Saturday, March 22, 2008

March 31

This was a quiet day spent reading with two visits planned for later. I did read and sipped tea. After a busy weekend it was nice to spend some time with a couple of books.

March 30 - Easter 2

We celebrated the Eucharist at Holy Cross in the morning, with Bishop Eddie preaching and presiding at the table. It is wonderful to have an honorary assistant.

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.

March 29 - Easter Saturday

The Daffodil Place fund raiser is in full swing. This morning I joined with other from all over the peninsula for breakfast at St Stephen's Hall, Salvage. It was very well attended. 15 dozen eggs were donated, as well as everything else needed to serve a hearty breakfast. And the ladies of the ACW served with a smile.

Visited with a grieving family and later with a family still celebrating a wedding.

Then prepared for another wedding and reception.

March 28 - Easter Friday

A wedding & reception in the evening. Very nicely done by all.

As well as a rehearsal for a wedding tomorrow.

In the morning the certificates and registration forms were prepared - to be signed later.

March 27 - Easter Thursday

Spent the morning replying to messages. I don't like voice mail either, but I always appreciate when someone at least leaves their name - that way you know they have called.

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.

March 26 - Easter Wednesday

No snow over night. Everyone is happy, but it's to icy to ski today before we head back to the Rectory at Eastport.

We had a couple of good days amid the towering red pines, always lovely to be there.

March 25 - Easter Tuesday

Spend the day enjoying the lodge among the pines, good food, and an helpful book.

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.

March 24 - Easter Monday

This is week when as a family we try to be away for ourselves. The family is now just the two of us, but it is still important to get away. But before we could get away there were four phone calls. All requests were those that require something.

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

March 23 - Easter Day

Easter Day began with the Easter Eucharist at Holy Cross, followed by breakfast. It was a delight to have the Reverend Jacintha Penney preside at the Table. The Honorary Assistant, Bishop Eddie Marsh, just arrived back after being snow bound on route back to Eastport from parts west.
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."

March 22 - Holy Saturday

We have been asked to pray for Evan Penny who has been diagnosed with Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). Evan's grandfather is from the Eastport Peninsula.
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.

March 21 - Good Friday

Good Friday services where held in four of the five churches of the Parish.
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.

March 20 - Maundy Thursday

Today began with Eucharist at the Eastport Seniors Complex. I usually go there once a month for Eucharist. This morning I also shared Communion with one individual who was not able to join us in the common lounge where we gather.
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

March 19 - Wednesday of Holy Week

As I walked into St Stephen's, Salvage, this afternoon I listened as the wooden structure was buffeted by strong winds and freezing rain. We gathered, those of us who were able to, for the funeral of a gentleman who often told stories of growing up in Salvage. As a fisherman he sailed through rough seas and was buffeted by winds. By coincidence, if one believes in such, we sang "I feel the Winds of God Today."
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.

March 18 - Tuesday of Holy Week

Snow day again - School is closed. Two feet of snow drifted up blocking our front door. We were able to exit through a back door. Had to shovel the front door clear twice today.
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.

March 17 - Monday of Holy Week

In the morning Helena and I went skiing. Snow was pretty good for skiing, the air was chilly.
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.

March 16 - Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday it is, but it looks more like Christmas Day outside. Very few will be on the move today again.
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.

March 15

Today was cold and sunny. A funeral took place at St Chad's.
I led in the Family Prayers at the house of the gentleman who died. It is a house that he built with his wife.
In the evening, time was spent with another grieving family.

March 14

Today was spend moving back and forth between two grieving families. I am also mindful that Sunday is Palm Sunday and Holy Week follows.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March 13

Today was another day filled with snow. Spent some of the day shovelling.
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.

March 12

Living Prayer is written in eight chapters, with an epilogue. On Wednesday, March 12, at the Parish Lenten Service - Sandringham - I read chapter 6 — The Jesus Prayer.

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

March 11

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.

March 10

In preparation for our Eleventh Annual Seder Supper we met and settled the arrangements. Proceeds from the Supper will be directed to Holy Cross School in Belize (not our own Holy Cross School Complex, Eastport).
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.

March 8

This evening the Eastport Peninsula Volunteer Firefighters Annual Dinner and Dance was held. It is always a pleasure to attend and spend some time with those who volunteer there time and energies. It was Chief Kevin Bengers first Annual Dinner as the new chief. During any given year they respond to more than twenty calls. Some major like the fire at St Chad's, others minor. No matter what the hour - when they are called they respond.
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.

March 9 - Lent V

All night freezing rain fell keeping one awake. The rain continued through the morning service at Holy Cross, and stopped some time during.
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.

March 7

Today the World Day of Prayer service was held at St Alban's, Burnside, with about 90 in attendance. Marjorie Hiscock of Eastport was the guest speaker. The theme was "wisdom", and Marjorie spoke rather well. It is always pleasant to sit and listen when one speaks well - and Marjorie certainly did so.
During the day four visits were made by the Parson.

March 6

Today I visited with those in hospital at Gander. As well as two parochial visits.
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

March 5

Throughout Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, I have been reading Living Prayer by the Orthodox Archbishop Anthony Bloom. I am using Archbishop Anthony's text as the bases of the meditations for our Parish Lent services. I would like individuals to read along for themselves, but Living Prayer is apparently out of print.

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.

March 4

Tuesdays of Lent we join in Ecumenical services between the Glovertown churches and the Eastport peninsula. Tonight the service is at Holy Cross, with the Reverend Paul Vardy preaching. We had a fine turn out and a good response from those present - everyone seem to have received something from the service.

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 3

Today the parson sat and enjoy an extra cup of coffee, doing very little for the morning.
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.

March 2 - Lent IV

Sunday is usually a full day for any clergy. Today was rather full, not a usual Sunday. I had scheduled three services, but cancelled one. Because of recent deaths in the Parish there were two funerals today. One an elderly, stately, gentleman. The second a young person, who tragically died in an accident.
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

March 1

It was on Tuesday that Gordon Handcock gave me the Quarterly Reports with his notes. As I was preparing for a Parish Lenten service, on Wednesday evening, plans and preparations were changed. Earlier that morning I was informed of a death in the Parish. As we finished supper, I was made aware that likely another member of the Parish had died in an accident. Plans are only plans and alterations were made, individuals affected directly had to be seen too.

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!