Gathered at the Table

A mini-devotional for Thanksgiving days, praying with Jesus at a feast
From Lutherans Connect

“Autumn Orange” by Jerzy Durczak

The leaves have turned and the weather brings the promise of change. In this autumn time between the season of creation and Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, how can we invite Jesus to be gathered with us? How can we make room amidst the settled routines of school and work, sports practice and evening meetings to prepare our hearts for the thanks we truly feel? For the first time, Lutherans Connect is offering a special five-day devotional for the Thanksgiving holiday, to help us calm our hearts and minds and make room for grace. Beginning Wednesday October 9th, LC† Gathered at the Table will offer devotions in preparation for a feast.

Our focus is on Jesus’ friendship and his own meal of thanksgiving with the family at Bethany. In the wider circle of his followers, Jesus’ closest friends were Mary, Martha and Lazarus. At a feast to celebrate and give thanks for the raising of Lazarus, on the night before what will become Palm Sunday, Jesus sits down to eat with people he loves and has helped to restore, even as he waits in knowledge of the events ahead of him. Mary’s gift of nard, the rising political tensions and fears of well-being for both Jesus and Lazarus — are all part of their time together. As we ourselves gather in families and with friends, amid our own tensions and burdens, joys and celebrations, we too may be preoccupied with the sometimes overwhelming news cycle of politics and discoveries, or even just the challenges of our own fears for the future. How can we invite Jesus to be with us in our anxiety and uncertainty, and in our gratitude and belonging, so that we may experience a harvest of spirit?

Join us on October 9th and find out.
And may God’s abundant peace find you in your own feast gatherings!

~ from the Welcome Page of the Lutherans Connect Gathered at the Table blog

You may access this devotional from their blog or their facebook page.

Hurricane Dorian Relief

All Three of Our Denominations Have Responded
to the Impact of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

A road is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the Bahamas on September 2, 2019.
Credit: AP Photo/Tim Aylen

For information about the response and how you may donate, follow the links.

United Church of Canada:
As of mid-September United Church people have given over $35,000 to support global partners responding to humanitarian needs in the Bahamas.

Anglican Church of Canada:
Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund has released $20,000 to Episcopal Relief and Development towards the emergency relief for people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:
Canadian Lutheran World Relief is responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas through its partners, ACT Alliance.

 

Prayers for the Amazon

Primate Linda Nicholls Shares Comments from
the Bishop of the Diocese of Amazonia

Please pray for the Diocese of Amazonia and all of Brazil as the ongoing fires in the Amazon threaten the rainforest and many lives, especially the indigenous people of that area.

When I asked Bishop Marinez Bassotto about the situation she wrote the following:

About the Amazon – we faces the worst wave of fires in seven years; For two weeks, forests and jungles have been burning in flames in the northern states, spanning Acre, Para, Amapá, Amazonas, Rondonia, Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul, including areas of the Amazon and Pantanal. 4 of these states are part of the Diocese of Amazônia. The fires have already reached the triple border between Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, consuming more than 20,000 hectares of vegetation, yesterday was a fire day in the Amazon and have suspicions are that these burns are criminal, dry weather and strong wind helped spread the flames, there are many suspicions about those responsible for these actions and the total silence of the presidency of the republic on the subject draws the attention. The amount of smoke in the air is so great that in southern and southeastern states of Brazil the day has turned night into a smokescreen, the air is unbreathable in many cities, an unprecedented devastation.

None of our communities have been hit directly, but we are all suffering from seeing the Amazon burn. Your prayers are welcome, and publicizing these facts on social media will greatly help to pressure the government to take investigative and accountable action. Thank you for your affection and support!

As Bishop Marinez requests – please pray for the country and the Diocese.

Share the information widely as possible.

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls
Archbishop of Huron & Primate of Canada

~ from The Diocese of Huron’s webpage

The Anglican Church of Canada Posted This Prayer
from The Church of England on its Facebook Page

~ from The Anglican Church of Canada’s Facebook page

 

 

Anglican Church of Canada Has a New Primate

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Linda Nicholls Elected on the Fourth Ballot

The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada met in Vancouver from July 10th to 16th.  Its theme was “I Have Called You By Name”.   For more information on the General Synod meeting and its decisions go to this website.

On July 13th, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Linda Nicholls was elected to be the 14th Primate and was installed on July 16th in Christ Church Cathedral.  She will be replacing Primate Fred Hiltz who is retiring.  Since November 2016, she was the Bishop of the Diocese of Huron.  The following is a portion of what was in her nomination information.

Personal Statement

My formation in faith and life in ministry have rooted me in the breadth of the Anglican Church of Canada. A cradle Anglican, I was baptized in Calgary, confirmed in Vancouver; ordained deacon/priest/bishop in Toronto; installed as diocesan bishop in London Ontario. I have visited Diocesan or Provincial Synods in the Arctic, B.C., Canada, Newfoundland, Ontario and Montreal; General Synods in Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia; and led retreats in the Dioceses of Toronto, Ontario, Central Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Moosonee. I have been a guest at Sacred Circles in Pinawa and Prince George, deeply moved by the courage of our indigenous communities seeking a new relationship through our mutual healing.

My experience has been further enriched by opportunities to meet and know the Church globally through meetings with Anglicans in South Africa; Brazil; England; Jerusalem; Italy; Jamaica; Hong Kong; USA and India. I know and love the diversity of our Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Communion in all its frailties and its gifts. I currently serve on the Task Group of the Primates to seek ways to strengthen our unity as the Anglican Communion.

The geographic breadth of our beloved Church is a part of me as well as its theological breadth. My early formation was encouraged and nurtured by evangelical approaches to faith through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and Wycliffe College. My experiences in Anglican Roman Catholic dialogue, the Exercises of St. Ignatius, the sacramental life and ministry of a bishop and my further studies have helped me see and appreciate our faith through other theological lenses as well. I value the richness of that diversity which we need to live the gospel in our time.

Music has always played an important role in my life. From instruments played to my first degree in music education to currently singing in a choir, music feeds my soul. My first vocation as a teacher is embedded in my ministry. I love to share the learning journey with individuals or groups, especially in exploring our faith. For five years I taught high school music and math at an International Christian boarding school in the Himalayas of India, a profound experience of cross-cultural living, diversity, interfaith dialogue and intentional Christian community. Deepening and sustaining community across differences has been critical in my ministry. I find solace in creation through walking or wilderness canoeing and am kept humble in my role as staff to a cat!

Prayer and scripture keep me rooted and grounded in Christ. Although our church is facing challenges I know that we face them with God in our midst and the creative possibilities that the Holy Spirit can and will make known to us. When discouraged, in personal life or in the Church, I return to Romans 8:38-39:

‘I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers
nor height nor depth nor anything in all creation 
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Vision for Primacy
Bridge Builder – Diplomat – Pastor – Servant-Leader

The ministry and work of the Primate can be understood through the roles of bridge builder, diplomat, pastor and servant-leader of the Church. Through intentional visitations in each diocese and pastoral support of each bishop the Primate learns the story of our Church at the local, regional and national levels. Sharing stories of one to another, through listening across our diversity of geography, culture and context, helps all of us to the see the life of the gospel across our nation. Weaving those stories together, the Primate sees God at work across the whole Church and articulates a vision based on all we are called to do and be by the Gospel. The Primate also tells the story of the Church to the world, writing and speaking prophetically to the issues and concerns of all Canadians in consultation with the bishops, Council of General Synod and staff.

Through a ministry of diplomacy the Primate shares the joys and struggles of our Church honestly with others, both within and beyond the Anglican Church of Canada, as we seek to respond to the gospel in our context. As a diplomat, the Primate listens carefully and faithfully relays concerns and affirmations from beyond the Church. It is a ministry of truth-telling in all directions. This diplomacy includes our critically important work of reconciliation with indigenous sisters and brothers as we walk together along the emerging path of indigenous self-determination. The organic growth of this ministry will call the whole Church to deeper understanding of our history; and to patient listening and mutual support. The Primate and the National Anglican Indigenous Bishop will work together as we continue our commitment to the recommendations of the TRC and to UNDRIP. It encompasses our ecumenical relationships as well, especially the deepening of our full communion partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Episcopal ministry is at the heart of the role of the primacy. The Primate, as a bishop, has a collegial ministry among all the bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada as ‘first among equals’, with particular responsibility for pastoral care of the bishops and their ministries. It is a ministry of oversight of the faith, unity and order of the Church, shared with all bishops, through intentional dialogue in the House of Bishops facilitated by the Primate.

The Primate is the servant-leader of the Church. Executive leadership of General Synod and its Council, as it serves the will of General Synod in each triennium, is a core responsibility. We continue in a particularly challenging time of discernment as dioceses are facing increasing financial pressures due to decline in this generation. In partnership with the Council of General Synod, the Primate will give leadership, vision and guidance as we assess the most sustainable ways for the national structures to support the areas of ministry that are essential at a national level and work with our dedicated staff to manage any transitions. The strategic review currently underway will be a critical first step in that process as we ask how we will continue to live into the Five Marks of Mission.

The Primate as bridge builder, diplomat, pastor and servant-leader leads the whole Church, demonstrating trust in the gospel, telling our story within God’s story of salvation with humility and courage as we together seek the future into which we are being called.

National Bishop Re-elected

The Rev. Susan Johnson Continues as the National Bishop
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Rev. Susan Johnson addresses delegates after her re-election on July 12th.

The National Assembly of the ELCIC met at the University of Regina from July 11th to 13th.  The Rev. Susan Johnson was re-elected National Bishop for a fourth term.  She was first elected to the position in June 2007 and was the first woman to become the National Bishop.  In her address to the delegates after her re-election she said “I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving.  I am honoured to be re-elected as your National Bishop.”

The theme for the National Assembly was Called to Journey Together:  The Ministry of Reconciliation.  For more information about the National Assembly and its decisions, go to the webpage for this gathering.  For pictures and to get a sense of the happenings at the National Assembly, check out ELCIC’s facebook page.

The Rev. Jane Gingrich speaks from the pulpit at the National Assembly.

One of the people elected to the National Council is the Rev. Jane Gingrich.  She is the pastor at Hills of Peace in Kamloops, BC and is currently the Dean of the Southern Interior Region of the BC Synod.

Delegates from BC Synod gather for a group photo at the National Assembly. Bishop Greg Mohr stands at the front on the left. The Rev. Jane Gingrich is in the front row on the right.

~ The photographs are from the ELCIC Facebook page.

Anglican Church of Canada Responds to MMIWG Final Report

Tragedy, grief, and action:
Response to the report from the
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

~ A statement from The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald, National Indigenous Anglican Bishop, and The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, posted to the Anglican Church of Canada’s website by General Synod Communications on June 17, 2019

With respect and gratitude, The Anglican Church of Canada receives and welcomes the report of The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, “Reclaiming Power and Place”.  We acknowledge the courage and strength of survivors, families and loved ones who gave statements and testimonies to the Inquiry over the course of its mandate.  We are mindful of all those whose pain and grief is so intense that they are not yet able to speak publically of their horrific experiences.  We hold in our prayers all who mourn the murder or disappearance of their daughters and grand-daughters, sisters and nieces, partners and friends.

The Calls for Justice in this Report address governments, industries and institutions; protective health care and correctional services; attorneys, educators and social workers; and all Canadians.  We receive these Calls acknowledging the manner in which they have been framed, that is “to transform systemic and societal values that have worked to maintain colonial violence”.

As a Church, we lament again our complicity in the systemic racism that sustains an environment in which Indigenous women and girls are so highly vulnerable to human trafficking, and to atrocities of unspeakable abuse.  We commit ourselves to the work of undoing the sin of racism within our own Church and in Canadian society.

We commit ourselves in partnership with other churches, institutions, and movements to act on these Calls for Justice, “to give them life”, a life that frees Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people from the violence that mars their lives.

In accord with the Calls for Justice issued to all Canadians, we make public our pledge to:

(15.5)      Confront and speak out against racism, sexism, ignorance, homophobia, and transphobia, and teach or encourage others to do the same, wherever it occurs: in your home, in your workplace, or in social settings.

(15.6)      Protect, support, and promote the safety of women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people by acknowledging and respecting the value of every person and every community, as well as the right of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people to generate their own, self-determined solutions.

That our resolve be unwavering we ask the guidance and strength of God.

The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald
National Indigenous Anglican Bishop

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

~ 2SLGBTQQIA stands for Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual.

Parish’s Annual Worship Service and Picnic

June 23rd, beginning at 11:00 am
at the Church of St Paul

Our sanctuary awaits our worship.

Providing the weather cooperates, the congregations of Trinity Shared Ministry and the Church of St Paul will hold the annual Parish Worship Service on the lawn beside the Church of St Paul.  Following worship, the traditional picnic of hotdogs, salads, and desserts will be held with folks choosing to sit inside or out.  Our annual gathering gives folk from the two congregations an opportunity to connect:  some meet for the first time, while others catch up with long-time friends.

This year, the Church of St Paul congregation is hosting which means they are responsible for the hotdogs and all the trimmings; Trinity Shared Ministry, the salads.  Desserts are welcome from members of either congregation.  Bring a lawn chair and, thinking positively, a hat and sunscreen!

United Church of Canada’s Response to the MMIWG Final Report

Let This Be the Last Inquiry

We renew our pledge to be good relations,
and we ask the whole of the church to pray.

~ from the post on the United Church of Canada’s website:

In a letter to The United Church of Canada, Moderator the Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott and the Rev. Maggie Dieter, Executive Minister, Indigenous Ministries and Justice, urge non-Indigenous members and friends of the United Church to

    • read the final report of the Inquiry
    • advocate for the actions it demands of government
    • explore how each of us, individually and as communities of faith, will make the changes necessary to ensure the dignity and safety of Indigenous peoples in this country

A Letter to the Church on the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Let This Be The Last Inquiry

5 June 2019
Grace and peace to you to in the name of Jesus, who calls us to love each other.

On June 3, we witnessed a historic event with the completion of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the release of its Final Report.

This was a day long anticipated by survivors of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual) people, their friends, and their families., as well as the friends and families of those who did not survive. Our hearts are first with them; we pray that the report gives them comfort and hope.

We appreciate that the report placed the issue of violence against Indigenous women in the larger context of the human rights abuses flowing from our history of colonialism, and continuing policies that do not recognize the inherent value of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures and laws. The United Church of Canada shares this commitment to the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We recognize how racial violence significantly affects the health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples and denies them justice. We are pleased to see that the Inquiry has included in its Calls to Justice the creation of a national action plan to end violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, and a national action plan on racism. These were key hopes that we expressed in our submission to the Inquiry.

We also support the call for a national action plan to address ongoing impacts such as the need for clean drinking water, proper and safe housing, and food security. It is distressing to hear once again that the basic needs many Canadians enjoy continue to be missing in Indigenous communities. We have heard these stories in too many inquiries. Let this be the last inquiry.

We are deeply moved by the words spoken by the Commissioners. Chief Commissioner Marion Bullard made it clear that “an absolute paradigm shift is required to dismantle colonialism in Canada,” and urged us all not just to speak out against racism, violence, and misogyny, but also to call our governments to account for fulfilling the Inquiry’s Calls to Justice.

Commissioner Qajaq Robinson was equally direct: “As a non-Indigenous person I’ve struggled to come to terms with my role in Canada’s genocide…. it’s my truth, it’s your truth… I see it, I own it. Who we will be and who we are will ultimately be defined by how we respond, now that we know.”

This is the charge to non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. Indigenous peoples have told their truth. Now is the time for non-Indigenous Canadians to hear that truth, to own it, and to act on it.

We urge non-Indigenous members and friends of the United Church to

  • read the final report of the Inquiry,
  • advocate for the actions it demands of government, and
  • explore how each of us, individually and as communities of faith, will make the changes necessary to ensure the dignity and safety of Indigenous peoples in this country.

We renew our pledge to be good relations, and we ask the whole of the church to pray.

All My Relations,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Richard Bott
Moderator

The Rev. Maggie Dieter
National Indigenous Council

God of peace, receive our prayers

For the beautiful Indigenous girls growing up across this country
May they always be able to enjoy times of learning, times of play, and time at home safely

For the beautiful Indigenous women working hard for their families and communities May they always be able to enjoy times of relaxation and respite from their cares, securely and free from fear

For the beautiful two-spirited people blessing all those with whom they come into contact May they always be able to enjoy the cities, the towns, and the country side of this great land in comfort and with a sense of welcome wherever they go

God of grace, receive our prayers
For the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls For the families and all those who loved the beautiful ones who have been lost
For the justice we all hope for and long for so very much

In the name of all our relations. Amen

(Excerpted from For the Beauty of Those Lost, for Healing Founded on Justice,
The United Church of Canada)

Moderator’s 2019 Video Pentecost Message

Moderator Richard Bott reflects on the movement
of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

To view the Moderator’s Pentecost message, go here.  The transcript of the video follows:

The Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, 43rd Moderator of The United Church of Canada
Credit:
The United Church of Canada

Hello. My name is Richard Bott, Moderator of The United Church of Canada.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples decided to go down to the marketplace. There, with people from all over the known world, and with the Holy Spirit, they began to tell the stories of Jesus. And everyone who was there understood what they were saying in their own mother tongues. The first ministry of the apostles was made possible by the mystery of the Holy Spirit.

This is one of the scripture stories I love. I wish we could take a month to focus on the presence of the Holy Spirit, not just in the Pentecost story but in many of the places the Spirit shows up in scripture.

I think that one of the things we would find is that the Holy Spirit is a harbinger of change—sometimes moving like a gale-force wind, sometimes in the whisper of a breath. Wherever we meet the Holy Spirit in scripture, from the first Creation story, to the dry bones given new life, to the stories of Lady Wisdom, to Jesus’ baptism and time in the desert, to the first time the apostles spoke to the entire world about the good news of Jesus, spoke to the world—something amazing was about to happen.

The Holy Spirit—God’s Spirit—is subversive. It blows where it wants to and, like the wind, can get up in our faces and move creation in unexpected ways. One of the things that I love about the Pentecost story is that the people gathered asked themselves, “How can we understand these Galileans, and in our own languages?!” It makes me wonder. The Holy Spirit may have landed on the apostles like tongues of flame, but did it change them—or did it change the people who were listening? Or perhaps both? Possibly opening something in them to the Jesus story?

As a denomination, The United Church of Canada believes that the Holy Spirit continues to move in the world. As we say in the New Creed, God “works in us, and others, by the Spirit.” Where we recognize movements in the world that bring healing, hope, life, and abundant life for all creation, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ve met the movement of the Holy Spirit.

When Paul was writing to the Galatians, he talked about the fruits of the Holy Spirit being “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

I wonder what it would be like if we took the time to keep our minds, our hearts, and our souls open to the movement of the Holy Spirit—not just inside our own lives, but out in the world around us? I wonder what we would find happening if we went searching for places where those fruits were growing? Perhaps, as communities of faith, we could go on “Spirit Sightings,” where we regularly gather together to talk together about where we are experiencing the Holy Spirit moving in the world!

I wonder what the Holy Spirit might change in us as we experience the stories of the Spirit changing the world?

I’d love to hear about the Spirit Sightings you’re having, in your life, your community of faith, and in the world!

May the Holy Spirit fill you this Pentecost, and may you be changed in amazing, life-giving ways.

Christ’s peace to you!

© 2019 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.