A wonderful Christmas celebration this year at St. John the Evangelist church in Topsail. For more, you’ll have to check out the February issue of Anglican Life when it’s available.
Today is the feast day of St. Stephen, often called the first Christian martyr. Stephen was called a deacon in the church of Jerusalem, and we read about his in the Acts of the Apostles. He was accused of blasphemy by the Jewish authorities, and was condemned to death, and was stoned. His martyrdom was witness by the Pharisee Saul of Tarsus, the man who would later become Paul the Apostle.
The name Stephen is a Greek name, and Stephen was a Jew who spoke Greek. He converted to Christianity and was opposed to the sacrificial cult at the Temple in Jerusalem. For him, the building of the Temple was akin to idolatry, and in this he felt much more strongly about the Temple than did his fellow early Christians. At his trial, he said, ““However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands.” (Acts 7:48)
The stoning of Stephen (Acts 7: 54-60):
When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Mary takes centre stage on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Today in our Gospel reading, we recall her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, in whose womb John the Baptist leaps for joy to welcome his recently conceived cousin, Jesus.
Mary sings the following, which we know as the Magnificat. It is still said or sung at evening prayer in our Anglican Church:
MY soul doth magnify the Lord :
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded :
the lowliness of his hand-maiden.
For behold, from henceforth :
all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me :
and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him :
throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm :
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat :
and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things :
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel :
as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.
On December 1st, the annual Holly Tea was held at the parish of St. Michael and All Angels, Kenmount Terrace, St. John’s. This even has been held by this parish since 2005.
With singing, elves, mummers, and so much delicious food, a wonderful afternoon was enjoyed by all who came. For more on this event, be sure to see the February 2019 issue of Anglican Life when it comes out!
From October 21-27th, staff at the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre in Port aux Basques took part in its annual pastoral care week. “Hospitality Cultivating Time” was the theme for 2018. More photos of this will be in the February issue of Anglican Life.
“I walked down memory lane today at Queen’s College. But it was so much more than just a nostalgic jaunt. I walked slowly in front of the wall of esteemed of graduates going back for over 170 years. I read the names of my forbears—men who shaped my identity—and that of my parents and grand parents. These were the loyal and dedicated men who were called and then prepared at Queen’s to minister all across our great land. They framed, and constantly re-shaped the mold of dedicated Queen’s men. They became the respected religious leaders in every community in Newfoundland and Labrador, and were the authentic stuff of which legends are born. They were fearless men who braved every danger and comforted every broken heart. They never flinched in the face of harsh reality. They could be fiercely tough when facing adversaries, but they also had a gentleness of spirit. Their Ministry of Presence was all pervasive They were consulted in every situation and eagerly sought throughout all the joys and tragedies of life.”
Gerry Peddle’s full article will be available in the January issue of Anglican Life.