Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The celebration of her life was wrapped in rainbows. In the midst of the service her family looked through a large window to behold the colours of a rainbow. As her nephews covered her up a rainbow filled the sky above them. As we gathered at her daughters home a rainbow welcomed all who gathered.
Rainbows give hope, and Lurley has entered into that hope.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
She gave of her strength and faith to those around her. Those who crowded into St George's, family and friends, were graciously met with all that she had prepared for those she loved. She chose the hymns. One that reminds us of the glory of resurrection - Morning Has Broken. And Jesus Loves Me which speaks to us whether we are young or ageing that we are loved at every point of our lives. Lastly she chose All things Bright and Beautiful, which is a glorious hymn of wonder and hope.
In moments like these our feelings and emotions flood to the surface and they are often expressed freely and openly. Freely and openly before the world “God so loved.”
Saturday, November 15, 2008
In this chapter Osborne sets out various expectations that are placed upon the country parson. Drawing upon the terms used by St Paul and the Church, as well as a twentieth century one, Osborne describes how the country parson might attempt to fulfil the various roles expected.
Osborne does come around to the conclusion most would expect, that the country parson is not likely to fill all roles equally well.
No vicar is going to get by taking on just one of these roles. Some roles will be thrust on unsuspecting ministers against their wishes. The vicar who wants to sees herself as the pastor of the flocks will have to spend some time dealing with paper, filing, forms, registers, correspondence and phone calls attending to matters of gravestones, wedding music, attendance figures and faculties. The chaplain who wishes to stay quietly available, a specialist in corner conversations about 113significant matters, will sometimes have to step forward and represent the church to the local radio or press. The evangelist who sees himself as one of the church, a friend and companion with a particular gift for helping people come to know Christ in a personal way, will find that at times he has to be formal and up front, representing God and the church as the parish priest.
There might be other roles, chosen by or thrust upon the country vicar. The vicar might be everyone’s uncle, an agony aunt, a social worker, a saviour, or the new romantic interest in a tight-knit community. The vicar might be seen and treated as a fool or a freeloader. Some of these the vicar might resent. Some they might be happy with. Some roles they might take reluctantly but realise the roles are necessary for the time or that plenty of people before them were cast in the same role, including perhaps Jesus and the apostles.
This chapter closes out with an episode called the “Trainers”, a story about a curate who wore red trainers hatching, matching and dispatching! You get the picture.
Friday, November 14, 2008
If you have read A Priest to the Temple, or the Country Parson this chapter will help to view the country parson from a different view. At times Osborne is almost critical it seem of Herbert's Country Parson. The short tale entitled “The Move” also gives a glimpse into the different perspectives that are held of the country parson — by the parson – by the overseers – by the parishioners.
The chapter begins with a brief summary of the word parson, it's origins, and it's implications for ministry.
Osborne points out George Herbert's position when he wrote the Country Parson, noting that it was not published till years after his death. Herbert was the vicar of the Parish of Bemerton in Wiltshire. According to Osborne, Herbert wrote “about what he was trying to achieve.” And there appears to be no confirmation that Herbert was able to live up to his own ideals, but they were certainly his ideals. Possibly most clerics would whole up for themselves similar ideals for their vocation and ministry.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Two ‘small’ books worth reading by anyone living in a small town, and participating in a rural church, are a couple of books published by the Alban Institute published in 2000.
Dynamics of Small Town Ministry by Lawrence W Farris (2000, pages 89).
This book is divided into two parts (Discovering the Small Town and Ministering in the Small Town) which is subdivided into seven chapters with an average page length of 9 pages.
Farris suggests that getting to know the small town first will lead to a better understanding of the congregation. He quotes from Emilia E. Martinez-Brawley who wrote that “small-town culture is like a map deeply embedded in the cognitive structure of those who have lived in it.”
Chapter One concludes with this paragraph:
It has been said, “[K]nowing who you are is impossible without knowing where you are.” The small-town minister who takes the time needed to learn the landscape will come to know his people more quickly and deeply.
Farris at Alban
Farris at G-Books
Entering the World of the Small Church by Anthony G Pappas (2000, pages 142).
Pappas at Alban
Pappas at G-Books
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
By David G. Andrews, National Catholic Rural Life Conference (U.S.), National Catholic Rural Life Conference (U.S. Published by National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 1998
This is another book with a series of questions through 18 different sections all related to ministry in the small rural church. Four essays conclude the text. This is an excellent resource for rural parishes posing questions around 18 different areas of ministry. Primarily written for American Roman Catholics, but it should have received a wide reading (it was published ten years ago). One of the strength's of this book are the two studies which are constantly referenced in the 18 different sections of the text.
The book is still listed at Natinoal Catholic Rural Life Conference Web-site. $16.00.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Last night while reading The Country Vicar I came across the following by David Osborne:
The aim of much of the teaching of the church is not simply that people should be able to clarify their ideas about life, the universe and God but that they should be able to live with a deeper or stronger faith. Jesus was known as a teacher but he was not a philosopher or a scientist. His concern was that people should have faith in God and live with love and these will be the aims of much church preaching and teaching. The process of learning and living with Christian faith is often referred to as discipleship: being a disciple of Jesus.Osborne echoes much of what we have been reading in Your Church Can Thrive, by Harold Percy. It's encouraging to find essentially the same concept in a different place, and sometimes from a source one least expects.
Monday, October 13, 2008
With the Rector in the photograph the following have been identified:
Norman Bull, Edna Dyke, Mildred Dyke, Alph Hancock, Gordon Hancock, Norman Handcock, Roma Laurell, Margaret LeBlanc, Bill Matchim, Ned Matchim, Betty Moss, Clara Moss, Wilbur Moss, Essie Penney, Harvey Penny, Gordon Penney, Sam Quinton, Baxter Squire, Neville Squire, Rebecca Squire, Eva Turner, Gerald Turner, Martha Turner, Nelson Turner, Rosalie Turner, Sylvia Turner, Ruby White.
This Thanksgiving we celebrate all that members of our choir, over the years, have offered freely and continue to offer in song to the glory of God.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Well a few of us came out to listen to Dean John Watton. Rev'd John stirred us as we prepare to consider the implications of Your Church Can Thrive by Harold Percy.
I am personally looking forward to reading together this book, holding in mind what Rev'd John has pointed out to us, and discovering the implications of discipleship as we “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” what God has in store for us.
Thanks John, we all appreciated your presence, what you brought to our attention, and the manner in which you presented all! Thanks.
For those of us engaging in these Parish discussions we are now expected to read chapter one by Tuesday/Thursday evening. Enjoy and learn as you read!
Oct 7, Tuesday, eleven of us gathered at St Stephen's Hall, Salvage – Thursday, Oct 9, fourteen of us gathered at the Church of the Resurrection, Sandringham – to work through the implications of chapter one of Your Church Can Thrive.
Two different conversations took place, but for the most part we confined our discussion to chapter one, Thinking About Growth. Of the matters we discussed much of our discussion centred around inviting others, of giving an invitation to explore fellowship with us as a church and with God in Christ.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
As I am reading this book I find myself challenged by my assumptions and perspectives, which R C Smith highlights as problems faced by clergy in rural settings. And maybe this can even happen to one who was raised in a rural setting. For the most part so far this appears to be a common sense book. It is still worth a peruse by anyone engaged in rural ministry. Though the volume I borrowed from a library does not appear to have had the privilege of being lent out previously.
Smith in the midst of his book draw particular importance to the book Small Town in Mass Society. (A partial reading is available at Google Books.)
As I read through this text I came across this:
the texture of our lives. Jews and Christians, as well as most of the great religions, reject the division of life into “sacred” and “secular”; they insist that all of life is the area for religious commitment and confrontation.
which is worth recalling in our own journeys of faith.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Yesterday we had a Deanery Clericus Meeting. Demographics and what is happening to the communities of the Deanery and Province are significant, effecting the life of all who live in rural NL.
I had recently viewed the report that is linked below. So I sent the following to the clericus for their information and to be aware.
Hello Deanery Colleagues:
After our discussion yesterday I thought I would place this link on to you.
This little booklet of demographics highlight what is happening in our diocese and province.
Take a look at page 27 to see results from the deanery.
Glovertown is -9.4% from 1991-2006 which is the lowest change listed for our area, apart from Gander.
Gambo and Eastport have both declined by -17% while New-Wes-Valley by -23.1%
But all is not down in the Diocese - Clarenville is positive with a growth of 17.9%
So there is hope
Paul of Salvage
Thursday, September 11, 2008
In one of our Public Libraries I came across Traveling Light by Max Lucado. This book applies Psalm 23 to the American Christian heart, and just maybe it may apply to many other hearts as well. Worth a read and full of stories to stir the heart.
Today I read the preface and chapter one — and it does appear to be a promising read. Evangelism is always a matter for colourful discussion among clerics. Wonder what this book has stirred, or will yet stir.
Chapter One: St Patrick, one of the patron saints of Ireland, figures hugely in the first chapter. Patrick brings a familiar and friendly spirit of evangelism to Ireland as interpreted by Hunter. An interpretation that appears to be well worth bearing in mind as other consider evangelism and the gospel.
Chapter Two: Contrasts the differences between traditional western monasteries and the monastery communities of Ireland, some that were 3,000 strong. Three items highlight the differences between the traditional West and that of Ireland.
One - he notes that Irish communities were not as rigidly build as other European towns. (see p. 27).
Two - the Irish monasteries were community orientated, rather that orientated toward the individual spirituality.
Three - he presents contemplative prayer as prayer that can be without ceasing, and does not attempt to control the Divine.
Chapter Three: After the death of Patrick the missionary efforts continue. Hunter presents to the reader the missionary efforts of Columba, Aidan, Paulinus. The Synods of Whitby and Autun stand for the Celtic Christian as the enforcement of law from the outside - the Roman way was insisted upon and prevailed, making no allowance for resident culture and understanding. The implications of what Hunter writes for evangelism today is significant.
Chapter Four: The Celtic Christian Community in Formation and Mission. Hunter highlights the differences between the Roman way and the Celtic genre of community and mission.
- Roman sent out a single missionary or two.
- Celtics go out in teams.
Benedicitne Rule #53
In Chapter Four Hunter gleams much for Recovering Our Past: Celtic and Roman Mission (John Finney, 1996). However, this book by Finney may be hard to acquire. I did not find it at four of the five sources that I checked (Amazon -- Chapters - Google Books - Library of Congress -) Only the British Library listed the book.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Exodus 3:1-15 - Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Romans 12:9-21 - Matthew 16:21-28
Fr Paul C Thoms
1 Last week we began with the birth of Moses. This Sunday we find Moses married tending his father-in-law Jethro's sheep on "Horeb, the mountain of God."
2 Moses experience of God at the burning bush.
14 Here is the great "I AM" statement. Where is one of those places in sacred scripture that caused the scribes to bath themselves prior to use a pen but once to write that most sacred of names.
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c
Friday, August 22, 2008
Exodus 1:8-2:10 or Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 124 or Psalm 138
Romans 12:1-8, Matthew 16:13-20
Fr Paul C Thoms
The notion of history is always important. How quickly sometimes we forget the wishes, the beliefs, the honour, of those who go before us. Recently I had someone confess to me that they had very little problem with most of the commandments. But when it came to the commandment about honouring ones' "mother and father" they had great difficulty at time. Parents can try us at times like anything else.
1.8 A new arose who did not know Jesus. In our world today many are arising who do not know Jesus. Our young people, our grand-children are growing up and few of them will hear and know the bible stories we were taught as children. They will know nothing of Joseph, they may know nothing of God — they will know nothing of Jesus.
1.15-20 The reach of God extends beyond the Hebrews to Egyptian midwifes (even as they are under the command of Pharaoh, but yet they fear God above their Pharaoh).
2.1-10 Pharaoh's daughter adopts a Hebrew boy — Moses.
Recently I picked up Megan McKenna's book Parables: the Arrows of God. Now picking up a book like this can lead to endless reading, and sure enough it has. But it is not pointless study.
Check out Parables by McKenna at Google Books.
Parables by McKenna is a series of ten sermons based on parables of Jesus. I highly recommend this book to any who preach from the parables. McKenna is an incredible preacher, and much of that comes through in her composition of sermons.
But once you delve into a consideration of the Parables it leads to considering what other are saying about the Parables. Today there are many popular as well as scholarly writings about the Parables. My study lead me to the Parables of Jesus by Joachim Jeremias which I had on my shelf. But this then drove me to request from a local public library a copy of C H Dodd's book The Parables of the Kingdom. And as I read Dodd's argument I will be requesting other books from the library, as well as looking for some more recent texts online.
Study of the Scriptures and popular and scholarly reflections by others is a task that must be taken up by every generation. The urban as well as the rural priest, as one who attempts to speak clearly God's Word, for God's People, ought to see the task of study as an extension of the task of one's prayer of life. Such enquires will also take one back to languages once learn in our pursuit of a theology. Popular texts will restrict themselves to vernacular for the most part. Jeremias and Dodd will cause one to search for a Greek interlinear or dictionary stirring what ever Greek, Latin and maybe German one has studied. Even German texts can be acquired through a public library.
Monday, August 18, 2008
In the past spring, a group of us, read together The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. This was a growing experience for all as we took time to discuss the book and it’s spiritual implications for us.
This fall it is my hope that we will have an opportunity to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” all that Harold Percy has written in his book Your Church Can Thrive.
Harold Percy writes first of all as an Anglican priest in an urban parish in Mississauga, Ontario. But no where does he flaunt being Anglican. The only places where you will find the term Anglican is in one of the few notes in the book, most of which refer to books published by the Anglican Book Centre (ABC). As you read the book you will appreciate that it could have been written by almost any clergy or lay person. This is a real plus - Harold is the rector of a parish congregation, he is not one who seats a distance and pens observations deemed to be of ultimate important by the composer. He writes his ongoing experience as a rector. In reading this book you will come to appreciate his straight forward style, which you will likely find challenging at times. The point of reading this book will be for all of us to learn together.
The book is divided into five chapters and their titles summarize what we can expect in part.
1. Thinking About Growth
2. Those in the Pews
3. Those Who Walk In
4. Friends and Family of Member
5. Those Who Live in the Neighborhood
Some of what we read will come home to us in our own experiences as we have visited other churches ourselves.
I will look forward to our discussions, the challenges that this will highlight for us, and how this will cause us to grow in our faith.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Genesis 45:1-15 or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Psalm 133 or Psalm 67
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Fr Paul C ThomsLections may be viewed at Vanderbilt Divinity College.
2 - Joseph the "dreamer" weeps.
3 - Joseph reveals himself.
4 - don't be angry with yourselves.
7 - a remnant on earth
8 - God sent Joseph to Egypt.
15 - Joseph kissed his brothers and wept upon them - then they talked with him. Joseph, who was wronged by his brothers takes the first step of reconciliation with his brothers.
Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
This Psalm is classified as a Wisdom Psalm. It instills a feeling of unity, peace and tranquillity, not what Joseph felt for so many years.
1 - Paul a descendant of Benjamin, upon whose neck Joseph cried.
2 - God foreknew the people
30 - we receive mercy because of the disobedience of those who go before us.
31 - having received mercy yourselves, others may now receive mercy.
32 - all disobedience is imprisoned so that God may be merciful to all.
Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-2
10 - over and over again Jesus says "listen" and we pick up a book.
11 - while we ought to guard our minds, it is our mouths and the words we speak that reveal our hearts.
13 - what the Father sows will last
15 - Peter, the not so silent, speaks up yet again.
He ask Jesus to "Explain this parable to us."
16 - This reveals that Peter still does not understand.
17-20 - Jesus explains the parable
22 - Canaanite woman approaches Jesus
23-27 - her faith and tanasity
28 - her faith!
Monday, August 4, 2008
I received this book in the post during Lent, March 11th to be precise. I came across it at Google Books.
After viewing the Table of contents you will realize that this book is a series of not so connected essays on the evil and good will of the wild world of the web – at its’ best and at its’ worst – that’s the connection.
This book does have a good index and contains biographical information for those who want to pursue matters further. There are over ninety essays in this collection of 180 pages, which means that most are short. Many of the articles are about a page in length, and some less. The production editor was not afraid of using a extra tree or two as there is lots of “whitespace” which always makes for a more readable text, but there are a number of blank even pages for no apparent reason. The articles are not sub-divided into sections – they are simply presented as individual article onto themselves.
The articles entitled
$100 MIT Laptop
all take up less than a page. I am glad they are mentioned on the plus side of cyber-matters, but couldn’t a little more be said. Guess “good news” doesn’t sell. These are three great stories that deserve to be told.
Proper 14 (19) - Lection Notes
Fr Paul C Thoms
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 – Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b – Romans 10:5-15 – Matthew 14:22-33
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28
The focus of the readings has been on Jacob up to this point. Now it is Joseph who stands at centre stage. There is much for any family member to grapple with in this passage:
1 Jacob moves into a place where his father lived as an alien. It is unsettling to live in a place where you feel you don't belong - even if you really do belong there.
2 Joseph brought a bad report to Jacob about his wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Who likes a tattle-tale.
3 Joseph is loved by his father more than anyone else - he is the favoured son.
4 The love of a father turns to hate in his sons. Jacob's other sons are jealous of Joseph.
13-14 Jacob unaware of the jealousy of his sons sends Joseph into a trap that was brooding in the hearts of his brothers. In hearts that should have been bearing love, hatred, malice and murder lurked.
18 The hatred boils over into a conspiracy to kill their brother and lie to their father.
19 "Here comes this dreamer". To them Joseph had become an idle distraction - he was no longer their brother as far as they were concerned.
21 Reuben vainly, and weakly - not willing to take his stand against his bothers, attempts to fool the others.
27 The plan for harm by Joseph's brothers is thwarted by a higher plan, one that is yet to be revealed.
28 For twenty pieces of silver they betray and sell off their brother.
Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b
5 May be regarded as a key verse of this Psalm.
Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he uttered.
In the midst of our sin the Lord's purposes are being fulfilled.
This Psalm summarizes all that happened with God's people from Moses to Joseph.
Psalm 105 is employed by the Revised Common Lectionary as follows:
|Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45c||Proper 19||A|
|Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45||Proper 25||A|
|Psalm105:1-6, 23-26, 45c||Proper 22||A|
|Psalm 105:1-11, 45c (Alt)||Proper 17||A|
It should be very familiar over these Sundays.
Romans 10:5-15Like most of Romans there is allot to hear in this passage.
Here "saved" is used in the following tenses:
9 you will be saved (future tense)
10 is saved (present tense)
13 shall be saved (future tense)
Verse 15 is worthy of note as well and the quotation from the Hebrew Scripture. It has been pointed out by others that their are those who go, but they are not "sent."
Three times in this passage we hear the verb "immediately." If one has spent any time studying Mark's gospel this term will be familiar, and here Matthew also uses the verb three times.
Peter is often noted as being so quick, so immediate, with his responses. It is noteworthy that of the disciples it is Peter who responds. With Peter in the boat no one else gets a chance to be first, to respond.
In the middle of all of this two individuals died. Each with their own individuality that caused others to love them and be loved by them.
For many a good sermon has been determined by the quote of a well know theologian, or probably more importantly a prominent bishop. Archbishop Rowan Williams is very quotable in many respects, he is rather well read and this is reflected in his writings. However this volume, Why Study the Past (2005), is a book that many may over look, but shouldn't. Unfortunately for those who like to quote bishops, and in particular the Archbishop of Canterbury, there are few usable sermon quotations from Why Study the Past, but Williams does open doors to understanding the past and the Scriptures.
This book is definitely about the history of the Church - why we should study the past and effectively who we have become and why. Williams is critical of the assumptions and opinions made by certain historians and how this influenced their writings.
Why Study the Past is readable. It, like so many other books from an academic, is the product of a series of lectures delivered, meaning that it requires some concentration (a quick search at Wikipedia or Christian Classics Ethereal Library may serve helpful). The text ought to be consumed by those who week after week attempt to translate the early Church for this present day. As well, for anyone actively engaged in a Bible study group, in particular those leading such a study, the implications of this book should both challenge and encourage.
Monday, July 14, 2008
On Saturday, July 12, there was an interment in the Parish of an individual who died in Ontario. The wish of the individual was to be interned with the family.
Saturday afternoon a couple were united in marriage at Holy Cross.
Sunday four services were held in the Parish.
Saint Alban's, Burnside, is a lively place at this time of the year with many returning for some time "home" for the summer. Stirred on by one individual the church was throughly cleaned and prepared for some fresh paint. Some of the brush approaching the church was also cut. Many hands were involved, women and men, young and those with much experience at these sorts of tasks.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Two visits were made during the day.
Bishop Eddie, the honorary assistant of the Parish, presided at the Church of the Resurrection. Norm Purchase, a Lay-Minister of the Parish, lead worship at St Alban's.
This was a full day of liturgy in the Parish with much to pray for.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Funeral preparations happen – they are not always what we would desire in those moments – but they are the best we can offer in those moments.
This morning I presided at the Eucharist at Holy Cross, Eastport, with the Confirmation Class in attendance. The two ACW Executives of Holy Cross Church were installed today. These two sister ACWs have worked together for almost one hundred years. As the Executives were installed two sisters, Marjorie (Penny) Hiscock and Carolyn (Penny) Crisby, were installed as an ACW president. Marjorie as president of the Happy Adventure and Sandy Cove ACW, and Carolyn as president of the Eastport ACW branch.
The afternoon and part of the evening were spent with a grieving family.
In the evening I presided at the Eucharist at Saint Alban's, Burnside. At the service a "Thank You" card was presented to a member who has donated an organ to the Church.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
In the afternoon and evening the family grieving their Mother arrived. They were tearful but thankful to have been loved by such a songful woman.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Both of these gentlemen have been honest hard working individuals. One went from being a cookie working in the woods camps to being a chef at an exclusive fishing camp. He served ordinary woodsman in the camps and millionaires by the river. The other was known as strong man, and he name is more than a clue at that. After cleaning a freshly shot moose - this strong man took a quarter in each hand, and with arms extended carried two moose quarters out of the woods. Such men shall be missed, and their stories will live on.
A number of visits have been made to the grieving families.
As I spoke with two who will venture out sealing over the next few days. For those who live here in this part of world sealing is a part of our lives, though not respected by all. Our fishermen of old always respected the sea – and some had a great fear of the sea as well. Both at fishing and sealing many of our fishers have returned maimed for life — while others never returned.
Respect for those who do their best to provide and make and honest living should be honoured by all.
In the morning I enjoyed an extra cup of coffee, and wrote three small bits of python code. Previously I have written a couple of perl computer code as well. This is a hobby that is a real contrast to pastoral ministry and contributes to ones' wellness - at least that is the hope of some.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
I love the Emmaus road story from St Luke's Gospel. Luke tells recalls this account for us in 483 words, Mark uses only 32 words giving just the facts.
Todays Collect echoes this Gospel reading very strongly
O God, your Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread. Open the eyes of our faith, that we may see him in his redeeming work . . . .
The Collect echoes the breaking of the bread and the opening of the eyes of the disciples. On YouTube you will find Open the Eyes of My Heart as sung by Michael W Smith. This is an appropriate song as a reflection of this Gospel, even though it is a song that is not specific to the text, but it doesn't have to be that specific.
Every now and again I hear the sirens of the Fire Trucks sound, as our Volunteer Fire Fighters respond to a call. Today the call was right across the road at Holy Cross School Complex just before noon.
In orderly fashion the students and teachers walked from the school to the Church of the Holy Cross. When I got to the Church most of the students were already in the Church. This is something that they had previously practised in a drill, but today it was no drill. An alarm had been raised. But it was a false alarm - thankfully.
Later in the day I made two visits, and joined others in the evening at a surprise birthday party.
Not a dull day at all!
Visiting at JPM and at Lakeside we offered prayers together. It stirs your heart when tears moisten the eyes of those with whom you pray. It stirs your heart when as you pray "Our Father . . . ." voices quiver and some voices grow strong.
One individual who never says much always comes alive when we pray "Our Father . . . ." together. In those moments that individual is truly a witness to me. Easter is always a time when we recall the witness of the Gospels, the witness of the women, the witness of the Apostles', but we should also be mindful of the witness before us in others.
In rural ministry, with a number of churches, the schedule of services is not always the same. A single point parish, an urban parish, can pretty much set a Sunday schedule of services and stick with it making accommodations for Holy Days. One should not view this as a strength or weakness of urban verses rural, but simply a difference. Ministry in urban and rural parishes have different stresses and focuses.
Some of the clergy may be familiar with The Parson's Handbook by Percy Dreamer, 1899. It is a very complete handbook for all matters of the liturgy of the Church, but barely addresses the ministry of the parson beyond the walls of a church building. It is still a rather useful book though, as Dreamer focuses upon liturgical matters exclusively. Wish he wrote more about the maniple though.
Charles R Forder published The Parish Priest at Work in 1947. I came across this book at the Hiscock — Moore Memorial Library. This is an extremely useful book and addresses those matters of pastoral ministry that Dreamer does not. Chapter 28 of The Parish Priest at Work is entitled The Country Specialist, aka &4x2013; the Country Parson. This has been a helpful to read from time to time.
Old books are like old friends — good ones we never grow weary of.
The rest of the day was taken up with two parochial meetings.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The afternoon was busy with preparations for the Gospel Concert at Holy Cross in aide of Daffodil Place. The concert was fairly well attended, and many voices of the peninsula sang out in delightful songs and readings. About $11,000 was raised over the weekend for Daffodil Place, which will be a blessing to so many in times of need.
Randy Street and the Committee did themselves proud. They would want to deflect some of the pride we take in their efforts, but somebody has to take on such fund raising. We would also acknowledge the efforts of all who in small ways and great made the fund raising for Daffodil Place such a success. It is "awesome"! Individuals and businesses gave. They donated items for the weekend. They gave of their time and energy. They gave all together $11,000. Amazing — amazing — and it will be amazing grace to those who find they must avail upon such generosity.
Visited with a grieving family and later with a family still celebrating a wedding.
Then prepared for another wedding and reception.
When it comes to emails — I have started to employ a simple rule: If I open it – I read it – I reply. Why wait for spring to reply. If I don't have time to reply just then, I don't open it until I do.
Much of the day was occupied with two up coming weddings.
Also visited a grieving family – one quiet pastoral call – one NA.
Wedding rehearsal in the evening.
We are still at a lodge a midst towering pine we skied again, for the second day in a row (this does not happen very often), that were very icy. Unless there is a good snow fall we will not be able to ski tomorrow before we head back.
Spent part of the afternoon with a friend who is awaiting a stress test.
The Bank and Post Office are closed today, but every office is not closed. If those who phoned read this they may feel bad, hope they don't, but phone calls and knocks at the door are the reality of life. Some how clergy, and their families, must learn to deal — or no deal.
When we finally did get away to a lodge a midst towering pine we skied on semi groomed trails, that were a bit icy.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In rural ministry one moves from one community of faith to another. This Easter I presided at four Easter Eucharists. First, as above, I was at Eastport, then Sandringham, Burnside, and Salvage. In each of the churches memorials were given, this also took place during the Vigil at St Chad's, in memory of loved ones.
Two pastoral visits were also made in the midst of the services.
As we celebrated the Resurrection with many HalleluYahs the congregations heard the story of Abbott Marcus. Abbott Marcus every Easter prayed for those of the monastery and outlying community as follows:
First: he prayed for those who believe, and live in faith.
Second: he prayed for those who have doubts yet they believe, or are struggling to believe like the rest.
Third: he prayed for those who wonder about all this talk of heaven and the resurrection of a man from the dead.
Fourth: he prayed for those who do not believe – those who have given up on God.
Throughout all of Easter this is how Abbott Marcus prayed.
When we listen to the Gospel from Matthew for Easter we hear of those who are witnesses. In the reading from Acts we hear of more witnesses. In our hearts we ought to hear that we are witnesses today to those around us.
First: to those who believe, as we all need encouragement.
Second: to those who doubt, as we all need examples of faith.
Third: to those who wonder, they need to see the reason why.
Fourth: to those who refuse God, that they may recognize God in those who believe.
The Messiah said, "You are my witnesses."
Today was spent quietly for the most part making preparations for the Vigil at St Chad's and the celebration of Easter tomorrow.
We had a smaller turn out than I expected, certainly smaller than I hoped for. But I love the Great Vigil. The lighting of the Pascal Candle — Ten Salvation History readings — Renewal of Baptismal Vows — the Easter Eucharist!
Shared in one home communion also.
I choose eight different readings from the Gospels, and appropriate Psalms. Much of what I used was drawn from Living Prayer, by Anthony Bloom. It is my prayer, and hope, that others received from his words some of what I received.
The contrast of Good Friday to the Seder Supper the evening before is always quite real. To move from drinking wine and singing to solemn quietness before the Cross - awe, silence and stillness filled our beings.
Immediately after this I went to Gambo for the funeral of the mother of fourteen. I knew her by name growing up in Gambo, but I when to school with her daughters and sons.
Returning to the Parish I gathered horseradish and a prayer shawl for the Seder. About 70 gathered to celebrate the Passover, and be Jewish for an evening. Being Jewish for an evening comes easier to some than others, but we are learning. Some of us may yet learn to dance!
Tomorrow I plan to follow the same pattern as last year for Good Friday, that is, four services and eight meditations. Other things are prepared but the meditations are not. I have used Living Prayer throughout Lent for my own devotions, and meditations for the Parish Lenten Services.
Chapter 6, of Living Prayer, is online at Archangels Books. I encourage all to give this short chapter a read. Never know you may like it.
They offer for sale both Living Prayer and Beginning to Pray. I was excited to find that both books are still in print.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Following the funeral I visited with the family.
Tomorrow we are getting ready for the Seder Supper. I went to Sandringham this evening and the ladies were busy with their preparations. As I walked in there was a sack of potatoes and carrots donated, also we were given 6 dozen eggs for our Seder.
Spent the afternoon with a grieving family recalling growing up in Salvage. This is generally positive for ourselves, and was so for the family, as we acknowledge who we are and who we have become. From our heritage we find strength. It is a heritage of faith and of the individuals who instill faith and life within us.
Made 4 pastoral visits.
Three of which were to a family in grief. A elderly gentleman, who has been away from the community, has died. He fished on the Labrador, and worked as a carpenter throughout much on Newfoundland. There are a number of individuals for whom he helped get work, giving them good referrals.
Evening service was cancelled because of the weather.
One of the four scheduled services was cancelled because of the snow.
In the afternoon the funeral of a stately lady was held. Palms were placed with her, as she always looked forward to Palm Sunday - now she looks forward to the Resurrection. She has been an individual of faith and action throughout her life.
In the evening the Rector make three pastoral visits.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Attempted to travel but the roads were snow covered, so I turned back. Two families in the Parish are now in the midst of grieving, and I was unable to visit with them.
At the Rectory, unable to get about, we watched an episode of Hetty Wainthropp. Anyone who has watched Keeping Up Appearances with recognize Patricia Routledge.
And you'll also note from these comments that I am a fan of wikipedia.
No matter how busy ones' life is - we all need to take time for ourselves and our families. Helena commented that this was the first day in some time that she didn't have to go any where.
The Jesus Prayer ought to be familiar to most of us in one form or another. 'Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' As Anglicans we use this prayer often in our liturgies, and in our own prayers.
Bloom cites the The Way of a Pilgrim which has been reprinted in several editions. The unknown Russian monk prays the Jesus Prayer as the monk traveled throughout Russian in the 19th century.
You will find that Chapter 6 is online at Archangels Books. They offer for sale both Living Prayer and Beginning to Pray. I was excited to find that both books are still in print.
As well yesterday Leigh Anne Power, of CBC-Radio Gander, interviewed some of the ladies who have been involved in the Prayer Quilt Ministry. So we look forward to hearing their interview, likely tomorrow.
During this day the Parson made three pastoral calls. Two to a bereaved family, and one to a recently bereaved.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Yesterday I received in the post Cybersins and Digital Good Deeds: a book about technology and ethics. This and a couple of other books will be placed on the shelf for later reading.
During the afternoon an annual meeting was scheduled for St Alban's - Burnside.
Much of this day was used to prepare for the Ecumenical Service - Culls Harbour. This was the last of our Lenten Ecumenical services. All were well attended, and appreciated by all - no one said otherwise. I spoke from Psalm 130 - Out of the Depths, and Helena sang Shauna's Song which brought it all together.
Shauna's Song was recorded by Barry McGuire, who is well known for the song The Eve of Destruction.
So this was a full day.
Had emails today from Vernon & Francis Wilson who
The Diocese of Belize is our Companion Diocese.
Make two visits today and attended the Dinner Meeting at Branch 41 of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Members of the Eastport Peninsula Volunteer Firefighters were also present at the tree planting ceremony at St Chad's, September 2007.
One member of the Parish celebrated a birthday and it was a joy to be invited to the same.
Two other services in the Parish were cancelled because of the icy conditions.
In the evening I same two families. Spent the afternoon with a book.
During the day four visits were made by the Parson.
During the day, as well, two individuals who are making adjustments in their lives came to see me. Both are going through separations, one recent, the other not so recent - but both trying to manage their broke lives.
Most of the patients at the hospital were cheerful, and looking forward to being released to go home. But so many who are not sick are very broken emotionally.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Living Prayer is written in eight chapters, with an epilogue. On Wednesday, March 5, I referred to chapter 5 — Unanswered Prayer and Petition. Bloom challenges the "ifs" of our faith and prayers. He cites the
"episode of the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:122)" . . . . she comes with complete faith and does not even say 'if you can', she just comes, . . . . she is the wrong sort of person. Christ has come for the Jews, she is a pagan . . . . And she stands, trusting in the love of God.
Do we stand trusting in the love of God?
A couple of years ago I read Bishop Norman T Wright's book, For All the Saints.
While Living Prayer is apparently out of print — Beginning to Prayer, which was first published in 1970, was reprinted in 2004 and is available from Amazon and Chapters.
Rev'd Paul began with this question:
If God is made know to the world through our lives, what image of God are we presenting?
He went on to share an experience he had while at college. He told the story of "Sue", a street person. She saw a Bible in the run down place she was staying, and Sue kicked the Bible. As she kicked the Bible Sue said, "God doesn't care about me."
Do we in our lives show forth a God who cares?
Much of this day was filled with preparations for the Ecumenical service, phone calls and an individual who came by for an hour - to talk.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
March 3rd is the birthday of Walt at 94. The Parson ate cake with Walt and listen to his stories of being a cook in a woods camp.
In the evening I met with the Parish Cursillo sharing group. Then visiting with a parishioner.
With the two services at which I presided, both being Eucharists, two were baptized at the later service. An Annual meeting also took place. After which I made to visits with bereaved families.
With most of the services others took part. The bereaved families were grateful for the kindness extended to them. In such moments our presence is the greatest we can offer - our words will always be lacking - but never our presence. A simple card, a phone call, and a hug never go astray in these moments.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
It is at such times that all one can do is be there, even the parish priest can only be there. Prayers may help an individual who is a consistent church goer. But for those who are occasional a short quiet prayer and a parson's presence is what is required.
Wednesday was a day of quiet prayers. Of fears realized. Of questions with no answers. Of the love and support of family and friends that will wrap many days.
Today one individual was "laid to rest."
One elderly gentleman, who was very gentle, would say "stowed away." He did the work of a funeral director in his time, assisting families and clergy in the process of mourning and honouring the life of the individual who died.
Today one member of the Parish was buried — tomorrow two members will be buried. One a young mother who died suddenly and tragically. The other is an individual of immense knowledge and a solid member of the community.
As well two individuals are to be presented for baptism tomorrow. In baptism we die to self — in death we rise with Christ!
Friday, February 29, 2008
This past week I received, from Professor Gordon Handcock — who grew up in the Parish of Salvage, notes on the Quarterly of the Anglican Parish of Salvage from 1823 - 1876. These reports are the inspiration in part for this blog, and the "musings" of one Ed King. While Ed was the rector of All Saints, CBS., he keep tract of what he was about as the rector of the Parish. This was an eye opener for myself and the members of the congregation of what a rector/priest might be about in a week or month. These Quarterly Reports were submitted to the
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPGFP) by missionaries to the Mission of Salvage.
These Reports and Professor Handcocks notes will be posted in time at the Parish web-site.
Today is the last of February. It is the twenty-ninth of the month. It is the birth day of Sarah Ann, who did not get to celebrate as many of these leap years as she might liked. But she saws more than eighty winters in this part of God's creation. On the twentieth celebration of her birth I told my own children of a lady who was celebrating her twentieth birthday, and yet she was eighty.