Meet the candidates nominated for election as bishops suffragan. Three bishops will be elected on separate ballots.
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Homily for Fourth after Pentecost — The Rev’d Glenn Empey, Luke 7: 36 – 8: 3
Once, a man decided to have a party. So he invited friends, family, colleagues and some others, as the story goes. We don’t know exactly who the man was but his name was Simon – not the same Simon as in other versions of the story you might have heard. The man was of some social standing in the town. We don’t know why he is having the party but that doesn’t seem to matter. Any reason is a good reason for a party. Usually dinner parties and the like, with good company, are positive and fun experiences. Something to which to look forward … a pleasant time, good food, ample refreshments, and perhaps some entertainment of one sort or another.
To this party, it seems the man added another person to his guest list. Again, we don’t know why. Maybe it was because he had heard about that guest’s growing reputation among the populace. Maybe the man was intrigued by the special guest’s new way of sharing wisdom. Maybe because he would be a curiosity. Maybe even an opportunity to have some fun by taunting the special guest. Maybe he’s a prophet… maybe not. There are all kinds of reasons the man could have had for inviting this particular rabbi to his party. And it does appear that a certain rabbi was this special guest.
Now others also knew about this rabbi. Even those of low repute in the eyes of the self-justified. Like the woman in the story. What would possess such a person to crash a party? Presumably, the high and lofty were in attendance, people who were ‘somebody’s’, family, friends and so on of the man who had arranged the festivity.
There would be milling around, important conversations, maybe even some gossip in the corners. And then dinner at the table where likely the focal point would turn more to the man who had arranged the whole affair. No doubt he’d be watching the interactions of his guests and wondering about the special guest he had added to his list.
Into the midst of the occasion, now comes a certain woman, a woman who is out of place at such a gathering of elite. She is not on the guest list. She is a gate-crasher. Not just any kind of gate-crasher but one who truly did not belong in such illustrious company. You see she was a sinner and everyone knew it. Interesting that the man didn’t have her thrown out. But that would have been a bit awkward since all her attention immediately fell to the man who was there as the special guest.
This version again is different than other versions you can read elsewhere in the story of the good news. This time there is no connection with Passover or any fate that lay ahead for the special guest. This time the party-crashing woman anoints the rabbi’s feet with oil while crying and wiping away her tears in what may seem a sensuous manner with her hair. Suddenly the focus is entirely on the woman and the special guest. He had been invited for whatever reason or ploy. She had been drawn somehow on her own to dare enter the party.
You may wonder if a silence would have befallen the revellers once they began to notice this woman and what was going on. No doubt there’d be some murmuring among the honourable guests.
Even the host murmured to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.”
The rabbi, either reading the man’s body language or his mind, says, “Can I tell you something?”
“Yes, Teacher,” which is what rabbi means.
“Simon you’re missing the point. The love about which I am speaking is about humility, about being able to know ones own shortcomings, to be vulnerable and to be open.”
“Love is about being able to respond by knowing ones own need to be loved and to be accepted as the person you are. That has to do with forgiveness and being forgiven. It has to do with being forgivable. And once knowing that unconditional bond of acceptance and of being worthy no matter what ones journey has been, it is a new freedom to cut through barriers.
“It’s not about counting sins. It’s about forgiveness and the love that knowledge releases.
“Once you grasp that point, your outlook on life will be changed and you will understand about what it means to be freed into humility. That’s why the woman came to the banquet, Simon.
“Which leaves one other question for you, Simon: How is that you invited me as your special guest?”, the rabbi might ask.
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Luke 7: 36 – 8: 3
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Baked goods and perennial plants went quickly at the Annual Plant and Bake Sale on Saturday, 28 May. By shortly after 9 am, much of the home-baking had disappeared and over half of the 753 perennials were headed to local gardens.
It was great day to be out and to get home-made baked goods and browse through a wide selection of local perennials. There were pies, which didn’t last long, banana breads, numerous kinds of cookies and other confections. When one late delivery was made by a member of the parish, the phlox were sold before they hit the table! Great deals and tasty treats. The weather also cooperated beautifully. Thanks be to God!
Thank you to our parish ‘Plant Managers’, our bakers, and our ‘logistics lads’ and especially to all who donated plants from their own gardens. It was another great day and a fun event for the parish and local community.
Archbishop Colin Johnson read this statement to Diocesan Council on May 19, recommending that the Diocese continue with four episcopal areas at this time and seeking its concurrence with his request for the election of a third suffragan bishop on Sept. 17. Council approved both requests.
by Archbishop Colin Johnson
Over the past six weeks, I have consulted with over 210 clergy in six parish hall meetings, and with numerous lay leaders in other settings, about the proposed changes in the episcopal areas and the advisability of continuing with four episcopal areas, each with an area bishop, or reducing the areas and hence number of bishops by one. I have also met with the regional deans, and the area bishops have met both with their regional deans and area councils to consider this.
The results indicated a spectrum of thinking (not atypical for Anglicans on any subject) but a number of common themes emerged.
- The primary focus needs to be on the missional strategy of the Diocese.
- Money should not be the primary driver of the decision.
- If the decision is to reduce the number of bishops by one, the money saved should be redirected to provide diocesan support services for parishes in transition.
- In a period of complexity and transition, more support and leadership is needed, not less, although there is some diversity of opinion whether this should be episcopal, archidiaconal or staff support.
- Regardless of the number of bishops, their job descriptions need to be reconsidered.
- Of the various roles of the bishop, administration is a necessary function but should not be the predominant function.
- Archdeacons may have a role, either in picking up administrative responsibilities now done by bishops (e.g., project approvals, meetings with parish selection committees, compliance issues) or as gift-based specialists in an identified diocesan priority as part of the diocesan bishop’s staff (e.g., church planting, missional strategy, amalgamation coaching or facilitating closures, etc.)
- High-quality lay ministry and leadership needs to be encouraged to serve across parish boundaries in the Diocese (It was noted that many parishes seem reluctant to share their most capable people.)
Having listened, prayed and thought about this carefully, I recommend that the Diocese of Toronto continue for this time with four episcopal areas, each with an area bishop, and that Diocesan Council concur with my request for the election of a third suffragan bishop to succeed the retiring or translated bishops suffragan of Toronto.
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Anglican and Catholic theologians, meeting in Toronto, Canada this week, have agreed on the publication of their first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) document on the theme “Towards a Church fully reconciled”. The volume, which is likely to be published in the autumn, uses the ‘Receptive Ecumenism’ approach to look at the limitations within each communion and see how one Church can help the other grow towards the fullness of faith.
The third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC III) is holding its sixth annual meeting from May 11th to 19th, hosted by the Anglican sisters of St John the Divine in Toronto. The 18 members of the Commission have completed work on the first part of their mandate, exploring tensions between the local and Universal Church within the two communions, and are continuing discussions on a second volume, looking at how Anglicans and Catholics make difficult moral and ethical decisions.
To find out more about the meeting, Philippa Hitchen spoke with the two co-chairs, Archbishop David Moxon from New Zealand who heads Rome’s Anglican Centre and Catholic Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham in the UK.
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There have been several upgrades to the web-site. These will be of particular interest to members of the Parish Liturgy Group but the new information will be informative for anyone.
A few comments first:
You can subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts to the website by typing your email address in the field below and by then clicking on the “Subscribe” button below where you typed your email address. It’s easy. You’re info remains entirely private. You can unsubscribe whenever you choose. But in the meantime, you won’t miss a new post.
Also, you might like to know that in any post or on any page on the web-site, when you mouse-over a highlighted item and it changes colour, you can click on that link to get additional information. Here is an example. Put your mouse cursor over “example” and click. After reading that info, click your <back button> to go back to where you previously were on the web-site. It’s simple and clicking on those links gives you access to more complete or more detailed information.
Now about the upgrades:
The upgrades can be found along the menu bar near the top of the web-site.
Under Sunday Services there are now three items:
- Weekly Schedule – this provides several months ahead in the schedule of Services
- included on the Weekly Schedule is an item that autmatically displays the next readings during the current week
- the reading displayed may be for a day other than a Sunday. For a particular Sunday, just check the ‘Weekly Schedule’ listing to confirm the proper Sunday
- then click on the “Lectionary this Week” icon to go to the online lectionary. Then scroll to the particular Sunday
- (this “Lectionary this Week” icon is also available on other locations on the web-site.)
- The Revised Common Lectionary – this provides the on-line listing of readings for each Sunday and it may at times include other feast days during the week
- by clicking this link, the full lectionary will be displayed
- select the particular liturgical season
- then scroll to a particular Sunday
- What is a lectionary … with an example — this gives background information about how we use the lectionary and an example of what it looks like online
- FAQ’s – this gives the answers to many frequently asked questions about the Lectionary and related info. Check it out
This all may sound complicated but really it flows naturally so just click on the menu tabs and explore. There are lots of things to explore on the web-site and these recent upgrades are some of them. You wont’ break anything. If you get lost, click “Home” and start over. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of any page or series of posts and you’ll find a whole bunch of useful links.
A couple other changes to the menu. Some items have been re-arranged. Now under “Welcome” you can see a special “welcome to you” message, find out about “who we are”, see contact info, and email us. Elsewhere on the menu bar under “more info”, items have been simplified and they’re self-explanatory.
So please check out the recent upgrades and other stuff. It’s really easy. Just explore and then you can show off your web-site skills to family, friends and neighbours!
Blessings to you!
Homily for Easter VII C, Mothers’ Day, John 17: 20-26 NRSV
Jesus said: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. ‘Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’ “
First, I’d like to begin by saying “Happy Mothers’ Day” to all mothers present. “Happy Mothers’ Day” to you. And, I suppose, in these days of political correctness, I should almost make an apology to the fathers present among us for excluding them from this special greeting. I hope you do understand the rationale for your being excluded. Next, that makes me wonder about those women present today who may not happen to be a mother and who may therefore feel that they are being excluded.
And so, in order that all present today may feel included and be one of us, lets us remember that each of us has (or has had) a mother. That’s what we have in common among us. Let us each give thanks for our mothers by wishing them a Happy Mothers’ Day — or by doing so simply through fond and tender recollections of all that our mothers have done for us.
Happy Mothers’ Day to all!
Now that we have managed to deal with some potential barriers, let’s take a look at what Jesus had to say about all this in today’s gospel from John. The reference takes us back in the time-line. At the end of March this year, we celebrated Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus as the Risen Christ. Today, in the gospel reading, we’ve returned to just before his crucifixion.
The Gospel of John is different than the other three. The other three, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are the Synoptics. The Gospel of John is often referred to by scholars as the Fourth Gospel since it is notably different.
For example, in the Synoptics, it was in Gethsemane that Jesus offered his final prayers. Today and before this moment in this gospel reading, he offers the same prayers with his disciples while they were having their last supper together. This part of the Fourth Gospel is known as the Farewell Discourse.
Jesus has just shared a meal with his disciples. He has washed their feet. He has explained that he is leaving them. He then prays for himself. He prays for those at table with him. And he prays for those beyond the group of disciples. He prays that all may be one. In fact he says that three times that they all may be one… that others beyond the table may be one… that we all may be one.
Jesus is praying for inclusion not exclusion. Some people may interpret this passage about all being one as a call to convert the heathen so that they may see things as we do and therefore to become one with us. But that would be seeing things from a perspective of what divides rather than what brings together. Divisions are what separate nations, faiths, and people. Jesus goes beyond the system of divisions. He tells his followers to love one another and to be listening for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Michael Marsh, an Episcopal priest says it well:
If Jesus is praying for our oneness then he is also recognizing and rejecting the boundaries and differences that divide us. There are divisions within ourselves, our families, […], our nation. We live in a world full of divisions – male or female; rich or poor; gay or straight; [French or Anglo; Non-indigenous or Indigenous,] Christian or Muslim; conservative or liberal; educated or uneducated; young or old; heaven or earth; divine or human; sinner or saved; orthodox or heretic. We could go on and on listing the boundaries that we encounter and all too often establish or promote. They are not just divisions they have become oppositions. These divisions exist not only out there in the world but primarily and first in the human heart. We project onto the world our fragmented lives.
For every boundary we establish there is a human being. Ultimately, boundaries and differences are not about issues. They are about real people, with names, lives, joys, sorrows, concerns, and needs just like us. I think we sometimes forget or ignore this. It is easier to deal with an issue than a real person.
Whether or not we admit it the boundaries we establish and enforce are usually done in such a way as to favor us; to make us feel ok, to reassure us that we are right and in control, chosen and desired, seen and recognized, approved of and accepted. In order for me to win someone must lose, in order for me to be included someone must be excluded otherwise winning and being included mean nothing. The divisions of our lives in some way become self-perpetuating.
This is not what Jesus’ final prayer is about. His prayer is about loving one another. [To abridge the inscription on a popular tee-shirt:]
- Love your neighbour
- Love your Muslim neighbour
- Love your Indigenous neighbour
- Love your Black neighbour
- Love your gay neighbour
- Love your Jewish neighbour
- Love your atheist neighbour
- Love your Christian neighbour
- Love your messy neighbour
- Love your disabled neighbour
- Love your homeless neighbour
- Love your addicted neighbour
- Love your enemy neighbour
Being one has to do with breaking down barriers and divisions through love. That is the commandment Jesus calls out from the depths of his final prayer. He says to love God with all our heart, and all our soul and all our mind, and to love others as we are to love ourselves and as God loves each of us.
Being one is a radical call to love. It is a radical call to acceptance, to transcending artificial boundaries.
That is exactly what Mothers’ Day is all about especially for us in North American because Mothers’ Day here came about because of a proclamation shouted out by a woman whose name was Julia Ward Howe at the end of the American Civil War, one of the bloodiest wars of all history.
The words of her proclamation still cry out to us in concert with Jesus’ final prayer for us all to be one:
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says “Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
Julia Ward Howe
It would seem that the North American version of Mothers’ Day came into being as an echo of Jesus’ own prayer for us all to be one.
And so, on that note, again, Happy Mothers’ Day to all.
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Read more background about the origin of Mothers’ Day from HuffPost Religion: Mother’s Day History Is Steeped In Radical, Religious Feminism
 Michael Marsh in his blog https://interruptingthesilence.com/2010/05/16/that-they-may-all-be-one-a-sermon-for-easter-7c-john-1720-26/
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— The Anglican Journal
As accounts of chaos and destruction emerge from firestorm-stricken Fort McMurray, Alta., Anglicans across Canada are responding with help including financial aid, practical assistance and prayers.
“We’ve had offers of prayers and support from across the country,” Bishop Fraser Lawton, of the diocese of Athabasca, said Wednesday, May 4. Parishes in the nearby towns of Lac la Biche, Athabasca and Boyle were all trying to reach out to evacuees and others affected by the disaster, he said.
On Wednesday afternoon, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) announced it would provide financial help, in as-yet unspecified amounts, to the dioceses of both Athabasca, in which Fort McMurray falls, and Edmonton, which has been offering assistance. It is also accepting donations toward relief efforts.
“PWRDF will respond through local Anglican channels as the needs become evident in the next few days,” PWRDF said in a prepared statement.
Also Wednesday, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, sent out a call to prayer for the people of the stricken city.
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Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream
By Charlie Angus
University of Regina Press, 2015
Children of the Broken Treaty: Canada’s Lost Promise and One Girl’s Dream follows the arc of historic political decisions, and traces those decisions to today’s epic, life-and-death struggle for Indigenous children, particularly in Treaty 9 area, northern Ontario.
Author Charlie Angus—New Democrat Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay—draws a line from early 20th century, grossly-low education transfer payments for Aboriginal students in residential schools to a shortfall of $1.54 billion in First Nations education dollars between 1996 and 2008.
Today, 89 First Nations across Canada have drinking water advisories, 43 of them in Ontario. As with education, provision of clean water suffers from a lack of jurisdictional coherence. The Ontario Clean Water Act of 2000, a response to the deaths in Walkerton, Ont., does not cover reserves in the province.
Aboriginal children on reserve experience poverty unknown to most Canadians—mouldy and cold classrooms, substandard and dangerous housing, illness from poor sanitation, and power system failures.
Daily we hear of child and youth suicide: 100 attempts in Attawapiskat (population 2,000) since September 2015—38 of those in March and April of this year. Yet, Angus chooses to focus the book on the vision and courage of Aboriginal youth who struggle for equity, fairness and respect.
In January 2008, a Students Helping Students campaign was launched to stand up to Canada’s “educational apartheid.” Attawapiskat’s need for a school was dire.
Within a few weeks, national media picked up the story, and two northern Ontario schools joined the campaign, followed by schools in Toronto. A YouTube video (a new platform in 2008) made by David Fraser, an Indigenous Grade 5 student, went viral with 35,000 hits. Teachers’ federations and school boards across Canada wrote letters to then Minister of Indian Affairs, Chuck Strahl.
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