This story, by The Rev’d Beverly Buffett, will appear in the May print issue of Anglican Life.
It all started with a sheet of plywood in the shed. The Rev’d Neal Buffett, of the Anglican Parish of The Living Water in Arnold’s Cove, wanted to promote encouragement and positivity within the community. He knew that Pastor Taylor, of the Pentecostal congregation in town, had organized a treasure hunt throughout the town, and Rev’d Neal wanted to build upon this to help continue to encourage and engage the community. He called a parishioner and asked if their children could paint the logo “Hold Fast NL” on the plywood. They eagerly accepted the invitation. Once the sign was completed and mounted beside the church, Pastor Taylor, Pastor Sarah, and Rev’d Neal joined forces and decided to host a poster contest. Community businesses donated the 12×12 boards which would be decorated for the contest and also five prizes for the draw. It was a great success, and people continue to drive by the church to admire these uplifting posters/messages.
In these times of uncertainty, mission and outreach have been a challenge. This initiative was a great beginning. With God’s help, Pastor Taylor and Rev’d Neal are already planning their next outreach endeavour.
Life has kept Anglican Journal editor Matthew Towsend away from The Rock and The Big Land—but it can’t do that forever, he writes
This column, by Anglican Journal Editor Matthew Townsend, will appear in the April issue of Anglican Life.
Back in 2016, on the eve of our marriage, Kate and I considered where we might take a honeymoon. We lived in Rochester, New York, at the time—she was from the area, and I was working for the Episcopal bishop of Rochester—and we both had ideas about where we might go. Being a bit of a Canadaphile, I had made lots of suggestions that would bring us north, while Kate tended to gravitate more towards Europe and the United Kingdom, especially Scotland.
I love Europe, but our wedding coincided with both Brexit and migration crises. We decided to figure out something else. What’s like Canada and the northern British Isles? It didn’t take long for us to consider Newfoundland and Labrador, and we began a fevered phase of research. Stunned by the beauty we were seeing online, I texted to a friend that I’d never even looked at photos of St. John’s or the Avalon Peninsula. We also realized we could incorporate Europe into our honeymoon with an excursion to St. Pierre and Miquelon. We imagined hiking in Gros Morne, touring L’Anse aux Meadows, and perhaps biking across the island. I also dreamed of heading to Labrador, up to the Torngat Mountains—a landscape that couldn’t be more different from my native Florida. (OK, so that part of the trip was very unlikely. But I dreamt.) We became very excited.
We went as far as reaching out to the Rev’d Moses Tucker (now a priest in Lewisporte) to discuss the possibilities. I had met Moses during my year at Trinity College in 2006, and I figured he wouldn’t steer us wrong. He was also, at the time, the only person I knew in all of Newfoundland and Labrador. Moses left an extremely positive impression on me about The Rock. I still recall some of his explanations and jokes about the province. Why is the porch called the bridge? “Well, it connects your home to the world.” I’ve heard people joke that Newfoundland may one day attach propellers to the island, to head towards Ireland—but wouldn’t helicopter rotors be faster? “Well, we’ve always been a seafaring people.” Is St. John’s like Toronto? “Yes, we even have skyscrapers—but we put them on their sides and call them malls.”
Moses gave us a number of suggestions about when and where to honeymoon, but we didn’t get to use them. As fate would have it, my father wasn’t well enough to travel to our New York wedding, so we spent our honeymoon roasting in Florida’s July heat. It felt important to see family.
And yet Newfoundland and Labrador were still on our minds—the province had wormed its way in. We even decided to bring a dash of Atlantic Canadian style to our street in Rochester, painting our home’s exterior “100 Mph Red.” The choice offered stark contrast to the drab, landlord-driven palette on a street that straddled working class neighbourhoods and pretty intense poverty. The colour was so brilliant that it cast a crimson hue on our neighbours’ home in the afternoon sun, spilling into their kitchen and calling to mind The Martian Chronicles. Many neighbours complimented the choice, noting the improvement over the horrid hues previously found on the home: a muddled brown with trim we called “Painter’s Tape Blue.” One passerby asked if it was legal to paint your house that red in Rochester. The question was serious.
A few years later, life found us immigrating to Canada and settling in Nova Scotia, where Kate could study for a master’s degree at Dalhousie University while I looked for work. (Once again, we decided to average our preferred destinations of immigration, Canada and Scotland, as New Scotland). Part of my excitement in moving to Nova Scotia was the opportunity to see and know Newfoundland, with the ferry only four hours away. And then we would make it to Labrador, as well! And having met people here from Newfoundland and Labrador, that trip felt both inevitable and important—a chance to encounter the kindness we’ve continuously experienced from Newfoundlanders here and also see a place that, I think, many Canadians don’t bother to understand.
Of course, it’d have been hard to go while Kate is studying—Cape Breton seemed a more reasonable destination in her first summer break—but after graduation, of course! Come the summer of 2020, Newfoundland, here we come!
Sigh. With the Atlantic bubble, that may have been possible—even COVID-19 has struggled to break the connections that seem to run so deep in Atlantic Canada. However, Kate became pregnant in the summer, rendering the prospect of a long ferry voyage unattractive. So, we stayed closer to home.
All of this finds me writing a love letter to a place I’ve never been to, which is a very odd feeling. And yet, I can’t help but believe that I do love Newfoundland and Labrador, and Kate feels the same. On the day that 100 new cases were announced in the province, I told Kate and she audibly gasped—something I’ve witnessed very rarely from my wife. Newfoundland and Labrador have been in our prayers during the pandemic—everyone there, as well as the church. We were both deeply saddened by Bishop Geoff Peddle’s death last year. I think often of people I’ve interviewed by phone in St. John’s, Churchill Falls, and Rigolet. We feel connected, in relationship, even from this distance.
My friends, I know I will see you soon—that our now-growing family will join you in worship, laughter and, I’m told, fish kissing. Until that time, know that you all remain in our prayers through the pandemic and beyond. And please keep us in yours. As I write this in early March, the birth of our daughter, our firstborn, is but weeks away. She will need prayers as she enters our beleaguered world. And yet, I also know she will be blessed—to be born in this place we call Atlantic Canada, where the people are decent enough to look after one another, to concern themselves with the well-being of the aged and the sick, and to imagine that we weather storms best when we batten down the hatches together. As we’ve all learned in the last year, not everywhere, not everyone, is like this. We feel very lucky.
Matthew Townsend is the editor of the Anglican Journal. He and his wife Kate (and daughter-to-be) live in Dartmouth, N.S.
This story, by Mabel White, will appear in the April print issue of Anglican Life.
Last year, I submitted an article from St. Peter’s Church in Upper Gullies pertaining to the Izzy Dolls that have been sent to third world countries from our parish. Those dolls have brought smiles to so many underprivileged children. The lady in the picture is Mary Pike, a faithful member of the Salvation Army in Carbonear, who at the age of 92 continues to knit hundreds of Izzy Dolls. Members of our congregation at St. Peter’s, with the aid of ladies from the Salvation Army in Carbonear, have sent approximately 31,000 dolls to countries such as Afghanistan, Haiti, and Guatemala.
All Izzy Dolls are blessed by clergy and packed with care by Mr. John Metcalfe (a former peacekeeper), and are sent with doctors and other healthcare professionals inside humanitarian medical kits, which contain essential medicines and medical supplies. In most cases, the dolls are a child’s first toy and cuddly friend. Thank you to all who donate the yarn/wool, and especially to Mary and all of the knitters. The child who receives the Izzy Doll will certainly know you made something with love and care just for him/her.
“The needy will not be forgotten or the hope of the afflicted perish.” Psalm 9:19
This article will appear in the March print issue of Anglican Life and is written by Canon Paulette Bugden of the Parish of Deer Lake, NL.
To say this has been a difficult year for the church as we have known it, is a huge understatement. Change was forced upon the Church. Change in the Church normally comes slowly unless an event forces change!
One day in March 2020 it was business as usual, and the next day our church buildings were closed, and visiting people in their homes and in health care facilities was prohibited.
Our buildings were closed during our busiest seasons: Lent and Easter! That’s the time of many special worship services.
Most congregations and parishes started reaching out using online worship through different platforms. In the Parish of Deer Lake, we started using the platform Zoom, something I had not even heard about before COVID-19. We could not gather for worship or for meetings, and could not physically visit each other, so as leaders in the Church we were scrambling for another way to reach people. Zoom, along with Facebook Live, Go ToMeeting, and other online platforms helped to somewhat fill the void.
In the Diocese of Western Newfoundland, our Bishop initiated weekly clergy meetings which helped us stay in contact, and stay informed. This gave us an opportunity to discuss how we were feeling and what we were doing to help us and the parishioners get through, while all the time thinking it would only be for a few months.
The Parish of Deer Lake started offering online worship twice a week, with midweek Evening Prayer on Wednesdays, and Morning Prayer on Sundays, all by Zoom.
As the rector of the parish, I originally started midweek Evening Prayer because it was the season of Lent, and then continued after Easter Sunday because I felt that it may help fill a void left from not being able to gather for worship or have pastoral visiting.
Normally during Holy Week at St. Michael and All Angels’ church in Deer Lake, there is worship every day, including an Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. At the Ascension in Howley, there is worship on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
It was challenging to hold an Easter Vigil worship online and make it meaningful for people. Good Friday and Easter Sunday were also a challenge. Because there were no musicians to call on, we decided to do the music through YouTube videos, putting links in the email and Facebook posts. Unfortunately, this seemed to only work well for those people who are a little tech savvy.
As a clergy person, I feel it is easy to become too confident about the impact of online worship. Everyone who is posting worship is getting a lot of views and interactions, however that does not mean that online worship is a transformative experience for all those watching! But, I do think even a click on a link can be an indicator! It’s an indicator that people are looking for something different than, or something to complement, what we normally offer in a building on a Sunday. I would hope that this indicator would encourage leaders to discern what they may keep, change, or let go of when the pandemic is past.
Hopefully, with all the negativity and frustration of a lockdown and a world pandemic, there will come some good for ministry and the Church.
Where has all of this left us as followers of Jesus, as disciples?
It was, and still is, a time of lamenting, because even though most of our buildings are now open with limited capacity, nothing is the same. We may be feeling like the psalmist in Psalm 22 asking, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
However, as followers of Jesus, as disciples, we are people of hope, people of the good news, the good news of the Gospel. Psalm 39:7 says, “And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.” We are people of hope, builders of the kingdom. At this time, the same as any time, as followers of Jesus, hopefully we continue to be rooted in prayer and the good news of the Gospel.
Online worship has been a positive experience for me with the exception of missing energy from the people in the pews. However, the energy level is increased by having others involved in the online worship.
The most difficult for me in this pandemic has been pastoral situations. At least now we can visit people, have funerals, and be there: physically present for those who need us.
A couple of months ago, we were again locked down in Deer Lake with our church buildings closed and visitations stopped. It was a reminder of how quickly things can change. This pandemic has shown us that we cannot take anything for granted. We cannot be complacent; we need to take care of one another by being diligent about safety in our buildings and outside. Jesus left us the commandment to love one another and one way we live out that commandment is by keeping each other safe, whatever that looks like now and in the future.
This story will appear in the February print issue of Anglican Life, submitted by The Rev’d Eli Cross
Recently, the Rt. Rev’d John Watton, Bishop of the Central Diocese announced that Glenn Freake of Port Union has been granted Licenses in Lay-Ministry and Eucharistic Assistant-Ministry in the Parish of Catalina.
On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 13, 2020 the Rev’d Eli Cross presided at an Induction Worship for Glenn at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Catalina. On behalf of the Diocese, Glenn received his two licenses from his wife, Roxanne and mother, Doris both of whom were a motivational force in his vocation.
A side note: Glenn’s mother, Doris was the organist for the service. She takes her regular turn (alternating weeks) at this musical ministry, and shows no sign of slowing down: she is in her mid-eighties!