Greetings, good people of St. John’s, Stamford:
I hope people enjoyed the special service and sermon to celebrate our connection to the Earth, to the universe, indeed, to Creation itself. Embedded in the homily Earth Day 2014 is the web link to the video I played, “Voyage to the Edge of the Universe,” which explores a theme similar to the stained glass window beside the piano.
I appreciated the positive comments after both services. Our spiritual connection to the Creator and Creation will give us the inspiration and strength to save life on this our fragile island home.
I am in the office Tuesday and Friday this week, to cover in Kim’s absence. As well, there is a Parish Council meeting at 7pm Wednesday evening in the Russell Room.
Next Sunday, May 4, after services, we will gather for a workshop on Assets of the parish, past and present. I hope many people will elect to join the discussion to discern the strengths of our church.
I seemed to have missed posting my homily for Palm Sunday, so here it is: 2014 Palm Sunday sermon
Holy Week is a busy week for clergy and lay folk alike. Thank you to all who made the week successful and meaningful, especially Karen James, Catherine Bennett and Duncan Lyon who led worship services in the first half of the week.
I was pleased with the gathering for Seder supper on Maundy Thursday and hope the congregation found the family rite moving and spiritually significant. Many thanks to the Parish Council members who helped prepare the meal and especially to Eleanor Frost who was chief cook and produced a fine meal with the help of some novice sous-chefs.
The Ecumenical service on Good Friday at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd was well attended and also quite moving.
It was gratifying and joyful to have so many people out to our Easter celebrations last Sunday morning. 2014 meaning of Easter I enjoyed seeing new faces, and familiar ones too, and meeting a few people I had not met before. Trust we will see them again before Christmas.
The children were delightful at the kids’ focus, stealing the show as usual. We are so lucky to have children of all ages in our midst, our future indeed: “And a little child shall lead them.”
I was in the office this week on Wednesday and Friday, to accomodate the cleaners during Kim’s vacation, which began Thursday. There was a good turnout at the Fashion Show Wednesday evening, a night of good fun.
Sunday was a beautiful spring day. Sun and warmth arrived to help our Easter celebrations. We had the family at our home on Easter Monday and enjoyed a barbeque on the patio and fun in the sun hunting for Easter eggs with our grandchildren. It’s a little colder this weekend, but soon we will see the darling buds of May.
This coming Sunday we will celebrate Earth Day with a special ecological eucharist at both services.
Greetings again, St. John’s peoples! Forecast highs of +19 today are wonderful, but hard to believe with this high wind. And the dreaded s-word has been uttered in the forecast for Monday midnight. Let us pray.
The Business Vestry meeting last Sunday went well, imho. Matt was in fine form, without a cane and smiling and laughing. He explained carefully the 2013 figures and there were several questions seeking clarification. All was accepted and positive questions about the debt situation and creative ideas for fund-raising ensued. There was no rancour and the parish is determined to eliminate the historic debt and to prevent such a situation from recurring.
It is certainly of little use to pay off the debt to the diocese without an equally viable plan to achieve financial stability moving forward. Otherwise, the parish will keep falling behind each year. As Matt stated at the meeting, $4,000 income each week is necessary to meet the bills and budget. It is healthiest for a parish to meet the budget through regular donations rather than through fund-raising. In that way, a congregation is free to focus on its chief mission, service to neighbours.
As my sermon for Lent5.Old Bones states, it is the experience of many churches like St. John’s to transform themselves over and over again, to find, like the people of Israel in Ezekiel, new life in old bones. I am confident that St. John’s will rise from its current challenge with renewed vigour.
Well, last Wednesday I declared winter over, and on Saturday night we had white out conditions and 6 inches of snow on the ground Sunday morning. My son tells me they had no snow in Toronto and my brother says they had none in Burlington. So I guess like King Canute I have been put in my place.
However, do you think we’ve crossed the line into springtime? Eleanor and I have so enjoyed this warmer weather of the past three days. We got the bikes out and went for a long ride, and re-discovered muscles we had forgotten we had. We have puttered in the yard, cleaning up debris and spreading wood chips. The songbirds are singing cheerfully each morning and we expect to hear the croakers come awake any day now. Daffodils along the golf course are up a good inch already, almost overnight it seems, and in our own garden we have one green shoot in evidence. “In Just spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful . . .” e.e. cummings
We look forward to greeting many in the coming days. Join us for Palm Sunday and Easter, but also consider the services during Holy Week. We will have a family celebration of Seder Supper on Maundy Thursday. The parish council will cook a meal, and the Seder ritual will teach the children and all of us our Hebrew heritage. It is a joyous time of fellowship.
The homily for Lent4.Seeing is here. Shalom. wf