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.

Orientation

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

Parking

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.

Sorting

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.

*Resolution

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

video


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.

Relationships

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 (www.councilofchurches.ca) 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 (http://ca.bahai.org) 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.

Resources

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

News from the WCC Assembly - Mission & New Leadership

The 10th World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly is taking place in Busan, Republic of Korea. It started on Wednesday October 30 and comes to an end on Friday November 8, 2013.

Those assembled at the the 10th WCC worshiped and shared some valuable time with their interfaith partners. They also elected new presidents.

A November 4, plenary session presented an action-oriented reflection based on the new WCC mission statement: Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes. The plenary sought to highlight the common challenges and opportunities for mission in the current global context.

To learn more about their reflections on the concept of mission click here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Video - Sine Nomine, For All Saints



Sine Nomine: Lyrics by Will­iam W. How, Music by Ralph Vaugh­an Will­iams.

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon - All Saints Day: The Kingdom of God on Earth (11/03/13)


video

For the Feast of All Saints, Father Jim discusses the hymn Sine Nomine which presents a vision of all the people of God offering praise around the throne. However, in our earthly existence, the trappings of wealth and power obscure the fact that, "the empires of this world will pass away." The Kingdom of God here on earth is not found in gilded palaces but among the poor, the hungry and the outcast.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Christmas Bazaar: Your Center For All Things Christmas

Each year the people at St. Philip's put together a special fund raising event that has garnered a reputation as one of the best Christmas Bazaars in the city. Please join us on this wonderful day for our annual pre-Christmas event!

When: Saturday, November 9th from 10 am to 2 pm. 

Where: The Memorial Hall (7505 Sherbrooke St. West).

Parishioners will be welcoming the wider NDG/Montreal West community as well as people from across the island of Montreal. There will be fabulous raffles as well as St. Philip's famous homemade baking, scrumptious candy & fudge, and sweet jellies & jams. You can also find fine hand-knitted sweaters & scarves, linens, one-of-a-kind antiques, furniture, books, elegant jewellery, videos/CD's/puzzles, and many other items suitable for a variety of tastes and budgets. And speaking of taste, be sure to stay for a hearty soup & sandwich lunch prepared and served by the men of the parish.

Come with your Christmas list and leave with the warmth and fellowship of St. Philip's!