It’s time for a "welcome back" letter for those of you who have had chance to get away, and a "thank you for being here" letter for those of us who have stayed around our beautiful city! As we are trying to keep communicating throughout the year, on the website, in the bulletin, and through announcements and discussions, you may have noticed that these letters are getting shorter all the time, and I don’t plan on filling up too much paper (real or virtual depending on how you receive this) this time.
A Busy Summer
It has been an eventful few weeks, with some highs and some very low lows. At General Synod in July, as most of you will know, the amendment to the Marriage Canon fell which would have enshrined equal marriage in the laws of the Anglican Church of Canada. I have written at some length about this on our blog on this website and alongside statements from our Bishop Logan and all of us who were synod members from this diocese on https://bc.anglican.ca. (All of these documents can be provided by the office if you would like copies.) Therefore, I don’t intend to say much more except two things: Firstly, the fall of the canon does not mean equal marriage cannot take place in the Church, and we will continue to offer marriage to all who are legally able to be married. Secondly, the way in which this happened points towards a need for deep reform within the governance of the Anglican Church of Canada, something being tackled by the lay and clergy and episcopal members of the Council of General Synod. It was, in the end, an exhausting, but ultimately hopeful synod, and many good things came from our time gathered together in Vancouver.
On my return from synod it was my pleasure to be married to Dr. Sabina Singh by Bishop Logan at St. John’s. It was a wonderful day, and for me, very much a celebration of community as well as a joyful wedding. Thank you all for your support, not just on the day, but over the past few months and years. I wouldn’t have made it without you. For the many folk who helped set up, serve, clear up, and make the celebration such a feast both liturgically and physically, thank you so very much.
I also managed to take some time off following the wedding, and I am grateful to our staff team for all the work they have put in over the summer time – though we all have cause to be grateful for the work they put in all of the time!
Not Just Looking Back
We celebrated very recently the revalidation of the Rev. Grant Croswell’s Orders of Ministry, which means from now on Grant will be able to preside at the Holy Eucharist and able to offer his ministry as a priest within the Church. Bishop Logan also announced that Grant will continue to work, as a voluntary priest associate, here at St. John’s until God, or the bishop, or a combination of the two, have other work which will suit his particular gifts and talents for Grant to do. We’re very glad to have you on board, Grant!
Of course we continue to move ahead: in our Strategic Plan revision and implimentation, which there will be an update on in September; in the ongoing work of maintenance and renewal of the fabric of our building; in our worshipping life; in our learning and discussions; and in our social life as we celebrate and enjoy being community.
Discussions, Plans, Considerations
This fall, as well as the usual events and strategic planning, we are seeking to address and explore changes we need to make as a community, to consider our pattern of worship, to look at the leadership of some of the activities we undertake and the viability of other activites. There are exciting possibilities and challenges ahead, so please look out for announcements - online, in the bulletin, in church – regarding discussions we will be having on
- social justice and social action
- refugee ministry
- on the future of "Divine Brunch"
- our social activities
- the opportunity to find out about, and get involved in, our many and varied ministries within the community.
We continue to seek to make as clear as possible our financial reporting, making changes to our administration to make our work as efficient as possible. All these things are ways in which our life as community is lived out and I encourage us all to be involved in discussion, volunteering, supporting, and encouraging the rich life of St. John’s parish.
There is always plenty happening at St. John’s – and I continue to be excited by the life of this church and by all that we are doing – as well as all the possibilities for the future of our growing, living, loving, community. Thank you to all of you, and thank you to the staff and volunteers who work so hard as we serve this community and the wider world together.
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel,