Long-time Anglican Life columnist Ronald Clarke was seriously ill last summer. In this excerpt from the upcoming October print issue, he talks about Thanksgiving, and his own thankfulness now that he is on the mend. The full column will be in paper.
Thanksgiving comes every year. It’s a holiday for everyone and most see it as a long weekend, time off from work and not much more. As Christians, giving thanks to God, our Father, and to Jesus Christ, his Son, is a practise we should have every day and not just at a particular time of year.
This past summer has been a difficult one for me. Near the end of July, I took sick and ended up in the hospital. According to my family, I very nearly died! I was anemic, I had pneumonia and I was bleeding internally. I only have vague memories of some of what happened to me over those two weeks in hospital, but what I have clear memories of are the number of people who prayed tirelessly to have my good health restored. Friends, neighbours, clergy, family members, and friends of family members all told me they were praying for my recovery. It felt like half of Newfoundland was on their knees asking our Saviour to heal me. As a matter of fact, most are still telling me they are continuing to pray for my recovery.
Today, I am grateful for so many things. I’m grateful for a loving family, for kind considerate friends and for the love of our Lord and Saviour. This year my health scare reminded me of all that I have, here on earth and in the heavens with our Lord! Be grateful this year for all the blessings that been bestowed upon you and share all your blessings with those you love and those you meet! Happy Thanksgiving! May God bless you all!
The Feast of the Holy Cross, which we celebrate today, September 14th, is traditionally kept to acknowledge three events: Saint Helena finding the true cross in 326 AD (she found it while on pilgrimage to Jerusalem); the dedication of churches built by Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary; and the restoration of true cross to Jerusalem in 629 AD by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius—it had been taken away after Jerusalem fell to the Persian Emperor in 614 AD. While the authenticity of relics of the cross may be questionable for some, Holy Cross Day provides an opportunity for a celebration of Christ’s redeeming death on a cross for the sins of the whole world.
In this painting by Agnolo Gaddi, we see the artist’s depiction of Saint Helena (who was the mother of the Emperor Constantine) discovering the true cross of Christ. It was painted in 1380. (photo from commons.wikimedia.org)
From the Book of Common Prayer:
O BLESSED Saviour, who by thy cross and passion hast given life unto the world: Grant that we thy servants may be given grace to take up the cross and follow thee through life and death; whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit we worship and glorify, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Corner Brook EFM 2019 graduation took place at All Saints’ Church, Corner Brook, during the 11am Holy Eucharist service on June 8th.
In the front row (left to right) are: Archbishop Percy Coffin (preacher), Walter Wicks (graduate), Thomas Goulding (graduate), Archbishop Stewart Payne (EFM mentor),Wayne Sawyer (brother of the Rev’d Deacon Phyllis Joy), and Ann Marie Turpin (third year EFM student). Phyllis died rather suddenly during the EFM year. Archbishop Payne and Wayne are holding Phyllis’s graduation certificate, which was beautifully framed for her family.
In the back row (left to right) are: the Rev’d Tanya White (rector of the Parish of All Saints’, Corner Brook), and Judy Parsons (third year EFM student).
At the Special Synod of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland, clergy and lay delegates voted 93.4% in favour of allowing same-sex marriage.
Bishop John Organ said he was deeply grateful and overjoyed by the courage, generosity, and hospitality of the diocese. “This overwhelmingly affirming vote makes it clear that gay and lesbian people are fully included in the life of the Anglican Church in Western Newfoundland (and Southern Labrador). Now, all the sacraments of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Western Newfoundland are available to the LGBT community, including marriage. It is a great day for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a great day for our diocese.”
On Tuesday, August 6th 2019, during a parish service, Deacon Wilhelmena Green was ordained by Bishop John Organ at St. Matthew’s Church in Rocky Harbour. Rev’d Green will now serve as rector of the Parish of Bonne Bay North.
The Rev’d James Spencer talks about his trip tp England for a clergy conference—the full story with photographs will be in the upcoming October issue of Anglican Life.
“Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” – Luke 24:18
“Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem?”
As I look through my notebook, filled with the doodles and the occasional jotted point from my two weeks at the Conference for New Clergy and Seminarians at Canterbury Cathedral earlier this summer, I find this portion of scripture written almost on its own on one of the first pages. I remember writing it there. And I remember the deep sense of introspective dread and loneliness that I felt as I wrote it.
I had come to Canterbury, the home of Anglicanism, to learn, experience, and grow with others from all over the world, who like me were just starting out in their life of ordained ministry. Most had come from various parts of Africa, but there was representation in our group from nearly every continent. The conference was an intense period of worship, Bible study, and education on a wide variety of subjects, given to us by a number of instructors and church leaders, all with the awe-inspiring backdrop of Canterbury Cathedral and its surrounding locales and history.
One of the things we were told during the Conference was this: “There is no Anglican Church. There is the Anglican Communion of Churches.” And I realized that yes, maybe I am a stranger in Jerusalem. But I am not the only one. I am part of a communion, where everyone can find a place, and where every gift, every personality, is welcomed.
Parishes from the Anglican Church of Canada were well represented at the Pride Parade in St. John’s on July 14th with congregations from Mount Pearl and St. John’s taking part. Members of the clergy and members of the congregations marched in the parade, and were met with lots of love and acceptance.
Letter from Bishop Peddle from General Synod 2019
July 12, 2019
My Dear People,
I write to you from the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia. Minutes ago, the Synod failed to pass a motion on the Marriage Canon recognizing different understandings of Christian Marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada. That motion provided, I believe, a gracious way forward for all the members of our church on the matter of Marriage Equality, respecting the diversity of opinion that continues among us. I voted in favour of the motion and I am disappointed that it did not pass. The pain among our delegates here tonight is immense.
As you know, I have called a special Diocesan Synod for September 27th and 28th of this year to discuss Marriage Equality in our Diocese. The theme of that Synod is inspired by the words of St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians: “…and the Greatest of these is Love…” My intention last year in calling a special Synod was for the members of the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador to reflect upon the decision of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (whatever that decision would be) and respond in a way appropriate for us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. I have been firm since the last General Synod in 2016 that I would respect the authority of that Synod and not move ahead on this matter until General Synod met again in 2019. I have also been clear that I would not act outside of the authority of the Diocesan Synod of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador. That is why we will meet in September.
A major development in the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador since 2018, when I called for our own special Synod this September, is that a growing number of parishes have written me asking permission to move forward with Marriage Equality. Since 2018, nine of our 38 parishes have asked for permission to offer Christian Marriage to all who request the blessing of God upon their relationship. While there may continue to be a debate over this matter in some parts of our church, the debate is now over for many. A number of dioceses across Canada have already granted requests for same-sex marriage “for compelling pastoral reasons” with the blessing of their bishop. At the conclusion of our forthcoming Synod in September, following that consultation with our Diocesan leadership, I will respond directly to the parishes that have asked me for a decision.
I ask your prayers for the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador as it prepares to meet in September to take counsel for its future as a community of faith.
With my every blessing,