Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Concert at St. Philip's Church - Infinitely More

On September 10, at 7:00 pm, St. Philip’s church will host three-time Covenant Award Nominee, Infinitely More, for a night of inspirational entertainment! Husband and wife duo, Gerald Flemming and Allison Lynn, use prodigious finger-style guitar and signature vocal harmonies to create a joyful mix of acclaimed original songs and fresh interpretations of the classics. Blending Gospel, Praise & Worship, Country, Pop, and Hymns, Infinitely More creates a fresh new sound for the church.

Within a year of their 2006 marriage, Allison and Gerald moved to Nashville, TN, to spend three years performing, studying with music greats, and writing songs. In that time, Allison recorded two solo Gospel CDs and worked with many Gaither Homecoming artists. Gerald wrote songs with Grammy winning and Hall of Fame songwriters, and worked with several Nashville publishers.

In 2013, Infinitely More received its first Covenant Award Nominations. Awarded by The Gospel Music Association of Canada, the Covenants honour the best in Canadian Christian Music. Infinitely More was nominated for Inspirational Song Of The Year, Country Song Of The Year, and Country Album Of The Year.

2013 also brought Infinitely More two nominations in the distinguished Words Awards, celebrating the best in Canadian Christian writing. Gerald received nominations for his songs “You Are…” and “If They Knew It Was Me.”

This fall, Infinitely More is releasing two brand new CDs! “How The Light Gets In” showcases Allison and Gerald’s soulful songwriting and performance style on nine brand new songs and two fresh arrangements of favourite hymns. “Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem” is the duo’s long awaited Christmas project, combining sweeping studio recordings with beautiful live performances.

Whether performing for a secular music festival, a joyous church event, or an intimate house concert, Infinitely More is always entertaining, inspiring, and lots of fun.

Infinitely more is passing through Montreal as part of their 4th East Coast Tour. Based in Burlington, Ontario, this full-time touring ministry will travel over 15,000 KM visiting churches of all sizes and denominations.

Please join this husband and wife duo, to share their love and light of God through song. This night of music is sure to encourage and inspire both the seeker and the lifelong Christian.

St. Philip's Church is located at 25 Brock North in Montreal West. Tickets are $10 ($5 for children) and available by calling the church office at 514-481-4871.

For a preview of their music and ministry or to learn more about the duo check out their web site at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Episocpal Bishop Asks People to Pray for the People of Iraq

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori urged Episcopalians to observe Sunday, August 17, as a day of prayer for those in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East living in fear of their lives, livelihoods, and ways of living and believing.

Her call for prayer is in response to violence in Iraq that has included the slaying of Christians, Yazidis, and other Iraqi religious minorities; the destruction and looting of churches, homes, and places of business; and the displacement of thousands under the threat of death.

“Pray that all God’s children might live in hope of the world of peace for which we were created,” she said.

The following collect, which may be used as part of the Prayers of the People or elsewhere in the liturgy, appears on page 815 of the Book of Common Prayer:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, That all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Questions about how best to support the Christian community of Iraq may be directed to the Rev. Canon Robert Edmunds, Middle East Partnership Officer for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.

Source: The Episcopal Church

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fasting for Peace in the Middle East and Around the World

Today atrocities abound. On the heels of the kidnapping of 276 young women in Nigeria, there comes the kidnapping and murder of a boy and his Grandparent. Then there is a plane shot down as it flies over another country. Sadly, I could write more of such stories; I could fill this blog of with line after line of the worst brutality that humanity can think of.

Of course a blog post on the horrors of our world would not be complete without reference to the hellish situation currently taking place in Mosul. Reports are everywhere. Social Media sites link story after countless story about the devilish behavior of ISIS. Hashtags like #bringbackourgirls and #mosul trend on Twitter allowing people around the world to share information and echo statements of grief, anger, heartache and lament.

In the face of these atrocities we try to galvanize any action we can muster and lift whatever voice we have. There are campaigns which urge us to write letters to the leaders of our government expressing our grave concern over events, and our unified desire for action to be taken. Religious leaders call us to pray. Just recently, The Archbishop of Canterbury has called the international community to “challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.” In addition, Archbishop Justine called for solidarity in prayer and love with the Christians in Iraq. In expression of this, he and countless of others have changed their social media profile picture to the Arabic letter for “N” (Note; this letter is the first letter in the Arabic word for ‘Nazarene’ – used as an insult to Christians in Iraq. Also, it is this letter that was painted on the doors of the Christians living in Mosul, declaring they were to leave, pay an impossible tax, or be killed.)

In the midst of all of this, what do we do? If you are like me, you feel a bit daunted through all of this. It’s great for leaders to call for international activity, and grand displays of aid, but what can we do on our local level? What can churches do in aid of the suffering? Many of my colleagues are expressing just this frustration; the frustration with desiring to do something, but not knowing what that something is. Some don’t know where to start; some may be wondering about the efficacy of a small localized peace forum; some may feel that the call to prayer by religious leaders sounds just a bit too hollow.

This post isn’t about a letter writing campaign. It’s not a post about entering the sphere of politics – or to urge for political aggression and legal prosecution for those violating people’s basic human rights. Those have their place, and people more experienced in such things can organize those things far better than I ever could. Personally, I believe the church is called to Fast.

Fasting is a biblical example of how the community of faith is able to come together and respond in times of violence and horror. Sometimes it’s a personal fast. Nehemiah states the he enters a time of prayer and fasting after hearing about the destruction of Jerusalem’s wall. Upon hearing about a plot to destroy the Jewish people, Queen Ester not only fasts for 3 days, but also calls the entire community to fast with her. Fasting is not only an action that enables us to go deeper in prayer; it is also an act of communal mourning. In fasting we bombard heaven with our groaning hearts and the sighs that can never be expressed by words.

If I may be so bold, on August 23rd I call the Church to fast.

If you have never had a fast, it is relatively simple. It is the going without food and beverage (beyond water) for a defined period of time. The purpose of the fast is to be able to spend time in deeper prayer, or to echo the mourning of God’s people around the world. In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes ‘we must never forget that the major work of scriptural fasting is in the realm of the Spirit. What goes on spiritually is of more consequence than what is happening bodily. ‘

This fast is only for a day – three meals – although you can choose to fast longer if you wish. I have chosen this type of fast because if you have never done a fast before, it is best not to jump into something too big. Fasting for one day is extremely safe, even for those who have health restrictions. If you have concerns, talk to a doctor. I have also placed this fast on a Saturday in order to allow for people to (if they wish) break the fast with the celebration of Communion at Sunday service.

Will you fast on August 23rd? Will you fast as a statement of your faithful mourning over the violence occurring around the globe? Will you fast as a means an enacted prayer, pleading with God to ‘be not silent;’ and to “let the assailants be put to shame”; and “accusers be clothed with dishonor”? (Portions of Psalm 109).

Imagine what would happen if every Bishop, of every diocese, called every priest in every church, to encourage every parishioners to engage in this day of prayer and fasting. Imagine what would happen if the community of faith in the comfortable west willing engaged in a time of discomfort – so that we could plead with God to “let justice roll down like a river and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24)

So how about it? On August 23rd, will you #FastforPeace?

Note: If you plan to fast on August 23rd, I would invite you to email this blog-post to your own Priest/Pastor, and also to your local Bishop as a means to ask them to encourage a diocesan wide fast. Also, if you plan to fast, I would ask that share the article on your social media sites commenting that you will be fasting and encourage others to do so. Please use the hashtag #FastforPeace.

Source: The Community

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Archbishop of Cantebury's Statement on Religious Persecution in Iraq

On August 8th, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, issued the following statement on the situation in Iraq:

“The horrific events in Iraq rightly call our attention and sorrow yet again. Christians and other religious minorities are being killed and face terrible suffering.

“What we are seeing in Iraq violates brutally people’s right to freedom of religion and belief, as set out under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is extremely important that aid efforts are supported and that those who have been displaced are able to find safety. I believe that, like France, the United Kingdom’s doors should be open to refugees, as they have been throughout history.

“The international community must document human rights abuses being committed in northern Iraq so that future prosecutions can take place. It is important and necessary for the international community to challenge the culture of impunity which has allowed these atrocities to take place.

“With the world’s attention on the plight of those in Iraq, we must not forget that this is part of an evil pattern around the world where Christians and other minorities are being killed and persecuted for their faith. Only this week I received an email from a friend in Northern Nigeria about an appalling attack on a village, where Christians were killed because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Such horrific stories have become depressingly familiar in countries around the world, including Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“We must continue to cry to God for peace and justice and security throughout the world. Those suffering such appalling treatment in Iraq are especially in my prayers at this time.”

Last month Archbishop Justin called, on Twitter, for “solidarity of prayer and love” with the Christians in Iraq. Last week he requested that his homepage photo be changed to the Arabic letter for "N" in solidarity with persecuted Christians suffering in Iraq.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Primate joins Canadian Faith Leaders in Condemning Religious Persecution in Iraq

On August 1, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate, announced that he has signed onto a Canadian faith leaders’ statement condemning what is happening to religious minorities in the city of Mosul in Iraq, and in particular, the persecution of those who are Christian.

A dozen leaders from a number of religious traditions have joined their voices to condemn threats directed to members of the ancient Christian communities and to other religious minorities, and to stand with Christian minorities in this time of great anxiety in fear.

We write as faith leaders in Canada deeply concerned about what is happening to religious minorities in the city of Mosul in Iraq, and in particular, the persecution of those who are Christian.

We condemn the threats directed to members of the ancient Christian communities and to other religious minorities in Mosul, threats made by the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The policies of ISIS are leading to an exodus of Christians from Mosul, forcing them to leave communities where their ancestors have lived for millennia. We stand with the Christian minority in Mosul, Iraq at this time of great anxiety and fear. We hold them in our prayers. They will not be forgotten. It is difficult to cite any society that has a perfect track record when it comes to protecting human rights. In Canada, our diverse communities generally live and work together peacefully and are involved in local and national dialogues on issues of faith and social justice issues that concern Canadians, nationally and globally. And yet, with humility, we confess historic and ongoing injustices against First Nations peoples in Canada, and, as well, the marginalization and discrimination faced by other vulnerable groups in our communities. We continue in the long journey of addressing these injustices.

Mindful of our own imperfect history, and rooted in our commitment to justice, peace, and respect for human rights, we are compelled to speak out on what is happening in Mosul.

We uphold the right of all religious minorities, throughout the world, to be free to express and practise their faith, and to have this right respected by government and by other religious groups. The lifting up and enforcing of Dhimmi, an ancient understanding of Islam that treats Christians and Jews (among others) as second-class citizens, and presents them with the options of conversion, paying Jizya (a poll tax for non-Muslims) or death, is an unacceptable infringement of religious freedom. We call upon all people of good will to join us in condemning these actions.

Amplifying the voices of our faith partners in the Middle East and around the world:

. We condemn the persecution of Christians and other vulnerable groups in Mosul. . The human rights of every citizen of Iraq—regardless of religious affiliation—must be respected, protected, and promoted. . We stand with Christians in the region who affirm that Middle Eastern Christians are and wish to remain part and parcel of their societies in every way—nationally, culturally, socially, and politically. . Furthermore, we stand with Christians and other faith groups in the region who have been engaged in constructive dialogue with other religions and ethnic communities so that the pluralistic heritage of their societies is protected and ensured. . We support partners in encouraging “non-military international support for the initiation of an inclusive political process to strengthen fundamental human rights, in particular with regard to religious freedom, to urgently establish the rule of law; and to ensure equal rights for all citizens.” . We request governments and non-governmental organizations to come to the aid of people driven from their homeland because of their religious beliefs, and create conditions in Mosul and all of Iraq that enable the safe return of refugees and internally displaced people to their communities as soon as possible.

Common to most religious traditions is the injunction to treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. We stand with all those committed to ensuring respect for the human rights of all.

Endorsed by: The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada Rev. Zenji Acharya President, The Bodhisattva Initiative, World Buddhist Council and Mission Sam Chaise Executive Director, Canadian Baptist Ministries Imam Abdul Hai Patel Jeremy Bell Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Susan K. Stevenson Presiding Clerk, Canadian Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) Lesley Robertson Clerk, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers) Willard Metzger Executive Director, Mennonite Church Canada Bishop Irénée Rochon Archdiocese of Canada, Orthodox Church in America Rev. Dr. Rick Fee General Secretary, Life and Mission Agency The Presbyterian Church in Canada Commissioner Brian Peddle The Salvation Army The Right Rev. Gary Paterson Moderator, The United Church of Canada

Friday, August 8, 2014

Jesus Calls his Disciples to Follow him into the Storm

"Jesus indeed calls to his disciples in the midst of the wild and restless sea, but he is not beckoning them away from the storm. Instead, his voice calls them into the tumult."

Not being in control is truly terrifying. I can vividly recall the time the brakes failed in a car I was driving. I was going down hill (toward the ocean, no less) when I realized what was happening. I mashed my foot into the pedal so hard that my butt was off the seat. Still going faster, I yanked on the parking break and could feel that it was having an effect, but the only way I survived was by taking a sharp, tire-squealing turn past a bewildered pedestrian and into a level alleyway. The next day I donated that junker to the Red Cross. I had dreams about being out of control in a car for months after that.

The terror of being in a small boat in big water whipped up by a storm is more rare. Our culture has become as divorced from the ocean as it has from the land. Fishing as a vocation is now dominated by huge steel ships that use methods perfected by industrial science at the cost of a way of life. Fishing is an industry, now, not a trade, and far less dangerous than it used to be. All big diesels and GPS with coast guard choppers ready to rescue any crew in peril.

Nothing could have been further from the truth for the poor disciples working hard against a contrary wind all night while Jesus meditated in apparent tranquility on top of a nearby mountain. They did not go out by choice that night, quite the opposite.

In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus indeed calls to his disciples in the midst of the wild and restless sea, but he is not beckoning them away from the storm. Instead, his voice calls them into the tumult. The text says that Jesus made the disciples get into the boat (14:22). A better translation of this main verb would be “to force” or “to compel.” Jesus did not give the disciples a choice. He compelled them to get into the boat and to leave him alone with the crowds. (Carla Works)

What was more terrifying as they pulled the oars? The sense that the sea would kill them all in an instant or the helplessness they must have felt to their cold, shivering bones?

This relationship between control and fear is particularly poignant in our age. We idolize individual choice. We are told that we are our identity, and that identity is constructed by the moment-to-moment choices that we make (particularly choices that require consumption of some sort), so not having choices is paramount to not having self. Cogito ergo sum has become Elegi ergo sum (I choose, therefore I am). One of the pillars of modern retail is creating the perception of choice, even when the products in question are actually indistinguishable. It is important that consumers feel like they are control of the exchange.

In what sense do we feel like we are in control when we follow Jesus? We say we want to obey him. Does that mean that, like the disciples, we will be forced away from shore, into the chaos? Pulling on an oar in a desperate attempt to keep the boat moving forward, barely under control, lest we go sideways and broach? I can identify with how following the path of Jesus can lead to some frightening and anxious places, when I’ve worried that the slightest misstep would lead to disaster, when there seemed to be no choice but to claw forward day by day in the hope the weather would change.

Where this Gospel story goes sideways for me is when Jesus shows up. This is even more terrifying to the disciples than the storm! The truth is that for many of us the hard labor in the storm is actually a more comfortable reality than encountering the awesome power of Jesus to master those forces. We prefer to think of Jesus as some kind of regional sales manager. He sent out on a mission and we intend to do that mission and return with the results. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25.14-30) makes sense to us. The notion that Jesus would show up right in the middle of our work and blow our minds with his power is problematic because it seems to undermine our efforts. Why would I bother rowing if I knew Jesus was going to save me in the end?

Put in practical terms, just how hard should I be working? At what point am I being a faithful and dutiful servant doing the Lord’s work and at one point should I “Let go and let God”? It’s a puzzle that eludes me, and this Gospel story has helped much.

Here is the other problem. Suppose that I am able to see Jesus in the storm and experience something of his faith. I see the power Jesus has and feel that I participate in it. Walking in faith, I step over the gunwale and onto the water. For a few precious seconds I have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus… but then I see the waves and my confidence sinks at the same time I do.

Practical example: I go off on a retreat or have an exceptionally good time of prayer or enjoy an inspiring conversation that convinces me of the Holy Spirit’s activity in my work. I come back to work and set to the task joyfully aware that God is working alongside me to bring about his purposes. But, again, this faith is difficult to sustain as soon as a few setbacks roll in.

Jesus response to all this, the disciples, me, our culture’s fetish for control, is a certain heavy sigh. “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

“I don’t know, Lord.” But at least in my doubt I am able, with the disciples, to affirm, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Source: The Community

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Anglican Foundation Grants in Support of Projects that Train Young Adult Leaders

Beginning in 2014, the Anglican Foundation of Canada will set aside $50,000 each year to encourage and fund innovative ministry-related projects through a Request-For-Proposals process.

Responding to Vision 2019, this year's focus is new projects that train young adult leaders in ministry, evangelism, or mission.
  • Projects will be new initiatives undertaken in 2015
  • Target is 18-30 year olds, lay or ordained
  • Five one-time grants of up to $10,000 are available
  • Leadership skills and project outcomes are to be specific and impactful
  • Projects require the endorsement of a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada
  • Proposals submitted in response to this request do not count as one of the three submissions each diocese is allowed per year
The AFC Board of Directors will review proposals in November 2014 and announce those receiving grants in early December.

Submission deadline is September 1, 2014 

For more information, please visit

Friday, August 1, 2014

Violence in the Middle East: Primate calls for peace, prayers

A message from Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate, to the church regarding recent escalations of violence in the Middle East.

‘Violence shall no more be heard in your land’

With a deep sadness the world has watched the recent escalations of violence in the Middle East. The Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, said in a July 15statement: “We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks by Israeli military on the civilian population in Gaza as we absolutely condemn the absurd and immoral firing of rockets by militants from Gaza to populated areas in Israel.” His statement is in keeping with a long-held position from our church, articulated in successive General Synods including the most recent one in 2013.

Since the bombing, scores of innocent men, women and children have died. In Gaza alone, almost 200 Palestinians have died and 1300 have been seriously injured. The Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City (owned and operated by The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem) is exceeding its capacity to meet the humanitarian crisis. In the face of shortages in medicines, fuel and food, Bishop Suheil Dawani has issued an urgent appeal for help. Donations can be made through the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. Through ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), we are working with local partners to provide support for those wounded and displaced in this ongoing siege.

I ask for your prayers. Pray for all who have died and all who mourn. Pray for all those injured and those who tend them in the most difficult of circumstances, the hospitals and clinics themselves under the continuing threat of bombing. Pray fervently for a ceasefire, for those living in absolute fear by day and by night. Pray for world leaders who offer counsel in negotiating a settlement to this current crisis and in securing a lasting peace for all Palestinians and Israelis. Pray as Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit has said, that together they may work “to transform the discourse of hatred and revenge…into one that sees the other as neighbour and as equal brother and sister in one God.”

Let us pray in the spirit of the prophet whose words offer abiding hope in the mercy, justice and peace of the Lord.

Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
and your gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:18)

Source: Anglican Church of Canada