Tomorrow, July 22nd, is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene.
Though it has at times been challenging, the Emmaus House Food Bank, a collaboration between five parishes in St. John’s, has been able to continue to serve its clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The procedures may have changed a bit, but they are doing their best to stay safe and help their community. If there are people in the St. John’s area who you know who could use a little help right now, please let them know about Emmaus House.
This interview, and a short article about Queen’s College, will appear in the June print issue of Anglican Life.
Q. What is the theme word of your Winter 2020 Semester?
A. Resilience has to be my word for the College, our students, faculty members and community of friends of the College who have shown their hardiness and flexibility. It was a challenging semester…one like no other in my experience as a student, instructor, or administrator. We had a sequence of obstacles. We anticipated having our space refurbished with new flooring and painting by the start of the winter semester. The tradespeople discovered there was asbestos in the sub-floors. That required major work to complete the asbestos removal. That caused a delay to accessing the college for on campus classes, chapel, and activities for the first week of the semester, so we had online classes. Then, we were just underway, and we were hit by “Stormageddon,” and we then had sequential snowstorms…and in mid-March we had to make the adjustments for COVID-19. Our students and faculty members rolled with the challenges. We stayed on schedule for classes, and finished the term on schedule. The resilience is not only showing the mettle of our people, but we are learning from it.
Q. What lessons are being learned from the experience of this global pandemic?
A. We are learning numerous lessons. I will name a few:
1. The capacity to be connected while being separated. A few years ago, we started to use the internet to connect people for studies. We are now seeing the capacity to build substantial connections and community by prudent use of online technology. We continue to have an online community gathering for Mid-day Prayer and conversations each Tuesday at noon.
2. A second lesson, in my mind, is the value of our initiative in missional leadership and spiritual entrepreneurship. The world will not go back to the way it was. We must be serious about going into the world to connect in new and different ways. It gives opportunity to discern how we join God in bringing about the Kingdom in a restructuring world.
3. A third lesson, not new for most I hope, is the value of being rooted in the joy of the Gospel…the knowledge that God is faithful to us at all times, including in the mystery and confusion of this lingering global crisis.
Q. How will you prepare for the fall semester?
A. While we do not know how things will resolve with COVID-19, we are planning for the fall semester and we are gearing up to offer a full program. We will adjust as needed. We do know we will likely need to allow some flexibility in our program regulations. We will consult regarding internships, both parish internships and supervised practice of ministry. As we move through the spring and summer, hopefully, things will become clearer and we will become more specific on course and program planning. We will continue to offer our usual online courses and our Associate program.
Q. What are you plans, considering you were planning to retire in July?
A. I originally took the position of provost for three years. The Corporation asked me to stay on for an extra year while a new Provost was recruited. That year will end on July 31st. But, like most others things on earth, COVID-19 has forced changes to plans. This time of turmoil is not a good time for change of leadership in any organization. I will stay on as Provost until things settle in to a new routine and stabilize enough to allow for a transition of leadership. I expect to be here for the Fall Semester.
This article will appear in the May print issue of Anglican Life and is by The Rev’d Mark Nichols, Creation Care Animator for the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland & Labrador.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34
As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials in our province have been imploring us to follow science-based prevention measures to limit the spread of the virus. Sadly, far too many of us have refused to follow their guidance. They have told us that those who travelled abroad must immediately self-quarantine for fourteen days once they come home. Yet, people are getting off their flights, stopping at the coffee shop, picking up groceries, visiting family and friends, potentially spreading the virus in the process. We have been told to avoid gathering in groups, but we are still hearing of house parties and other gatherings. We have been told to practice social distancing, wash our hands frequently, and cough/sneeze into our elbows, but many just cannot be bothered. We know the right things to do to minimize the impact of this pandemic, but some appear to value their individual freedom, lifestyle and convenience more than the well-being—indeed, the lives—of others, especially the elderly and immuno-compromised. Sadly, COVID-19 has already taken one life in our province. I fear there will be many more deaths because some chose to do the wrong thing.
Do my words sound harsh?
Perhaps. Truth is often harsh. Unfortunately, this is not a behavioural anomaly unique to this pandemic. In our brokenness, human beings all too often do the wrong when we know the right. The apostle Paul speaks for the whole of the human family as he laments, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:14-24). What is true of our behaviour in addressing the COVID-19 crisis threatening the human family in the here and now, is also true of our behaviour in addressing the ecological crisis that threatens the human family in the coming decades.
As the world grapples with a global ecological crisis, scientists and environmentalists have been imploring us to follow science-based mitigation measures to limit the damage we are inflicting upon this fragile earth. Sadly, we have collectively refused to follow their guidance. We know the environmental damage caused by plastic shopping bags, disposable coffee cups and lids, straws, and other nonessential single-use plastics, yet millions of these items are tossed away every single day in our province. We know that vehicle emissions are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases fuelling climate change, yet we continue to buy bigger, less fuel-efficient vehicles, and kowtow to car culture in the way we design our towns and cities. We know the right things to do to minimize ecological damage and to limit climate change within manageable levels, but many of us value our individual freedom, financial well-being, personal convenience and opulent lifestyles more than the future we leave our children and grandchildren. If we continue along our present path, I fear my grandchildren will bear witness to the collapse of human civilization as we know it.
Do my words sound harsh?
Good. The harsh truth is what the science is telling us, and has been telling us, for decades. So, let’s be honest with ourselves. In our brokenness, when it comes to caring for the planet entrusted to our care, we do the wrong when we know the right. Father, forgive us, for we know exactly what we are doing.
Nevertheless, there is hope. Columnist Gwynn Dyer points to hope in his observation of the world’s response to the ongoing pandemic, in which we “have collectively decided, without even an argument, that we care more about the lives of our fellow citizens than we do about the damned economy.” If we can bring ourselves to address the threat posed by the ecological crisis with the same collective resolve that we are addressing the threat posed by COVID-19, there is hope.
This story will appear in the April print issue of Anglican Life, written by Maureen Lymburner. Photos provided by Home Again Furniture Bank.
Last April, members of the Archdeaconry of Avalon chose to give up the comfort of their beds to share an evening on the floor of the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Their sacrifice demonstrated compassion for those who live without basic furnishings each day and night, and has inspired members of other faith communities to participate in Home Again Furniture Bank’s Heads Without Beds campaign.
Heads Without Beds aims to raise awareness, and funds, to end furniture poverty on the northeast Avalon. In seeking sponsors to sleep without a bed for one night, participants are helping to ensure that others will not have to suffer that same discomfort and indignity.
Leaders and laity of multiple faith communities have elected to join together and sleep without a bed on April 17th. Multi-faith participation in Heads Without Beds exemplifies the underlying commonalities of differing religious expressions. Each religious tradition abides by a variation of the Golden Rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12), as seen in the many selfless acts of service and care for society’s most vulnerable.
Participation in the St. John’s and Area Council of Churches, the Religious Social Action Coalition NL, and now in the Heads Without Beds campaign, demonstrates an active commitment by local faith communities to find ways to thrive together, work toward common goals, and advocate for vulnerable populations in a combined community of care.
Home Again Furniture Bank’s initiative Heads Without Beds is a great way to continue the deepening of multi-faith dialogue and action, for the betterment of community.
About Home Again Furniture Bank
Home Again is a nonprofit organization that aims to end regional furniture poverty. To do this, Home Again collects donations of gently-used furniture to redistribute, for free, to those referred by partner agencies and organizations. Each week our volunteers deliver beds, blankets, pillows, sofas and more to individuals and families who had been living without.
As partners of Home Again, each Anglican parish in the region can refer parishioners and others in their communities who find themselves without basic furnishings.
Past furniture recipients have shared “I can have a seat in my own house now because I have a table and chairs and cups to serve coffee. I also have a bed now so I don’t have to sleep on the floor anymore.” Another recipient said, “The mattress allows me to sleep better. The dresser helped me organize my clothes. The lamp allows my son to sleep with the light on.”
Less than 4.5 years old, Home Again has furnished more than 1300 households. And there is an ever-growing list of more than 150 households waiting for the furniture they need to turn their house into a home.
You Can Help
You can help ensure that others have a bed to sleep in by supporting Heads Without Beds. Ask questions and learn more about the work of Home Again Furniture Bank. Sponsor a Heads Without Beds participant by making a tax-deductible financial contribution. Participating churches will have specially marked envelopes. Some participants will use sponsor donation sheets. Or donations can be made online at: https://bit.ly/2k2FX4n
For more information:
Article by Sarah Hedderson
Being able to form new relationships with fellow youth in the church is a great opportunity for the young people of Newfoundland and Labrador. Over the past 6 years youth between the ages of 12 and 19 have had wonderful experiences learning about God, their faith, and how to incorporate them into their everyday lives through the GPS conference. GPS (God’s Positioning System) is an annual conference held around the province focusing on vocation, self discovery, and building relationships with fellow youth.
In previous years, participants have had the opportunity to hear from many remarkable keynote speakers including Scott Evans, Bill Cliff, Mark Dunwoody, Sheilagh McGlynn and Jenny Salisbury, and this year’s keynote speaker will be Steve Greene, as well as participate in other activities such as outreach projects for local charities, wellness activities, arts and crafts, and games. This year the conference will once again be held at the Lavrock camp and conference centre from May 1st to the 3rd. This retreat venue offers great accommodations and an enjoyable outdoor environment exceptional for fun and recreation. During the weekends events participants will take part in fun games to get to know one another, participate in outreach projects, explore the idea of vocation and so much more.
Youth aged 12 and up are invited to join us for the conference in May. GPS is a great way for youth to build new friendships through faith and expand their beliefs in a different environment outside of a normal Sunday morning service. The conference is always lots of fun and there are many different activities to do, friends to make and different ways to explore your faith.
This year we are very excited to have Steve Greene as our keynote speaker. Rev’d Steve Greene is currently assistant curate to the rector for South Huron Regional Ministries. Greene has had prior experience working with youth in a conference setting as he has led faith driven workshops such as a slam poetry workshop at the CLAY (Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth) gathering, as well as being the keynote speaker of the 2018 CLAY event, which some members of the GPS team were lucky to attend. Rev’d Steve Greene is a talented and engaging speaker; we’ve heard many of Steves talks, and can say first hand that they’re an amazing experience to be a part of which none of you will want to miss at this upcoming GPS.
For more information on this event or to register please visit our Facebook page Anglican Youth ENL, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . The deadline to register is April 16th, 2020. We hope to see you there!