Sunday, December 29, 2013

Video and New Year’s Message of Unity from the Anglican and Lutheran Churches

National Bishop Susan Johnson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, share a New Year’s greeting with Lutherans and Anglicans across Canada.

This joint New Year's greeting is a first for the churches, which are full communion partners.

In their joint message Johnson and Hiltz reflect on highlights from 2013, including Joint Assembly, the Anglican-Lutheran gathering in Ottawa this past July-particularly on the Joint Declaration on homelessness, affordable housing, and responsible resource extraction.

Johnson notes the importance of the public witness event, which took place on Parliament Hill in at the foot of the Peace Tower.

"We were excited that we were led by the youth of our two churches," said Johnson. "It helped us focus on the important issue of access to clean water."

Hiltz also recounts how blessed the churches were to have guests from the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches, and their two American sister churches at Joint Assembly.

"They reminded us of the challenge that our relationship holds," says Hiltz, "and the hope and potential for similar conversations in other churches around the world... in the interest of Christian unity."

The video closes with a challenge to both churches-"individuals, congregations, parishes, dioceses, and synods"-to consider ways that Anglicans and Lutherans can work together to advance social justice and Christian unity "together, for the love of the world."

Click here to learn more about our full communion relationship

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Rev. James B. Pratt Christmas Letter - 2013

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy. 

Isaiah 9:2-3a

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Christmas is a celebration of the light of God coming into a world darkened by sin and despair. The child Jesus brings hope and joy, the promise of a new relationship with God.

As the people of God, we are called to be children of the light, living our lives in the fullness of that light, and sharing the light with others.

In the past two months, we at St. Philip’s have done much to share the light of God with others. We sent over 167 Christmas shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child (this year they went to Central America and West Africa). We delivered a carload of coats, boots and clothing to St. Michael’s Mission. We sent another carload of stuffed animals, toys and other Christmas gifts to Mile End Mission. We helped the NDG Food Depot collect, sort and pack several tonnes of food, and offered our space to sort and store the food. Earlier in the year, our Lenten collection provided over $1400 for Operation Eyesight Universal. We have been able to offer the use of our hall at reduced cost for a couple community fundraisers for worthy causes, such as the Steven Lewis AIDS Foundation, and we now host three 12-step recovery groups.

Through all these outreach efforts, we are making a difference in the lives of people in our community, in the wider Montreal community, and around the world. We are sharing hope.

Doing this is not without challenges. We are already making good use of our most valuable asset, our members. But we need to look seriously at our second most valuable asset, our real estate, and discern how we can better use it to further our mission, both now and into the next generation. We need to be able to devote more of our financial resources to mission, including mission to ourselves by funding ministry to the young families with children who are moving into the neighbourhood.

This Christmastide, let us give thanks for the light of God which shines so brightly among us, and shines through us into the world. Let us seek to continue to spread the hope, joy and love which Christ brings.

May you have joy abounding this Christmas.

The Rev. James B. Pratt

Christmas Letter to you & your families from your Corporation – 2013

This has been a very busy and active year for all who attend and partake in the services and activities of the membership of St. Philip’s Church. We were most fortunate to have had such a positive response to the financial drive and hope the next phase of the restoration of the inside of the church goes as well as the first - The Tower. We have to all try to encourage growth in the church community and increase our numbers including being able to establish an active Sunday school with a qualified teacher for all ages of children.

The Christmas Bazaar was very well attended. The apple picking trip was a lot of fun and the pie baking was very successful and hopefully it can be repeated next year with increased participation. Quinn’s Farm is an educational spot for children and adults alike.

The men of the church are excellent cooks and do us proud. We are very fortunate that all the parishioners who are able to take part in the activities and they deserve our thanks. Please try and encourage past active members to return to the church and help us with the restoration. During the coming month we will be working on our plans for the future of St Philip’s. It is up to all of us to participate in this project. If you have any ideas or suggestions for improvements and money making for these activities please let Father Jim and the members of the corporation know.

Mylѐne has worked very hard this year on the hall rentals and deserves sincere thanks from everyone. She has increased the finances made by a good sum. This financial report is available for the asking. Much time is spent doing the bulletins. Andy also does his best under some rather difficult circumstances.

The church music program is being enjoyed and much appreciated by one and all - thanks to Peter and our dedicated choir.

Our ladies are also an asset and do their share of the participation in the activities of the day to day running of our church. What would we all do without the Alter Guild?

This year I tried a different format for this letter as I would like to acknowledge and show our thanks to everyone who has a part in the organization of our church and our religious education.

Father Jim deserves all our thanks and support for the improvements we have been able to achieve.

Peace, joy and friendship to all

Corporation: Stephen, Shan, Jean-Guy & Audrey

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas 2013 — O Little Town of Bethlehem

Here is a December 20, 2013 message from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In 2009 I visited Bethlehem in the Holy Land.

I remember bending over, as everyone must, to pass under the tiny doorway that takes you into the Church of the Nativity. I remember standing in Manger Square with hundreds of pilgrims from around the world.

I remember waiting in a long line of people wanting to kneel and pray in the grotto over the very place where it is believed Mary gave birth to Jesus, the Son of God. The closer I was drawn to this incredible moment, the more my heart pounded and my eyes welled up. Knowing my time there would be so very brief, I wondered how I would pray. I really did not know, but as I knelt down and closed my eyes, these words came to mind,

"Love divine all loves excelling,

joy of heaven to earth come down,

fix in us thy humble dwelling;

all thy faithful mercies crown.

I felt others pressing in behind me. I got up, a bit weak in my legs, and made my way back up to the church where Armenians were singing a mass.

From the church we made our way to Shepherds Fields. As I roamed around the scrubby landscape, I imagined that night sky of so long ago alive with the song of the angels announcing the birth of the Saviour. As we got ready for the short trek the shepherds would have made looking for the manger where the Christ Child could be found, I picked up a few pieces of stone. I place them in the crèche we set up at home every Christmas.

On Christmas Eve I will be thinking of Bishop Suheil of Jerusalem and the entire ecumenical delegation gathering in Manger Square for The Proclaiming of The Nativity of our Lord, and prayers for peace and goodwill among the nations.

This is the only Bethlehem where Christ was born in the flesh.

There are in fact many Bethlehems where he is born in the heart. We are reminded of this in an amazing piece of poetry by John Terpstra in the December edition of the Anglican Journal. The poem speaks of many "Bethlehems" across Canada and truly there are many more all around the world. In every one we are united in prayer as we sing this holy night.

"O Holy child of Bethlehem,

Descend to us we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in;

Be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels

O come to us, abide with us,

Our Lord Emmanuel."

May the blessings of his love and peace be yours this Christmastide.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Outing Santa

I wasn’t going to write this article.  Last year I wrote about De:Santafying Christmas which led to some interesting comments, both written and verbal.  Thus, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to write another Christmas article that dealt with approaches to Santa Claus.  Then lo and behold an article from The Guardian made its rounds on Facebook.  It spoke of an English vicar who reportedly told a school full of children that Santa was not real.  Obviously, outrage erupted over this.

I am not going to argue whether Father Tatton-Brown did the right thing. Obviously, his remarks (even if chalked up to a technological error) were without tact and completely ill-timed. While I commend him for trying to teach the children about the religious understanding of the holiday, he did not have to mention that Santa Claus was a myth. There are ways to talk about Christmas without actually mentioning Santa Claus; believe me, I do it all the time. Surely there was a better way to handle speaking about Saint Nicholas without outing Santa Claus as a figment of imagination.

Yet what disturbs me about this article, and in truth what disturbs me about the whole dynamic of a Santa-focused Holiday, is the complaint that in some manner Tatton-Brown ‘ruined Christmas.’ The suggestion is made that his comments horrifyingly destroyed the Christmas celebrations for all the children who listened to him. The title of the article says as much: “Pupils’ Christmas ‘ruined’ by vicar’s Santa Claus origins story.” One of the most sensationalist lines in the article reads “Some parents threatened to pull their children out of a Christmas concert at his church, St Andrew’s, in protest, arguing that they would not barge into one of his services and announce that the story of Jesus was a fiction.”

Seriously, Does the vicar’s remark merit protest? What is more, are you actually suggesting that denouncing Jesus in a church is on par with speaking about how Santa is based on legend? Frankly, I find it atrocious that some would hint that the removal of Santa ‘ruins’ the celebration of Christmas, but the removal of Jesus does not? Also, when did the historicity of Saint Nicholas simply become an ‘origin story’?

Now I get that these parents are upset, and they have every right to be. But honestly, is Christmas actually ruined because someone told your child that Santa does not exist? Maybe it is because people both inside and outside the church have charged my wife and I with this very thing, but I have a hard time believing this to be the case.

After all, if the non-belief in Santa Claus ruins Christmas for all the children of the world, then surely you still believe in flying reindeer, magical elves and a jolly fat man who lives in the north pole – right? If a child’s non-belief in Santa is that which will perpetually ruin the celebration of Christmas, then surely that means that each parent spoken of in this article never intended to ever tell their children the truth about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the tooth Fairy, Cinderella, or Fairy God-mothers.

Totten-Brown’s remarks did not ruin Christmas any more than realizing that the guy in the mall is not the ‘real’ Santa means that he ruined Christmas. Let’s not over-dramatize this.

Because here’s how I see it; A Christmas which is focused on presents does not rely on the existence of Santa. When that first glittery box is placed before that child, they will forget all about the vicar’s remarks, if they haven’t already. They will, just as they always do, gush over all the wrapped boxes that they see under the tree. They will still be happy about the presents that they received, and disappointed over the presents that they did not. Come Christmas morning, the existence or non-existence of Santa won’t matter one little bit.

So if it is true that Christmas is not ruined, the question then becomes, what is the source of all the ire and vengeance that would make some parents cry for protest. What is the reason to circulate the article with captions like ‘I’m glad he’s not my priest’ and ‘stupid old man’. What exactly are we crying over? Because I have a feeling it’s not about defending the innocence of our children, or protecting their understanding of Christmas. Perhaps all our anger over the vicar’s words is not actually about the children at all, but about ourselves. Perhaps it is about ourselves being confronted with some of the lies too easily bought into; perhaps it is about seeing our willingness to usurp the celebration of our Lord’s birth with the worship of products and merchandise. Perhaps it’s simply easier to demonize someone who tactlessly points to that which is real, then recognize how we sometimes so vehemently defend that which is not.

Perhaps the vicar’s words didn’t ruin something for our children. Perhaps it ruined something for us. . . .and maybe that’s a good thing.

I invite your comments…

About Kyle Norman: I am a Priest in the Diocese of Calgary, serving the wonderful people of Holy Cross, Calgary. I watch reality television, I drink Starbucks coffee, and I read celebrity gossip columns. I am also a magician and often use magic tricks to teach the children at church the lessons of the Bible. I believe that God is present in the intricacy of our lives, and thus I believe that Pop Culture can provide intriguing lessons, examples, and challenges for our lives of faith.

Source: The Anglican Church of Canada: The Community

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

St. Philip's Lessons and Carols Service Celebrates the Beauty of the Season

On Sunday evening 15 December 2013 some fifty hardy friends and neighbors of St-Philip’s Church braved the chaotic aftermath of Montreal’s first significant snowstorm of the year, to come and experience an hour or so of spiritual meditation and worship. It was the Nine Lessons and Carols service, and truly it felt like a moment where we could step off our fast-spinning planet and just take a break.

The evening was a heady dose of nostalgia, and a potent reminder through a liturgy that most of us have known all our lives, of the Love of God for Humanity. This was an hour of prayers, stories, and of some truly superb music presented by the St-Philip’s choir. It was an hour free of commercial clamour – free of any sense of hurry. It was a time where we are a little more successful in putting aside our differences and just celebrating God’s love for us and our love for each other. It was an hour of living what we wish we could live every day.

The service did end of course, as all things must; the congregation then gathered in the Guild room to raise a glass to our wonderful choir, and to each other. After that, we all went back out into the snow to carry on with our daily lives. Life is not always peaceful or beautiful, but we were all touched that evening by the stories – the beauty – the possibilities. That is Christian Love. That is God’s Love. May we share that love through the rest of Advent, Christmas, and all of the upcoming year.

- Steven Berntsen

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An Advent Podcast Series: Parts 2 and 3

Advent 2: O come, O come, Emmanuel

Musician and songwriter Steve Bell reveals the roots of O come O come Emmanuel in traditional Advent prayers known as the O Antiphons–calling on Christ using the mysterious titles given in Isaiah.
Bell’s wonderful contemporary version of the hymn is interwoven with seven sonnets corresponding to the seven O Antiphons, written and performed by English poet and priest Malcolm Guite.
“These are the names that give prophetic content to the name we have come to reverence and treasure so dearly, and in which we have come to rejoice.”


Advent 3: I hate the mall

We notice the people all around us–and if we’re honest, probably ourselves too–getting more rushed and grumpy as the December weeks go by, trying to create the perfect family holiday. The practice of Advent, however, “doesn’t lead to anxiety or disappointment, but rather a growing inner stillness and joy.”
Spiritual director and blogger Rachel Twigg-Boyce shares a short reflection on the difference between our attempts at preparation and control when getting ready for Christmas, and Advent’s expectant waiting.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Archbishop Fred Hiltz Urges Anglicans to Think about the Poor

The church has a "moral obligation" to speak out for the poor and downtrodden, says Archbishop Fred Hiltz in an interview with CBC Toronto's Metro Morning radio show.

With Christmas approaching, Archbishop Fred Hiltz today urged Anglicans, via a CBC radio interview, to think about the poor and disadvantaged, saying the church “must be in the world and for the world” as Jesus Christ was.

In the gospels, “we see quite clearly that he [Jesus] cared as much for people’s physical well-being as their spiritual well-being,” Hiltz said when asked by CBC Toronto Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway about why he’s asking Anglicans to become stronger advocates for social justice. “The church has a moral obligation, rooted in the gospel and in the teaching of the prophets long before Jesus. We have a moral obligation…to speak up for those who are disadvantaged, for the poor and for the downtrodden.”

The primate was also asked about, the three-year campaign he has launched with the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) to raise awareness about food security issues.

Hiltz noted that eliminating extreme hunger and poverty was one of the UN Millennium goals (to which Anglicans worldwide have been asking their governments to demonstrate commitment).

“My reality is that I’ve already eaten this morning and I’m going to eat again today. I’m going to be able to choose what I eat. I’m probably going to see food wasted,” said Hiltz. “The reality for many other people in the world is that they’re going to be hungry today.” Particularly vulnerable are women—“mothers who will not eat so that their children can”—people in war zones and environmentally displaced refugees now unable to till their land because of climate change, he said.

Asked whether it was hard for the church to have moral authority because of incidents in the past, including its involvement with Indian residential schools, Hiltz said these events have, in fact, forced the church to take stock of its failures and direction. “This current crisis that we’ve come through has called us back to the gospel: who are we? What are we supposed to be about if we claim Christ as the Lord?” he said. “These painful experiences that we have found ourselves in relation to residential schools have made us realize that there are times when the church has to acknowledge its own failures and to say, ‘We’re sorry,’ and to accompany any words of action that can really move us into a different place…”

The primate also acknowledged that churches have not been as vocal as they could in terms of speaking out because they have been “consumed with their own internal life,” including issues of survival, given decreased membership and diminishing resources. “There’s also the political context which we find ourselves in,” he added. “We’re at a time now when churches are making huge efforts to reach out and not just be an institution in society that reacts to government policies [but one that] partners with agencies…in such a way that we’re having a hand in the shaping of policies that are just for everyone.”

The church stands at the threshold of convincing people of faith to “get out there and be the church in the world, to make a difference…to really see ourselves as the servant of God’s mission of compassion and reconciliation and peace in the world," he added.

To listen to the interview click here.

Source: The Anglican Journal

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Becoming the Story We Tell

What should church hospitality look like? Is "hospitality" enough?

The church has wrestled with these questions for some time, and recently in response to "open table"—the practice of welcoming unbaptised people to participate in the Eucharist.

At the spring 2012 meeting of the House of Bishops, the bishops opted for a broader conversation, moving from discussing open table exclusively to a conversation on hospitality and how it connects to discipleship.

The bishops asked the Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, to set up a task force to examine the issue. The Primate defined the task with two questions: Are there any limits to the church's hospitality to the unbaptised? How can the church's hospitality to the unbaptised be part of making disciples?

After an initial report, the task force began work on a resource to offer to the church for use in Lent and Eastertide 2014. It's purpose: to restore the role of Lent and Easter in forming the church as a community of disciples, welcoming new disciples, and renewing a sense of God's call to the church in baptism.

"Becoming the Story We Tell: Renewing our engagement with Christ crucified and risen" is now available as a PDF, with handy link-based navigation to help users explore a wide array of material, compiled with an eye to flexibility and adaptability for broad variety of contexts.

The Rev. Canon John Hill—chair of the task force as well as compiler and editor of Becoming the Story—sees this as an opportunity for the church to renew its understanding of what sacraments are and do.

"Very few of us have experienced the kind of formation that newcomers will need to help them follow the way of Jesus," says Hill.

"We need to start with our own crowd. We need to start with the kind of formation that is described in the resources as ‘turning again to the way of Christ' in some kind of formal fashion, together with the kind of communal formation that supports that. If we learn what that looks like, what it feels like... we might just get excited about offering that kind of opportunity to people who have never been baptised."

One of the main components in Becoming the story is the small group reflections for Lent and Easter. The Lenten reflections focus on the gospel readings for Lent 2014 and ask the same three questions each time: What is Jesus offering us? Where is the resistance to Him coming from? What will we have to risk or renounce to be free to follow the way of Jesus?

The small group reflections for Easter focus on what the church does in the liturgy, in the sacraments, and ask: ‘How did doing this affect us?' ‘What did we notice that we never noticed before?' ‘What does doing this say about us as a company of disciples? What does it say about the new world God is making?' ‘What would it mean to live the way we pray?'

"Instead of starting with teaching doctrine about the meaning of church," says Hill, "we start with grounding as many people as possible in word and sacrament, and sustained reflection."

The resource offers different levels of implementation from which congregations can choose—from a basic cultivation of a renewed sense of baptismal identity and vocation, to deeper focus on engaging newcomers, and more.

"We tend to treat the Gospel sacraments as freestanding encounters with grace," says Hill, "but we don't always recognise how they work together to help form the church, form a people of God who acknowledge and accept the mission of Jesus."

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Sunday, December 8, 2013

An Advent Podcast Series: Part One

Advent 2: O come, O come, Emmanuel

Musician and songwriter Steve Bell reveals the roots of O come O come Emmanuel in traditional Advent prayers known as the O Antiphons–calling on Christ using the mysterious titles given in Isaiah.

Bell’s wonderful contemporary version of the hymn is interwoven with seven sonnets corresponding to the seven O Antiphons, written and performed by English poet and priest Malcolm Guite.

“These are the names that give prophetic content to the name we have come to reverence and treasure so dearly, and in which we have come to rejoice.”


Advent 1: The four last things

Dig into ancient Advent tradition with the Rev. Jamie Howison, founding pastor of St. Benedict’s Table.
Jamie introduces the medieval practice of contemplating “the four last things” during the Advent season–bringing the peace, joy, hope, and love of the Advent wreath into sharper relief.

Get some perspective on Jesus’ imminent arrival with the first installment of our Advent podcast series.


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Primate Reflects on Nelson Mandela

Today the world mourns the passing of one of the greatest men of our times. Nelson Mandela's life is the story of the prisoner who became the president of his beloved country. He is the icon of South African's long road to freedom from apartheid. He is "the father of our nation", writes Desmond Tutu, "the pride of our people."

Mandela only ever looked back to remember those who had been so sorely oppressed, who suffered and died. He looked ahead and with a strength of spirit that was unwavering. He pressed for truth and reconciliation in his homeland. So impressive was his foresight that it inspired the same kind of work so necessary in numerous other countries as well.

Mandela stood tall among his people and he gave them hope for a better future. He spoke as one in whom wisdom had made his dwelling. He acted with a humility that had about it a sense of authority the world will never forget. All his labours were a wonderful reflection of a life given to the teaching in the Beatitudes, perhaps most especially the one that reads "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for thy will be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6)

Mandela loved much. Who can even forget his wonderful smile? For his family and his people he lived, and in their great love for him he died.

"We pray that nothing good in his life will be lost but be of benefit to the world; that all that was important to him will be respected by those who follow him; and that everything in which he was great will continue to mean much to us now that he is gone". (Prayer of Thanksgiving, The Funeral Liturgy, p 602, Book of Alternative Services)

Mandela is destined to be remembered in the calendar of holy men and women through the ages. To give ourselves to the work of "transforming unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind, and to pursue peace and reconciliation among all people," (the Fourth Mark of Mission) will be to truly honour his life and his labours.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Parish Forum - The Future of the Hall: Background Information

On Saturday December 7th we will be coming together to discuss the future of the hall at St. Philip's church at a Parish Forum that will run from 9:30 - Noon. To their credit parishioners at St. Philip's have succeeded in financing and restoring the tower, however we need to deal with the even bigger issue of the hall. The primary reason we need to address this issue is the fact that the roof needs to be replaced in the coming years which is estimated to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We need to explore our options, but before we do that we need to evaluate our needs and our mission as a faith community. In what is colloquially known as the "kitchen meetings" the issue of the hall has been addressed in the past. Beyond the fact that the roof needs to be replaced there are several other issues we should consider. Here is a brief review of some of the issues we may want to incorporate into our planning.

We need to consider that the church hall is:

1. Functional Obsolescence

- Accessibility: No handicap access (and it is impossible to make the basement accessible)
- Fire code: Basement does not have 2 exits that meet fire codes
- Security: Access cannot be easily monitored (has resulted in thefts)

2. Missional Obsolescence 

- Small kitchen (poor layout, stoves not vented, no dishwasher)
- Mice have lots of points of access
- Mold is always a danger due to water infiltration from the roof
- Hall cannot accommodate multiple users leading to scheduling conflicts
- No designated Sunday School/children's space (guild room is not suited for this purpose)

3. High Operating Costs

- High heating costs due to inefficient system and lack of insulation
- Rental income barely covers operating costs 

According to our internal bookkeeping it is clear that the hall consumes a lot of resources and in its current configuration it is unsustainable over the long term. A rough approximation of hall expenses include:

- 80 percent of janitorial costs
- 75 percent of oil heating costs (we heat the hall about 60-65 hours per week, while the church is heated only 20 hours per week)
- 75 percent for electricity (we have the lights on in the hall around 65 hours per week, mostly for renters)
- 30 percent of insurance costs.

Hall maintenance is another expense that we need to consider. The annual maintenance bill for the slate roof is between $1500 to $2000, and it costs approximately $500 for yearly furnace maintenance (our service contract covers does not cover parts).

Beyond the obvious necessity of repairing the roof we need to consider what needs to be done internally to make the space more functional. There are many benefits from a modern commercial kitchen, which includes but is not limited to improved social events and fundraisers. Other uses for the hall could include an area specifically designated for child care.

It will be difficult and of questionable utility to raise the hundreds of thousands required to repair the roof on the hall if we do not address the issues raised above. Building a new hall is one option but we will need to find a way to make it a revenue generator so that it can pay for itself rather than simply accrue unmanageable debt. Regardless of which path we take we will need to be creative about the way that we secure funding.

All members of St. Philip's church are encouraged to join us on Saturday December 9 so that we can begin the process of exploring who we are as a faith community and what that translates to as far as the hall is concerned. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fair Trade Boutique and Nativities Exhibition

This year’s Fair Trade Boutique and Exhibition of Nativities from around the world will take place at the cathedral from Monday 2nd – Saturday 7th December, 12 – 5pm.

These two initiatives will highlight a wide range of handcrafts made by artisan groups in The Philippines, and unique hand-carved olive-wood products made by Christians in Bethlehem.

Please support these cathedral initiatives to help communities in The Philippines get back on their feet after Typhoon Haiyan and show solidarity with Christian minorities in Bethlehem.

Both events will run concurrently. All are welcome to shop at the Boutique and view the Exhibition!

Volunteers are also needed in the following areas:

- Sales person in the Fair Trade Boutique
- Friendly welcomer at the Exhibition of Nativities
- Setting up and merchandising the Boutique and Exhibition
- Advocacy work supporting access to health care for refugee mothers and babies
- Sharing the messages and stories of fair trade with customers
- Publicity, advertising and marketing
- Transporting stock

For further information contact, or 514 550 0054.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

NDG Food Depot Annual Food Drive: St. Philip's Assists its Outreach Partner

On Saturday November 30th, St. Philip's Church was transformed into a food distribution center for its outreach partner, the NDG Food Depot. The food drive has been an annual community tradition for 15 years. Not only did St. Philip's serve as a drop-off point, and distribution center, crews from the church joined hundreds of volunteers and knocked on doors to collect non-perishable food items from the local community in Montreal West and NDG.

Thousands of bags of food and other donations were collected to help the Depot with its important work. With 22.8 percent of the population of the Island of Montreal living in poverty, the Food Depot is a valuable community asset.

This has been both a difficult and a rewarding year for the Depot which has been a community institution for a quarter century. In March they lost their home of 20 years after they received an unexpected demolition notice. Despite these challenges they ushered in new programs and more dignified ways of distributing food to give people more choices. They are currently located in a temporary space at Trinity church, but they are still looking for a permanent location.

“The food that we collect today basically provides food for our emergency food service from now until next November, December,” said director Kimberly Martin in a Global News interview.

Notre-Dame-de-Grace Liberal MNA Kathleen Weil said the food depot is vital to the community, helping more than 700 people every week, and that’s why her office offered $6,000 to the organization.

“The needs are greater and greater every year. I think that's the important point, unfortunately. We would like not to have to have food banks, but we need food banks,” she said.

The NDG Food Depot has a highly-engaged Board of Directors and a hardworking staff, but they need your help throughout the year.

For more information or to provide assistance to the NDG Food Depot click here or call (514) 483-4680

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Come and Be a Part of the NDG Food Drive This Saturday

This coming Saturday, November 30th is the NDG Food Depot’s Annual Door-to-Door Food Drive. St. Philip’s is once again taking a leading role by offering the Food Depot our space and our “hands” for this important community event. Anyone interested in helping out is welcome. Please see Mark R. on Saturday morning if you do not have an assigned role and are willing to help.

Driver/pick-up teams

If you have signed up as a driver/pick-up team (or are interested in forming a team or joining one), please be at SPC no later than 09h00 on the 30th. Teams will organize themselves and then head over to Loyola High School (for around 9:15) to pick up their driving routes/instructions and start collecting.

Other volunteers

All other volunteers should be @ SPC by 09h30 to prepare to receive/sort/store the hundreds of bags of food that will arrive. If you have access to a packing tape dispenser, please bring it as it will help to speed up assembling and closing boxes.


An NDG Food Depot board representative will provide a short orientation on the sorting process once everyone has arrived.


If you are driving to SPC on Saturday morning but are not part of a pick-up team, please park your car either in the parking lot of the International School (i.e. the small parking lot on Connaught right across from our Hall) or on Brock Avenue. We would like to reserve the area closest to the Hall on Connaught and in front of the Hall on Sherbrooke Street as a “drop-off” area for pick-up teams bringing in their grocery bags.

Directing Traffic into the Church

All grocery bags will be brought into the Hall through the Sherbrooke Street entrance. James Doucet will be at the Sherbrooke door to direct people down the stairs to the basement of the Hall (using the right-hand stairway) and to come upstairs using the left-hand stairway. The Connaught door (next to the kitchen) should not be used. We will need someone to direct “grocery” traffic away from the Connaught door and over to the Sherbrooke door.

Church Basement

Once downstairs, there will be a drop-off station set up to receive grocery bags. Those persons dropping off the bags should then immediately exit via the opposite stairway. We have four grocery carts (kindly donated by IGA many years ago!) that will be used to transport the grocery bags from the receiving station to the back of the lower Hall.


This is where we need the most help as the grocery bags will come quickly and in great numbers. Once transported to the back of the basement, there will be tables set up for sorting and packing the food into boxes. Once we start to receive groceries, the fun of sorting and packing begins. Filled boxes of canned goods will be put in the Gladwin Room for long-term storage. Boxes of non-canned goods (e.g. pasta, cereal, rice, flour, sugar, etc.) will be stacked along a wall to be taken to another location later in the afternoon.A hospitality area (serving coffee, doughnuts, soda, water, pizza and just a place to sit and take a break) will be running in the upper Hall (main floor). All workers are encouraged to take breaks as it will be a hectic day.

Wear Red

The NDG Food Depot is asking everyone participating in this year's event to please wear an article of RED clothing, identifying them self as a food drive volunteer.

Invite your Friends to Help!

Please call or e-mail the church if you have any questions. If you know of others who may want to help out, please encourage them to come. Thanks in advance for your support and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday when we expect a day of fun, fellowship, and outreach to our community.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christianity Anglicanism and Sexual Orientation: Bridging the Divide Through Love and Respect

An Editorial by Richard Matthews

Richard Matthews is the social media coordinator and member of the advisory board at St. Philip's Anglican Church, he is also a reader, sideman, and intercessor. However, this editorial does not reflect his official capacities at the church, nor does it speak for the parish, the diocese or the rector. What follows is a reflection of his personal views and is intended as a springboard for discussion. 


One of the reasons I am an Anglican is due to the church's respect for intellectualism and curiosity. Another reason that I am active in my parish is my affection for our church family. It is in this spirit of high regard for my fellow parishioners that I hope to share my views, while welcoming diverging perspectives.

Many people in the Anglican Communion hold seemingly unbridgeable perspectives on the subject of equal treatment for people of different sexual orientations. I want to respectfully acknowledge that there are those who do not believe that the church should be addressing these issues. However, in light of rapidly changing societal values, it seems to me that the issue of LGBT rights within the church is almost impossible to ignore.

Canadian Anglicans have been encouraged to address these issues. At the 2007 General Synod, Rev. Isaac Kawuki-Mukasa, coordinator for dialogue: ethics, inter-faith relations, asked the faith, worship and ministry committee to "engage the church in conversation on the broad issue of human sexuality in all of its complexity, using the lenses of scripture, reason, tradition and science."

The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of the Church of England, recently warned that the Anglican church is tottering on the brink of disintegration due to disputes between liberals and traditionalists. Speaking specifically to homosexuality, Archbishop Welby said the Church was coming perilously close to plunging into a “ravine of intolerance”.

I was personally struck by the recent comments of Archbishop Welby. Speaking to an audience of traditional born-again Christians, he said that they must “repent” over the way LGBT people have been treated in the past. He went on to say that most young people viewed Christians as no better than racists on the issue.

Archbishop Welby is not an advocate of gay rights by any means, he comes from the evangelical wing of the Church which takes a more traditional view of the Bible. To further illustrate the point he opposed same sex marriage when it was being debated by the British government earlier this year and as a younger priest he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt children. Nonetheless, he recently said the church now had to address the changes in public attitudes. As he explained to the General Synod in July, the strength of feeling he encountered in support of homosexuality prompted him to reassess his own beliefs and he further urged his audience to face up to a “revolution” in attitudes on sexuality.

As I see it, granting LGBT the same rights as heterosexuals is about fundamental human rights. As Archbishop Terence Finlay, retired bishop of the Anglican diocese of Toronto said following his suspension for officiating at a legal same-sex marriage:

"As an active bishop I've followed and I've upheld the oaths of the office that I took and particularly around the issue of unity in the church. But for me now, this issue has moved from one of unity to one of justice."

The issue of ordaining LGBT clergy has been very divisive as has same sex marriage. However, as a church we are not hermetically sealed off from the wider society and we must acknowledge that the world around us has changed. As Canadians are increasingly supporting the rights of the LGBT community the issue becomes ever more pressing for the church. We cannot ignore an increasingly growing global sentiment that all persons should be treated equally and with dignity regardless of who they are or who they love.

According to survey data from the Environics Institute, the portion of Canadians supporting gay marriage, which had hovered around one-third from 2001 through 2006, increased to 43 percent in 2010 and then jumped to 57 percent by 2012. Only 19 percent of Canadians reported strong disapproval.

We have come a long way in the last half century. Less than 50 years ago homosexuality was a crime In Canada. The discussion in the Anglican Church of Canada has been going on since the 1990's in places like New Westminster, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. In 2002 the Diocese of New Westminster, authorized a rite for the blessing of same-sex unions at its Diocesan Synod. This was followed by an October 2003 letter by then-primate Archbishop Michael Peers who said, "Canadian gays and lesbians will continue to be welcomed and received in our churches and to have their contributions to our common life honoured."

The 2007 Montreal synod adopted a resolution calling on the bishop to grant permission for clergy, under certain conditions, to bless duly solemnized civil marriages, including same-sex marriages. At the 2008 Montreal Synod delegates voted against two resolutions presented by people opposed to same-sex blessings.

Montreal Bishop Barry Clarke has been at the forefront of efforts to welcome the LGBT community into the Anglican church. In an opening statement to the annual synod of the Diocese of Montreal in 2008, the bishop said he believes that in the debate about same-sex issues some are being called to speak with a prophetic voice, others with a voice of caution. "For reasons, perhaps known only to God, I believe we, in the Diocese of Montreal, are among those who have been called by God to speak with a prophetic voice," Bishop Clarke said. "It is our voice that is called to affirm that all people are loved, valued and precious before God and the church. It is our voice that is called to affirm that all unions of faithful love and life-long commitment are worthy of God's blessing and a means of God's grace. In time our voice will either be affirmed by the body, or stand corrected."

Most recently the Anglican Church of Canada's Council of the General Synod authored a motion on an amendment of Canon XXI to allow marriage of same-sex couples for consideration in 2016.

The issue of the place of gays and lesbians in the Episcopal church first surfaced in the 70s, and the Diocese of Rochester (NY) started blessing same-sex couples in the late 70s. Study groups and conversations about the issue were going on in the Diocese of Washington DC in 1987, and in Massachusetts in 1990. In 2003 Gene Robinson was appointed as the first openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire. More recently, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire rescinded the appointment of Bishop James Tengatenga of Malawi as dean of a foundation at the Ivy League school over his opposition to homosexuality.

Even the Roman Catholic Church has softened its stance. For generations, homosexuality has largely been a taboo topic for the Vatican, ignored altogether or treated as “
an intrinsic moral evil,” in the words of the previous pope. However remarks made by Pope Francis in the summer of 2013 represent a new sensitivity from the Church. Pope Francis said that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation,“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” Francis told reporters.

He added that he did not have anything against gay people and that their sins should be forgiven like those of all Catholics. Francis said that homosexuals should be treated with “
dignity, and that no one should be subjected to...pressure because of sexual orientation.”

Despite opposition from within our own parishes and from Asian and African Anglicans, we must find a way to reconcile the Church's diverging views. As Archbishop Welby said Anglicans are called to be bridge builders, who will “find ourselves struggling with unity.” He sees the future growth of the communion in mission and in reconciliation.

As I see it we in the Anglican Church must deal with these contentious issues. This is not just a theological issue, this is one of the issues at the heart of an existential crisis that threatens the future of our parishes and the wider Anglican community.

Since joining the church I have been researching our demographic strengths and weaknesses. I have also been using this data to explore ways of expanding our reach. Based on this research I have been posting articles about why young people leave the church and why they stay. This has augured some interesting questions. First is the question of how we can welcome young people without alienating or disrespecting the views of older parishioners? Second, how can we acknowledge changing values without succumbing to being trendy?

This is a delicate balancing act. I acknowledge that any attempt to be relevant cannot come at the expense of the pillars that built the church or the venerable traditions upon which they rest. As I see it the central issue required to answer these questions comes down to accepting people's right to hold differing views.

As reviewed in a recent post, increasing church attendance from young people is not about changing the service or including a rock band, it is about listening to their views and speaking to their realities. Many young people feel that church does not accept them them, one quarter of millennials said feel that the church demonizes the issues that define their generation. One third think that the church is irrelevant and one fifth think that the church is too judgmental when it comes to sex. Another third think the church is too exclusive.

The Pew Research Center reports that 70 percent of those in the millennial generation support gay marriage.

As explained by Archbishop Welby:

"[W]e have to face the fact that the vast majority of people under 35 think not only that what we are saying is incomprehensible but also think that we are plain wrong and wicked and equate it to racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice...where we make a bad impression in society at the moment is because we are seen as against things, and you talk to people and they say I don’t want to hear about a faith that is homophobic...the Church has not been good at dealing with homophobia ... in fact we have, at times, as God’s people, in various places, really implicitly or even explicitly supported it. And we have to be really, really repentant about that because it is utterly and totally wrong...I am absolutely committed not to excluding people who have a different view from me, I am also absolutely committed to listening very carefully to them. We are not going to get anywhere by throwing brickbats at each other.”

My sense is that we need to find an inclusive approach that inspires young and old alike. I think we can find Biblical support for inclusion, despite some “clobber” verses that literalists interpret as opposing homosexuality. We should remember that the Bible also tells us that women should be veiled and we should not eat shellfish etc.This point is made very eloquently by Rachel Held Evans

Whatever our personal views on the subject may be, I think the answer to some of these difficult questions are addressed in the overarching theme expressed throughout the New Testament:

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." (1 Peter 4:8)

As Christians we are called to resist hatred and to be generous with our love. "Hatred stirs up conflict but love covers over all wrongs" (Proverbs 10:12).

Love is the essence of the Christian message. In my view, love is as close as most of us get to understanding the mystery and majesty of faith. It is a cross-cultural universal that appeals to different age groups and helps us to navigate the contentious theological differences that define our attitudes towards sexuality.

I do not pretend to have all the answers, but I believe that as a parish and as a wider Anglican community we need to learn to accept each others differences. Archbishop Welby offered a suggestion that may be useful in helping us to deal with our differences on this and other issues. He urged Christians to speak out about what they are for rather than what they are against.

As one young parishioner explained, “I come to church because of the sense that everyone is welcome to share their opinions and ideas."

We have many challenges ahead and in my view we will best be able to deal with them if we are able to approach our disagreements as a loving Christian community.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Prayer and Resolutions at the Council of General Synod on Nov 16

A moment for the Philippines

At 1:30 COGS reconvened and began the session with a time of silence and prayer for the people and the churches of the Philippines.

Laura Marie Piotrowicz shared a letter she had received from a bishop in the Philippines regarding the prayers and support of the Canadian church.

Housing and homelessness

The Primate introduced Henriette Thompson, General Synod's public witness coordinator for social and ecological justice, who spoke on the Joint Declaration on Housing and Homelessness and Responsible Resource Extraction, and the efforts to continue the process initiated with that declaration.

Ms. Thompson offered the example of Edmonton and its 10-year "Homes First" strategy. After a short clip from a news program detailing the strategy, Bishop Jane Alexander of the diocese of Edmonton spoke about the church's involvement in that plan, and the resistance they have met while supporting the work to eliminate homelessness in Edmonton.

Bishop Alexander then answered questions from the floor, and heard comments from those assembled on efforts to alleviate homelessness in their own communities.

Responsible resource extraction

Ms. Thompson then moved to the next part of her presentation, covering responsible resource extraction. "We all consume these resources, so we all need to find our place in this story." Ms. Thompson spoke on inter-organizational connections the church has (e.g. KAIROS) in dealing with this issue.

National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald spoke on the connection between resource extraction and Indigenous concerns. The major concern at the pre-assembly Indigenous meeting in Busan was resource extraction, particularly mining, and particularly by Canadian companies. Bishop MacDonald made further remarks on the issue of Canadian mining.

Commemoration of the Primate's Apology

The Primate began the commemoration with a welcome, calling it "an opportunity to pay tribute to Michael Peers for his leadership in considering, enacting, and delivering the apology with such passion."

"Michael Peers set this church on a trajectory towards healing and reconciliation from which we must not and never will turn back."

A presentation by Ms. Ginny Doctor, Coordinator of Indigenous Ministries, followed. She noted that the Archbishop Peers' apology in 1993 changed her life, leading her to dedicate it to shaping whole and healthy Indigenous leaders. She showed two videos on the legacy of residential schools, the apology of Primate Michael Peers, and the reception and acceptance of that apology.

ACIP co-chair Sidney Black offered a deeply emotional reflection on Archbishop Peers and the apology. "Good things, wonderful things, sacred things happen when we walk with people who are culturally distinct from who we are. In 1993 I believe such a thing happened. I believe that God sent a man to begin that journey of healing... Your grace, my love and admiration for you is exceedingly great. I pray that we will continue always to grow in our love and friendship with each other."

After a recitation of the Apostle's Creed, prayer, confession of sins and an exchanging of the peace, Archbishop Peers addressed the group, recounting his past growing up near a reserve in British Columbia and his early encounters with First Nations people; his growing awareness of the church's treatment of and attitude toward Indigenous Anglicans during his first years in ministry; and his involvement in the beginning of Indigenous self-determination in the diocese of Keewatin.

Archbishop Peers' address was marked by frequent moments of personal reflection and humour, recounting a life of relationship with Indigenous Anglicans.

Bishop Mark MacDonald gathered Indigenous elders and clergy to present a blanket to the Archbishop, which they draped across Peers' shoulders. They then gathered around the Archbishop, while the Rev. Margaret Waterchief prayed for him, as she did at his apology in 1993.

A hymn was sung and those assembled celebrated the Holy Eucharist.

Afterwards there followed another hymn, brief announcements from Bishop Mark, and a message of thanks from the Primate to Archbishop Michael Peers.

The Primate's Commission

The Primate then spoke on the commission on the doctrine of discovery, the nature of reconciliation, and justice for indigenous persons and communities.

Both prayer and the UN declaration of the rights of Indigenous peoples will ground the work of commission.

After a multi-language benediction from the Primate, Archbishop Peers, Bishop Mark MacDonald, Bishop Adam Halkett, and Bishop Lydia Mamakwa, a closing hymn was sung and COGS adjourned for dinner.

COGS reconvened at 7:30 with a prayer from the Primate. Coordinating committees were given the option of meeting separately or observing the COGS session.

Canon XXI on marriage

On the agenda was a motion from General Synod for COGS to author a motion on an amendment of Canon XXI to allow marriage of same-sex couples for consideration at General Synod 2016.

The Primate shared reflections on the matter from the House of Bishops meeting last month. Archbishop Hiltz had proposed at the House of Bishops that a commission of the council (mandated and appointed by the council; not a Primate's commission) be set up to consider the matter, said this Fall meeting of COGS should deal with it, and opened the floor for comments from the House. The bishops expressed concern that the commission would have insufficient time, and it would be difficult to have theologically diverse membership. There was also interest in a suggestion that the House give attention in its meetings regarding supporting documentation, and international consultation.

Some of the House had observed that in 2010 the church had appeared to have arrived at a place of peace, but no longer since General Synod 2013. Those concerned asked if there were a way to hold the peace.

The Primate invited COGS members to have conversation in table groups on two questions. The first: What are you hearing with respect to this matter on the ground in your context? The second: Assuming that a commission were established, what messages would you want to give that commission at the very outset of its work?

At the end of table conversations, the Primate asked that notes from COGS members' tables be collected to be passed on. The Primate then invited representatives from each table of COGS members to share their discussion points with the room.


COGS resolved that, in conformity with the General Synod resolution:

1. That this council establish a commission to carry out a consultative process as directed by the General Synod.

2. That this commission report to COGS its findings and any recommendations as to what matters COGS should consider in writing the text of the directed enabling motion.

3. That the Primate and the officers of General Synod appoint the members of this commission before December 31, 2013

4. That the commission bring a progress report to the next meeting of COGS as to how it is carrying out its work.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Related Article
Highlights from the Council of General Synod: General Secretary's Report and the Primate's Reflections (Nov 16)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Highlights from the Council of General Synod: General Secretary's Report and the Primate's Reflections (Nov 16)

The Ven. Dr. Michael Thompson, General Secretary, presented his report.

Mr. Thompson emphasized early on that the national church's work is made possible by the generosity of parishes and dioceses. It's "...the incredible gift of sacrificial giving that makes it possible to do the work of General Synod."

Canada is diverse and it takes effort to remain united and loving towards each other, but as a church we are held together by prayer and grace. "We depend on God for our communion, and we offer ourselves to God in that communion to be a witness to the world." Our unity is not defined by sameness or agreement, but rather "the generous and unstoppable love of God which holds us in communion."

Mr. Thompson then enumerated the roles of COGS associates in committee meetings with four Ls: to Listen to the church and to COGS; to find the Links between what they hear in the committee, what they hear in the church and what they hear in COGS; to Learn the priorities and values which drive the work of COGS and the committees; to Loop together the life of the committees and the life of COGS, making sure to bring issues from committees to COGS. The ultimate goal is to weave committees into the life and consciousness of COGS.

Mr. Thompson ended his report by giving thanks for the privilege of serving.  

Primate's Reflections

The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, offered news of his ministry and his reflections thereon.

The Primate shared the life-giving nature of parish and diocesan visits and noted the importance of that part of his ministry. "It's about relationships, connection, and belonging-seeing the church at the local level, seeing people living out the Marks of Mission faithfully in local context. I could not imagine this ministry without that opportunity every week."

The Primate then spoke about his sabbatical time. He thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace, and spent much time digging into the history of the church via his reading, particularly through presidential addresses of past Primates-their themes revealing much about the church, particularly a consistent commitment to ecumenism-and a biography of past Primate Howard Clark.

The Primate also spoke about a discussion he had with Archbishop Michael Peers on Archbishop Peers' memoirs, to take shape with editing by Bishop Michael Ingham and input from major figures in Peers' ministry.

Archbishop Hiltz told COGS that upon his return from sabbatical he went directly to a meeting of the House of Bishops (House and Spouse) and felt immediately reconnected. Notable was the bishops' joy at the creation of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikweesh.

The Primate requested for prayer for the Diocese of the Arctic for the financial crisis facing the cathedral and for the many parishes without clergy.

After a brief break to pray for the episcopal election happening at that moment in St. John's, Nfld. for Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, the Primate noted more episcopal elections were approaching rapidly and called the House of Bishops "an ever-changing community."

The Primate called for a retreat for the House of Bishops. House meetings are very busy, and bishops arrive already tired from their work at home. One frustration is that meeting agendas are so busy that conversations can't "go deep" and follow through on important issues. This retreat is intended to be a time of deep reflection on the nature of the bishops' vocation, prayer, and building a sense of community within the house.

The Primate went on to speak on commitments made at Joint Assembly, and the need to continue to act on those commitments in partnership with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC)

Remarking on this meeting of COGS, the Primate said that COGS associates liaising between COGS and committees are a sign of working together in partnership. The Primate also called the clarity of the 2014 budget a great sign of the commitment and hard work of General Synod ministry directors, and thanked the treasurer and management team for "an incredible piece of work."

Reflecting next on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Primate spoke of his debt of gratitude to Henriette Thompson, Nancy Hurn, Esther Wesley, and Terry Finlay for their work. Anglican presence at TRC events across the country has been strong. The Primate thanked staff, bishops, and Anglicans on the ground for their support for TRC events. The Primate was pleased to see that the mandate of the TRC had been extended to 2015.

The Primate spoke of his strong commitment to the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund and their food security campaign "Fred Says." The Primate will be giving as much time as possible for travel and speaking to promote the campaign. Archbishop Hiltz also spoke of giving more time to the Anglican Foundation, promoting their work through speaking engagements.

On the Companions of the Diocese of Jerusalem, the Primate said he was pleased with this new ministry of our church. He would like to see the Companions grow, and challenged all bishops of the ACC to become Companions.

The Primate gave a recap of his attendance (along with Principal Secretary Paul Feheley and PWRDF's executive director Adele Finney) at the installation of the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Archbishop Hiltz told those assembled that Archbishop Welby will be visiting all Primates before gathering them together, and will be visiting Canada in early April 2014.

In conclusion, the Primate expressed his gratitude for the chance to serve the Anglican Church of Canada.

After the Primate finished his reflections, it was announced that The Venerable Dr. Geoffrey Peddle had been elected Bishop of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: Anglican Church of Canada

Related Article
Highlights from the Council of General Synod: General Secretary's Report and the Primate's Reflections (Nov 16)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Video Review of this Year's Christmas Bazaar

Last Saturday, November 9th 2013, St. Philip's Church put on its annual Christmas Bazaar. By all accounts the day was a great success. Here is short video review by some of the people who helped out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation: Charter Vision (January 2013)

The practice of religion and its impact on the identities of Canadians is an enduring feature of this country. The Charter Vision of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation is to advocate for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life. We want to promote harmony and spiritual insight among religions and religious communities in Canada, strengthen our society’s moral foundations, and work for greater realization of the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for the sake of the common good and an engaged citizenship.

Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law, and that everyone has the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion. Issues of the Common Good and Harmony in Society Beginning from positions of deep respect and a deep acknowledgment of pluralism, we also want to address together issues of concern to the common good of all. We have already been working together on addressing poverty, caring for the Earth, and investing in peace1. We also recognize the particular moment we are in, one of working for greater truth and reconciliation between aboriginal peoples in Canada and later arrivals. This situation calls us to deeper understanding of past wrongs and shared future hopes for living in harmony together. Reconciliation is, fundamentally, a spiritual process that needs to be accomplished first in the hearts of Canadians.

Engaging issues involves both a speaking inward to one another and a speaking outward to society and the public. Time for Inspired Leadership and Action, 2010 Interfaith Partnership, 2010 Religious Leaders’ Summit, June 2010.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law... Article 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) Freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media communication;
(c) Freedom of peaceful assembly
(d) Freedom of association

Local and Canadian

Our preference is for favouring and supporting local interfaith relationship building and collaboration. We also want to facilitate the engagement and bringing together of heads of religious communities in Canada on the issues of the day. Each of these dimensions, local and Canadian, would be incomplete on their own.


Overall, we see this as a process of organic development of relationships, not primarily a structural organizational development. Nevertheless, as part of civil society we have an obligation to participate in the issues of the day. When acting together we may also make common cause with like-minded groups.

Acting Together

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation will cooperate whenever possible with existing interfaith initiatives, and may also sponsor and facilitate participation and engagement in interfaith events and initiatives locally, regionally, and at the Federal level. Decisions are made on the consensus model. Unless explicitly given the authority by all who are on the contact list, the Canadian Interfaith Conversation will not speak or advocate in the name of the organizations or persons who are on its contact list. Likewise, the efforts of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation do not bind the organizations or persons who are on its contact list.

Leadership: Chair and Secretariat

The leadership of this Canadian Interfaith Conversation rotates from one faith community to another. The Canadian Council of Churches ( has played an initiating role through the provision of a Chair and Secretariat from the beginning of this initiative in 2009 until 2012. The Bahá'í Community of Canada ( is providing leadership in the next rotation from 2012 to 2015. Ordinarily the leadership will rotate every three years. The Chair prepares and leads regularly scheduled meetings. The Secretariat provides administrative and communications support to facilitate the function of this Canadian Interfaith Conversation.

A small Executive Committee may be formed composed of representatives from distinct religious traditions to facilitate cooperation. In 2012 the members of that Executive Committee include Aileen Van Ginkel from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Zul Kassamali from the The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, Gerald Filson from the Bahá’í Community of Canada and Karen Hamilton from The Canadian Council of Churches. Ordinarily a member of the Executive Committee serves for a period of 3 years.


Regarding human and financial resources, we will continue to focus on a vision that may or may not attract those resources. We endorse and commend those organizations that step in to take up the rotating leadership role and support specific initiatives as they arise. Participation

Those who are drawn to this charter vision are invited to participate. This is an open, voluntary conversation. Each faith community is invited to work out and define, internally when appropriate, their own participation and accountability. At the same time, those gathered around the table must be representative of their home 'bodies' and in a relationship that is accountable both to the Canadian Interfaith Conversation and with the community or organization they are representing. All who participate are committed to being on the journey together.

This may result in the participation of multiple voices from a given faith community. The values behind this Charter Vision define the participation. An honest open dialogue and clarity of purpose is important so that the safety and security of the table is preserved.

Contact List

While there are currently no formal members of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, the secretariat keeps a listing of organizations and representatives/participants who have requested to be on a contact list.

Canadian Interfaith Statement of Concern on Quebec's Charter of Values

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation has issued a statement of concerns about Quebec's proposed Charter of Values. The statement has gone to the government, opposition parties, and to various media outlets. Click here to see the Canadian Interfaith Charter Vision.

Canadian Interfaith Conversation: Concerns about the “Charter affirming the values of State secularism… “ The Canadian Interfaith Conversation has been bringing together senior representatives of the world’s faith communities since January 2009, beginning with the hosting of the International Interfaith Leaders Summit. We continue to address together issues of concern for the common good of all Canadians from sea to sea to sea out of positions of deep respect and deep acknowledgement of pluralism.

National representatives of the Interfaith Conversation are concerned by the Quebec government’s proposed “Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests” which, among other measures, would prohibit government employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.

Religion is an inseparable part of both Quebecois and Canadian identity. Both the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms uphold religious freedom and the importance of religion as fundamental to human dignity.

Although the stated goal of the proposed Charter is to emphasize and give legal recognition to the neutrality of the state with respect to religion, the prohibition on wearing religious symbols presents an unacceptable restriction on the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion guaranteed in both the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

We question this reference to “neutrality”. The goal of a genuinely secular and “neutral” government surely has to do with its being fair and nonsectarian in its treatment of all citizens whatever their deepest personal commitments, whether religious or non-religious, as long as those commitments do not harm others.

If a government were to adopt a position that welcomes the public expression of personal conscience and beliefs, but only if any personal reference to religious belief is suppressed, it would deny to some members of society a freedom enjoyed by others in the exercise of their conscience and beliefs. In such a case, the government would take sides in an unfair and sectarian way. On the other hand, if the government respects those fundamental human rights that have been cherished as important values in Quebec, and articulated in the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms, then the definition of personal and collective identity should derive from the normal evolution of society, including the evolution of religious understanding and practice taking place therein.

Identity is formed as all members of society--whether religious or secular-- engage freely in the social processes and public discourses that we associate with pluralism and democracy as well as freedom of expression and conscience. It is not the role of government to determine and fix that identity, whether personal or collective, in advance.

Internationally, Article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights affirms that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this includes freedom to change his[orher] religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his[or her] religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

We believe the provision of fair and equal access and services to all citizens is enhanced, rather than undermined, by expressions of the diversity of a truly pluralistic, free and democratic society. It is in the freedom of diversity for all faiths and those of no faith tradition that there is justice for all.

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation encourages the Quebec government to reconsider its proposed ban on religious symbols in the public service. Requiring individuals to abandon certain religious practices and essential parts of their identity creates an atmosphere of intolerance and inequity and will undermine the egalitarianism and the sense of social unity that the Quebec government has stated it desires to uphold with this initiative.

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation is an advocate for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life. We want to promote harmony, dialogue and insight among religions and religious communities in Canada and with all Canadians, strengthen our society’s just foundations, and work for greater realization of the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for the sake of the common good and an engaged citizenship throughout our country.

To that end, we append to this statement our Charter Vision as respectful participation of the world’s faiths in
the Canadian Mosaic.

Signed by the following members of the Canadian Interfaith Conversation,

Mr. Zul Kassamali, Vice President, Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, Pres.Toronto Interfaith Council
The Right Reverend Barry Clarke, Bishop of Montreal, Anglican Church of Canada
The Right Reverend Dennis Drainville, Bishop of Quebec, Anglican Church of Canada
The Right Reverend John H. Chapman, Bishop of Ottawa, Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Reverend Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
Ms. Karen McKye, Secretary General, Baha’i Community of Canada
Rev. Sam Chaise, Executive Director, Canadian Baptist Ministries
Dr. Peter Reid, Executive Minister, Convention of Atlantic Baptist Ministries
Rev. David Rowley, Secrétaire Général, Union d’Églises baptistes francophones du Canada
Rev. Tim McCoy, Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec
Rev. Jeremy Bell, Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Western Canada
Dr. Ronald A. Kuipers, Director, The Centre for Philosophy, Religion, and Social Ethics
Elder David P. Homer, Area Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mr. Bruce J. Clemenger, President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Pandit Roopnauth Sharma, President of Hindu Federation, Spiritual Leader Ram Mandir
Presidents Tom Wolthuis and Dawn Wolthuis, Institute for Christian Studies
The Rev. Susan C. Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Rev. Dr. Willard Metzger, Executive Director, Mennonite Church Canada
The Rev. Prof. Dr. James Christie, Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy
Rev. Innen R. Parchelo, National Director, Tendai Buddhism Canada
Religions for Peace Canada et Religions pour la Paix - Québec
The Right Reverend Gary Paterson, Moderator, the United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada
Rev. Rosemary Lambie, Executive Secretary, Synode Montreal & Ottawa Conference, United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada
Mr. Prem Singh Vinning, President, World Sikh Organization of Canada

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Anglicans React to Typhoon Haiyan and the Canadian Government to Match Aid

People wanting to donate money to aid and relief for victims of Typhoon Haiyan that has devastated the Philippines and neighbouring countries have an opportunity to magnify their donations with matching dollars from the Canadian government until Dec. 9

The government has announced that it will match monetary donations from individual Canadians that are earmarked for Typhoon Haiyan and given to registered charities, which includes Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), dollar for dollar between Nov. 9 and Dec. 9 up to a limit of $100,000.

Earlier this week, the U.N. Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that the Nov. 8 category 5 typhoon displaced more than 615,000 people and killed more than 1,200, with those numbers expected to rise. 

In the immediate aftermath, PWRDF announced that it was releasing an inital grant of $20,000 through the ecumenical relief and development agency ACT Alliance to help provide food, water, medicine and hygiene items for those affected. The PWRDF announcement noted that the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), one of PWRDF's long-time partners in the region, is helping to implement the ACT aid.

Canadian relief agencies may also apply to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund to enhance relief projects in the Philippines for additional funding for projects in the area.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby issued a message of support to those affected by the typhoon: “The news of the devastating storm in the Philippines is tragic, and my heart goes out to the people there. We are all deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the loss of thousands of lives and of the suffering of millions as a result of Typhoon Haiyan.

Our prayers are with all who have lost loved ones and all those who are traumatised by the disaster and in desperate need of food, water, shelter and medical attention. We pray for those who are most vulnerable in this crisis: children separated from their parents, the sick and injured, the disabled and the elderly."

He also called on people throughout the Anglican Communion to aid victims. “As a Church, we will stand beside the people of the Philippines at this devastating time, offering all we can in practical and spiritual support as the scale of the disaster unfolds.”

The World Council of Churches also voiced its support for those affected. “Together with all member churches of the fellowship, Christians and people of all faiths around the world, we pause and pray for those who have been affected by this disaster…. We pray for the safety of all involved in the clean-up and rebuilding and for those survivors of the storm who lost loved ones, some in the most dramatic way, where their children or family members were literally swept from their arms,” the statement said. It also noted that many of the WCC member churches are working through ACT Alliance on relief and aid in the area.

The WCC also added that “in these cataclysmic events that it is most often the poor who suffer and have the most difficult challenge to rebuild their lives with few resources.  We call upon aid agencies and governments not to forget the poorest, from whom the little they had has been taken away.”

The WCC also pointed to “changing weather patterns and the increasing intensity of storms,” as a possible factor. “We pray that all of us will do our part to reverse the warming of the oceans and remember that it is the poor who will suffer first and the most in any weather disaster.”

People wanting to donate to relief efforts through PWRDF can make a donation:
Online to the “Typhoon Haiyan” fund.

By Phone
For credit card donations contact:
Jennifer Brown
416-924-9192 ext. 355;  1-866-308-7973
Please do not send your credit card number by email or fax.

By Mail
Please make cheques payable to “PWRDF”, mark them for “Typhoon Haiyan” and send them to:
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
The Anglican Church of Canada
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario  M4Y 3G2

With files from Anglican Communion News Service and World Council of Churches

Source: Anglican Journal