Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Taste, Sight, Touch, Smell, and Sound


A Parish Vision seems to speak (metaphorically) to just one of the five senses. These are the traditional ways of perception and each is valid, and each is important. For example, we taste communion through bread and wine; we see the story depicted in stained glass; we touch one another in the Peace; we smell the welcoming scent of coffee; and we hear the glorious tones of the hymns we sing. These are just a few examples of how the Gospel is communicated through our five senses.

In October (25,26, 27) we will be taking time to review our Vision and Mission statements and the last thing I’d like to see is a merely intellectual exercise. What I hope happens is that we take a look, that is, try and perceive with all our senses if the statements still apply; what’s missing; and what’s do we think God is calling us to over the next five years.

Sure, I could do this by myself, but none of us should trust a discernment process that only one person participates in. So, by far the better course is for a collective evaluation of the statements with a view to the next five years.

How many should participate? I don’t know, but more than one for sure.

Who should participate? You, yes you! We are a community wonderfully blessed by tremendous diversity. Each of us belongs at these opportunities for unwrapping our Vision and Mission statements. Each of us has gifts and points-of-view that add value to the conversation. Please participate.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Local Option


“May you live in interesting times.” That is a greeting that can be equally thought of as a blessing or a curse. It has been an interesting summer in the life of this Anglican Church of ours, to say the least. Fred Hiltz, the former Primate liked to call us a “beloved” Church. Many of us were quite upset, myself included, at the loss of the vote to allow the Marriage Canon to be more inclusive and allow for the marriage of same sex couples in the church. Hours after the vote our bishop, Archbishop Ron Cutler indicated that he would exercise the local option and provide guideline and liturgies for the Marriage of same sex couples in our Diocese.

Archbishop Cutler says in a letter to the Parishes of the Diocese that he sees the “full inclusion of same sex couples in the sacramental life of the church,” as a, “faithful development in our theology of marriage…” 

In other words, as of now, same sex marriage is permitted in the parishes of the diocese. For this to happen at St. Paul’s a letter must be sent from the parish to Archbishop Cutler indicating that the Parish Council and the rector are in agreement with allowing same sex marriages to take place at St. Paul’s.

This is something that this parish has discussed and discerned about for decades. It is my opinion that there is widespread agreement here to allow for same sex marriages. However, it is the right and duty of the Parish Council to decide if we are ready to proceed, or if further discernment is necessary. It will be on the agenda for September’s Parish Council (Tuesday).

Copies of the letter from the Archbishop are available on our web-page and there are hard copies available today (Sunday).

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Clergy are Real People Too


There was a time when the consumption of beer was, for me, a matter of quantity.  Now, in my more discerning years, it is a quality that counts. Quality over quantity probably applies to more and more things in my life. Beer came to mind because Buy A Priest A Beer Day is fast approaching.

I wish I could point to an historical event like some English sheriff placing an unfair tariff on beer and the local clergy rose up and saved the day. And the people were so happy they plied their clergy with free beer. And ever since, early in September…

Well, I haven’t found such a story. Sadly though, there are plenty of stories where clergy did quite the opposite and touted the total tea pledge.

I should interject that there is a famous entry in the minutes of the Liverpool, Nova Scotia Temperance Society expressing disappointment that yet another Anglican clergy-person moved into the community and refused to join the Society.

So, if your getting the impression that Buy A Priest A Beer Day is totally made up and hardly even a decade old, you’d be right. It dates all the way back to 2007. But it has a lofty purpose—to remind the faithful, and the not so much, that clergy are people too.

I don’t think, in my case, there’s much doubt regarding my humanness and associated failings. Occasionally however, I wish more people remembered and appreciated that I too am on a spiritual journey and that we are here to help one another along the way.

So, I wouldn’t refuse a free beer, but more importantly, to continue to have what I already enjoy in this community: forgiveness after I’ve messed up; love when I hurt; and acceptance when I’ve changed. And I promise to continue to forgive, love, and accept you.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Rest

It's time for a rest from the blog-spot - check back in September 2019.

John.