Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Corner

‘Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’  Matthew 22:21
Christians have sometimes turned to this passage to address issues of church and state. While this text can be helpful in that regard, its main point has to do with people who claim religious authority but who do not obey God—people whom Jesus identifies as hypocrites (22:18). It calls us to review and to renew our commitment to God.
The Pharisees send their disciples to question Jesus. If these disciples—amateurs—can get the best of Jesus, their junior status will enhance their victory. If they fail to get the best of Jesus—not likely given their excellent question—the Pharisees will not be personally embarrassed. It is a good tactical move on the part of the Pharisees, but cowardly. The Pharisees and Herodians are brought together, in this instance, by their opposition to Jesus.
Their question is short and to the point: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”
Jesus is the source of God’s wisdom–his wisdom shows through in his answer to this test by the Pharisees and Herodians. If they, and we, would leave an encounter with this biblical text amazed at the Jesus portrayed there–a Jesus not easily categorized, a Jesus wise in his answers to testing, a Jesus whose first allegiance is to the all-encompassing scope of God’s reign–then we will have done our job. 


Vicar’s Note: Our mid-week prayer and bible reflection on Wednesday, 5:30-6:30 p.m, via zoom, will be from Matthew 22:34-46. Hope you can take part in this event. Our office secretary will send out the zoom ID at the beginning of each week.  

The 2020 Order of the Diocese of New Westminster (O.D.N.W.), will honour our very own Leo Golden at a combined worship service on Sunday, November 1st, 9 a.m. Due to some safety restrictions, we will have coffee and fellowship after the church service observing physical distancing. We would like to invite you to witness the investiture service for our brother Leo.


Our sister church, Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Cloverdale will host an All Saint’s-All Souls event on Sunday, Nov. 1st, 5-7 p.m.  All are Welcome. For more details, please see the brochures at the back of our church. 
The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Sunday’s Reflection:  It is essential when approaching this passage, Matthew 21:33-46, that we know that where we are in the arc of the gospel. Jesus is preaching directly to the Pharisees, chief priests, and other temple elites who, in the same chapter, he cursed for turning the Temple into a den of robbers.
The parable begins with a situation that was business as usual in Roman-occupied Palestine. A landowner established a vineyard complete with a fence, a wine-press, and even a watchtower. He then became an absentee landowner, returning to his own country as often happened in the territories of the Roman Empire. Tenants oversaw the productivity of the vineyard and paying their rent to the owner at harvest time, in the form of a share of the produce. So far, so good: business was working as usual. Then everything came apart!
Here is the punch line. Jesus asks his audience (the chief priests and elders), 40 Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” The answer is obvious, and the tenants offer it: 41 They said to him, ‘He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.’” What do you think the consequences will be for a community as a whole because of rejecting our Lord?

Vicar’s Note:  Next week, we will have our thanksgiving Sunday celebration. Canadian Thanksgiving is a time which we celebrate the harvest festival and other blessings… This is important to many Canadians because it is also a time to gather with family and loved ones. Our church invites you and your family to come to our church services and pray together in this uniquely different time. We hope to have a meaningful worship service that will inspire your faith and know that God is with us no matter what we are all going through right now. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18  

We will re-start our mid-week prayer and bible study on Wednesday, 5:30-6:30pm, via zoom. For our initial conversation, we will focus on Luke 17:11-19. Our Thanksgiving Sunday gospel lesson. Zoom coordinates will be sent out to all our parishioners.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Matthew 21:23-32 This Gospel lesson plays out almost like a theatrical scene: Jesus is met with a question and responds with a question which is lobbed around almost like a tennis ball among the officials and the people. With all the banter back and forth about how to answer the question and what that answer might imply, it quickly becomes clear that what was posed to Jesus as he approached was really more of a trap than an honest question. And so it is that Jesus uses a parable to further illustrate the folly of our attempts to please others (or God), which end up revealing our own lack of moral grounding. Jesus illustrates what we might call the “question behind the question” to strip away all of the pretense and break down the rhetoric around what one should say, in order to reveal one’s true intentions. The almost incomprehensible reality is that God doesn’t ask us to say and do what we think will please God. God asks us to come, humbly and honestly, exactly as we are with our hearts open to God’s transforming love.


Philippians 2:1-13“… be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” The language of this Epistle to the Philippians tells us to be of the same mind, to have the same love and to do all of this because of the lavish and loving example set forth by Jesus Christ. It is sobering to read words written thousands of years ago and feel them still convicting our hearts and exhorting our actions about how to be Church in the world. At the core of the reminders of this Epistle are the virtues of humility and service. Or, in other words, “is it better to be right, or to be kind?” There are lessons in this Epistle for vestries, for church leaders and for our own devotional reflections. Jesus is our example: how do we find the humility to live in that example rather than succumbing to our own wants and needs?


Vicar’s Note: We want to thank each and everyone of you for your faithful support and financial contributions in completing one of the three capital projects of St. Mike’s. Grace and blessings. We will re-start our Wednesday prayer and bible study on October 7th, 5:30-6:30pm, via zoom. For our initial conversation, we will focus on Luke 17:11-19, our Thanksgiving Sunday Gospel lesson.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Intentional Small Groups: The Episcopal Church continues to offer new resources for congregations interested in following the Way of Love as a way of life by starting small group ministries. New resources include the Building an Intentional Small Group Ministry information packet, an infographic, video compilations, and social media graphics. These resources are available at iam.ec/smallgroups.

Inspired by the foundation laid by Arlin J. Rothauge’s work and booklet, Making Small Groups Effective, the Building Intentional Small Groups information packet can help congregations answer the questions of why, what, when, and how of Small Group Ministry. Written and curated by formation and evangelism leaders across the church, the packet is an instructional tool to help churches as they begin or re-start anintentional faith-based small group ministry. This is not a curriculum, but instead a tool to help adapt existing curricula and other formation resources for a small group context.

Vicar’s Note: Last week, our parish started to undertake one of our capital projects, the repaving of the church parking lot. We wanted to thank each and everyone of you for your faithful support and financial contributions towards these projects. May God continue to shower you with His grace and blessings. 

We will re-start our Wednesday prayer and bible study on October 7th, 5:30-6:30pm, via zoom. We will follow the lectionary gospel lesson during our time together. For our initial conversation, we will focus on Luke 17:11-19. This is also in preparation for our Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday Celebration.

The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Intentional Small Groups: The Episcopal Church continues to offer new resources for congregations interested in following the Way of Love as a way of life by starting small group ministries. New resources include the Building an Intentional Small Group Ministry information packet, an infographic, video compilations, and social media graphics. These resources are available at iam.ec/smallgroups.Inspired by the foundation laid by Arlin J. Rothauge’s work and booklet, Making Small Groups Effective, the Building Intentional Small Groups information packet can help congregations answer the questions of why, what, when, and how of Small Group Ministry. Written and curated by formation and evangelism leaders across the church, the packet is an instructional tool to help churches as they begin or re-start an intentional faith-based small group ministry. This is not a curriculum, but instead a tool to help adapt existing curricula and other formation resources for a small group context.

Vicar’s Note: Thank you all for coming out to our joint worship service and BBQ last week. I thought it was an inspiring and uplifting event for us to have in-person fellowship after being isolated in the past few months. 

Our parish will get underway with a couple of major capital projects in the next few months. We wanted to let everyone know that your parish leadership team members have worked hard and did their due diligence prior to giving approval to these church projects. We will keep you posted as the work starts to commence this week. Again, for all your donations and financial contributions, may God continue to shower you with His grace and blessings. On behalf of parish council members, Thank you so very much! The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Sunday’s Reflection:  The episode at the burning bush is one of the most memorable Old Testament stories, perhaps because it portrays God’s encounter with a particular person, as well as God’s compassionate response to the afflictions of his people. This is the first of many divine acts that will bring forth Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt and culminate with the blessings of the new covenant of God’s Law. What are some ways in which God invites us to “continually seek his face”?

Jesus knows he must die to bring completion to the Father’s plan of deliverance initiated since time immemorial. His followers are called to carry their own crosses and follow the Lord, at the risk of losing their lives for his sake. This is what being a disciple means -to proclaim that the Kingdom has come, in the example of Jesus, the ultimate servant and victim (cf. Matthew 20:28). The Lord knows that the disciples are liable to fail – several times.

The overriding message of hope of these pages is not that we are perfect, but that in seeking perfection after the heavenly Father, we are not alone. After all, Jesus’ very last words in Matthew’s Gospel are almost the same as the ones spoken to Moses at the burning bush, “I am with you…” (Matthew 28:20). What are some of the difficulties of being a follower of Jesus? How do we overcome them? From Sermon that Works, written by Ignacio Gama.
Vicar’s Note: Welcome back, Father Paul Illical! Today, He will take both services. Please extend your usual hospitality to our visiting clergy.
We are now on Phase 3 of our re-opening plan to in person worship service.  I would like to thank all members of St. Mike’s for attending our service last week. Please let others know that we are now offering communion (in one kind: bread only) at both Sunday worship services.
Our fellowship (coffee hours, socials, etc.) has also re-started in groups of 50 and under. Pastoral Care may be done in one-on-one meetings in the church building as long as physical distancing is adhered to.
Outdoor Eucharist & BBQ: Next Sunday, Sept. 6th, 1:30pm, we invite you to come and be part of our outdoor service & BBQ in the green space of St. Mike’s property. Please bring your lawn chair. Hope to see you all. Thank you! The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s note

Sunday Reflection:  The gospel today is a climax for Jesus’ teaching, healing, and feeding in Matthew. The Pharisees and Sadducees want yet another sign at the beginning of the chapter, but ordinary Peter is confident that Jesus is the Messiah.

Peter receives honor in each of the gospels, but in Matthew, there is a direct reference to the Church. There is no Church without the confession of Jesus as the promised Messiah, and even at this moment, the Church is in conflict with “gates of Hades” (NRSV). Further, the Church is aggressive against the gates of hell, entrusted with authority and ultimately victorious. It is done. Death is permanently defeated but continues to terrorize and deceive unaware souls. Fear of death is not the same as death.

In his letter, Paul wrote to the Romans, (12:1-8) and it was an instruction on Christian community that contrasts our bodies, which stand for our entire selves, with the community as a body. He calls for faithful, sober, and wholesome living (often translated as “perfect”) in contrast to the passions in Romans 1:18-32. Paul supports an austere, communal life with times of ecstatic prayer but was not a believer in marriage and family life.

  • In your spiritual imagination, what do you understand to be Peter’s keys?    Sermon that Works, written by Lea Covill.

Vicar’s Note: Welcome! Today is the re-start of our Sunday Holy Communion Service. I would like to thank all members of St. Mike’s parish council for assisting in completing our approved Phase 3 re-opening plan to the Archbishop’s Office. We are now allowed to receive holy communion in one kind, the consecrated bread.

Fellowship (coffee hours, socials, etc.) may now be conducted in groups of 50 and under. Pastoral Care may be done in one-on-one meetings in the church building as long as physical distancing is adhered to. Home visits are permitted with the permission of the Archbishop.

Outdoor Eucharist & BBQ on Sunday, Sept. 6th, 1:30pm in the green space of St. Mike’s property. Please bring your lawn chair. BBQ & Hotdogs will be supplied by the church. Hope to see you all. Thank you!

The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday reflection & Vicar’s Note

Sunday Reflections:  This short text provides a raw, telling glimpse of the human Jesus, for this is the only instance in the Gospels when he loses an argument! Whenever he is confronted publicly Jesus always has a response to his questioners. But in this instance, his female Canaanite speaker manages to stump him – a major embarrassment for a middle- eastern man of the 1st century. More significantly, it appears that Jesus evolves in his thinking about the nature and scope of his ministry. He initially makes it clear to the woman that he has come for the sake of Israel, but by the conclusion of this episode something has changed. Could this be the moment when Jesus realized that the salvation he brought was to be for the nations as well?

  • This story serves as a challenge to the closed religious mind – those who see faith as static and not subject to development. Jesus exhibits a willingness and ability to change and take on a new perspective. Are there any areas of your faith life where you might be closed-minded or short-sighted?
  • How have you been challenged with a new perspective and way of articulating some aspect of your faith that made you feel uncomfortable, but resonated with you nonetheless?
  • How does our encounter with and contemplation of the humanness of Jesus nourish our spirituality, identity as disciples, and faith life? Sermon that Works, written by Brian Pinter.

Vicar’s Note: St. Mike’s lay leadership team has submitted our application to move into Phase 3 of our re-opening plan to the Archbishop’s Office. During Phase 3, parishes are allowed to celebrate Holy Eucharist, with only the priest receiving the bread and wine. Communion will be in one kind only for parishioners, the consecrated bread. Fellowship (coffee hours, socials, lunches, dinners, interest groups  gathering like Bible study, A.C.W. meetings) may be conducted in groups of 50 and under. Pastoral Care may be done in one-on-one meetings in the church building as long as physical distancing is adhered to. Home visits are NOT permitted at this time without the permission of the Archbishop. You can read the full Diocesan Guidelines about in-person worship service by visiting the link below.

https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/diocese-to-enter-phase-iii-for-in-person-gatherings-august-16-2020. Any further questions, please let me know. Thank you! The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Sunday Reflection: Matthew 14:13-21. It’s common in our (Anglican) churches to hear narratives of scarcity. A budget shortfall leads to last minute appeals and difficult choices. We wonder when we’ll have enough time to do the work (Building & ground Maintenance) we care most about instead of the work that’s most urgent. We face shortages of resources and time, and we can often feel pressed and anxious in these conditions of scarcity. Like the disciples in this Gospel story, we may want to send people away to fend for themselves as we recognize the inadequacy of our resources.

And yet, in this situation of scarcity, Jesus offers abundance and hospitality. Instead of turning people away, Jesus invites the crowd to stay and feast in the wilderness. And the disciples—despite their previous fear—are the ones tasked with distributing this blessed feast. Instead of hunkering down and doling out the little they have among themselves, they go out among the crowd and share the delicious plenty that Jesus has provided.

This Gospel story will not magically fix our budget woes or add hours to our days—and yet perhaps it does have some power to free us from our own narratives of scarcity. The story invites us to hope and pray and live toward God’s abundance, not just for our group but for everyone. We’re invited to share what we have and to loosen our grip on the questions of whether we have enough and whether we are enough. And we’re invited to feast on the bread Jesus blesses.

Where do you feel the strain of scarcity right now? Are there places you see God’s abundance? How can we be honest about real need and struggle while also questioning some of our scarcity narratives? How does this discernment work? Joanna Benskin, Sermons that Work.

Vicar’s Note: Last week, St. Mike’s executives met and have discussed our re-opening plan moving to Phase 3 (Diocesan Guidelines) on Sunday, August 23, 2020. So, what is Phase 3 in the Diocesan Guidelines? Here is the link that should give you more detailed information about in-person worship service.  https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/diocese-to-enter-phase-iii-for-in-person-gatherings-august-16-2020. We would be happy to hear your suggestions and ideas about moving to Phase 3. Any further questions, please let me know. Thank you! The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

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EDNP/DofNW Companion Diocese Sermon Exchange

Please click on the following link for the EDNP/DofNW Companion Diocese Sermon exchange between Archbishop Melissa Skelton  and Bishop Brent Alawas https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/ednp-dofnw-sermon-exchange

 

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