photo: chris loh, Easter Vigil, 2010
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photo: Tracy Russell, Baptism of Madeleine Schaap-White, January 9, 2011
Living the Mystery of the Mass | Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins Dear friends in Christ, on this most holy night, when our Lord Jesus Christ passed from death to life, the Church invites her children throughout the world to come together in vigil and prayer. This is the Passover of the Lord…
o begins the Great Vigil on Holy Saturday. This Vigil is not the preparation for Easter; it is the true celebration of Easter itself. The Great Vigil is the Easter Feast: it is the “Passover of the Lord.” The paschal mystery which we celebrate at every Mass is magnified and writ large at the Great Vigil. What is Christianity all about? What do Christians believe? The Great Vigil reveals all! It is the supreme evangelical liturgy! The mystery of creation and redemption — one narrative — is retold and made present through fire, light, song, darkness, Holy Scripture, water, Holy Baptism, bread and wine. On Ash Wednesday, we began the season of Lent. During the Liturgy, the celebrant reminded us that Lent is a time to prepare for the Christian Passover and to renew our life in the paschal mystery. The observances of a new season of grace, which we have kept during Lent, lead us to the Great Vigil when we celebrate a real resurrection with Christ to a new life of grace. This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life. So proclaims the deacon of the paschal mystery in the words of the Exsultet, the hymn in honour of the Paschal Candle. Since the Church came into being with the death and resurrection of Christ, so the Christian Passover of the Lord is the commemoration of the beginning of the new people of God. Hence it is customary for Baptism, the Sacrament of entrance into the People of God, to be celebrated at the Great Vigil. However, whether or not Holy Baptism is celebrated at the Great Vigil, the Litany of Saints is sung, the Waters of the Font are blessed, baptismal promises are renewed and the priest sprinkles the people with the Easter water as a reminder of our baptism. Indeed, our entire Lenten journey has as its apex the renewal of our baptismal
covenant. This celebration of our baptismal status and dignity in Christ is then followed by the Mass. Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? These questions are put to the people of God during the renewal of our baptismal covenant. “We love Christ as much as the person we love the least” is a paraphrase of these questions and a summary of much of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel. We can never separate the mystery of the Mass from the mystery of discovering and serving Christ in one another. “All that we do flows from the altar” is a saying attributed to May Gutteridge, Parish Worker. It serves as a shorthand expression of this paradox. In one sense, the most important text and action at the Mass are the dismissal: “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Renewed by sanctifying grace through Holy Scripture and the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are sent out from the community of faith to live our baptismal vocation in the world. To pursue and practice justice and mercy for the imparting of the Kingdom of God within and beyond the Parish. This mission objective of the Parish serves as a constant reminder of the imperative expressed in our baptismal covenant: the worship of God, the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and the pursuit of justice and mercy in the complex web of each and every one of our relationships, are inseparable. This Easter, as we celebrate the paschal mystery, remember that every Mass is a celebration of the Passover of the Lord. This Easter, as the Liturgy abounds with occasions to renew our baptismal promises (including the aspersing of the People at the commencement of High Mass during the Great Fifty Days of Easter), let us rejoice in our baptismal dignity in Christ. This Easter, may we live the mystery of the Mass in our daily living by practicing and pursuing justice and mercy in each and every one of our relationships.
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Justice and Mercy | Graham Murchie
’ve been a member of St. James’ and our Social Justice Committee for over two and a half years, and am honoured to have been asked to be one of two new Trustees. Under St. James’ new Mission Objectives, each Trustee is asked to serve as a liaison to a number of the groups, guilds and committees with which St. James’ is blessed. My area is “justice and mercy,” that is, the objective is to pursue and practice justice and mercy for the imparting of the Kingdom of God within and beyond the Parish. I am thus especially concerned with the Outreach Committee, the Saint James Music Academy, the Street Outreach Initiative, and the Social Justice Group. In the days ahead, I look forward to meeting members of these groups and personally learning what they do and what their special role is at St. James’. The Social Justice Group meets the first Tuesday evening of every month, with prayers in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, a potluck supper, and then our meeting in
the Bishop’s Room, from 7:00 to 9:00pm. Under the able leadership of Pat McSherry, we cover a number of topics, with our six to ten regular attenders sharing their views and engaging in healthy, spirited debate. In June of last year, the Social Justice Group sponsored a Forum on the Downtown Eastside and their evolving vision for the community. It was attended by over thirty people, and the Carnegie Centre shared their plans and recent workshops across the area. As part of its work with the Metro Vancouver Alliance, the Social Justice Group attended a training workshop sponsored by the Industrial Areas Foundation. The group has been conducting a book study on the techniques of the IAF, entitled Roots for Radicals, by Edward Chambers. The Social Justice Group recently co-sponsored a workshop on community leadership at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale. This workshop was a clear success, with fifty-five people attending, representing nineteen parishes, and with a number of clergy present. The Social Justice Group welcomes all who are interested in how St. James’ might help those who are less fortunate, through our presence and our community organizing. We have several projects underway and need new energies and viewpoints.
Bedouin Soundclash has released a special single, “Here I Am,” featuring Saint James Music Academy as an iTunes exclusive, recorded last September in Vancouver, BC. The single is available in the iTunes store now. Proceeds from the single will go to The Saint James Music Academy. Please consider supporting the Saint James Music Academy by enjoying their concerts and records.
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On the Verge of Bankruptcy | Ruth Greenaway-Robbins “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. . . .” ‘‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12: 29-31)
f this is the case, and years of Christian teaching say it is so, then I am in serious error. I love the Lord my God, with all my heart, soul and mind and I love my neighbour, but I don’t love myself. It’s as if I’ve been drawing on my credit card for years and I’m nearly at my limit; I’ve taken every possible loan to service myself with love. I’ve given of my heart, and I’ve given … and given … because I love to give. But I’ve had the final demand from my debtors; my body, my soul and my strength are nearing their limits and they will call in the bailiffs if I do not start to repay my love deficit. But I’m terrified and verging on emotional bankruptcy. I do think I have abundant love to offer, but I fear it is not enough; for if I don’t love myself as well, then I’ll have no reserves, and there could even be a lack of sincerity about my love. Loving when one cannot love oneself leads to “burn out.” How often have we seen family, friends, and colleagues “burn out”? When we reach capacity, we need to gain back strength. It’s like falling (back) in love. Loving oneself is sometimes seen as selfish or indulgent. But remember what Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your Mind, Soul and Strength.” And in Paul’s letter (Romans 12: 5-8), we read: So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Paul thus confirms the great commandment to love our neighbour and ourselves. We ourselves are embodied in the love of Christ. If we do not love ourselves, then we do not love God fully, for we are a part of God. When we show ourselves little or no love, we work on a deficit, for if we do not accept God’s love, then how can we give it fully to others? Paul’s words call us to help one another so that the gifts each of us have may be fulfilled in serving God. By encouraging others to love, we teach them love, and perhaps we also learn love for ourselves and thus begin to fulfill those two great commandments. So, how do we fall out of love? Experiences of remorse, assaults on our person, demands on our person by society, unrepented sin, being tied up in a mire of guilt. . . sadly, it can begin in childhood. What can remove these afflictions? I can’t say I really know. When I am tied up in a knot of “self-hate,” or at the least, “self-dislike,” I can observe that those I know who show signs of contentment with themselves are prayerful people, gently questioning themselves before God. Some have made a difficult journey of agonizing discovery; some have accepted troubles and moved on. So, how do we begin to love again? Someone once asked me, “Would you treat anyone else like you treat yourself or would you allow someone else to treat herself like you treat yourself?” Of course, I could only squeak “of course not.” And therein lies the solution: Loving one’s neighbour as oneself requires receiving as well as giving. Christ died for us that we might be forgiven and have eternal life. He died because he loved us. If someone is willing to die for me so that I may love myself, I know I have to try to at least “like” myself and, by grace, one day to have an eternal “love affair” with myself, and thus with God, and with all others. May we all guide one another to acts of receiving love (thereby avoiding bankruptcy); for we live in the body of Christ and it is worthy of worship and love.
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A Sermon for February 20, 2011 | Rev. Canon Fr. Douglas E. Williams
rom this morning’s Gospel: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5: 48). Everyone seems to have a verse that sums up for them the basic point of the Bible, or of Christianity, even of human life in general. For many, it is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7: 12). For Evangelicals, it is often “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16: 31). For some reason, nobody ever seems to pick this one: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” But that is, indeed, the program. We are called to become perfectly what God has created us to be. We are called to become perfect. And that is a tall order. One of the things it means is that we can’t be satisfied with partial goals. One very common partial goal among some Christians is a fixation on saving the soul. One problem with this is that rather than understanding the soul to be the inner essence of the whole person—which it is—they think of the soul as a kind of ghost living inside the body—which it isn’t. The other problem is that you don’t get saved by focusing on getting saved. We live in a world that is a mess, and we ourselves are often a large part of that mess. Certainly we need saving, most often from ourselves. But a fixation on saving the soul, to the exclusion of everything else, is a partial goal that couldn’t save a flea. If you are fixated on saving your soul, you are fixated on yourself. And that is not loving your neighbor, which is what we are called to do. You are saved by loving God and loving your neighbour, not by becoming fixated on being saved. In the same way, you become loved by becoming lovable, not by grabbing everyone you know by the collar and begging them to love you.
If you are fixated on saving your soul, you are fixated on yourself. This morning’s Old Testament readings from Leviticus 5 | PAX: EASTER 2011
begin to fill out a broader outline of the Christian life. The importance of the rules in the Old Testament for us is seldom the specific details. Their importance is twofold. First, we are reminded that our relationship with God involves more than the inner dimensions of our lives. It includes everything about our lives, including our relationships with other people and the structures of community which we create. Second, our relationship with God is not simply a matter of finding an oasis of inner peace. I have nothing against inner peace, but it is not our first concern. Our relationship with God is much more a matter of helping to make the human race more fully human, in very real and concrete terms.
Our relationship with God is much more a matter of helping to make the human race more fully human... Our Lord said, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7: 12). It is amazing to me how many people seem to think that that applies only to face-to-face relationships. The focus for so many people is first of all on themselves: Am I saved? Am I doing what I am supposed to do? Am I being the kind of person I am supposed to be? The next question is am I being nice to the people that I deal with day-to-day? My neighbour, so they seem to think, is only whoever I happen personally to encounter. So I don’t cheat them, and I don’t lie to them, and I smile, and I am helpful. And I’ve done everything I need to do. If I don’t happen to meet anyone else, I don’t have to concern myself with them. The reason that the Downtown Eastside is such a complicated place to live is not because the good people of Vancouver come here all the time and throw rocks through the windows, and knock people down, and say bad things to them. No, it is because the good people of the rest of Vancouver just ignore the Downtown Eastside. There are
dignity of every human being gets respected, not only by you personally in your dealings with other individuals, but also by the society at large, by the government, by the police, by the helping agencies.
You cannot ignore people and still pretend that you are seeing that they have justice. It is useful to think in terms of justice when you are thinking about the implications of loving your neighbour. Out of long habit, we often fail to see ignoring people as a failure of love. But it is hard to fool ourselves into thinking that we have been just to those whom we have ignored. Love is consistent with ignoring, only if you see love as a reactive thing, something which only needs to come out in response to some stimulus. But you cannot ignore people and still pretend that you are seeing that they have justice. Justice seeks out the lost and the broken and invites them to stand up again as human beings. Would you love your neighbour, really? Then seek justice.
photo: Chris Loh, Easter Vigil, 2010
some people actively damaging other people, and there are slumlords. But the Downtown Eastside is the way it is, mostly because everyone else in Vancouver ignores it. It is as though as long as I can manage to ignore somebody, they arenâ€™t my neighbour. What a convenient way to go about life. And what a disaster for communities or individuals who are collectively ignored by the rest. The Golden Rule is not simply being decent to those you happen to run into. Loving your neighbour is not a great cosmic accident. Loving your neighbour also means not ignoring him or her. For the Christian, then, the fullness of the Christian life is not just saving your own soul. It is not just being decent to those you happen to come across. It is also learning not to ignore an awful lot of people. We all have some vague idea of what it does mean to love our individual neighbours. But what does the love of neighbour mean at the level of a city or a society? At that level, it means justice. It means seeing that distinctions of class, and race, and sexual orientation, and economic status, and gender, and all the other ways that we divide up the human race, are not ways of avoiding, oppressing, and destroying people. It means seeing that people are treated fairly under the law. It means seeing that no one gets ignored, or shunted aside, or cheated. It means seeing thatâ€”to paraphrase one of the baptismal vowsâ€”the
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Manifesting the Mercy and Justice of Christ | Linda Adams
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no place for them in their families or in the community. Dignity and self-respect then take second place to survival. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has spoken of the unique piece of ground – the “no man’s land” – that the Church inhabits between the privileged and the poor, holding the powerful and the powerless together and mediating between them. Perhaps there is also a “no man’s land” between the oppressors and the oppressed, and groups like the Coming Home Society have a prophetic role to play in interpreting one to the other. Restoring dignity to these young women who bear the scars of Canada’s oppressive Residential School system means manifesting to them in very real ways, such as the program at Young Wolves Lodge, the Church’s deep and sincere desire to be part of their healing. It also means manifesting to the Church the wounds these women bear, their willingness to lay blame aside, their resilience, and the wonderful recovery that is possible. In loving and respectful one-to-one encounters, and in righting old systemic wrongs, lie the mercy and justice of Christ.
photo submitted byTracy Russell
mong the people for whom Jesus showed particular care and concern were the poor, women, children, and all who were on the margins of society, including prostitutes. Those who find their way to the Coming Home Society’s Young Wolves Lodge would have been, in Jesus’ day, those people. They are poor, homeless women; many have children; and they are cut off from family and community. They meet their needs in any way they can on the streets of our parish, and sometimes that means trading their bodies for money or a meal or a place to stay. One young woman came to the Lodge after waking up one day to realize that none of her ‘friends’ were really concerned about her – they just cared about her body. One way to show the mercy of Christ is to give people back their dignity. The women of Young Wolves Lodge come from families who have not yet recovered from having their culture, language and spirituality devalued under Canada’s Residential School system. People who feel shame cannot raise their children to be proud of who they are. Their children carry that shame and feel there is
Ash Wednesday T. S. Eliot, 1930, an excerpt
Although I do not hope to turn again Although I do not hope Although I do not hope to turn Wavering between the profit and the loss In this brief transit where the dreams cross The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying (Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things From the wide window towards the granite shore The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying Unbroken wings And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices And the weak spirit quickens to rebel For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell Quickens to recover The cry of quail and the whirling plover And the blind eye creates The empty forms between the ivory gates And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth This is the time of tension between dying and birth The place of solitude where three dreams cross Between blue rocks But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away Let the other yew be shaken and reply. Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden, Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still Even among these rocks, Our peace in His will And even among these rocks Sister, mother And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea, Suffer me not to be separated And let my cry come unto Thee.
ASK ! BEAR
Dear Bear, Does it matter whether or not I believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus? (Name withheld) “On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures” is the way in which the Nicene Creed speaks of the mystery of the Resurrection. There are a number of reductionist views which seek to avoid proclaiming the faith of the Church that Jesus truly rose from the dead. Perhaps Jesus was resuscitated. Or the resurrection was a hoax: the body of Jesus was hidden so that the empty tomb gave the illusion of Jesus being raised bodily from the dead. Or we cannot know the nature of the historical event and therefore all we can do is speak of the Resurrection as a metaphor. No one was an eyewitness to Christ’s Resurrection. I believe, and it is my understanding that it is the faith of the Church, that the Resurrection was an historical event. Of course, the Resurrection is also a mystery of faith which transcends history. Why would so many humans give up their lives to follow a man who was resuscitated, or whose friends were supremely brilliant tricksters? Scripture witnesses to a profound change in the lives of the apostles when they encountered the risen Jesus. Paul demonstrated one of the greatest U-turns in history. Countless followers of Jesus died in the early centuries during the Roman persecutions — all this for a metaphor? Christ’s Resurrection is the principle and source of every human’s future resurrection. This hope, grounded in the bodily and historical Resurrection of Jesus, has inspired and comforted countless Christians in their dying and living. — Bear Bear is the first resident canine at St. James’ Rectory. As a member of the Greenaway-Robbins and parish family, he is privy to many and varied meetings, conversations, and gatherings. Though usually silent, in this column he offers his perspective on parish life.
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A Day in May for Mrs G. | John Conway
t is no secret that many people in Vancouver regard Christianity as having little or nothing to say to the progress and problems of this city’s bustling life, including the Downtown Eastside. The incongruity is particularly noticeable at Christmastide. Who has ever seen shepherds watching their flocks by night on East Hastings Street? There are no abiding fields on East Cordova. And when did anyone see a manger or the Three Kings on Powell Street? If frankincense and myrrh were once effective narcotic drugs, they are nothing compared with today’s widespread use of crack heroin or marijuana. And just how relevant is Good King Wenceslas to the hundreds of homeless and vulnerable people on Vancouver’s cruel streets and rain-washed alleyways? St. James’, however, is different. We have another message. For almost one hundred and thirty years, the church has stood on the corner of Gore and Cordova. It has welcomed and watched over the passers-by, those looking for shelter, the drug addicts searching for release, the lonely, the unemployed, the drifters, and those for whom poverty has become a way of life. To all of these, the Church has a message of hope. It can be summed up: You are not forgotten. Take heart. Every single one of you is a child of God. The person in St. James’ history who best embodied this sense of compassion, and whose witness gave St. James’ an enormous resonance, was undoubtedly May Gutteridge.
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Fifty years ago she began, as a Parish Worker at St. James’, to care for the needs of the lost and forgotten in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood. For more than thirty years, her devotion to their welfare was the highlight and characteristic of this church’s outreach. For this reason, we are holding a celebration of May Gutteridge’s life and service in St. James’ Parish Hall on Saturday, May 14th, from 2 to 4 p.m. This will be a long overdue opportunity to reminisce, recall, and celebrate her example of Christianity in action in the modern city. We are inviting all who knew and worked with her, as well as those who would like to learn more about this remarkable woman whose energy and devotion to the cause of helping those in need was - and still is - an inspiration to us all. It was no accident that this particular witness should develop in an Anglo-Catholic parish such as St. James’. In nineteenth-century England, the pioneers of the Anglo-Catholic movement were especially drawn to serve the unchurched masses in the emerging slums, particularly in London’s east end. They laid emphasis on two goals. First, they sought to introduce beauty and colour through the Church’s liturgies and so to enhance the lives of these poverty-stricken areas. The clergy’s vestments, the church decorations, the candles, the incense, the bells, the crosses and the banners, were all intended to fill the space with gold and red and blue and indeed all the colours of heaven. Second, Anglo-Catholics have
always had a strong commitment to social justice. They knew, first-hand, the struggles of their parishioners, and resolutely took up their cause. It was a pattern of service eminently repeatable in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. May Gutteridge recognized early on that the needs of St. James’ poorest parishioners, and indeed of the Downtown Eastside in general, had to be tackled on the broadest front possible. It was not enough just to provide a handout to those who had overspent their welfare cheques or to those who had been evicted from their often squalid rooms and now sought shelter on the church steps. Justice demanded that more resources be provided. But the obstacles were – are still are – enormous. May set a notable example through her determination to overcome the obstinate roadblocks of prejudice and heartless indifference. She was remarkably resolute in tackling the pettifogging bureaucracies of city and provincial welfare offices as well as the housing agencies, which too often seemed to erect walls against the poor. When necessary, she would appeal to the top. As Mike Harcourt, former Mayor of Vancouver, noted: “May is a formidable woman – not the kind of person you would say no to. And why would you? Because her cause was so eminently worthwhile”. May derived her ideals and compassion from her regular participation in St. James’ liturgies. Her faith truly sustained her and gave her the passion for justice and mercy which she then passed on to others. Her dedication and witness made her a well-known and well-beloved figure far beyond the parish boundaries. For her, the poor mattered. And she inspired many others to help her share the same affectionate care throughout the whole network of social services she established. Her legacy is still around us. The celebration on May 14th will give us a chance to honour her memory and to keep alive her unbounded commitment to justice and mercy. As we recently reaffirmed, these are prominent goals for St. James’: “the imparting of the Kingdom of God within and beyond the Parish.”
God shall o'er-brim the measures you have spent With oil of gladness, for sackcloth and frieze And the ever-fretting shirt of punishment Give myrrhy-threaded golden folds of ease. Your scarce-sheathed bones are weary of being bent: Lo, God shall strengthen all the feeble knees. From “Easter Communion” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Paradoxes of St. James’ | Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins Excerpt from the Rector’s Pastoral Letter, 2011
y experience of St. James’ Parish has led me to identify at least six paradoxes in the life of our Parish family. I believe it is essential that we acknowledge and honour these paradoxes, because in so doing we are drawn more fully into the mystery of cross-shaped discipleship as it is distinctively expressed at St. James’. The first paradox: St. James’ is committed to the worship of God and social justice. “All that we do flows from the altar,” is a saying attributed to May Gutteridge, Parish Worker. It serves as a shorthand expression of this paradox. In one sense, the most important text and action at the Mass are the dismissal: “Go in peace
to love and serve the Lord.” Renewed by sanctifying grace through Holy Scripture and the sacrament of the Eucharist, we are sent out from the community of faith to live our baptismal vocation in the word. So the worship of God without a commitment to seeking just relationships can never be more than a form of religious fix. And social action without constantly grounding ourselves in the mystery of God in Christ is a form of social work, not living out a baptismal vocation. The worship of God, the Holy and Undivided Trinity and the pursuit of justice and mercy in the complex web of each and every one of our relationships is inseparable.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6: 3-5) 11 | PAX: EASTER 2011
Dollars and $ense | Angela Van Luven To pursue and practice justice and mercy for the imparting of the Kingdom of God within and beyond the Parish the Parish in the sense that it ministers to children who probably won’t become parishioners as such, but treat St. James’ as ‘home’ three times a week. We also have an Outreach Committee who searches for causes and gives monies under its mandate, although we have been unable to set aside funds in our operations budget for this in the last year or so – other than by donations or bequests. In our Diocesan apportionment, some small amounts are allocated to, for example, the clergy of the North. The Diocese is also the vehicle through which we can assist less fortunate people, whether through our congregations directly, or via the Primate’s Word Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF). So, I believe that we have equitably allotted what finances we have available to this Mission Objective. As to the future, I am very hopeful that when our house is in order and we have an excess of Dollars and Cents, perhaps we can look for new endeavours to put our time, talent and treasure towards. We must be careful not to detract from our existing initiatives and ensure that the endeavours truly do impart the Kingdom of God within and beyond the parish.
photo: Dallas Bittle, St. James Choir, March 9, 2011
o where does this Mission Objective fit into the financial picture – or should we be looking at this from the other way around? I believe that we first have to put our own house in order before we can put more of our Dollars and Cents into pursuing this bold Mission Objective. We mandated ourselves to be in a nodeficit position by/in 2012 and we are currently very close to achieving financial equilibrium. Once we are there, then we can look at this Mission Objective from any and every angle we want to! Even during this time of restraint and ‘conversion,’ we have been actively and financially supporting several ministries in the pursuit and practice of justice and mercy. The Street Outreach Initiative (which started as the St. James’ Church Steps ministry), with Fr. Matthew at the helm, has held high this objective and drawn the parish’s support from the outset, and brought individuals into the St. James’ flock through its imparting of the Kingdom of God. The Saint James Music Academy, under the energetic auspices of Kathy Walker, I view as another ministry which practices mercy in the truest sense of the word, as it noisily imparts the Kingdom of God – maybe beyond
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Making Sense of Social Justice:
The Challenge of Ethics in a Complex World | Benjamin Woo But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5: 24)
ustice is an issue that the Church cannot ignore. For one thing, the concept features prominently in our worship: in the lessons and prayers appointed from Sunday to Sunday through the liturgical year, and daily in the words of Mary, praising a God who casts down the mighty from their thrones, lifts up the humble and meek, fills the hungry with good things, and sends the rich empty away. But it is also unavoidable in our Parish’s everyday life, situated as we are in the Downtown Eastside. We have already begun to take up the challenge of social justice in our support for Fr. Matthew’s ministry, the Saint James Music Academy, the Coming Home Society, and the many projects supported by the Outreach Committee, but we shall be further challenged as we consider how to engage with our neighbourhood around problems and dilemmas that we cannot now foresee. In this article, I aim to provide some conceptual foundations to help us as we consider this important component of our ministry, for Christians reflecting on social justice immediately encounter two difficulties. First, many conceptions of justice deal exclusively with questions of desert and justification. On this view, to ask if an act is “just” is to ask if it results in all parties getting what they deserve or if unmerited outcomes may be justified for some other reason. Yet, a specifically Christian conception of justice is intimately tied up with two species of injustice—namely, withholding deserved punishment (mercy) and granting undeserved favour (grace): “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. ... He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him. . . ” (Psalms 103: 8, 10–11). Second, for many of us, the phrase “social justice” is confusing. After all, is not justice, by definition, social? A 13 | PAX: EASTER 2011
practice that describes how one treats others, justice can only be attributed to individuals in relationship. I want to suggest that if we wish our faith and actions to be coherent in the face of modern moral dilemmas, then we must put social into our conception of justice.
A practice that describes how one treats others, justice can only be attributed to individuals in relationship. “Social justice” is a relatively new concept, dating back only a hundred and fifty years, or so. Together, the developments of statistics, democracy, and social constructionist theories have contributed to an understanding of society as a new arena in which human beings shape our collective lives. The emergence of society doesn’t change the basis of ethics one iota—we are called, as ever, to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves—but it poses a multitude of new questions about the application of those principles. In our private relationships, we know what the Lord requires of us, but what does the Lord require of our political institutions and economic structures? In the face of societal complexity, morally coherent action requires an understanding of the true causes and likely consequences of social processes. In the civil rights movement, in peace and disarmament campaigns, and in the creation and defence of the social safety net that we enjoy, Christians have united with people of all faiths (and none) for the common good. I don’t think we should be shy about such alliances—“whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9: 40)—and yet we must not lose our sense of Christianity’s fundamental difference, not out of sectarian chauvinism but simply in recognition that we are shaped by our tradition and rule of life. This difference is not primarily about tactics, priorities, or language; the
The Church grounds its ethics in distinctive accounts of ultimate reality and what it means to be human. Against this account of social life as nothing more than the free play of individual interests, the Church affirms that the divine life of the Trinity, revealed to us in the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus and in the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the ultimate reality of the universe. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004) puts it thus: “In the communion of love that is God, and in which the Three Divine Persons mutually love one another and are the One God, the human person is called to discover the origin and goal of his existence and of history.” Or, as F. D. Maurice is reported to have said: “I do not see my way further than this: competition is put forth as the law of the universe. That is a lie.” If we have participated in the merciful and gracious love of God, then we will embody it in every aspect of our lives, in all ways and places. At St. James’, we say that “all we do flows from the altar.” Does it?
photo: Dallas Bittle, Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Church grounds its ethics in distinctive accounts of ultimate reality and what it means to be human. Ours is a liberal age. Although this term is used haphazardly in political speech, I mean by it a specific philosophical tradition, which has become the horizon encompassing all mainstream politics. I want to highlight two aspects of liberalism. First, it strictly maintains the fact– value distinction, whereby some things—objective facts— are accessible to reason, and some— subjective values— are not. The values people espouse, the beliefs they hold, and the ends and interests that they pursue cannot, in the liberal account, be evaluated or even compared; what one individual chooses is as good as what another chooses. This leads to an inescapable diversity of ends and interests in society. Second, the liberal individual is presented as homo oeconomicus, the maximizer of utility. Liberals assume that people act in pursuit of some practical goal, whereby they choose the means best suited to achieving their individual ends. This is fine if their interests are good and do not conflict with one another; but liberals deny any objective basis for judging values, interests, or ends. Thus, when interests conflict, the only remaining alternatives are coercion and manipulation, power and violence.
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Book Notes from the Holy Faith Library | Tim Firth
ietrich Bonhoeffer, head of a pastoral seminary of the German Confessing Church until it was shut down by the Nazis in 1937, was an active member of that country’s resistance to Hitler until Bonhoeffer’s arrest in 1943 and his hanging two years later. In The Way to Freedom, in which much interesting light is shed on issues concerning internal, administrative church matters of the day, he asks: In the “present situation in theology and in the church...does the church...have a place in the world, and if so, what is the nature of this place?” In lectures delivered at Trinity College, Toronto, in 1991, and published as Subversive Orthodoxy: Traditional Faith and Radical Commitment, Kenneth Leech sets his discussion of the church’s social and political witness in East London of the late 1950s, where he began his ministry. The area around Cable Street, called by one author the “filthiest, dirtiest, most repellently odoured street in Christendom,” was the focus for racial violence and a community’s struggle not to be defeated by it.
Salvadorean Roman Catholic prelate and Nobel Prize Winner, Archbishop Oscar Romero, was murdered while celebrating mass in 1980. In a series of diary entries covering the two years that ended with his assassination, Romero reveals both his personality and his views on a wide range of topics, including his concerns with and reactions to an almost daily diet of occupations, disappearances, persecutions, and murders that gripped the country during this perilous period. A Shepherd’s Diary, together with the other titles mentioned above, may be borrowed from the Holy Faith Library.
The perfect surrender and humiliation was undergone by Christ: perfect because He was God, surrender and humiliation because He was man. Now the Christian belief is that if we somehow share the humility and suffering of Christ we shall also share in His conquest of death and find a new life after we have died and in it become perfect, and perfectly happy, creatures. This means something much more than our trying to follow His teaching. People often ask when the next step in evolution – the step to something beyond man – will happen. Well, on the Christian view, it has happened already. In Christ a new kind of man appeared: and the new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us. From C. S. Lewis’ 1942 “What Christians Believe” 15 | PAX: EASTER 2011
photo: Tracy Russell,Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 photo: Elaine Jan, Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 photo: Tracy Russell,Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 photo: Tracy Russell,Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011
Seven Stanzas at Easter John Updike, 1964
Make no mistake; if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall. It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His flesh: ours. The same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might new strength to enclose. Let us not mock God with metaphor, analogy, sidestepping, transcendence; making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages: let us walk through the door. The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache, not a stone in a story, but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will eclipse for each of us the wide light of day. And if we will have an angel at the tomb, make it a real angel, weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen spun on a definite loom. Let us not seek to make it less monstrous, for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty, lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the miracle, and crushed by remonstrance. PAX: EASTER 2011 | 16
Linda Adams and Sharon Taylor at Sharon’s farewell lunch, February 25, 2011. Photo by Tanya Northcott
Epiphany, January 6, 2011. Photo by Elaine Jan
Blessing of the new officers of the parish at High Mass, March 6, 2011. Photo by Elaine Jan The Women’s Guild making palm crosses, April 15, 2011. Photo by Elaine Jan
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Annual Vestry Meeting, February 27, 2011. Photo by Tracy Russell
Candlemas, February 2, 2011. Photo by Elaine Jan
Reception following Requiem Mass for Pat Duncan, February 17, 2011. Photo by Elaine Jan Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011. Photo by Tracy Russell
Did You Know? Parish Life at St. James’ NEW MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF GOD As we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord on January 9th, Madeleine Renee Schaap-White, daughter of Mother Jessica Schaap and Harry White, received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. At the Easter Vigil Mass we are welcoming two new members to God’s family – Barton Hewett and Mary Isobel Creese, daughter of David and Maggi Creese. MAY THEY REST IN PEACE In the first two months of 2011, we said our final good-byes to three parishioners of long standing. We remember Justice H.A.D. Oliver, Patricia Duncan and Eileen Wayne with much affection, and we thank God for their lives and witness among us at St. James’. FUNDING OUR MISSION We entered 2011 rejoicing in the commitment shown by our parishioners to supporting the mission of St. James’. As a result of our Fall Stewardship Campaign, we began the year with more pledges of financial support than we have had in recent memory. Well done!
EDUCATION AND FORMATION SESSIONS Our 9:30 am Formation Sessions on Sunday mornings continue to offer an amazing variety of learning opportunities. In January, Fr. Michael Forshaw taught us about the Christian Year and Liturgical Colours, and the use and proper names for the vestments and ‘holy hardware’ of St. James’. Pat McSherry led an introduction to Christian meditation, and Jane Turner taught us the Lectio Divina method of reading the Scriptures. In March, we had a presentation on social justice from the Social Justice Group. During Lent, there has been a series of presentations by David Creese, Leslie Arnovick and Paul Stanwood celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Also, Mother Jessica Schaap gave
a reflection on Jesus, our True Mother. We are very grateful for the depth and breadth of knowledge amongst our parishioners and their willingness to enrich our lives by sharing that knowledge with us. NEW OFFICERS OF THE PARISH At our Annual Vestry Meeting on February 27th, the following people were elected to offices within the Parish: People’s Warden – Paul Stanwood; Associate Warden – Reece Wrightman; Trustees and Delegates to Synod – Eleanor Beckett, Jen Amundgaard, Graham Murchie; Alternate Delegates to Synod – Andrew Campbell, Angela Van Luven, Barry Vickers; Youth Delegate to Synod – Hannah Walker; Alternate Youth Delegate to Synod – Elisha May Walker; Parish Council President – Brian Rocksborough-Smith; and Parish Council Secretary – Allan Duncan. The following people were appointed to Parish offices: Rector’s Warden – Jane Turner; Treasurer – Angela Van Luven; Envelope Secretary – Philip Green; Vestry Clerk – Linda Adams; Pastoral Care Ministry Coordinator – Joyce Locht; Honorary Assistants – Fr. Michael Forshaw, Br. John Blyth; and Parish Representatives to the Saint James Music Academy Board – Harry Biden, Tanya Northcott. Those licensed by the Bishop to administer Holy Communion in 2011 are David Agler, Amy Chai, Tim Firth, Philip Green, Joyce Locht, Jim McKenzie, Paul Stanwood, Brian Rocksborough-Smith, and Barry Thieman. Those elected or appointed, and also the heads of all the St. James’ Groups and Guilds, were blessed at the Masses on Sunday, March 6th. The Parish thanks everyone who has taken on special responsibilities in the service of our Parish, and offers its grateful support to them in their ministries.
STAFF AND CLERGY CHANGES At the end of February, Office Manager Sharon Taylor left St. James’ to pursue her education, and we welcomed her replacement, Natania Roberts. In March, our Assistant Curate, Mother Jessica Schaap, returned from her maternity leave. At Mass on March 20th, Fr. Mark expressed the appreciation of the Parish for the services of the Reverend Canon Douglas Williams, who assisted in the Parish during Mother Jessica’s absence. We are very glad that he will continue to join us one Sunday each month. RESTORED PAINTING IN THE LADY CHAPEL High Mass on the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary included the blessing of the restored painting of the Virgin and child, newly returned to its place in the Lady Chapel. The painting is an excellent copy of the central portion of Piero Perugino’s “Madonna and Child” completed in 1493. The copy was made in the early 1920s by a skilfull artist named Angiolio Cherici, and was brought to St. James’ from Italy by Fr. Whitehead in 1925. It was stored away and forgotten around 1965, when the Lady Chapel underwent renovations, but has now been returned to help make the Chapel a beautiful place of devotion. The lovely wooden statue of the Virgin and child has been installed at the entrance to the Lady Chapel, and was also blessed at the Feast of the Annunciation.
THE ORDER OF JULIAN OF NORWICH The Reverend Mother Alexis Saunders, a retired priest of this Diocese and a recent parishioner of St. James’, will be professing her vows as an Oblate in the Order of Julian of Norwich on Sunday, May 8th at the High Mass. Many of us will remember her inspiring sermon during Lent – on Mothering Sunday.
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303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, v6a 1l4 Telephone: 604 685 2532 Fax: 604 685 7605 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.
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 sumitted 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 an editorial panel made up of the managing editor of PAX, a Warden, a member of the clergy, and one additional parishioner. 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.
photo: Chris Loh, Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011
PAX no. 10 © 2011 St. James’ Anglican Church Editorial Panel: Jen Amundgaard, Paul Stanwood, Tracy Russell, Mo. Jessica Schaap Designer & Art Director: Jen Amundgaard Writers: Fr. Mark GreenawayRobbins, Graham Murchie, Ruth Greenaway-Robbins, Rev. Canon Fr. Douglas Williams, Bear, John Conway, Tim Firth, Angela Van Luven, Linda Adams, Benjamin Woo, and Br. John Blythe Photography: Chris Loh, Dallas Bittle, Tanya Northcott, Tracy Russell, and Elaine Jan. Distribution: Mary Brown Archivist: Jane Turner
The Easter edition of the St James' parish quarterly, PAX. This edition reflects on the relationship between the liturgy of the church and t...
Published on May 2, 2011
The Easter edition of the St James' parish quarterly, PAX. This edition reflects on the relationship between the liturgy of the church and t...