Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Life in the Parish

There are ups and downs of life in any family.  Our church family is no different. The past few weeks have reminded me of that.

The Anglican Province of Rupert's Land held its Synod June 18th - 21st.  At this synod the Bishop of Calgary was elected as Metropolitan.  The Most Reverend Greg Kerr-Wilson was installed at the conclusion of the Synod.

I was privileged to be able to participate and witness the ordination of three people to the Diaconate at St. James', Rivers.  The Reverends Flora Young, Cheryl Kukurudz and Sally Carter were welcomed into their new role of service in Christ's church on June 26th.

On June 27th the Bishop Jim Njegovan lead a Eucharist Service at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Brandon.  This service was followed by a reception in acknowledgement of his retirement and to celebrate his ministry.  It was a wonderful time of celebration.

On Saturday July 4th a funeral service will be held for the Reverend Tess Meadows.  I have mixed sentiments personally.  She was such a witness for Christ in this world and a quiet force which made my time here so much easier, her absence will be greatly noted.  I am glad that she is no longer suffering and share her confidence in the love of God, the presence of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Rest in Peace, our beloved sister.

So, there are changes happening.  Some of the changes fill us with joy, others are more painful and cause us grief and sadness.  Yet, we can take heart.  Change is a sign of life.  Without change there is only stagnation and decay.

Paul tells us: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Th 5:16-18a, ESV)

Let us hold onto and live out our faith, confident that: God is Good! All the time! and All the Time, God is Good!.

Let us boldly live out our faith, confident that God is with us always.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us today and always.

Don +

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Summer's here!

Well, it still surprises me how time seems to slip by.

Farmers were busy planting, then many were hit by frost and had to replant.  Some are wanting more moisture while others seem to have too much.

On May 31st we had our Parish Picnic where all five congregations gathered at Minnedosa Beach Pavilion. It was a sunny day, although a bit cool for some.  I think everyone enjoyed the service and opportunity for fellowship afterwards.  I was officially presented with a stole from the Parish.  It was quilted by Lane Englund from St. James' Neepawa with a Pentecost design.  Pentecost was on May 24th this year and I had the opportunity to wear it before it was officially presented.  It is a beautiful creation and I want to thank Lane and everyone for this thoughtful and appropriate gift.  I know that there were some pictures taken at this event.  If anyone is willing to share, please send them to me.

I took a quick trip to BC and rode my motorcycle back.  This was the week before the long weekend in May.  It was a long first ride of the season and a bit cooler than I hoped.  That was very noticeable when I got up in North Battleford and found ice and frost covering it!  If you see a black cruiser style bike (with BC licence plates) stop and say hi.  It may very well be me.

The weather is getting warm and many people are heading off to cabins or other holiday time.  I pray that everyone has an enjoyable vacation and returns refreshed and renewed.  I am planning to be away visiting family from August 10th to 24th.

Father Chad is on sabbatical from his parish in Brandon, but is still doing things for the Church.  In connection with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission closing and to remind us of the murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada, Father Chad will ring the Bell at St. James', Neepawa over 1,180 times.  You can read what Archbishop Fred Hiltz says about this at http://www.anglicanjournal.com/articles/ring-the-bells  You can read about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at http://www.22days.ca  As it says on this site, the closing of the Commission is just the beginning.  There is much ongoing work which must continue to address the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools.

On Saturday, June 27th starting at 2 pm, there will be a farewell Eucharist and reception for Bishop Jim at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Brandon.  All are welcome.

On Sunday, August 30th we are planning to have a five point service at St. James' Neepawa.  I have asked Frances and Don, from Dauphin, to share their experiences on the PWRDF mission to Cuba earlier this year.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Holy Week and Easter

As we move through Holy Week, remembering the events culminating in Jesus being crucified on the cross, like the first disciples, we are faced with the unknown, with uncertainty.  I pray that we live and move forward with confidence in God.

The disciples accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem.  They experienced the joy, the jubilation, of the crowd crying out "Hosanna!"  The disciples witnessed Jesus challenging the religious system, overturning the tables of the money-changers and driving out the people selling animals for the sacrifice from the Temple.  Jesus was anointed with valuable In the upper room they dined with Jesus, where he once again demonstrated the living out of our faith, being a servant, loving others.  He also instructed us to remember him in the sharing of bread and wine, what we now celebrate as the Eucharist or Communion.  Jesus led the disciples to the garden of Gethsemane after dinner.  Jesus prays but the disciples cannot keep vigil with him.  Jesus was handed over to the authorities.  The disciples fled in fear.  They denied him.  Jesus was tried, abused and hung on a cross.  He was mocked and died.  His body was placed in a tomb.  On that first Easter morning the tomb was found to be empty.

I imagine that the disciples were confused, fearful, full of uncertainty about what the future held.  We know that these events, and what followed, allow us to be reconciled to God, to have new life in Christ, to be born of the Holy Spirit.  We can be confident that God loves us.

Many of you will be aware that Bishop Jim has announced his resignation as our Diocesan Bishop as of July 31st.  This brings us to a time of change, a time of uncertainty about our future.  As we prayerfully seek God's will and the leading of the Holy Spirit, it is my hope that we use this time to strengthen our relationships.  Our relationship and trust in God, through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; our relationships within our congregations, within our parishes, and within our Diocese.  As we move forward, I pray that we have a sense of peace, seeking out God's direction and will, so that we may better live out our call to be the Body of Christ.

As we move forward let us remember Christ's words calling us to:

"... love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’...  love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:30–31 (ESV)