Friday, December 28, 2012

Sermon on the Killings at Sandy Hook Elementary

This is a sermon given on December 16th 2012 by the Very Rev. Gary Hall, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral. In a morning sermon delivered to more than 1,000 Episcopal congregants in Washington, D.C., he vowed to mobilize the nation's faith communities to fight the influence of pro-gun lobbying groups and advocate for stronger gun control laws.

We gather this morning in the aftermath of a national tragedy: the killing of 28 people—20 of them children—at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Like you, I am still in the process of sorting out all my emotional responses to this horrifying incident. In times like this, we all come together seeking not so much answers as a community in which to make sense of the questions.

The only reliable way I know through something like this is to start with my own response, trusting that in many ways it resembles yours, and then holding that response up to the Gospel light, asking God what we should all do next.

It appears that most of those who died on Friday were first graders. There is nothing like a primary school classroom: it’s not only the bright colors and the fun things that make it special. It’s the sense that you’re in a place where children are making an important transition, moving from innocence to experience, engaging the world afresh and anew. So my first response to Friday’s shooting is a kind of wounded horror at the thought that these emergent children were killed so brutally and that the children around them were terrorized as well. I grieve, of course, for the adults too. But it is the loss of the children—the lives not lived, the hopes extinguished—that touches me first.

My thoughts move next to the parents. As I remember my own days as the parent of a young child, I recall my own visceral sense that my primary purpose in life was to protect and nurture the life of my son. When you have a child you are emotionally exposed. Not only can I not fully take in the way the children were traumatized; I cannot even begin to grasp the pain experienced by their parents.

And then from the parents my thoughts go to the shooter. While I resist the temptation to speculate about his mental or emotional state, it’s hard to imagine someone carrying out such an act who wasn’t in an awful lot of psychic pain themselves. We reflexively turn to calling such people “evil,” as if in so doing we mark them as somehow different from us. Was the shooter “evil”? In the sense that he caused a lot of innocent suffering, yes I suppose he was. But can we call him “evil” as a way of excluding him or his actions from the realm of humanity? No, I don’t believe we can. We need to understand his action—and the actions of all violent people—as a part of what it means to be human. Like it or not, we are bound up with each other in a complex matrix of motivations and actions. To understand is not to excuse. Let’s not apologize for the shooter, but let’s not try to pretend that he’s someone other than us, either. If he was mentally ill, he was also a member of a family, and we know that existing laws make it very difficult for families to control or institutionalize their violent members.

And thinking about “us” makes me ask the last, the harder question. Why do we as a society tolerate these massacres in increasing numbers? These mass shootings are happening with increasing frequency, and they more and more seem to be targeted directly against children. What does it say about us as a society that we continue to tolerate so much violence against children? What does it say about us, as a community of human beings, that we are willing to put our children (not to mention their teachers) in so much jeopardy? In every school I know they have lockdown drills, and the threat of invasive gun violence is taken very seriously. What kind of a society would let itself get to this point, to where teachers and students routinely have to practice what they will do when a shooter comes on campus? If you stand back from it for a minute, you realize that our continued shared tolerance of this violence directed against our children is insane.

All of which leads me, finally, to ask the Gospel question: what are we, as people of faith, to do? As a way into answering that question, I turn to this morning’s Gospel passage, the account of John the Baptist addressing the crowds who are coming to him out of some kind of personal and spiritual and social desperation. What does he say to them? “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” What he means is: stop doing the crazy thing you’re doing and do a new thing, a new thing that will bear fruit, that will bring about the change you seek.

The crowd asks him, “What then should we do?” And John gives this direct and plain-spoken answer:
“Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” [Luke 3: 10-14]

Now you don’t have to be a New Testament scholar or an ethicist or a moral philosopher to understand what John is saying here. He’s saying: it’s not that complicated. You already knew the answer when you asked the question. Share what you have, live honorably, value the well-being of the other person as highly as your own. We make our ethical dilemmas seem more complicated than they really are. In today’s Gospel, we’re asked, simply, to repent, to turn around, and then to bear fruits worthy of repentance. We’re asked to live mutually and honorably and compassionately for the well-being of all.

Which leads me to say, on behalf of this faith community at least: enough is enough. As followers of Jesus, we have the moral obligation to stand for and with the victims of gun violence and to work to end it. We have tolerated school shootings, mall shootings, theater shootings, sniper shootings, workplace shootings, temple and church shootings, urban neighborhood shootings, for far too long. The massacre of these 28 people in Connecticut is, for me at least, the last straw. And I believe it is for you. Enough is enough. The Christian community—indeed the entire American faith community—can no longer tolerate this persistent and escalating gun violence directed against our people. Enough is enough.

For a variety of reasons our political culture has been unwilling and unable to address the question of gun control, but now it is time that you and I, as followers of Jesus, help them to do that. In his emotional statement on Friday, President Obama called for “meaningful action” in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, and I pledge my and this community’s help in crafting and taking that action.

Our political leaders need to know that there is a group of people in America who will serve as a counterweight to the gun lobby, who will stand together with our leaders and support them as they act to take assault weapons off the streets. As followers of Jesus, we are led by one who died at the hand of human violence on the cross. We know something about innocent suffering. And we know our job is to heal it and stop it wherever we can.

In my statement on Friday, I said in part, “Washington National Cathedral pledges to pray for the victims, their families, the assailant, and the survivors. And we pledge to work with our national leaders to enact more effective gun control measures.” To my way of thinking, the best way for us to mourn the Sandy Hook shooting is to mobilize the faith community for gun control.

In her statement on Friday, Bishop Budde announced that she is calling on our national leaders to enact more effective gun control measures. We know from experience that such calls go unheeded. But what if this time, you and I took up this issue and wouldn’t put it down until something was done? … Today we grieve, but soon we act.

“What if this time, you and I took up this issue and wouldn’t put it down until something was done?” What would Jesus do? What would John the Baptist do? What should you and I do? You knew the answer even before you asked the question. “Bear fruits worthy of repentance.” “Today we grieve, but soon we act.” As people of faith we can no longer tolerate the epidemic of gun violence in America. If we are truly America’s “National” Cathedral, as we say we are, then we must become the focal point of faithful advocacy of gun control, calling our leaders to courageous action and supporting them as they take it.

Everyone in this city seems to live in terror of the gun lobby. But I believe the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby. I don’t want to take away someone’s hunting rifle, but I can no longer justify a society that allows concealed handguns in schools and on the streets or that allows people other than military and police to buy assault weapons or that lets people get around existing gun laws by selling weapons to people without background checks at gun shows. As Christians, we are obligated to heal the wounded, protect the vulnerable, and stand for peace. The cross is the sign and the seal of that obligation. And we know both from faith and experience that the cross is mightier than the gun. The gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby.

On this Third Sunday of Advent, we await the birth of the one who will die on that cross at the hands of sinful and violent people. Let us rededicate ourselves as agents of Jesus’ love and justice and healing in the world. Let us pray for the children and adults who died on Friday. Let us pray for the parents and the surviving children and the pain they continue to endure. Let us pray for the shooter and the miasma of sickness and pain he suffered. Let us pray for the mentally ill and their families, and let us help those families more effectively cope with their sickest members. And let us pray for ourselves, that we may have faithful courage to act, so that the murderous violence done on Friday may never be repeated, and that all God’s children may live lives of wholeness and blessing and peace. Amen.

Source: Washington National Cathedral

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Christmas Letter from the Rev. J.B. Pratt Rector of St. Philip's Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In her much-loved children’s carol, “Once in Royal David’s City”, Cecil Frances Alexander wrote:
            
            Not in that poor lowly stable, with the oxen standing by,
            We shall see him, but in heaven, set at God’s right hand on high;
            When like stars his children crowned, all in white shall wait around.

Like most of her children’s hymns, the carol presents a future hope of being in the presence of Christ.  The message:  If you are good little boys and girls, following Jesus’ example, you will have a place in heaven.  There’s nothing wrong with her message, it’s just incomplete.

The complete good news of the child in the manger, the Word made flesh, is that God is present among us here and now, sharing our humanity, including our frailties and mortality.

It makes a huge difference.  If we believe that we will experience the presence of God only when this mortal life is over, then all we need do is live upright lives, avoiding doing wrong to others, and we have our ticket to heaven.  But, if we believe that God is incarnate in the world, then we must live our lives seeking to encounter Christ in one another and in strangers, and seeking to be the presence of Christ to others.

More and more at St.  Philip’s, we are moving towards living out the Incarnation in this way.  We come together for fellowship, not just around the altar, but around the tables of our Harvest Pot-luck and other community meals.  We are making a difference in addressing poverty and hunger in our community; over 40 members of SPC participated in the NDG Food Depot’s annual food drive, and we gave the Depot over $1000 from our Coffeehouse and Community Yard Sale.  Members and non-members came together this fall to discuss the environmental crisis in the context of Scripture, faith and hope, and started some small actions by which we can start to make a difference.    This Advent, a group is gathering on Tuesday nights to explore how to deepen our personal encounters with God in prayer and meditation.

All these actions help us to live out the spirit of Christmas, not just once a year, but continually.  By being a vibrant community which lives out its faith, we can share the gift of the presence of Christ with others.  

As we welcome Christ into our hearts and homes once again this Christmas, may we continue to live and to share the Incarnation throughout the year.

May you have a blessed Christmas.
                                                                                                
The Rev. James B.  Pratt                                                                                            
Rector

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Child: A Christmas Message from Archbishop Fred Hiltz the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Dear sisters and brothers,

In this Holy Season of Christmas we celebrate the nativity of the Christ Child. With the angels we give glory to God. With the shepherds we come to adore him. With the magi we offer our gifts. With all our forbears in the faith we rejoice in His birth.

Even as our eyes are focused on the Child we know that great truth penned by the hymn writer:

Though an infant now we view him,
he shall fill his Father's throne,
gather all the nations to him;
every knee shall then bow down.

But for these 12 days we do linger around that stable in Bethlehem. As we sing the carol, "Away in a Manger" my eyes always well up as we come to the line, "Bless all the dear children in thy tender care."

My tears and perhaps yours as well reflect the great love with which we hold our children and grandchildren and the compassion with which we are called to care for so many other children who live with extreme poverty, the ravages of disease and the atrocities of war. I think of the dear children of Sub-Saharan Africa, The Congo, Syria, and Gaza.

As many of you are, I think of those dear children and their teachers who were innocent victims of multiple shootings at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut. I ask that these children and all others who suffer, be remembered in prayer this Christmas.

As with Mary and Joseph we adore the Christ Child; let us love our own children and let us teach them well. Let us so celebrate Christmas that they come to know its true meaning and blessing for us all.

May love and peace be yours this Christmastide.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advent Podcasts by the Rev. Dr. Arthur Boers


Advent IV: Wonder and Awe

In this podcast for the fourth week of Advent, the Rev. Dr. Arthur Boers starts with the unlikely, wonderful pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth. Where are our astonishing moments, asks Boers, where we find deep wonder and awe?

Advent III: Joy and Relief

In this podcast for the third week of Advent, the Rev. Dr. Arthur Boers looks at how joy—real joy—can exist and survive in the midst of bad circumstances.

Advent II: Preparation and Anticipation

In this podcast for the second week of Advent, the Rev. Dr. Arthur Boers looks at themes of preparation and anticipation. He wonders, how can average people like us lead lives that welcome the Messiah?

Advent I: Promise and Prophecy

In this podcast for the first week of Advent, the Rev. Dr. Arthur Boers explores themes of promise and prophecy—the promises we think we’re getting at this time of year, and the powerful prophecies that are true right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meet the Community: One Family's Journey of Faith - An Interview with Jean-Guy, Lori Ann and Sophie-Claire

We are pleased to announce the start of a new “Meet The Community” interview series. Through this series we invite you to get to know the people that comprise our community at St. Philip's Church. As part of this series we will be interviewing different people in the church in a mixed media format which will include text interviews and videos. 

In our first installment of “Meet The Community” we interview a tight knit family as they share their inspirational thoughts on their early religious experience, how they found St. Philips and what they get from being part of our parish life.


____________________________________________________

Jean-Guy and Lori Ann are a professional couple in their forties, they are the proud parents of their 10 year old daughter Sophie-Claire. This family enjoys spending time together, hiking, canoeing and listening to classical music.

Early Religious Experiences

Jean-Guy is a husband, father and nature enthusiast who has excellent skills in fine wood working. He also bikes extensively with club Vélo Passion. His relationship to the church began as a boy at a time when church was part of school. Jean-Guy was raised as a Roman Catholic and he fondly remembers how he helped to serve mass for several years. He explained that he had a much closer relationship to the church than most children do today. Jean-Guy laments the fact that church has been pulled out of schools and has now been replaced with academic teachings rather than spiritual guidance.

Sophie-Claire is a bright eyed girl who enjoys horseback riding, dog sledding and taking care of the family's Labrador Retriever. She elaborated on her father's words saying that at school she takes a course called "Ethics and Culture," where they learn about politeness and cultural diversity.

"I find that is not helping them connect with their interior, their inside force if you will," Jean-Guy said. "To talk and have a dialogue with the spirit. So being exposed as young kid having the priests come into the home and at school, it was very present from month to month, it was not something in the background, it was part of our lives. Which is maybe something that is missing, taking the time just to go into just your inner feelings of what you really feel when you are praying for instance."

Lori Ann is a wife and mother who loves to knit, her interests include ballroom dance, ice dance and Ashtanga yoga. All four of Lori Ann's great-grandparents came from Eastern Europe and they were very religious. Her paternal grandmother would go on pilgrimages and she was also a major contributor to the MaryKnoll Sisters. In addition, her paternal grandmother put Lori Ann's cousin through seminary and he is now a Monsignor.

She recalls that her great grandmother's house was full of religious iconography. As she put it "you could not escape Jesus' gaze, because there were so many pictures it was intimidating." Like so many Catholics during that time, she was constantly being warned that "God is going to punish you."

Although Lori Ann's parents were not very religious and even though her family did not regularly attend church, Lori-Ann always felt a very deep connection with the divine. As Lori Ann described it "it was all here in my heart," she said motioning to her chest.

Lori Ann treasured her children's Bible and a prayer book her mother had given her, but she felt no connection to the Catholic priests that she knew and while she went to catechism, she came back with what she describes as "very little."

In high school Lori Ann started going to church with her friends, but after she graduated she got caught up in her job and other material preoccupations. But as time went by she started to feel an absence of meaning pervade her life and she felt like she needed to come back to the church.

How They Discovered St. Philip's

In response to a question about how they came to be part of the parish at St. Philip's, Lori Ann described how when she first moved to Quebec seven years ago she was struggling with day to day preoccupations of having a child and home ownership

"I felt life becoming increasingly overwhelming. We’re not getting younger, we had Sophie-Claire later in life, and I naively imagined that life would become easier with age’’, she said. "To us, it was becoming apparent that amongst our friends, life was all about what you have, as opposed to what kind of person you are. It was superficial and shallow. At times we were putting way too much importance on things, nearly seven days a week. I was starting to burn out. Sadly, the past few Christmas seasons I was completely overwhelmed. The ‘’race’’ was moving with increasing speed, and all I could think was, where is the meaning in all of this?"

She recalled a conversation with a religiously inclined girlfriend who would refer to some church-goers as C&Es, (people who only go to church only on Christmas and Easter). Although it did not sit well with her she was forced to admit that technically she was indeed a C&E.

The materialistic preoccupations of her peers was overwhelming. Lori Ann was feeling empty, even though she was going to yoga, she felt like she needed the kind of peace and the tranquility that she could only get from a church. She was also looking for a place for Sophie-Claire to continue with her sacraments, study and have her first communion.

These concerns provoked conversations with her husband Jean-Guy. Together they resolved to give church a try and they started attending different churches in their neighborhood. They attended francophone churches and they tried anglophone churches, but none of these experiences worked for them.

Nonetheless, they both believed that there was something better out there. At this point Lori Ann had a very bad bout with rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time Sophie-Claire was doing ballet at St. Philip's church. They ended up driving past the church on Sunday morning just as people were filing in for service.

Lori Ann was curious, she said "OK, it’s an Anglican church, but what does that mean?" She started going online to research Anglicanism while asking herself, "is it going to be hell, fire and brimstone if we change?" She had many heart to heart conversations with God about the prospect of attending an Anglican church.

One day when she was with Sophie-Claire she summoned up the courage to go into St. Philip's with the intention of grabbing some literature from the back. Then and Sophie-Claire said, "why aren't we going in mummy?" Despite a litany of excuses she provided to keep her from going into the church, she peeked through the door and after looking inside she said to herself, "I want to come here."

Lori Ann proceeded to talk to Jean-Guy and they said they will give it a try. She called Father Pratt right before Good Friday and they had a nice long conversation. As Lori Ann put it, she "felt like my gosh this is all clicking. I am really looking forward to this."

They began attending St. Philip's church on Palm Sunday and they have not looked back since.

A Deep Appreciation of St. Philip's

Prior to attending St. Philip's, Lori Ann was not a morning person, particularly when she was sick, but she does not feel like that anymore. "I actually feel, yes I want to go," she said. For Lori Ann St. Philip's brings her the peace and tranquility she was seeking. She appreciates the message, the fellowship and the music. She is also enamored with the gothic architecture of the church.

Lori Ann deeply appreciates the leadership of Rev. James Pratt, "I love Father Pratt's sermons," Lori Ann said, "I love listening to him."

As Lori Ann explains it, there are many facets that they enjoy at St. Philip's. ‘’Returning home after church we enjoy being together as a family. We are quietly content. There is a simpatico, a quiet simplicity, a calming; it’s something that we didn't always have on Sunday afternoons", she said.

Jean-Guy said he appreciates the formal service at St. Philip's, "the singing, the organ, are all part of it. I found in trying other churches I felt that the services were rushed through to some extent" he continued, "I like that the church is a small, I find it helps you connect with other people."

Jean-Guy describes services at St. Philip's as a "moving experience." "To me I find Father Pratt very inspiring." Jean-Guy said indicating that Father Pratt helps to guide his thought process. "I am not sure I would have connected with the church had father Pratt not been there and when we started coming I actually said that I do not know if I am going to St. Philip's because of my own needs or because father Pratt is inspiring me for my whole week. So its a mix of between the service and the actual delivery of the service but also what I get out of it for my week through the teachings, the readings and seeing how the other people also tend to be a closely knit group. There are different currents that pull in different directions nonetheless there is still a community aspect in this church."

Father Pratt helps to build connections within families. "You have a lot of families that are for whatever reason not living together, they live under the same roof, but they are not a family, they are not connected, they dont pass on knowledge," Jean Guy said. "That is how I felt Father Pratt was very inspiring to me...That is what I need in a priest to help me with my thought process and my feelings about different things. You cant just be left on your own in the church, thinking that you will work it through by yourself. To me the leader of the church is extremely important [and this is] a huge responsibility."

Lori Ann continued with Jean-Guy's train of thought saying, "I’ve never ever had an experience like I have had here at St Philips, I don't want him [Father Pratt] to stop talking... I could listen to him all day! I feel so fulfilled, to be able to take home these inspirational messages every Sunday. I wish I could convey this to others!’’

Lori Ann added, ‘’my experience at St. Philip's makes me feel centered. We are trying to instill these things in Sophie-Claire." When asked about what she likes most about St. Philip's church Sophie-Claire was quick to mention the Children's message given by Rev. Pratt. When asked if she had a message for other children who may not know about what you can get out of church she responded, "[I like church] to recharge our energy...it is good to learn about things, to know more and more about Jesus."

Lori Ann went on to say, "I hope that we can help somehow . . . with our words perhaps . . . to instill in others that this is an enriching experience. I didn't think that we would get so much out of it. Every week our experience has been inspiring. Father Pratt’s sermons have enlightened me over the past six months! Oftentimes, in the middle of a stressful week, something that was said at Sunday mass will come back to me . . . in reflecting on these inspirational messages, I can find tranquility and calm.’’

"I’ve found that my patience has increased (and I am quite a patient person already). I can feel the calming, centering energy from Sunday coming through me during the week. Often this is just the right remedy to remind me to take a step back, breathe and say, everything is OK."

The Church Community as an Antidote to our Consumer Culture

Jean-Guy concluded by saying that there is a lot of competition for their attention from clever marketers. He points to our consumer culture which he refers to as an insatiable new religion based on instant gratification. Church is an opportunity to slow down and get involved with community. "[Y]ou need to create a sense of community, you can show up at church every so often but you will never connect, it takes time, it takes time to develop, you grow into connecting with others, growing into a community"

As explained by Lori Ann, what she gets from church cannot be bought in stores. "[T]hese experiences . . .you take with you wherever you go, no matter where you are; at work, at home, happy times and sad. If one could reach deep down inside and get in touch with these amazing feelings, it may help to stay at peace and to live with hope.’’

"For me the church is extremely important. This was a missing component, and I’m thrilled to bring this experience back into my life," Lori Ann said.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Parishioners Efforts to Eliminate Styrofoam Cups in the Church

Recently some members of the St. Philip's community successfully launched a campaign to stop using styrofoam cups at the church. The initiative to replace styrofoam cups with ceramic cups was started by Carol a 50 year veteran of the church and a longtime member of the choir. Carol is a nurse who understands the environmental and health problems associated with styrofoam. This effort was also supported by Rosemary and Steven.

Styrofoam is created from modified petroleum and involves materials like polystyrene. According to Rodale, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, polystyrene is considered to be a “probable carcinogen.” And as explained in a study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal, when Styrofoam is heated, chemicals can leach out of the styrofoam and into beverages.

Carol, Steven and Rosemary were prominent participants in the recent Ecology and Spirituality discussion group at the Church. Carol said that through the group she gained a renewed appreciation of the biblical call to stewardship which "gave her a new vocabulary to talk about care for the Earth."

Carol's sensitivity to environmental issues has been part of her life since she was very young. Her grandmother was an important early influence on her eco-sensibilities. In a recent interview, Carol reminisced about how her grandmother shared her knowledge about the natural world while on long walks in the woods.

While camping with the Girl Guides as a child Carol appreciated the practice of "leaving things better than they found it." This is a philosophy that she applies to this day. She also sees the value of being "thrifty" and she strives to use only what is needed and to reuse things as much as possible.

Carol launched the initiative to end styrofoam cups because she knows that in addition to being harmful to human health they are also environmentally destructive. Styrofam does not fully decompose in landfills; according to some estimates the Styrofoam disposed of today will still be present in landfills one million years from now.

It is estimated that Styrofoam waste constitutes up to 30 percent of all landfill space. In Canada, 1.6 billion paper and polystyrene cups are thrown out each year. This translates to 23 lbs of waste per year for everyone who drinks just one cup of coffee or tea each day.

The decision to replace styrofoam cups with ceramic at the church is a great idea whose time had come. Although ceramic cups have an environmental footprint (manufacturing, shipping and washing) according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), after factoring in all the energy and water usage, a ceramic cup is far better than a styrofoam cup for the environment. The EDF estimates that using ceramic cups reduces solid waste by over 80 percent.

This was not the first time that Carol has tried to replace styrofoam cups with ceramic cups at the church. Many years ago she made a similar attempt but the parish was not ready to make the change. Thankfully she patiently persevered and now she has spearheaded a change that everyone in the church can be proud of.

Carol, Steven and Rosemary have succeeded in reducing the church's environmental impact and protecting the health of parishioners all while saving money. Carol said she would like to see more responsible use of electricity in the Church that would translate to savings in both energy and the bottom line.

Carol would also like to see the church continue to move towards better health and more responsible stewardship. Her aspirations include applying her skills to the cultivation of a vegetable garden on church grounds and she would also like to see composting of food waste.

Thanks to Carol, Steven and Rosemary, St. Philip's has taken one small step towards becoming a healthier and more environmentally responsible community.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Series: Worship in the Style of Taïzé

In the preface to his book on prayer, Be Still and Know, Archbishop Michael Ramsey explains the title as describing “a recurring plea in this book that stillness and silence are of supreme importance and that the neglect of them is damaging to the Christian life.”

Our society and our lives are increasingly focussed on busy-ness.  We are constantly active, and often multi-tasking.  Most of us don’t even have enough time in our busy schedules to get a good night’s sleep.

As we draw near to Christmas, our schedules often get more hectic, as we count down the shopping days to find the right gifts for everyone on our lists, as we decorate and bake, and prepare for relatives and guests. 

But the season of Advent should be a time of spiritual preparation.  In order to experience the joy and wonder of the Incarnation, God among us in the Babe of Bethlehem, we need to take time to prepare in heart and in mind for Christ’s coming.  One way of doing that is to be more deliberate in prayer.

For the three Tuesday nights of Advent, our regular 7:30 Eucharist will be replaced by worship in the style of Taïzé, with meditative chants and periods of silence.  Immediately following the Eucharist, we will discuss and then practice a different style of meditative or contemplative prayer.
                                   
December 4:     Lectio Divina (the Benedictine method of meditating on Scripture)
December 11:   Centering Prayer
December 18:   An Ignatian method of meditating on Scripture

Participants may come for all three sessions, or only for one or two sessions.   This is an opportunity to “try on” different methods of prayer.  All of us are different, and we will find one method “works” for us better than the others.  

If several people want to continue the exploration, we may form a prayer group to support one another in learning and deepening our practice of prayer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

NDG Food Bank: 2012 Campaign

The 2012 edition of the NDG Food Bank drive was a major success. Many thanks to the large numbers of people who came out to help. It was great to see so many people - especially the youth from St. George's, Loyola, St. Ignatius, St. Philip's, and elsewhere. We were also blessed to have a dry day (albeit a bit cold!).

There were clearly more groceries this year than in the past. There are ~200 boxes/crates of food sitting in our lower Hall. Another ~150 boxes/bags were loaded on a truck this afternoon and taken directly to the NDG Food Depot.

The sad reality is that this food will last the Food Depot only a few months. But they also received many cash donations, so that will certainly help.

We didn't raise a penny for SPC today, but we together we joined hands with our neighbours to put Matthew's gospel into practise:

 "...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me."

Mark

Friday, November 30, 2012

A message from the Primate on World AIDS Day

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Anglican Church of Canada November 30, 2012 -  The John Wesley Centre, a PWRDF project in South Africa, cares for children whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS.World AIDS Day confronts us with the staggering statistic that in the past 30 years more than 30 million people have died of AIDS, and that 34 million still live with HIV today. In combating HIV/AIDS we have such a long way to go. However when we can, we should celebrate progress. This year's International AIDS Conference noted considerable advances in better medication, greater access for many more people to antiretroviral therapy, and major achievements in preventing the spread of HIV at birth.

World AIDS Day is an occasion to pray for all those who live with HIV and AIDS and all who care for them. It's a day to stand in solidarity with all who put so much energy in preventing the spread of this virus through comprehensive education programs.

Through the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) our church continues its commitment to HIV/AIDS-related projects in a number of places. Our work in Keiskamma, South Africa is focussed on prevention of the transmission of HIV from mother to child. In El Salvador we support youth initiatives in preventing the spread of HIV. In Burundi we have helped build clinics for HIV/AIDS in Bujumbura and in Ramunge.

This year's Gift Guide in support of the ministries of The Anglican Church of Canada highlights a wonderful project supported through PWRDF. The John Wesley Centre in Johannesburg cares for children orphaned through the death of one or both parents to AIDS. They receive a hot meal every day. They get help with their homework and they enjoy a safe place to play. Forty dollars provides for a week of such tender loving care.

As we observe World AIDS Day this year, can I suggest that we light candles and offer prayers and that we offer gifts and light up the faces of children.

+Fred Archbishop and Primate

Help Us Support the NDG Food Depot this Saturday

At St. Philip's Church outreach is an important part of our faith. This includes our efforts in support of the NDG Food Depot. Our outreach involves tangible giving, prayer and direct involvement as volunteers. It is one of the ways we show God’s love and share the gospel.

As part of our active outreach partnership with the NDG Food Depot, we provide a dry food storage facility and share in community programs such as the annual food drive. Our church is also the drop off zone and our parishioners participate actively in door to door food collection throughout NDG.

We help raise funds and solicit food donations by hosting a community coffee house that showcases local artists. At our annual sidewalk sale we rent tables to vendors and give the proceeds to the food depot.

Everyone is invited to bring non-perishable food items to the Church this Saturday, December 1.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Relations Between Anglicans in the Old World and the New

Something very significant in the history of the Church of England happened on Saturday [March 24, 2012]. An absolute majority of dioceses in the Church of England, debating diocese by diocese, voted down a pernicious scheme called the Anglican Covenant. This was an effort to increase the power of centralising bureaucracy throughout the worldwide Anglican communion. However much the promoters denied it, the principal aim was to discipline Anglican churches in the United States and Canada, which had the gall to think for themselves and, after much prayer and discussion, to treat gay people just like anybody else.

Diocesan synods voted against the covenant, often in the face of great pressure from the vast majority of English bishops, who frequently made sure that the case for the covenant dominated proceedings. The bishops also exerted a certain amount of emotional blackmail, suggesting that if the scheme didn't pass, it would be very upsetting for the archbishop of Canterbury (cue for synod members to watch a podcast from said archbishop, looking sad even while commending the covenant).

Well, it didn't work, and now those particular bishops need to consider their position, as the saying goes. Principally, they need to consider a killer statistic: as the voting has taken place in the dioceses (and there are still a few to go), the pattern has been consistent. Around 80% of the bishops have voted in favour of the covenant, but the clergy and laity votes have split around 50-50 for and against, with votes against nudging ahead among the clergy. That suggests an episcopate that is seriously out of touch, not just with the nation as a whole (we knew that already), but even with faithful Anglican churchgoers and clergy in England.

Why should this be? Probably because bishops mostly spend their time talking to each other, or to very churchy folk whose consuming interest is internal church politics. By contrast, their clergy and laity are out there in the real world, and they know the price of a pint of milk. People in the parishes can also recognise a dodgy argument when they hear it, and the more that the friends of the covenant presented the arguments, the more dodgy they sounded. For example: to pass the covenant is absolutely vital for the Anglican communion worldwide, which will collapse without it; so you have to vote for it to prevent the end of civilisation as we know it. Oh, and actually the covenant won't change anything all that much, so it's perfectly safe to vote for. Which of those is right? Neither, to judge by the reaction of Anglican diocesan synods.

So now Anglicanism needs to move forward and forget this sorry diversion, into which many perfectly well-meaning people poured a huge amount of energy over a decade when they might have been doing something useful. Woe betide any attempt to revive it, though I notice that the secretary general of the Anglican communion (now there's an office that sounds ripe for culling) is clearly determined to keep it alive. To judge by a press statement he issued after the votes, he simply hasn't understood the scale of the catastrophe the covenant has suffered at the hands of ordinary English Anglicans.

Anglicanism has the chance to rediscover painful lessons from its chequered past. After the 16th century Reformation, Scotland, Ireland and England all had churches with bishops. All three churches wanted to monopolise every form of religious expression throughout the realm. All failed.

In the end, episcopal churches were disestablished in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but even the established Church of England learned that it could not boss around an entire nation, and had to accept that it ministered within a country of many faiths and none. That is a precious lesson to teach its many sister churches worldwide. Try and lay down the law in that delicate, nuanced thing that is religious belief, and you end up damaging or hurting a great many people.

Anglicanism could be seen as a family: in families, you don't expect everyone to think in exactly the same way. You listen, you shout, cry, talk, compromise. You do not show the door to one member of the family, just because you don't agree with them. Now Anglicans can start listening afresh. The present archbishop of Canterbury has their warm good wishes, as he prepares to use his many talents and graces in a different setting. They should ask the next man or woman in the job to reconnect with the church and the nation.

Source: The Guardian

Justin Welby : The worldly capitalist looking to spread the Word of the Lord

Justin Welby will bring brains and bravery to the almost impossible job of Archbishop of Canterbury. When Justin Welby was asked by a Church of England interview panel why he wanted to become Bishop of Durham, he offered a rather unusual answer: he didn’t. Not really. He was quite happy as the Dean of Liverpool and working in the city. To be a churchman anywhere in Britain is to battle for hearts and minds in a rapidly secularising country – and this, Mr Welby thought, was quite enough. His friends persuaded him to apply for Durham, and he admitted that he was not wild about the idea. Such candour was always going to land him into trouble. Just over a year later, he has ended up as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

When the news broke yesterday, the broadcasters described him as an Old Etonian. But Eton alumni are like Irish pubs. You stop being surprised where they turn up. What matters is what Bishop Welby did after his teenage years: he became a successful oil executive, with a long and well-remunerated career ahead of him – then, aged 31, he swapped pay for pews.

Once installed in Durham (and, ergo, the House of Lords), he was enlisted to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, where his often excoriating interventions conferred rising-star status on the 56-year-old. Until a few days ago, Justin Welby was the most influential bishop that you’d never heard of.
Among the politicians who have come to know him over the past few months, there was celebration yesterday, and from all benches. He was invited to join the banking commission with cross-party support, as he was a capitalist who was tough on the City. “In a dark sea of thick and wholly unworldly bishops, he sparks a little,” says one MP. “Talking to the bishops in Parliament seldom leaves you with the impression that they believe in God. I think this one actually might.” The only concern was that he might be too religious for the job.

No one would question the strength of Rowan Williams’s faith. But when he joined fights, they tended to be secular ones: criticising the Government over its cuts, or giving his blessing to environmentalist campaigns. The logic of this is undeniable: that to keep its relevance in the modern world, the Church needs to insert itself into popular debates. But decline continued, each Sunday brings a new closure and the British Social Attitudes survey found that 64 per cent of people never set foot in any place of worship. Dr Williams has had to keep the Church alive in one of the least religious countries on earth.

If this were not discouraging enough, the new Archbishop will have an international flock of 80 million souls, who have very different views on gay rights and women bishops. The threat of schism hangs over the Anglican Communion. Earlier this year, an alliance of 17 archbishops and bishops from four continents – the “Global South” group – wrote to the selection panel to warn, in effect, that they didn’t want another woolly, Left-leaning academic as leader. Being sent to Lambeth Palace can be counted as one of the toughest jobs on God’s earth. Little wonder that clergy such as Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, ruled themselves out.

Had Bishop Welby spent his adult life plotting ecclesiastical preferment, he might have done the same. But his career path has zigzagged – and in the course of doing so, he has come to tick the boxes required of a modern Archbishop of Canterbury. He needs no introduction to the rising trend of persecution of Christians, having run the International Centre for Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral. This sent him into harm’s way in Africa, where he was almost shot. He has been a curate in Nuneaton, wrote a book about church management and has proved a dab hand at ecclesiastical finances. But what marks him out is his lack of interest – until very recently – in Church hierarchy, and his approach to religion in general.

There are two ways of looking at the decline of Christianity in England. One is to bemoan the relentless secularisation and the supposed decay of society in general. The other is to accept that being Christian in Britain now means being part of a minority, and that the Church’s mission is to explain the Word of God to people who have grown up having never heard it. Those who know Bishop Welby place him firmly in the latter camp, and say that his mission is evangelical, and that his approach to the task was summed up by his predecessor-but-six Archbishop William Temple: “The Church is the only society on earth that exists for the benefit of non-members.”

This explains the relevance of Bishop Welby’s involvement in the Alpha course, one of the most successful innovations of modern British Christianity. It is a 10-week introduction to the faith, and an evangelical movement that has attracted two million Britons so far. It started at Holy Trinity Brompton, an influential church in west London, and now goes out to prisons and council estates, bucking the general trend of religious decline. Bishop Welby is an admirer and a friend of the movement. At Liverpool, he gave his blessing to a Halloween service called “Night of the Living Dead”, in which a man jumped out of a coffin to convey the message of Resurrection.

This is the sort of stunt that can make mainstream churchgoers shudder, but the Bishop is not the type who believes that the Word of God needs to be accompanied by an electric guitar. Simply that the Church needs to think of new ways to recruit, and recognise that Christianity in Britain is now in such a state that Kenyan religious orders are sending missionaries to Salford. The Roman Catholic Church has found a demand among the young for Latin services that had been abolished following the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. Parents who remember the “modernising” Vatican reforms of that era are amazed to see their children seek out the old Tridentine Mass.

But religious revivals always look strange, at first. As GK Chesterton observed in The Everlasting Man, any kind of Christian comeback seemed “a puzzle as well as a surprise, because it seems to most people like a river turning backwards from the sea and trying to climb back into the mountains”. Once, it was the Oxford Movement that baffled; now, it is the Alpha movement. And one of the Christians who came through Alpha is being asked by the Queen to look after the global Anglican Communion. It is a seminal moment in the Church’s history.

It is impossible to dismiss Mr Welby as a naive happy-clapper. He embodies the old saying that being a Christian does not mean leaving your brain at the church door. In Parliament he has proved a shrewd and effective interrogator of bankers, easily able to master detail.

When he attacks the excesses of the banks – as he did with brio at a conference in Switzerland last month – he does so with far more credibility because he understands global finance. He is unlikely to take sides in the global warming debate (when asked about his views on the subject, he laughs) and is political enough to know how to steer clear of politics.

Rowan Williams said his successor would need “the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros”. The eventual winner has the intellect of a financier, the acumen of a politician, the faith of an evangelical and the courage of an African peace negotiator. The challenge facing the established Church is huge. But in the quiet, self-effacing Justin Welby, it has found just the man.

Source: The Telegraph 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Archbishop of Canterbury: Justin Welby, the oil executive who heard God calling

An Eton-educated former oil company executive, the Rt Rev Justin Welby has been tipped for some time as a future head of the Church of England and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

The 56-year-old cleric is known for his courage and deeply-held faith, and his experience in business is viewed as bringing the Church of England greater credibility in public debate about ethics in the worlds of finance and the City.

Bishop Welby, who read law and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, began his career in the oil industry based in Paris and London, where he worked on West African - mainly Nigerian - and North Sea projects.
He became a group treasurer in a company called Enterprise Oil, before resigning in 1987 after 11 years in the industry to train for the Anglican priesthood.

''I was unable to get away from a sense of God calling,'' he said in an interview.

He was made a deacon in 1992 after training for ordained ministry at Cranmer Hall in Durham where he took a degree in theology, serving later as a curate in Nuneaton in the Coventry Diocese.

At Coventry Cathedral he became involved in conflict resolution and peace building in war-torn areas around the world, continuing this work after he was made Dean of Liverpool in 2007.
Bishop Welby marks the first anniversary of his enthronement as Bishop of Durham, the fourth most important post in the Church of England, later this month.

On the evangelical wing of the Church of England, he is known for his sense of humour and self-deprecating manner.

Asked in a Guardian interview in July for his comment after he was tipped as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Welby said that he did not want the job: ''Let's be clear, I'm one of the thicker bishops in the Church of England,'' he said.

His modest, unassuming manner and decision to opt for clerical black rather than bishop's purple belie a colourful family background.

His father was a businessman who traded in whisky during the prohibition years in America and then became an executive for a company that survived the alcohol ban by selling communion wine. He was later to move in the same circles as the Kennedy family.

Bishop Welby's mother was Winston Churchill's private secretary. He is also related to Rab Butler, the former Conservative deputy prime minister - Sir Montagu Butler was Rab Butler's father and also the father of Bishop Welby's grandmother.

Bishop Welby and his wife Caroline have had six children, one of whom - their seven-month-old daughter and first-born, Johanna - died in a car crash in France in 1983.

''It was a very dark time for my wife Caroline and myself, but in a strange way it actually brought us closer to God,'' he said in an interview.

Bishop Welby served for two years as chairman of an NHS hospital trust and was appointed in July to the parliamentary commission on banking standards investigating the Libor scandal.

He has maintained his interest in conflict resolution work and has made frequent and often dangerous trips to Nigeria as part of this work. His extensive knowledge of the Anglican Communion, including Nigeria, is expected to stand him in good stead as Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.

During a General Synod debate about the plight of persecuted Christians in Nigeria, it was revealed that Bishop Welby had a narrow escape on a recent visit to the country.

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu said: ''My heart is in my mouth every time he goes to Nigeria.''
Bishop Welby has listed ''most things French'' and sailing as his hobbies.

Source: The Telegraph 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The New Anglican Archbishop Says Church of England will have Women Bishops

The next archbishop of Canterbury is confident he will consecrate a female bishop, he said on Thursday, two days after the Church ofEngland voted against allowing women to become bishops.

Bishops and clergy on Tuesday in the General Synod, the Church legislature, comfortably backed the change but lay members were four votes short of a two-thirds majority.

"Its clear that woman are going to be bishops in the Church of England," said Justin Welby, who will take over from Rowan Williams as the spiritual leader of the Anglican wing of world Christianity at the end of the year.

"It was a pretty grim day for the whole church. There is a lot to be done but I am absolutely confident that at some point I will consecrate a woman bishop," Welby said during a visit to promote religious reconciliation in Nigeria, which has the world's biggest mixed Christian-Muslim population.

Women already serve as Anglican bishops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States, but Anglican churches in many developing countries oppose any female clergy and are working together to shield themselves against such reforms.

The Church of England finds itself somewhere in the middle, struggling to reconcile the views of reformers and traditionalists. The measure cannot now be approved for at least five years.

Welby, an experienced conflict negotiator, drew the loudest applause on Tuesday when he urged members to compromise and vote for the measure, citing bloody conflicts in the Middle East and Africa as examples of what intractable differences can lead to.

He was in Nigeria to launch a program to strengthen ties between Christians and Muslims, being run by former British prime minister Tony Blair's foundation. Blair was also present.

Welby said he had visited Nigeria 75 times. Welby worked in the oil industry in the 1980s, but has also visited Nigeria as a cleric.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in northern Nigeria in its fight to impose Islamic or Sharia law on the West African country, whose population of 160 million people is split evenly between Christians and Muslims.

Welby has experience of negotiating with militants in the southern oil-producing Niger Delta swamps and with Islamists in the north during his 34 years visiting Nigeria.

But he said the skills he learned in Nigeria that will be most useful in his new role were humor and patience.

"Nigerians bring humor into everything they do," Welby said, before telling a famous joke among Nigerians about the defunct state-power company to raucous laughter from the audience of local media, religious figures and diplomats.

"Their combination of determination and energy and patience, but with this terrific good humor, is something we need to take with us for the issues we're facing."

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Church of England Rejects Women Bishops

The General Synod of the Church of England has voted to reject the draft legislation to allow women to become bishops.

Under the requirements of the Synod the legislation required a two-thirds majority in each of the three voting houses for final draft approval. Whilst more than two thirds voted for the legislation in both the House of Bishops (44-03) and the House of Clergy (148-45), the vote in favour of the legislation in the House of Laity was less than two-thirds (132-74). The vote in the House of Laity fell short of approval by six votes.
In total 324 members of the General Synod voted to approve the legislation and 122 voted to reject it.
The consequence of the "no" vote of terminating any further consideration of the draft legislation means that it will not be possible to introduce draft legislation in the same terms until a new General Synod comes into being in 2015, unless the 'Group of Six' (the Archbishops, the Prolocutors and the Chair and Vice Chair of the House of Laity) give permission and report to the Synod why they have done so.
Speaking after the vote the Rt Revd Graham James, Bishop of Norwich, said: "A clear majority of the General Synod today voted in favour of the legislation to consecrate women as Bishops. But the bar of approval is set very high in this Synod. Two-thirds of each house has to approve the legislation for it to pass. This ensures the majority is overwhelming. The majority in the house of laity was not quite enough. This leaves us with a problem. 42 out of 44 dioceses approved the legislation and more than three quarters of members of diocesan synods voted in favour. There will be many who wonder why the General Synod expressed its mind so differently.
"The House of Bishops recognises that the Church of England has expressed its mind that women should be consecrated as bishops. There is now an urgent task to find a fresh way forward to which so many of those who were opposed have pledged themselves."
The House of Bishops of the Church of England will meet at 8.30am on Wednesday morning in emergency session to consider the consequences of the vote.
Exact voting figures will be found here

Source: Anglican Journal

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mile End Mission: White Gift Sunday

One of the ways in which St Philip's makes a difference in Montreal is by working with the Mile End Community Mission. The Mission began 21 years ago as a continuation of the community outreach ministry of the Church of the Ascension, which was closing.

The Mission serves the Mile End neighbourhood with a food bank, clothing boutique, legal clinic, community meals, art therapy, public access computers and other services.

Every year St Philip's assists with the Mission's community Christmas party, helping to make sure they have enough gifts for everyone. Last year we delivered about 10 bags of toys.

White Gift Sunday is Sunday, December 2. Please bring an unwrapped child's toy or "stocking stuffers" for women.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Another Success for St. Philip's Church Annual Bazaar

St. Philip's Church held its annual bazaar on Saturday, November 10th in Montreal West. The bazaar is a long-standing tradition and by all accounts the 2012 event was a resounding success.

Attendance was excellent. There was a large crowd that had gathered even before the doors opened at 10. Throughout the event the hall was filled with bargain hunters and other good people.

The tables displayed an abundance of lovely items including toys and books. The bake table was especially popular this year, selling out their considerable inventory well before the event came to an end. Almost all of the items for sale were donated by church members.

The Men's Lunch went very well and we managed to sit 120 people over the course of two hours. Special mention goes out to Andrew who put together a delicious and hearty soup that got rave reviews from those who had the pleasure of sampling it.

All of the proceeds from the bazaar went back to the church.

We were blessed with good weather but most of all we had a chance to enjoy excellent fellowship.

The event was made possible thanks to the time energy and effort of many volunteers. Many thanks to the volunteers and to everyone who attended.

See you next year!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Primate Reflects on Remembrance Day

The following is a Remebrance Day reflection delivered by Archbishop Fred Hiltz at the Cenotaph, Charlottetown P.E.I.

In this solemn hour of remembrance, we honour all those who have endured the horrors of war and given their lives in the cause of regaining and securing peace in the world.

In their memory we are gathered. Colours are dipped, a sacred silence is observed, and wreaths are laid.

We also honour all those who have returned from war — our many veterans. We honour their sacrifice as well and we thank them for their resolve in helping us to be grateful Canadians, never forgetting the great sacrifice that is the cost of the freedom we enjoy.

We recognize all our men and women in uniform today — in the Regular and the Reserve Forces. We give thanks for their calling, commitment, and courage in the wide range of operations for which they are deployed in the interests of national defence and international security. We remember their families and the sacrifices they make when their loved ones are far from home.

We pray for world leaders, that they and all others take counsel for the sake of peace within and among the nations. Pray with me that in all their deliberations they may be guided by God's will for good will and peace among all peoples.

Today we pause to remember. May all who died in war rest in peace. May all our veterans receive the respect and care we owe them. May all in uniform who serve our country and the freedom of the whole world know of our pride in them and of our prayers for them.

Fred Hiltz

Friday, November 9, 2012

Justin Welby the New Archbishop of Canterbury

Nov. 9, 2012--The Queen has nominated the Right Reverend Justin Welby, MA, Hon FCT, the Lord Bishop of Durham, for election by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury in the place of the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Douglas Williams, MA DPhil DD FBA, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan.

Justin Welby (aged 56) was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. After a career in the oil industry in Paris and London, he trained for the ministry at Cranmer Hall and St John's College Durham. He served his title at Chilvers Coton with Astley, Coventry diocese from 1992 to 1995. From 1995 to 2002 he was Rector of Southam and also Vicar of Ufton, Coventry diocese from 1998 to 2002. From 2002 to 2007 he was Canon Residentiary at Coventry Cathedral; and was Co-Director for International Ministry from 2002 to 2005. From 2005 to 2007 he was Sub-Dean at Coventry Cathedral and also Canon for Reconciliation Ministry and in 2007 was also Priest-in-Charge at Coventry Holy Trinity. From 2007 to 2011 he was Dean of Liverpool. Since 2011 he has been the Bishop of Durham.

From 2000 to 2002 he was Chairman of an NHS Hospital Trust, and he currently also serves on the Committee of Reference for the ethical funds of a large investment company in the City of London. He is also a member of the Banking Standards Commission.

Source: Anglican Communion News Service

Archbishop of Canterbury: "My successor needs a newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other"

Nov. 7, 2012--Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said today that his successor was going to have to map the Biblical vision of humanity and community onto the worst situations in society.

Speaking at the final media conference after the end of the Anglican Consultative Council in New Zealand, Archbishop Williams said the issues discussed at the meeting--including environmental change and ending domestic violence--were "actually questions about what kind of humanity we're seeking to promote and serve, which is a deeply Christian question."

He said he thought that when people were probing the church on certain issues, they were actually asking how the church could help them "be really human".

"We believe as a church we have unparalleled resources for enriching humanity that way."

In response to a question about what qualities the next Archbishop of Canterbury needs to have, he quoted Karl Barth who he described as "the greatest theologian of the 20th century."

"I think it was put very well by a theologian of the last century who said, 'You have to preach with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other'.

"You have to be cross-referencing all the time and saying 'How does the vision of humanity and community that's put before us in the Bible map onto these issues of poverty, privation, violence and conflict?' And you have to use what you read in the newspaper to prompt and direct the questions that you put to the Bible: 'Where is this going to help me?'

"So [regarding the qualities of his successor] I think somebody who likes reading the Bible and likes reading newspapers would be a good start!"

In this last ever press conference as the President of the ACC, The Archbishop of Canterbury also told the gathered media that the members of the ACC had had "a really quite remarkably constructive couple of weeks together."

In answer to questions from the media about the progress that ACC made over their time at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral, Abp Williams mentioned, among other topics, the resolution regarding the protocols for Christian witness in a plural world. The resolution had been endorsed by the ACC that morning.

"We don't manipulate, we don't bully, we don't undermine; we try to engage in dialogue, and it would have been good to have bit more time to anchor that in specific situations...but everybody knows the difficulties in certain situations, in Nigeria, in Sri Lanka where the church is up against very violent opposition sometimes. But even so we wanted affirm those principles."

He said that the pattern of the ACC meeting, held between 27 October and today (7 November) had been about drawing up a "policy picture for the Communion as well as some quite intensive work on where it's going to be practical in regions and nations."

Source: Anglican Communion News Service

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Greening of Anglican Churches in Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada is taking steps towards a green revolution it hopes will sweep across 1,700 parishes nationwide. The Partners in Mission and Eco-justice (PMEJ) of General Synod will launch a national database this year to provide information on eco-friendly and energy-efficient Canadian Anglican parishes, including how they became green. It is hoped that sharing their stories will help other parishes to do the same.

“We want to celebrate and reward parishes [which] have accomplished reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Ken Gray, former member of General Synod's eco-justice committee and the Canadian church representative to the Anglican Communion Environment Network. “We want to acknowledge those parishes [which] have done energy audits. We’d also like to…track their progress over time and encourage [them] to take the next step. By publishing the data, we’d also like to encourage other parishes to take initial steps.” Gray estimates there are about 100 Anglican parishes that have taken steps to become better stewards of the environment.

The database is part of the Greening Anglican Spaces project initiated by PMEJ in response to a 2010 General Synod resolution on climate justice. That resolution included a call for all Anglican parishes to make their buildings more energy-efficient and to help members “lessen their ecological footprint and pursue more sustainable ways of  life.”

To help parishes go green, PMEJ has enlisted the help of Faith & the Common Good, a national organization that encourages inter-faith action on social and environmental concerns. FCG pioneered the Greening Sacred Spaces program in Canada, which provides faith communities with tools and resources to help them plan the greening of their facilities.

Ted Reeve, executive director of FCG, said there are about 500 houses of worship that have participated in the Greening Sacred Spaces program. The FCG’s goal is to increase this number to 3,000 by 2013. That is equivalent to 10 per cent of religious buildings in Canada, which Reeve hopes “will have a multiplier effect on other religious communities to step up and be symbols of change in their community.”

Reeve said parishes should not be deterred by the initial cost of having an energy audit, and later, a retrofit. “We have enough case studies to demonstrate the kind of savings that between three to ten years, depending on the size of the retrofit, you would have paid it off and then you’re good for another 30 to 40 years of savings,” he said. (The cost of an energy audit provided by the FCG is $500 for buildings under 600m2/6,500ft2. Additional charges apply for larger or multiple buildings.)

There are parishes that have devised innovative ways of raising money, including the issuance of bonds, he said. There are also banks that provide financing to faith communities for environment-related projects.

There used to be a federal rebate program for energy conservation projects, but that was scrapped when the Conservative government came to power. “That’s something we should be pushing our government to do, step up” its support for environment-friendly initiatives, said Reeve.

Gray and Reeve, who recently briefed General Synod staff about the database initiative, said they are also hoping to use a resource from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which allows houses of worship to track their energy use and its associated greenhouse gas emissions, and provides suggestions for improvements. This tool also allows them to receive an energy performance rating, with the most energy efficient receiving the Energy Star rating.

There are about 370,000 worship facilities in the U.S. and they spend more than $3 billion annually on energy costs. “Improving the energy efficiency of America's houses of worship by just 10 percent would save nearly 2 billion kilowatt-hours each year, preventing more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and representing a cost savings of about $315 million annually,” said an EPA press statement. (There is not data on the total energy consumption of houses of worship in Canada.)

Gray acknowledged that the greening of churches would not, on its own, solve global warming. “We all would like government to set measurable goals and realistic, binding targets. There’s a refusal at the federal level to do so and in most provincial jurisdictions,” he said. “Greening Anglican Spaces shares the desire of many [for the church] to speak with a clear and prophetic voice to policy makers here in Canada but we know we have to strengthen our position.” He said that one reason for gathering “tangible data that is accessible and transparent to all is to strengthen our case with government, in saying, we got our house in order, at least partially, therefore can you take us a bit more seriously?”

The secularization of Canada has also meant that “the place of the church in economic and political discourse is probably quite different that what it was in the 1970s,”said Gray. “We need to be innovative in our justice advocacy…”

He added that Canadians, Anglicans included, “are going to have to accept a new kind of economy that is less-based on fossil fuels…” But, he said, “It’s hard to get people to pay attention let alone change their way of living.”

World economies, including Canada, have to acknowledge that “its business as usual economic practice is causing environmental destruction and is continuing to allow us to live lifestyles which are ecologically and economically unsustainable,” he said.

Source: Anglican Journal

Saturday, November 3, 2012

St. Philip's Church Annual Christmas Bazaar

St. Philip’s Church is pleased to announce its annual Christmas Bazaar which will be taking place on Saturday, November 10th from 10 am to 2 pm.

There will be a host of delicious homemade items including baked goods, scrumptious candy & fudge, and sweet jellies & jams. There will also be knitted sweaters & scarves, linens, one-of-a-kind antiques, books, jewelery, videos, CD’s, puzzles, and many other household items suitable for a variety of tastes and budgets.

A delicious meal will also be served. The hearty soup and sandwich lunch will be prepared and served by the men of the parish.

Come early for best selection and stay late to sample all of the treasures and fellowship brought to you by the people of St. Philip’s.

Parishioners will be welcoming the community into the Memorial Hall which is located at 7505 Sherbrooke St. West. We look forward to seeing you there!

- Mark Reimer