The Good Samaritan

Greetings, folks of St. John’s,

    Another delightful, busy, happy morning of worship on the Sunday of Oct. 26! Great to have some parishioners return to us, from travels and times of illness, and the children with their Halloween costumes and smiles and shenanigans. There were a lot there this morning and we are so glad to have them. They will be out and about haunting the streets tonight.
     We enjoyed coffee and cake after the services, the cake in honour of Eleanor Frost and her Order of Niagara (thanks, Kim). Thanks, Diane, for stepping in to arrange the coffee hour. Blessings to Wendy and Gary and their children as they move to Hanover. Hope to see them at Christmastime. All bests in the next stage of your journey together.
     Bazaar and Synod are soon upon us (Nov. 8). As well as Advent. The seasons pass so quickly, seemingly faster and faster as one ages.
      In light of the events in Canada last week, it is important to remember what FDR once famously told his people: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” And one of the oft repeated phrases in the Bible is “Fear not!” As people of the Way, we continue to pray and work for justice and peace for all God’s people.
      Shalom. wf
ps. Homily on Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan: oct.26.good sam

 

Baptism

Greetings, St John’s parish!

That was a thoroughly enjoyable Sunday. The baptism of two adults and three children at the 10:30 service was a joyful celebration of life and love. As my homily mentioned, oct.19.A few words about baptism, Jesus spoke much about children. I imagine he related to children extremely well. His tenderness and intimacy with children would have been quite rare in such a patriarchal society.

The afternoon of last Sunday was also a rich celebration at the cathedral, as many lay people, our own Eleanor Frost among them, were awarded the Order of Niagara. Members of Eleanor’s family were in attendance as were members of her church family. A proud moment for all!

Duncan and Wendy are safely back from their vacation in the Dominican, and for their safe return we are truly grateful. They enjoyed a much needed rest.

As I write, the terrible violence in our nation’s capital is still unfolding. It is unbelievable that such events can happen in our peaceful nation, known the world over as peace-makers. However, we pledge our allegiance to the Prince of Peace and know that even now his message of  “peace and goodwill” will triumph, indeed, has already. Our prayers go out for the young soldier killed at the War Memorial and his loved ones, for all the first responders and for the perpetrator of this heinous act and his family. Peace be upon them.

Shalom. wf

Blessing of the Animals

Well, that was a wonderfully chaotic, celebratory service last Sunday morning, with all the animals brought by loving families for a blessing on the Feast of St. Francis. Even at the 8am service we enjoyed the gentle presence of Arthur (although I did notice that he yawned in the middle of my sermon!).

I haven’t done that many St. Francis services, but usually I encounter dogs and cats wanting a blessing. Not at St. John’s where CHILDREN ARE SEEN AND HEARD! We can add ANIMALS to the church motto. In addition to dogs and cats, Walt and I blessed a betta (Siamese Fighting Fish), a boy in a turtle costume (all set for Halloween) and his stuffed orca, a robotic puppy and a stuffed gerbil in his own house. Most moving of all, however, were the caribou antlers, by which I asked the Creator’s blessing on the much threatened northern caribou herd and on the Inuit people who depend on the herd for sustenance and livelihood. St. Francis came from the memorial garden into the sanctuary and added his blessings to all. St. John’s is so fortunate to have such a welcoming, celebratory place of worship.

For such a creative family service, the homily I prepared was longer than usual and rather academic. I appreciated the attention of the children and their animals; it helped the adults concentrate on the gospel lesson.Oct.5.Divine Vintner

On Monday of last week, Kim and David, Catherine and Ed, joined Eleanor and me at the Bishop’s Company annual dinner at the Burlington Convention centre. This year’s speaker was Walter Gretzky, father of The Great One, who spoke movingly setting aside his personal challenges in order to love his neighbour. You can read Eleanor’s review of his speech in the upcoming issue of the Niagara Anglican. Organizers added a photo booth this year to the festivities.  W&E@BC

This coming Thanksgiving weekend, I will be away on Sunday, as my family is celebrating the wedding of our youngest daughter–our last child to marry. I am privileged to officiate, and the ceremony and reception will take place in Robertson Hall in downtown St. Catharines. I’ll post a few pictures after the event as soon as I can.

As Duncan and Wendy head south for a much deserved vacation, Howard will officiate and preach at both services this Sunday. I’ll be back in the office next Wednesday and Thursday, and we are all prepared for the service of Baptism, Oct. 19.

Keep the Parochial Committee in your prayers as they prepare to meet with Bishop Michael next Tuesday evening about the next stage in the process of searching for a new rector for St. John’s.

Shalom. wf