dennis is assisting at a church in Worthing and Gretha is sacristan. MISSION AND MINISTRY: Mother Emilie Smith is now a few months into her work with Volunteers in Mission as assistant to the Bishop in Guatemala. You can follow her adventures on her blog: www.vimguatemala. wordpress.com Our thanks to Br. John Blyth for his work with the Underleaf Ministry that will formally conclude at the end of this year. His work with West Coast Aboriginal people living in the city and surrounding area has been deeply appreciated by all those whose lives he has touched. With great joy we celebrate Fr. Clarence Li’s appointment to the position of rector at St. Hilda’s Anglican Church in Sechelt. We wish him and Dave every blessing in their new life on the Sunshine Coast. Br. Shane Bengry was officially installed by the Bishop of Brandon as the Rector of the three point parish of Christ Church, St. Paul’s and St. Agnes’ on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can keep up with him by visiting his parish website at: www.anglican-ccpa.com
The Coming Home Society has produced a colour newsletter with lots of pictures of the events of the past year, and an interview with an amazing young woman who graduated from the program at Young Wolves Lodge and has now returned there to work as a counselor. Copies are available in the Narthex or from the Office. BENEDICTINE: Br. Alex Currie, Br. Brian Rocksborough-Smith and Sr. Jane Turner have begun their novitiate with the community of St. Michael. Congratulations! NEW SUNDAY SCHEDULE: Beginning on Sunday, January 17th, there will be a new format for Sunday worship at St. James’. There will be a Vigil Mass on Saturdays at 5:30 pm, Morning Prayer at 8:00 am on Sunday, Low Mass at 8:30 am, an Education and Formation Session at 9:30 am, and High Mass at 10:30 am followed by a coffee hour. ANNUAL VESTRY: The Annual Vestry Meeting will be split into two sessions this year. It is customarily held in the latter part of February, after the auditors have completed the financial statements for the previous year. However, this coming February will see Vancouver in the midst of the Olympic games, with all the attendant transit implications. The 2010 Annual Vestry Meeting, Part One, will therefore be held on Sunday, January 24th, after the High Mass. It will consist of the presentation of reports and the election of officers, and will be followed by a brief Parish Council meeting. The Annual Vestry Meeting, Part Two, will be held on Sunday, March 14th, at which time the audited financial statements and the 2010 Budget will be presented. PARISH FOUNDATION: The Parish Foundation has now been granted government status as a registered charitable foundation. A donation of shares to the Foundation has already been received.
together in December for the first time. Each Board has an important role to play in the future of St. James’, and they will be working together in the best interests of all who come through our doors. OPENING OUR DOORS TO VISITORS: People from all over the world will be visiting Vancouver during the Olympic games. They may even want to visit St. James’! With this opportunity in mind, we will be organizing a contingent of volunteers to keep the church open for possible visitors during the games. Please think about volunteering and watch the January bulletins for more information. GIFTS RECEIVED: St. James’ was blessed this fall with several gifts to enhance our worship and personal devotions. Through the generosity of Dr. Mary Ellen Henley, a friend of the Parish and music teacher for many years, we obtained The New English Hymnal. Dr. Paul Stanwood kindly donated sixteen copies of the New Revised Standard Edition of the Bible, which are available in the church for use in our personal devotions. An anonymous donor gave the church a large home communion set and a new white stole. The carpet in the Sanctuary was also the result of generous donations. We deeply appreciate all these gifts and thank the donors for their abundant generosity. NEW MEMBERS TO THE FAMILY OF GOD: On All Saints’ Day we welcomed six new members to God’s family – Dakota, Dominika, Shaina, Lincoln, Maddison and Emily Rose. We look forward to more baptisms in the months ahead as Kathy and Lane Walker are expecting a baby in January, and Mother Jessica and Harry will become parents in April.
THE ST. JAMES’ FAMILY: The Board members of the St. James’ Trustees, the Parish Foundation, and St. Luke’s Home Society met PAX: CHRISTMAS 2009 | 14
WORSHIP & EVENTS: December 31 · New Year’s Eve Mass 6:30 pm (potluck supper to follow) January 6 · Epiphany High Mass with Blessing of Chalk, Gold, Frankincense, & Myrrh 6:30 pm (potluck supper to follow) January 10 · Baptism of the Lord January 17 · New Sunday Mass schedule begins:
8:30 am Low Mass
9:30 am Spiritual Formation and Education
10:30 am High Mass
January 24 · Annual Vestry Meeting Part 1 and Special Session of Parish Council: 12:30 pm January 24 · Annual Vestry meeting Part 1 - 12:30 pm February 6 · Induction of Fr. Clarence as Incumbent of St.Hilda’s Sechelt at 3:00 pm February 17 · Ash Wednesday March 14 · Annual Vestry meeting Part 2: 12:30 pm
303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, v6a 1l4 Telephone: 604 685 2532 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 Editorial Panel: Allan Duncan, Paul Stanwood & Mother Jessica Schaap Designer & Art Director: Br. Shane Bengry Writers: Linda Adams, Br. Shane Bengry, Tim Firth, Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins, Gerald Harder, Diane Jones, Tanya Northcott, Jane Turner, Angela Van Luven, Betty Vogel, & Kathy Walker Photography: Br. Shane Bengry, Chris Loh & 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 a 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”) or mailed to the church office. pax © 2009 St. James’ Anglican Church.
The quarterly edition from St. James' Vancouver