Invitation

Celebration of New Ministry at St. John the Evangelist
The Family of St. John’s wish to
invite you to join us for the Induction Service of
The Reverend Canon Val Kerr .
The Service will be held,
Thursday March 26, 2015 at 7:oo pm
3428 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, ON L2J 2K4
Clergy are invited to vest in white,
We are hoping you will be able to join us in this exciting celebration of new ministry with Canon Val . Please plan to stay & join us after the service for a time of fellowship and light refreshments.  RSVP
905 354-1227 or by e-mail: stjohn@cogeco.net

question of the week

Question of the Week ~ Why do people sometimes cross themselves in our worship services?  How do you know when is the right time to cross yourself?

A few generations ago, this question would not have come up.  You were either in a congregation which engaged in these sorts of practices, or you weren’t.  The worship and prayer practices within one particular church community were uniform enough that people simply knew what to do.  The fact that, on many occasions or Sunday morning you will see a variety of people responding to our prayers and our worship in a variety of ways, this is actually a very good sign.  Church is becoming less like a club for insiders, and more like the diverse, unruly, surprising community it was always intended to be.  When we see people engaging in practices different from our own – like marking the sign of the cross on themselves during a particular prayer – and when we ask questions about something we don’t understand, we all have an opportunity to learn.

So, crossing ourselves.  This is a worship practice that was not part of my upbringing.  It was not something that I saw people in my home parish of St Thomas Belleville doing.  It’s a practice I took up later, and I took it up because it became meaningful to me.  It comes out of the ‘catholic’ tradition – I am using the ‘small c’ word ‘catholic’ to mean the most ancient practices of the church – which understood prayer as being very sensual.  Prayer is not merely about our mind and spirit, it is also about our bodies, our physical beings.  Bells, art, music, bread, wine, stained glass – all of these parts of worship, both in the ancient church and today, open our ears, noses, tongues, and eyes to the relationship with God which we believe God is always offering.  The simple act of moving my hands —  head to chest, shoulder to shoulder – this is a physical way of entering into prayer, of reminding myself of something not just with words, but also with action.

I have learned to cross myself at moments in our worship where a blessing is being communicated.  For example:

Opening Greeting:  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit” – we gather in blessing.  Our life in community is founded in those three gifts from God:  grace, love, and fellowship.

-Gospel Reading – we can make crosses on our forehead, our lips, our heart, asking that the Gospel touch our lives in what we think and say and how we love.

Creed:  at the end of the creed, we speak of the promise of Resurrection.

Absolution:  when we offer a confession, when we speak of the ways in which we have failed, made mistakes, experienced pain and brokenness, and the priest offers Absolution.  The priest speaks those words, spoken to us by Jesus, that we are forgiven, that God’s desire is that we know healing and reconciliation.

Eucharistic Prayer:  at the words “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”  These words are from Scripture, and we understand that they speak of Jesus.  However, we also understand that we share in that blessing.  We, too, can be ‘the one who comes in the name of the Lord’.

Receiving Communion:  Before receiving the bread or the wine, it is common to see people cross themselves as a centering and reminding of the life and promise we are receiving.

 

Common CupDue to the fact that Health Canada has declared our area to be in a Flu Outbreak, we are recommending that people refrain from receiving the wine at Communion during worship. We still are offering the chalices and chalice bearers, and the wine can be taken, if that is your desire. But it is our recommendation, whether you feel well or not, to refrain until the outbreak lifts. The Anglican Church recognizes that Communion has been fully received, even if it is just taken ‘in one kind.’ (ie. If you receive just the bread, you have still fully received Communion). We will continue to monitor the situation.

John Philip Newell

In the silence before time began, in the quiet of the womb,
in the stillness of early morning is your beauty.
At the heart of all creation,
at the birth of every creature,
at the centre of each moment
is your splendour.
rekindle in me the sparks of your beauty
that I may be part of the splendour of this moment. rekindle in me the sparks of your beauty
that I may be part of the blazing splendour
that burns from the heart of this moment.

-from Sounds of the Eternal

thought for the day

Our Unique Call

So many terrible things happen every day that we start wondering whether the few things we do ourselves make any sense.  When people are starving only a few thousand miles away, when wars are raging close to our borders, when countless people in our own cities have no homes to live in, our own activities look futile. Such considerations, however, can paralyse us and depress us.

Here the word call becomes important.  We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people.  But we each have our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world.  We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust.  Then we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

For further reflection …

“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.” – Hebrews 6: 7 (NIV)

Who are the Wardens of St. John’s? What is their job? Who is on Parish Council? What is their job?

The Wardens, along with the Rector of the parish, comprise what is called “The Corporation” of the congregation.  Together, these three persons are entrusted with the responsibility to govern and lead the congregation, and to bear legal and financial responsibility for the life of the church.  One Warden is elected by the Vestry (the entire church membership) in February for the coming year.  One Warden is appointed by the Rector.  It is a testament to the depth of leadership and wisdom in this parish that our Wardens serve as Deputy Warden for one year prior to taking their position, essentially learning the job and sharing in the decision-making and responsibility of the congregation.

This year, our People’s Warden (elected by the Vestry) is Lil Booth and our Rector’s Warden (appointed by me) is Gary Jenkinson.  Deputy People’s Warden is Pat Olson, and Deputy Rector’s Warden is Karen James.  You will see all four of your Wardens regularly acting as welcoming, guide, helper, and key-keeper at our 10:30 am worship service.  If at any point you have any questions, concerns, hopes or insights about our ministry here, these four people are readily available to approach.

The Parish Council is composed of the Rector, the Wardens and Deputy Wardens, Lay Representatives to Synod (the governing body of the Anglican church in a particular geographical region), other members of the Congregation as elected at Vestry or as appointed by the Rector.  At St. John’s, the additional members have been comprised of a variety of people who hold leadership roles in ministry at St. John’s, keeping in mind the desire to have representatives of the spectrum of ages we have at St. John’s as well as people from both the 8am and 10:30am worship services.

The role of Parish Council is:

(a) To consult with, advise and assist the Rector or Incumbent and Churchwardens and to co-ordinate the activities of the various local Church organizations.

(b) To assist the Churchwardens in securing the funds required for the purposes of the Church.

(c) To make recommendations in regard to insurance and maintenance of Church property.

(d) To assist the Rector or Incumbent and Churchwardens in informing the Congregation fully of the plans, activities and needs of the whole Church.

(e) To assist the Churchwardens in preparing for the Annual Vestry Meeting estimates of receipts and expenditures for the coming year.

(f) To assist in organizing the Congregation for visiting the sick and poor, calling on newcomers, making surveys and canvasses and promoting generally the welfare and progress of the Congregation and the Church at large.

In view of this ‘job description’ you will notice that our Wardens now take responsibility for sharing a monthly report with the congregation on the decision-making of the Council.  You will also notice that Parish Council is open to any who want to attend.  However, only those who are elected or appointed are permitted to vote.  Your Parish Council this year, along with me and the Wardens, is: Jacky Lankin, Maryse Fisher, Val Cockings, Lynne Coull, Jill Shupe, Eleanor Frost, Catharine Bennett, Rhonda Smith, and Kim Martignago.

The Lenten prayer for this week is written by Trappist monk Thomas Merton.

 

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.