In our BCP calendar, today we remember St. John Chrysostom, an important early Church Father. He is known for his preaching, but also because he spoke out against the abuse of authority, both in the Church and in the political sphere. He is also very well known for the “Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” which helped to define our Trinitarian theology and also to combat heresy. John’s guidance as Archbishop (398–404) helped to finalize this liturgy, and as the offical worship of the Church of Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia, it quickly became the standard within the Byzantine Empire. It has been set to music by many classical composers, and there are still people who find inspiration in it and continue to use it for their more modern musical compositions.
He was exiled (though the reasons for this are not entirely known to us), though soon after his death he began to be venerated as a Saint of the Church. He has several feast days, and on the 27th of January, we remember the translation of his relics from Comana to Constantinople.
This article, by Queen’s College student Dale Careen, will appear in the February print issue of Anglican Life.
I am one among the many in our Anglican faith community who is exploring not what Mission is, but how we go about mission. I have come to understand that mission is inherently social justice centred, and evangelization can be expressed in acts of compassion. The command to “love thy neighbour” is a command to engage in good stewardship and equitable distribution of the world’s resources. Mission cannot be separated from social justice, which cannot be separated from God’s message of love. Mission is about positive transformation. Jesus’ life reflects his purpose—transformation. Mission is transformative because we change as people seeking to do God’s work on earth. I have been told by some that we must be careful with doing “social justice” because then we are forgetting the Christian path and we may be teetering on the edge of secularization. I disagree with this. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ lived and died because he was a social activist. Jesus’ mission was concerned with changing the consciousness of the society as a whole. If we look to the person of Jesus, we can see that mission is not just a part of the church that is done alongside other things, but it is the whole purpose of church. It is how the church lives in relation to society and how it functions internally as well.
Missional work provides opportunities for bringing good news to the world and ways to concretely engage in that process. Engaging in missional work generates tremendous opportunities to create, explore, and transform. While there needs to be clarity around what mission is, it should not be limiting or restrictive. Part of mission work is to be proactive, to look into our communities and see where God is speaking. Our mission as a church is to be present in our communities. Our faith was founded by those who went out among the people and interacted in the communities they found themselves in. This is a powerful tradition that we must continue to practice in order to have healthy ministries and effective missions. The church, its leaders, and those of us who aspire to be her leaders, needs to actively search out opportunities for the church to participate in addressing injustices in our communities. We need to be vocal and active about the lack of affordable housing, the almost non-existence of supportive housing for those of us with complex needs and con-current substance abuse issues, and the ever-increasing problem of food insecurity. These issues are gross injustices on humanity in a country as rich and abundant as ours. We need to use our existing resources wisely. Church properties must be maintained and not allowed to fall into disrepair. Church properties should not be sold, but rather re-purposed. By repurposing our buildings, we can respond to human need by loving service. Within mission there is unlimited space for ministry to be practiced in new and exciting ways right alongside the traditional ways that have endured for centuries. We must always remember that our spiritual path is formed and directed by so much more than our own personal journey. Our journey changes shape by those around us and by the services that we provide to our families and communities. Learning to give of oneself makes a better, stable, loving community for everyone. Engaging in good works locally and globally, done in the name of Jesus Christ, is proclaiming the Gospel. Our Christian proclamation does not always need to use words. We can proclaim a very strong message by living a life centred on caring for the earth and all its inhabitants. Our mission, as instructed by Jesus, is to love God and love our neighbour. Mission is the manifestation of God’s spirit. Mission enables us to know God is present.
The article, by the Rev’d David Pilling, will appear in the February print issue of Anglican Life:
In the Gospel of Luke we have examples of a Pastoral side of Jesus’ ministry. In one of the strongest images of pastoral care, some friends of a paralyzed man carry him to see Jesus. Because of the crowd, they climb atop of Peter’s roof, remove some of the thatching, and lower their friend down to see Jesus. In every sense of the word, it is the faith of the friends that brought about this encounter the paralyzed man had with Jesus. They saw their friend’s pain and sought a healing presence in his life, and they acted with compassion and deliberate actions.
Another such encounter takes place a few chapters on, in which a woman enters into Simon the Pharisee’s house. The woman does not say a word, rather she kneels down at Jesus feet, crying so that her tears wet his feet. She dries them with her hair, kisses and then anoints them. For her, Jesus created a space of hospitality where she would encounter God, and the unconditional love that lead to wholeness, in spite of the uncomfortable surroundings of Simon’s home.
Scripture is filled with examples of how God creates opportunities for His people to encounter Him, often in times of crisis or extreme discomfort. In our society, perhaps the most common such crisis we encounter, is when we are sick and in need of medical intervention. When people enter any hospital, they surrender a great deal of control over their own lives. It is a very stressful and vulnerable time for many. It can be almost as stressful to the family who visit and see their loved one so vulnerable. In many cases, even though death is not a likely outcome, patients can identify with Psalm 23, as they realize they are walking in the valley of the shadow.
As a chaplain, I am part of the “Circle of Care” that a patient receives. The hospital setting is unique within the province, in that some of the most highly educated people work together to create a community of healing. I witness some incredibly caring doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists who offer their skills, and attention to those in need. I see how personally they take their vocation; how they rejoice when someone gets better, and how they grieve when someone dies. I watch as they extend themselves in attempting to offer comfort at a very uncomfortable time in people’s lives.
I visit all Anglicans who have identified that they wish to receive Pastoral Care. Like Jesus did with the woman who went into Simon’s home, I attempt to create, during my visit, a space of hospitality where each person may encounter God through our conversation and prayers, on their own terms. The hospitality I speak of is simply creating a safe space where conversation will take place. Hospitality is not meant to change people, but to offer a place where emotions and thoughts can be openly and safely discussed. Hospitality is the full extent of Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.
In my previous 33 years of ministry as a parish priest, I would have attempted to create hospitality in each of the home visits I did or to extend it to each visitor who came to see me. It was simply an extension of my faith and prayer journey. The same is true in a hospital setting, except it is learning to ignore the complex machinery connected to many patients or to find quiet in the midst of a busy, busy room. Like Jesus did with the woman who visited him at Simon’s home, I attempt to create a space where God may be encountered, prayers may be said, emotions may be discussed and, in many instances, Holy Communion and/or the Sacrament of Anointing may take place. As chaplain I am a very visible presence of Christ within a place of healing, which is humbling, and I daily thank God for this opportunity.
One of the lessons I have learned is the importance of taking time to engage people in conversation. I am fortunate to have seen two of my role models, Canon John Courage and Sister Betty Morrissey, doing this in their ministry. We never know where God is opening a door for an encounter to take place.
A number of years ago, when I was about to have surgery, my surgeon came up to me in the pre-surgery room and asked if he could have a prayer with me—I have never forgotten this request. It is an honour to be present with anyone going for surgery. As chaplains we are only too pleased to offer prayers for each person, praying that God’s healing presence will be seen and felt through the surgical team and that each patient will know that the God who loves us has them in the palm of His hands.
When possible, and only at the patient’s request, I let the patient’s rector know of their stay in hospital. This notification is made usually with the assumption that their rector will pray for them while in hospital, possibly visit them and that there will a follow-up upon their return home.
I am truly pleased to be part of a team ministry, both as Anglican chaplains and the larger chaplaincy team working in Eastern Health. I am grateful for the insights gained from Canon Ed Keeping, and appreciate the unique insights he has to this shared ministry.
Submitted by Lisa Snow—will appear in the February print issue of Anglican Life
On Sunday November 24th, 2019, a special service was held at St. Andrew’s Church in Fogo in celebration of 203 years of official church worship at St. Andrew’s, and 103 years of the present building, and 119 years of the present pipe organ. The Venerable Terry Caines was the guest preacher, and the present rector, the Rev’d Kennth Abbott, was the celebrant. It was a beautiful service of thanksgiving, and a potluck meal was held after the service. Shown in the picture with Archdeacon Terry and Rev’d Ken are the children who attended.