The full story and photographs will appear in the April issue of Anglican Life, article and photographs by Bishop John Watton and Archdeacon Terry Caines.
Our Bishop has a long history of visiting successful people and asking them, “How did you make it work?” with a view to bringing innovative practices to ministry.
On February 6th, 2020, Bishop John Watton and Archdeacon Terry Caines from the Diocese of Central Newfoundland travelled the Diocese of Ottawa, because they had heard that they were doing exciting things. They have engaged a concept of “Area Ministry.” So off they went to visit the “Parish of the Valley.”
“Area Ministry” comes into being after several parishes or congregations have discerned a willingness to work together in a new way. It is no doubt occasioned by shifting resources and demographics, but the main reason for exploring the idea of becoming an “Area Parish” is to be more effective in mission. By sharing human and practical resources of several congregations in a new way, it is possible to become a parish that benefits from the leadership of a team of clergy, and is stronger, sustainable, and more capable of having a greater impact in the wider community. In an area parish, congregations and their team of clergy work as partners in ministry and mission. There is one overall incumbent, and a number of associate incumbents.
“Becoming and being” an area parish is an exploration in faith. Apart from some key administrative requirements, the clergy and people of area parishes are encouraged to discover what works best for them, and for their ministry and mission in their communities. The greatest challenge was community-building, but they see it happening! New relationships needed to be established among different congregations, and with the communities they serve.
Today, February 24th, we remember the Apostle Saint Matthias in our church calendar.
Saint Matthias is not in the Gospels as one of Jesus’ Apostles, but in the book of Acts, it is mentioned that he had been with Jesus since the time of his baptism in the Jordan River. He stayed with Jesus until the time of his Ascension into heaven. In the days that followed the Ascension of Christ, Saint Peter got the disciples together to hold an election to replace Judsas Iscariot, since his place among the twelve was now vaccant. There were two people suggested: Joseph (called Barsabas) and Matthias. After the vote, Matthias was declared the winner, and was then numbered among the twelve Apostles.
Greek tradition says that Saint Matthias ministered to the people of Cappadocia and the coasts of the Caspian sea, and another tradition says that he was stoned at Jerusalem by the locals, and then was beheaded. Still another tradition says that he died of old age in Jerusalem.
While we don’t know exctly what happened to Saint Matthias after his election, we remember him today as one of the Apostles of Jesus. A collect for today:
O ALMIGHTY God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles: Grant that thy Church, being alway preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
On Sunday, February 23rd, four parishes in St. John’s West/Mount Pearl came together to worship at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, with the clergy, choirs, servers, organists, readers, and other musicians all contributing to the celebration of the Eucharist. It is hoped that this will be the first of many such Eucharists, worshiping together.
The parishes who took part were: The Good Shepherd (Mount Pearl), The Parish of St. Michael and All Angels (St. John’s), The Church of the Ascension (Mount Pearl), and The Parish of St. Mary the Virgin (St. John’s).
An excerpt from the February 2018 editorial about Valentine by editor, Emily Rowe.
We have a lovely bright warm spot in the middle of the month with Valentine’s Day. As a kid, that meant making a “mailbox” in school from an old cereal box or something, and then the excitement of passing around Valentines to our friends, and getting them in return. As we get older, there is the romantic pressure of the day—the expected grand gesture or gift. But of course there must be more to the story of Valentine than the gifts, the fancy suppers, and even more than the funny little cards that we gave to our classmates.
Actually, there is very little that we know for certain about St. Valentine. We know that he existed in third century Rome, and that he was martyred for his faith and buried in a cemetery that is north of Rome. The name “Valentine” itself was popular at the time, and comes from the word valens, which means worthy, strong, or powerful. There are a dozen saintswho are venerated in the Roman calendar, and who share this name.
The most common version of the legend of this St. Valentine is that he was the Bishop of Terni, Narnia, and Amelia in central Italy. While under house arrest, a Roman judge questioned him on the legitimacy of Christianity and the faith in Jesus Christ. Valentine was challenged to restore the sight of the judge’s daughter through the power of prayer, and if he could do that, the judge would do whatever Valentine asked. So Valentine put his hands on the girl’s eyes, prayed, and her sight returned.
The judge asked what he should do in response to this miracle, and Valentine replied that all of the idols that were around the judge’s house should be destroyed, that the judge himself should fast for three days, and he should then be baptised a Christian. The judge agreed, and also freed all of the Christian slaves that were under his authority—he, his family, and all of the members of his household were baptised.
Valentine was later arrested again, and was sent to the emperor Claudius Gothicus himself. The emperor liked Valentine, but grew angry when Valentine tried to persuade him to be baptised too. Claudius insisted that Valentine should renounce his faith or else be beheaded. When Valentine refused this request, he was executed on February 14th, 269.
photo from http://www.unsplash.com by Laura Briedis
There are many other legends of Valentine, and many reasons given for his later association with romantic love, including theories about Valentine’s Day being an attempt to take over the pagan holiday of Lupercalia (celebrated mid-February in Roman times). Many of these legends were actually invented in 14th century England, notably by the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, and are now dismissed in serious academic circles. However, in the almost complete absence of any real stories of Valentine, there seems little harm in taking time in the middle of a cold and dreary month to think about loved ones, to celebrate important relationships in our lives, to cut out red cardboard hearts, and maybe even to eat a bit of chocolate. The saints are there to point us to the love of God, and in many ways, regardless of the truth behind his many legends, St. Valentine reminds us all to love, and that is fundamental to our lives as Christians.
The full story will appear in the April issue of Anglican Life; article and photographs by Lisa Brown.
At St. James’ Church in Port aux Basques on February 9th, the youth of our congregationheld a youth service. The theme of our service was “A Real Valentine”. The children passed out the bulletins and valentines to all the congregation, and they also picked up the collection, sang songs, and read. Kolby Musseau, one of our youth servers, played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. We had a puppet show with the help of Edwina Bateman and Barbara Hardy. After the service cupcakes were given out to the congregation. It was a wonderful morning of worship.
It is with sincere apologies that I publish the column from Ron and Melanie Clarke here online that was supposed to be in the February issue of Anglican Life. It was accidentally left out when the paper was sent for publication. Please share this widely.
Editor, Anglican Life
The Shortest Month
When I was a young boy growing up in Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, the month of February was long and dreary! It was the month with the most snow storms and the least amount of light, or so it seemed as a young boy. There wasn’t much to do in a small outport during a snow storm so time seemed to drag even more than it seemed possible! Entertaining a small child in those days was a difficult process considering there wasn’t any TV or computers, and even books were scarce! But some of my fondest memories of my grandfather are from those stormy days when as a child I was forced to be in the house.
My grandfather was a very religious man. He believed that everything was ordained by God and we should live by His word. Grandfather had been a hard working fisherman all his life and in his old age, it was often times, him and me, together during the times when mom and dad were busy. I sat by his knee and listened to his stories about when he was young and growing up. He told me about his parents and his grandparents, all of which had passed on before my lifetime. He noted all the hard work and hard times people had in our small community and even as a small child I remember being amazed that so many people could live through such difficulties!
Most of all, in those long winters days and nights, grandfather told me stories from the Bible. Considering that February was always after Epiphany, most of the stories he told me were about the Bible readings from the Book of Common Prayer. He started with telling me about Jesus being brought to the Temple to be presented to God, forty days after he was born, and continue through the Gospel readings for the Sundays after Epiphany.
I remember all too well, the story about Jesus being at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. He told me Jesus saw that the wedding had run out of wine. I can still see my grandfather’s face when he told the story. “Do you know what Jesus did when the wine ran out, Ronald?”
“No, Grandfather. What did Jesus do?” I said.
“Jesus told the servants to get the water jugs and fill them with water, my son.”
“Water, Grandfather? Water isn’t wine! What good would water be to the wedding guests?” I asked.
“Well, Ronald, Jesus took that water and turned every last drop into wine for the wedding guests! Jesus didn’t want the wedding to be spoiled by people not having something good to drink with the feast. This was one of the first signs that Jesus showed Himself as the Son of God!”
“But how did He do that?” I asked.
“My son, God can do anything! With his Son, Jesus, they can do more than anything you can imagine! We have no idea about all the great and good things Our Lord and Saviour can do!”
I can still see in my mind’s eye, my grandfather’s face as he told me that story. His eyes sparkled and the smile went from ear to ear! I looked into his face and knew that what my grandfather was telling me was the absolute truth. I knew, even at that young age, that Jesus Christ and our Father were the Light of the World and if my grandfather believed in them, then I would too!
That memory, so many years ago, comes back to me now, as I sit looking out the window at the snow and wind and rain! My grandfather wasn’t a very schooled man—I’m not sure he went to school for more than a year—but his devotion and love for God is something I will never forget and I will always cherish!
In these dark days of winter, remember that Our Saviour is there with you. He is watching over and keeping us all safe and protected. Even in these days where it seems nothing can come from all the bad and dark weather, thoughts, happenings, in the world, remember- Jesus never leaves and as my grandfather believed and as do I, He can make water into wine and He can bring back the good when He sees you need it!
God Bless you all!
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.