As we enter the last part of our Holy Season of Lent and move to the celebration of Easter we’re reminded of the joys and the struggles of parish life. It’s a joy to see growth in the number of you who are a part of our community here, and an increase in the financial giving of the parish, as well as continuing our work in Social Justice and Social Action, and I continue to be encouraged by the commitment to our learning and our shared spiritual journey.
As I said at this time last year – we take special effort to mark this journey of passion, death and life in our Parish in the coming week. Our observance begins on Palm/Passion Sunday with our re-telling of the journey into Jerusalem and the last hours of Jesus’ life at both our 8am and 10am services. We will then move through a series of events which lead to Good Friday, a service most evenings, and the opportunity to enjoy Bach’s St John Passion on Tuesday, then on Maundy Thursday our parish meal (free, donations towards costs welcome, please book) and followed by a special Eucharist and opportunity to join a short silent vigil. On Good Friday there will be a special service for old and young at 10am, before a time of silence and reflection from Noon until 2pm leading into the traditional Good Friday liturgy at 2pm. When we gather again on Holy Saturday at 8pm we will prepare for the celebration of Easter with a time of vigil and prayer, the lighting of the Easter Fire, sharing of the light and the singing of the Exultant.
Our Easter Day celebrations will take place as per our usual Sunday Pattern, with a traditional 8am service, and a Festival Eucharist at 10am where in music, scripture, liturgy and song we will celebrate Resurrection Day along with guest musicians and a cast of, well, many – including, we hope, a baptism as we celebrate both literally and metaphorically ‘new life’. After our service we will continue to celebrate with a special Easter Day Parish Potluck! Please book a place and let us know what type of dish you will be bringing to help us with our planning.
It is time to offer thanks to all of those who stood down from PC and as Wardens for all of your hard work; it has been and is much appreciated. Likewise thank you to those who have stayed on PC and to those who have joined, and to our new and continuing Wardens. There is much that is taking place within our community – including planning for a refurbishment of the Emmaus Chapel, revision of pastoral ministry (see below), the re-forming of a finance group, the revitalisation of our redevelopment explorations, plans to replace our lighting, the possible refurbishment of the organ, a new website and much more. All these changes are exciting, and daunting – and as plans and ideas emerge we will continue to consult the community, and to keep you informed of any developments.
It’s appropriate to say that we are all called to Ministry together – and I am very grateful, and constantly impressed, by the time, energy and love put into the many events and programs in our community. We have a whole array of volunteers who give so much to St John’s and I am grateful to you all for your hard work, your prayers, and your support. We also have a dedicated team who offer their particular gifts to the ministry of the Church and I am glad for my colleagues Catherine MacKenzie, Carol-Ann Zenger, Ruth MacIntosh, David Stratkauskas, Kevin Arndt, Bill Tarter. Patrick Sibley, and Gillian Hoyer for all they give to the life of the parish. Alongside this our honorary assistants continue to offer their own gifts and service, Bishop Barry Jenks, Larry Scyner, Derek Dunwoody, and Jane Reid.
Gillian has been undertaking a thorough review of our pastoral provision and writes:
We continue to receive good feedback on having the dedicated cell phone and email address for pastoral care, both of which are monitored 24hrs by one of the clergy. There has been a positive response to the questionnaire sent out a few weeks ago and it is going to not only give us better information about how to care for each other in our community but inform the structure and work of a pastoral care team. We are waiting for some more questionnaires to come in before beginning to construct any formal structures, and the final date to send those questionnaires back is Sunday April 30th. A question that has been asked a couple of times is whether a questionnaire should be filled out if the person is in good health. The answer to that is yes! There is more to it than individual personal health and each response will help the future pastoral care team to know how we can best care for each other.
Also, it has been announced that Gillian will be representing the Anglican Church of Canada on the board of the Anglican Alliance – The Alliance “brings together those in the Anglican family of Churches and Agencies to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, to raise the voices of the vulnerable, to reconcile those in conflict, and to safeguard the earth. The Alliance was set up by the Archbishop of Canterbury after the 2008 Lambeth Conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury has approved the nomination by the Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Rev. Gillian Hoyer as the representative of the Anglican Church of Canada on the Alliance.
We pray for Gillian as she joins this group for her first meeting on April 23rd in London, England
It is with joy also that I can announce that Gillian Hoyer, and Matthew Brown, will be Ordained to the Priesthood at St John’s on Saturday 22nd July at 4pm, and Gillian will act as Presider at the Eucharist for the first time on Sunday 23rd July at 10am. I hope as many of us as possible will be able to join us for those great celebrations of ministry.
This time last year I was talking about the wider Christian community, and the Vision which our Diocese is calling us to live – this vision has been recrafted and restated, and the three aspects of it Faith in Foundation, Faith in Formation, and Faith in Action are the headings under which our own vision will be created. Using the excellent work done by the Quo Vadis: Discerning Our Paths Together team, which has already had a profound effect on the life of our parish and the workings of our Parish Council (PC), we will be creating a plan for our life together; things we long to achieve, and goals to set ourselves. I am in process of appointing a small team to do this work, with a deadline of Fall 2017 to share our Vision/Action Strategy. If anyone would be interested in this work, please contact me via the office, or email, or by phone.
The Diocesan Vision is available on the website bc.anglican.ca and for those who would like a printout we can make copies in the office, as we continue to seek to integrate our calling to work and minister together with an eye towards our shared future, we are all called to engage in this process and discussions will continue in the coming weeks and months as to how we are to do that.
With the changes which have happened and continue to be a part of the life of our Parish, life can sometimes feel somewhat disjointed, and we might have a certain amount of anxiety about the way we are going. Please be assured that I, and the clergy and lay leadership will continue to consult, to listen, to discern the needs and direction of this community – for we all have a part in the life of our Church.
As we prepare to celebrate the wonderful promise of new, renewed, life at Eastertime, may we remain secure in the hope of our faith, in the bonds of our common life, and in the joy of resurrected life.
Happy Easter to you all!
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel,