This story will appear in the January print issue of Anglican Life; article by The Rev’d Canon Jeffrey Petten; photographs by Lorna Clarke and Geraldine Hardy.
Due to COVID-19, The Royal Canadian Legion asked that people not gather in person this year for the annual Act of Remembrance. In the Parish of Rose Blanche, although we do not have a branch of the Legion in our communities, we do have cenotaphs. To be in solidarity with the request from the Legion, the decision was made that this year the Act of Remembrance would take place on Facebook Live, streamed from the rectory. Canon Petten officiated, using the same liturgy that has been used in the parish since 2014.
With the aid of a smart tv, a tablet, and the internet, the only difference between this year and any other year was that we did not gather in person, and no official list of those laying wreaths was read aloud. To replace this, Canon Petten did suggest that if people wanted to place their poppies at the cenotaph they were encourage to do so; or if they felt inclined to, people could paint a rock with a poppy on it. This was well received, and we thank those who did paint rocks and placed them at the cenotaph.
Although we could not gather in person, we remembered our glorious dead with thankful hearts, and offered thanks for their sacrifices and for the sacrifices of those who returned home. We will remember them.
This sermon, preached by Archbishop Stewart Payne, will appear in the December print issue of Anglican Life.
Thank you Rev’d Tanya for your welcome and the invitation to preach here today. In recent years we have come to highlight, and emphasize more and more, the ministry of the whole people of God, the ministry of all the baptized. Various attempts are made in parish life, by self-educating and programming to help us all realize the gifts that God has given us and how we use them in ministry, in love and service to God and neighbour.
The Education For Ministry Program (EFM) is a worldwide, adult, lay training program of theological study by the School of Theology, University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee and managed in Canada from Kelowna, BC, by EFM Canada, containing studies of: the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament); the New Testament; Church History; Theological and moral choices.
Judy Parsons and Ann Marie Turpin, All Saints’ parishioners, completed the four year EFM program in May of this year, but because of the COVID pandemic, had to delay the graduation exercise until today in this Service of Holy Eucharist. Inevitably then, a theme of my sermon is the ministry of all the baptized
The idea of ministry can be seen to stem from the Hebrew Scripture,”Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all mind, with all thy strength (Deut. 6:5). Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Lev. 19:18). That was the focus of Jesus’ life; he highlighted it repeatedly by word and deed; he lived it, even to the cross.
Our first reading today, Exodus 33, gives us a small snapshot of Moses in his leadership role, in his ministry role, leading the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt, to the promised land. Moses had been affirmed again and again, in his divine calling and had felt the presence of God in their midst, leading the way, protecting and directing them. In fact, all through the journey there is a running conversation between God and Moses. Yet in our first reading, Moses, for whatever reason, is going through a difficult time and feels bereft of God’s presence and cries out to God for a sign. “Show me your ways so that I may know you and find favour in your sight. Show me your glory, I pray,” (which means, let me see you). In the midst of that struggle, Moses was again affirmed:
“My presence will go with you. (My face you will not see) I will do the very thing you have asked; for you have found favour in my sight and I know you by name.”
It is not uncommon for people, in dark times of hardship, difficulty, loss, and distress, to long for a sign of God’s presence, to want to see God’s face and have the assurance of God’s presence and love. As with Moses, so with us, we are given the assurance of His presence. God is always and ever with us even when we feel His absence. Jesus is really and truly present and the Holy Spirit strengthens us. The beautiful Holy Communion hymn comes to mind, “O God unseen, yet ever near, thy presence may we feel and thus inspired with Holy fear, before thine altar kneel.”
In our Gospel reading today, Jesus looks at the coin presented to him with the image of the emperor imprinted upon it and responds to the question regarding the paying of taxes to the occupying government of Rome. “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s.” In other words, Jesus is advising them to meet their civic responsibilities and obligations; by all means, pay your taxes. Jesus then adds, “Give to God the things that are God’s.”
Jesus knew well that as the coin bore the image of the emperor, so all humankind bears the image and likeness of God, regardless of colour, race, or creed. We are His; God’s very own. What is it that belongs to God and how do we give back to God? Everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. We give back to God not simply by meeting our civic responsibilities but by using the gifts and talents, our time and energy in love and service, in ministry, to God and to one another. God wants to dwell in our hearts by faith and be with us always. God loves each one unconditionally and longs for our response in love and service to God and neighbour.
In our second reading, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, in their ministries, commend the Thessalonians for doing just that, giving to God what is God’s, in the power of the Spirit, not simply in word but in deed, by example, serving the true God through Jesus Christ.
In the Episcopal Church, USA Catechism, the question is asked and the answer is given.
Q – Who are the ministers of the Church?
A – The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests and deacons.
Q – What is the ministry of the laity?
A – The ministry of lay people is to represent Christ and His Church; to bear witness to Him wherever they may be; and , according to the gifts given to them, to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the World; and to take their place in the life, worship and governance of the Church.
Bishops, priests and deacons are all part of the “Laos,” the whole people of God and they too represent Christ and His Church. By virtue of their ordination they have specific ministries of a pastoral, sacramental, and administrative nature.
The question to all of us is not whether you are called but to what. What is the function at this particular time and in this particular place?
John Westerhoff and Carolyn Hughes co-authored a book some years ago, “On the threshold of God’s future” In the book they have much to say about lay ministry. “Ministry takes place in the normal flow of our daily routines. It involves an attitude we bring to everything we do and a way of living wherever we are. Ministry is the responsibility and privilege given to all christians, not just the few who are ordained. There is one ministry, the ministry of God working through each one of us, as homemakers, engineers and nurses, salespersons and labourers, pastors and bus drivers,” (I can add, fisherfolk and fish plant workers and the list goes on and on to include everyone). “Each of us is called in Jesus’ Name to serve God’s people and God’s world in every moment of our lives, wherever we find ourselves. Ministry is performed as we express concern, no matter what the cost; as we respond to another’s need with no strings attached; as we embrace the sufferings of others by being present to them.”
There are many different ministries exercised in the Church gathered and in the Church dispersed the rest of the week, to name a few.
The ministry of hospitality at home and in Church.
The ministry of music, the ministry of song, the ministry of greeting/ welcoming.
A listening ear, an encouraging word, a helping hand, showing love and compassion for another in need, the sick, the lonely, the disabled.
St. Teresa of Avila says it best, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours; yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on all the world; yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; yours the hands with which he is to bless us now.”
COVID-19 restricts much direct personal contact in many cases now but much can be done by telephone and through the social media networks.
The ministry of prayer is a ministry we all share in, not only in our regular worship together but in our personal prayer times; not in word alone but in the lifting up of people and situations to God from the deep recesses of our hearts, thanking God and asking that His will be done.
Many years ago during a parish visit the Rector and I called at the home of an elderly bed ridden lady. We sat by her bed, shared some thoughts and prayers. As we were about to take our leave she said, “At night when I see the lights going out in the houses around, I get ready for bed. I say my prayers and I remember you in my prayers every night.” Here was a person who could no longer turn over in bed without help but continued to have a very vital prayer ministry. At that moment I felt I was standing on holy ground.
Enjoy your ministries to the full. In the words of the late Archbishop Michael Ramsey, of Canterbury, “May it be said of you, not so much that you spoke of God cleverly but that you made God real to people.”
A print version of this story will be in the December issue of Anglican Life
On October 24th, Bishop John Watton and the Diocese of Central Newfoundland, participated in a Walk Of Hope, together, in different communities across the diocese. On a personal note, Bishop John wished to offer thanks on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary as a cancer survivor, and also to use the walk as a powerful symbol of hope, faith, and thanksgiving.
A statement from the diocese said, “In this time of uncertainty and change, the Bishop is asking each parish to participate in some way to unite our Diocese in prayer and action.” People were invited to join Bishop Watton (who was walking in Gander), or hold their own events from 8am until noon on the 24th. Donations, made as an outward sign of support, were accepted by the Diocese of Central Newfoundland, to be used for various forms of outreach to those in need of a helping hand in times of illness or need through the Friends of the Bishop Fund.
There were many participants, and a few are pictured here; these are photographs that were posted on the Diocese of Central Newfoundland’s Facebook page.
This article will appear in the November issue of Anglican Life
By Mona Edwards, PWRDF Representative, Diocese of Western Newfoundland
As I write this, my friends and I are “recuperating” from our climb up Gros Morne Mountain, which we did as a team for the annual Ride for Refuge. A milestone birthday for my friend and myself, and accompanied by her sister, we decided to climb the mountain to raise funds for a very worthwhile project. As the expression goes: no pain, no gain, and in this case the pain was more than worth the gain of using this trek to raise funds for St. Jude’s Project in Africa. Unfortunately, due to a slight injury, I only made it about halfway up, but my teammates trudged on, and on, and on, until 15 hours and 16 kms later they arrived back safely, thanks to Parks Canada rescuers and our awesome God.
Since PWRDF began participating in this annual event six years ago, many supporters have walked or cycled to raise more than $130,000 for PWRDF, and in these unprecedented times, even mountain climbing goes.
St. Jude’s promotes sustainable agriculture training with a focus on women, children and youth. People come from Africa and other parts of the world to learn about organic farming, food security, income generation, environmental management, tree planting, water harvesting and soil fertilization.
The founder of the organization, Josephine Kizza Aliddeki, believes in a holistic approach and teaches that all living things are connected and need to be preserved. Since 1997, St. Jude Family Projects has trained, closely monitored and transformed more than 186,000 farmers.
PWRDF supports St. Jude’s and the community by improving food security, increasing income through farm entrepreneurship and teaching agricultural conservation techniques to cope with climate change.
In order to continue to support this incredible work, PWRDF has made St. Jude Family Projects in Uganda the beneficiary for the 2020 Ride for Refuge. The national goal was set at $25,000, and as of September 30th (this column’s submission deadline), we’ve exceeded it with our team, mountaintop@65, contributing over $2800. Thanks to generous donors like yourselves.
If you would like to learn more about St. Jude’s projects and many other projects of which PWRDF is a part, please visit PWRDF.org or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook.
Isaiah 52:7: How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who announce peace and bring good news of happiness, who announce salvation, and say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Anglican Life welcomes The Rev’d Irving Letto as a regular contributor to the paper. As the archivist for the Diocese of Eastern Newfondland and Labrador, Irving has access to many fascinating documents, and is going to share some of them with the readers of Anglican Life. This article will appear in the October print issue of the paper.
About fifteen years ago, John Denine of the Goulds traded a six-pack for some old newspapers that were found in a house that was being torn down in Conception Bay South. Thinking they might be valuable to someone he simply held on to them. This past year, he discovered among them this little folded card that he delivered to the church office at St. Peter’s Church in Upper Gullies, and later donated to the Archdeacon Buckle Memorial Archive of our Diocese. He gladly did this with the request that it be recorded as being donated in memory of his 9-year-old granddaughter, Navaeh Denine, who died of neuroblastoma two years ago. Most of us will remember her as the child who raised thousands of dollars for other kids with cancer. I gladly added it to the Parish of St. Peter’s finds at the archive.
This is a good example of valuable documents from our past that lie hidden in old attics, Bibles, or collections of our faith ancestors. Our Diocesan Canons require the Diocese to “provide a secure place of deposit for the archival records of the Diocese” and to have an archivist who would “appraise and acquire (such materials) for the purposes of preservation and research.” All parishes are by Canon required to have an archivist, but the expectation is that all non- current parish registers would be delivered to the ABMA for preservation with copies of these documents being held by the parishes.
This particular document when folded is a little smaller than the Canadian Church Diary you see many of our clergy using, but it provides a bird’s eye view of the church in Conception Bay South in 1926. It helps us see how the work of the church continues and adapts over time as the world changes. Bishop Peddle wrote in his letter to the Diocese on February 28, 2019 that parishes are being challenged to “enter into new conversations about their future together with an eye to fresh missional opportunities.” As we ponder what this means in our day we may find encouragement by the example of Canon Hugh W. Facey, who held a week- long mission in October 1926. From the parsonage in Kelligrews he wrote, “The object of the Mission is the strengthening and confirming of us all in a renewed and consecrated life of love and service for God and His Church.” They had invited Rev. William Turney, who at that time was a “missionary” in Chicoutimi, Quebec, to conduct the “Teaching Mission.” Imagine the planning made in 1926 to bring Rev. Turney from Winnipeg and to have this little bulletin printed. How does this speak to us today?
A good storyteller could follow the schedule of services for the weeklong event, and reading between the lines write a historical novel following the often quoted epigram of the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890). “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”
Canon Facey was born in English Harbour, Trinity Bay in 1882 where he received his early education. After studying theology in England from 1905-1910, he was ordained and returned to Newfoundland. He served in several parishes and missions remaining in the Parish of Heart’s Content for twenty years. The author of a tribute to him in The Newfoundland Churchman (January 1995) wrote that “in 1961… he was appointed to do missionary work in the outskirts of St. John’s,” but the “strain was too great, even for such a physical giant as he had been, and he retired from active service in 1962.” He died in 1964.