A fun little video of the Christmas Story as told by kids.
This thanks to Nancy F and Southland Church USA
A message for Advent and Christmas
30 November 2017, Feast of St Andrew
Greetings to each of you as we enter the Season of Advent,
I want to extend to you warm greetings for the Advent Season in anticipation of our celebration of Christ’s Birth at Christmas. Blessings to you.
Because Christmas Eve falls this year on a Sunday, it takes priority over the Fourth Sunday of Advent so there are only three Sundays in Advent this year. We will not hold a morning Service on Sunday 24 December so that our people and members of the community may focus on the Eve of Christmas as our main celebration.
In addition to Christmas Eve, there will also be a quiet Service at the church on Christmas Day at 10 am.
Christmas Eve this year, at St Matthew – St Aidan, promises to be a wonderful time of celebration. We are indeed blessed that the Knights-Wever family will bring us some fantastic music for Christmas on viola, horn, trumpet, and keyboard. Between the two of them, Shannon and Scott Wever are members of the Toronto Symphony, the National Ballet Orchestra, and Tafelmusik, You may hear some of the recordings by those orchestras on CBC Radio this time of year.
Susan and Jonathan Knights (parents of Shannon) are accomplished musicians in their own right. And, Archdeacon David Peasgood will be the organist for the Christmas Eve Service. We have a new organ and the sound is amazing!
We hope you will be able to come out Christmas Eve. It’s at 7 pm. Friends, families, neighbours are most welcome as are members of the local community.
My reason for being in touch is to let you know about what we’ve planned for Christmas Eve and also to let you know about what’s up for 2018. And whether you’re able or not to join in our Celebration on Christmas Eve, I want you to know that we are thinking about you and we will hold you in our prayers.
I also know very well, from personal experience, that Christmas can be a challenging time for some us. My prayer for you, in that case, is that the hope re-presented to us at Christmas may kindle a light in your heart when the darkness seems heavy. You especially are in my heart and prayer.
With that sense of peace and hope in mind, I want to wish you blessings at Christmas. May the Light of Jesus glow in each of our hearts.
Faithfully in Christ,
The Reverend Glenn Empey
Be part of the Anglican Communion’s Global Advent Calendar. It’s an innovative way to engage in the season of Advent with people all over the world. Simply respond to the daily meditation emailed to you with images and prayers that speak to your heart. Your images and prayers will appear in the Advent Calendar with others from around the world.Join us as we anticipate the coming of Christ, the fulfillment of our deepest longings. Sign up here. Scroll down for more info.
There was a lot going on in the local area on Saturday 25 November but those who chose to come to the Christmas Tea were treated to two terrific demonstrations on how to make great Christmas decorations for the home. And that was in addition to a great selection of delicious sandwiches and a myriad of pre-Christmas baked goods.
Victoria Whitney from Griffin’s Greenhouses in Lakefield provided two complete, how-to demonstrations for making wonderful interior decorations for the home. The first was a creation based around an amaryllis which will bloom before Christmas. The slideshow (below) offers a step-by-step description of how Vikki proceeded to create her master pieces.
Later Vikki made it look easy to create a Grinch table-decoration for a festive touch and fun for any home over the Christmas Season.
You could purchase a ticket for three draws that included these two fabulous decorations. There was a also a third prize raffle of a gift-boxed set of Group of Seven coffee mugs. On top of these special prizes, there were also draws for a wide variety of prizes and your ticket for the Tea put you into those draws. Just about everybody managed to win something in addition to having a great afternoon and fantastic lunch.
“I didn’t know that there were different grades of amaryllis bulbs. Vikki pointed out that they’re classed as grades A, B, C, or D. What you see at the box stores etc, are low grade D bulbs. Today, I found out that a grade A bulb will provide multiple blooms at Christmas and then again in later January,” Father Glenn remarked.
Thanks to Marion and her team of workers and bakers who made the annual Christmas Tea a fun event. And special thanks to Vikki for her lively demonstrations to usher in the Christmas Season.
An amazing little article that provokes some pondering and that’s good. Absolutely worth taking the time to read more.
Y’all know I love Church, right? LOVE it. For all of its imperfections, bumbling ways and love of minutiae, there is no collective body on earth more capable of harnessing sheer joy, world-changing compassion, and the transforming power of presence with those in need. I’m here for it, every single day.
But. Sometimes we are terrible at marketing.
When I say “we,” I’m talking about the larger body, the big “C” church. Advertising is, shall we say, not our spiritual gift.
The reasons for this shortcoming are manifold. For one thing, we operated under the delusion, for decades, that all the Church had to do was exist. That worked for us for a hot minute in the 50’s. So we got comfortable. We kept the lights on, we ran great programs, we sat through mediocre sermons and ate stale communion wafers and… read more
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of the Wardens and People of St John’s, Blackstock, as donors, St Matthew and St Aidan’s has a brand “new” organ to replace their ailing keyboard.
On 26 October, Jim, Nick, and Donnie assisted Arie Vandenberg in removing the instrument from Blackstock, transporting it to Buckhorn, and installing it in the church.
The Venerable David Peasgood was on hand in the afternoon to get a feel for his “new toy” and to prepare to play it for the congregation on the following Sunday. He has also introduced Susan to the new instrument so that she has a chance ahead of time to become familiar with it.
David remarked, “The sound from this instrument is absolutely amazing. People have just got to come by to hear it”. [ed.: Sorry we can’t post a video with sound.]
St Matthew – St Aidan’s is so fortunate to have Susan and David as our organists. Both David and Susan will be providing festive music for Christmas Eve with the Knights-Wever family of talented musicians.
In the new year, Father Glenn has suggested that the parish invite the Wardens and others from Blackstock to a special Service of Thanksgiving and Blessing of the”new” organ. He said, “Then the good people from St John’s will be able to see that their organ has found a good home where it will be cared for fondly. We extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the People of Blackstock for their gracious generosity”
I bet you didn’t know what led to the first break-up in the Christian Church. It was because of disagreements over the contents of the Nicene Creed.
In the West, a clause was added about the Holy Spirit by saying the the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son — the so-called ‘filioque’ clause which means “and the Son” in Latin. Before this schism in 1054, the Church (Body of Christ) was without divisions by geography or by denominations. After it, the Church was divided into the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Church in the West. So, this news item from the Episcopal Church in the USA is notable.
— Not sure what changes this may mean at some point.
Theologians from the Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches have signed a historic agreement on the Holy Spirit. The theologians signed their agreed statement, On the Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit [PDF], Oct. 26 at the end of a week of discussions by the Anglican Oriental-Orthodox International Commission (AOOIC). The statement concludes two years of work on the subject.
In their 2015 meeting in Wales, AOOIC members discussed the “procession” of the Holy Spirit, and agreed on omitting the Filioque clause.
The clause was appended to the Nicene Creed by the Latin Western tradition causing a schism between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Western churches that was inherited by the Anglican tradition. It says the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Son” (Jesus) as well as the Father.
Thoughts on the impact of the Reformation within Anglicanism — The Rev’d Glenn Empey
I’ve been reading items in the media — including our national print media The Anglican — that would raise the eyebrows of my Church History professor. The articles relate to the Reformation prompted by the commemoration of its 5ooth anniversary on 31 October 2017.
I am certain my professor would have questioned a number of claims that these articles contain. I think he would have said that they miss the subtleties that lurk in the actual facts of history. The Right Reverend Tony Clavier has written an excellent commentary that uncovers these subtleties and their complexity.
A debate that began about halfway through the 16th century continues to this day. It centers on a seemingly simple question: When Henry VIII severed ties between the English Church and the See of Rome, did the Church of England join what was becoming known as Lutheranism and the various Reformed churches and become a Protestant church?
The question isn’t as simple as it might seem; hence the longevity of the debate. Orthodoxy broke with Rome in the 13th century and isn’t a Protestant Communion. The See of Utrecht severed its ties with the papacy in the 17th century and the Old Catholic churches aren’t Protestant. The complexity of the question deepens.
When Henry VIII forbade the Church of England to permit the pope to hear lawsuits or appoint English bishops and senior dignitaries, he changed no doctrines. The Church of England in the year of the old tyrant’s death was a National Catholic Church. Six years later, if the prayer book of 1552 indicates anything at all, what would become known as Calvinism, or perhaps even Zwinglianism, triumphed. Question answered? Perhaps not.
His article, that appears as a commentary, published on Covenant, a web-blog of the Episcopal Church of the USA, gives a brief overview of the complexities of the history of Anglicanism and the impact of the Reformation on it. The effects of the Reformation on Anglicanism emerged many years after Martin Luther’s purported nailing of his 95 Theses on the doors of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 that is identified as the date that marked the beginning of the Reformation.
Bishop Tony Clavier’s commentary is great and quick article to read and it will help the reader have a better picture of the history and evolution of Anglicanism. I recommend it to you and you can read the full article here.
Blessings to you on the 500th Commemoration of the beginning of the Reformation,
Reflections on Luke 17: 11-19 by The Rev’d Glenn Empey
When I intentionally think about being thankful — being consciously thankful for all the blessings in my life — I find that it really makes me stop. It’s as if everything comes to a sudden halt. I think that’s because it is difficult to be thankful when we’re caught up in the flurry of life.
I suppose, for many of us, all that goes into Thanksgiving Day adds to that flurry. That would be for those of us who may be preparing a festive feast for the occasion. All the shopping ahead of time, the planning. And then there’s the preparation, coordinating things, the actual cooking, and finally getting things on the table.
These a fun times, moments for celebration with family and friends. They’re good times but especially for the main person or persons who are dealing with it all, our attention is focused on the event. I’m not saying that’s not necessary or not a good thing. Of course, you have to focus on getting everything ready. I’m just saying that for me generally, I have to stop any distraction in order to be conscious of being thankful and about things for which I should be thankful.
Actually, as I said at the beginning, it’s a bit of a corollary for me. When I become conscious about being thankful, all the flurry and whirr suddenly goes on hold; it freezes and there is this kind of peace in the eye of a storm, a still small voice in the midst of a whirlwind to quote a piece from scripture. To be thankful, I have to stop. Or by being conscious of being thankful, it makes me stop. And then I’m seized by the moment.
I don’t know if any of that connects with your experiences about Thanksgiving or about other moments of being thankful. How does that go for you?
The other evening, I was at a dinner meeting. There was a lot on the agenda, much more than a get-together for supper. I recalled when I got back home later that night that I had not formally said “thank you” to the person who had invited us and covered the cost of our meal. I wasn’t really thinking about being thankful in the midst of the heavy agenda for the evening. In a way, I was like the nine lepers in Jesus’ story in the gospel today.
I imagine those nine others in the story had lots on their minds. Maybe even their new wholeness was a distraction. There’d be so many things they could now do freely without being shamed or cast aside that they’d want to get at them. Maybe they’d want to go and show family and friends how they were each now a new person. You and I can see how they’d get caught up in the miracle.
There are a lot of clichés about being thankful and about Thanksgiving. I’m trying to avoid them. Still I wonder if our first-world affluence gets in the way of our being thankful. In the flurry and whirlwind of every day, I don’t think we’re looking or conscious of things for which to be thankful. We have so much. How does one pick anything out?
What made that one fellow in the story of healing see things differently than did the others?
It seems to me that just shifting the brain to think about being thankful instantly brings about a change. Try it for a moment. When you shift your thoughts to being thankful and pondering the things for which to be thankful, what happens? Try it.
It seems to me that worries, anxieties, concerns, even hurts and pain fall away … at least while you’ve shifted your focus from the flurry of things to a different way of seeing things. It’s like some kind of a respite in the midst of all that’s going on in everyday life. The pressures don’t disappear for good … but they do for a few moments. It seems to me that the change in attitude brings a new way of seeing things. And when you’re really focused on it, the hard stuff does fade away. It’s a point for recuperation for getting things back together into perspective.
I should take more time to be thankful.
Anyway, all I’m sharing is that for me I can’t think about being thankful and be at the same time distracted by the flurry of things around me. And, when I am in that state of being thankful, everything else seems to go on hold in some kind of peacefulness. By being in a state of thankfulness, for me I have to stop and then things just seem to go on hold, the motion freezes, there is stillness and quiet. It happens two ways. By being conscious about being thankful, I have to stop. And when I do that, the thankfulness seems to bring a state of calm. It is meditative and contemplative. Maybe moments to savour. It’s like the being apprehended by thankfulness.
These are my personal reflections about thanksgiving while trying not to be clichéd. Maybe they resonate a bit for you or maybe they can prompt some thoughts. I offer them to you for what they may be worth to you. Maybe my thoughts will spur some of your own on your own experiences.
In any event, I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. May our being conscious about being thankful be a prayer and meditation that becomes part of our spiritual practice on all the days when the flurry of things weighs us down or distracts us.
May we find time to pray and meditate on being thankful. And may being in a state of thankfulness clear away the whirr and flurry of life so that we see what really counts. In that way, thankfulness can be something that apprehends you.
That’s what made the one who returned to Jesus that day different from the others in the gospel story.