Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection

Ascension of the Lord: The Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ is celebrated 40 days after Easter Day, marking the conclusion of Jesus’ post resurrection appearances and his ascension into heaven.

Celebration of this holy day dates back at least to the late fourth century, and scriptural references to Jesus’ ascension occur in both The Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke:

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1: 6-11, NRSVA).

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Luke 24, NRSVA)

The Ascension of Jesus is also professed in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed: “He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father” (B.A.S., pg.190).
Collect for Ascension Day: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord. Keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of his peace, and bring the whole of creation to worship at his feet, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (B.A.S., pg. 343)

Rector’s Corner: To all of St. Michael’s prayer warriors, I continue to ask for your healing prayers for Andrew and George and their respective families, and to all in need. Prayers can help us to come to a greater understanding of God’s purpose for our lives. It also enables us to deliver strong messages of support and encouragement to one another.  When we pray, God intervenes in other people’s lives and blesses them.

Again, everyone is invited to come to Bible Study on Tuesday, 6:00pm, at St. Michael’s House. We would read the following: Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:14-17; John 14.8-17.

The Tri Parish Ministry of the Church of the Epiphany, St. Helen’s and St. Michael’s will gather for our annual Service and Picnic in the Park on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, 9:30-2:00, Bear Creek Park picnic area (entrance is off 140th Street). Bring your lawn chair. Share a side dish or dessert for the Fellowship Meal. All Welcome!

Just a few highlights of the 119th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster. The Eucharist was presided by Her Grace, The Most Revd. Melissa Skelton. She also inducted two Archdeacons and four regional deans in the Diocese. The Synod affirmed the document, “A Word to the Church” (see details in the diocesan website). More to come in the next few weeks.

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Acts 16 offers a compelling portrait of ministry for our consideration. This chapter begins with Paul choosing Timothy as his companion. This is a significant reminder that ministry is not a solo endeavor; it requires companionship.
Paul is convinced that God is calling them to proclaim the good news to the people of Macedonia. While in Philippi, on a Sabbath day, they go to where they assume they will find a place of prayer — they go outside the gate by the river. Here they find the women gathered. It is by the riverside that Paul and company encounter Lydia and a group of women. Lydia is described as a worshipper of God. Lydia and her household are baptized and she offers Paul a place to stay. An open heart results in open doors. Lydia tells Paul: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” She extends hospitality to Paul and his companions.
It is important to remember that this hospitality and generosity may be found in the expected places, coming from those who we do not anticipate will extend it. Paul sets sail looking for a man to share the good news with in Macedonia. Instead, he encounters a group of women.

Ministry is often equated to those individual and things that are visible — the ministers, the sacraments, the choir and ushers. However, ministry is made possible by those who often are not seen and at times are not named. Despite our tendency to want to identify a hero or personality, this text reminds us that it takes a team for the ministry to be effective. All are co-laborers. Paul was not alone, he was there with Silas, Timothy, and likely whoever it is that is recounting the story. The church is strengthened, then and now, by those who demonstrate their faithfulness in both their words and deeds and by those who extend generous hospitality. The proclamation of the word opens the heart and open hearts result in open doors. Let us welcome all who would come.

Rector’s Corner: Today, parish council meets at St. Michael’s house, 12noon. Also, St. Michael’s outreach team would be at Zion Manor, 3:00pm, for a service of praise and healing. All Welcome!

Last Week, our Bible Study talked about the mission work of the early church based on the Book of Acts. There were two interesting points that the group pondered. First, the early church modeled a belief on inclusiveness in preaching God’s word. And second, the vital role of women in the church ministry. What do you think? 

Again, everyone is invited to come on Tuesday, 6:00pm to St. Michael’s House. We would read the following: Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:15-23; Luke 24:44-53. 

On behalf of our parish, a special thank you to Corri and Tony for representing our parish to the 119th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster. For those who may want to know some highlights of Synod, we would make ourselves available during our Sunday coffee hour.

It’s almost here! The Tri Parish Ministry of the Church of the Epiphany, St. Helen’s and St. Michael’s will gather for our annual Service and Picnic in the Park on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, 10:00-2:00, Bear Creek Park picnic area (entrance is off 140th Street). Bring your lawn chair. Share a side dish or dessert for the Fellowship Meal. All Welcome!

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.” John 13:34. Our Gospel this morning and even from The Book of Acts, suggest that an appropriate post-resurrection life motto is “choose love.” But that can be an awfully hard thing to do.

How we live resurrection love is full of challenges. I know that many of you who are familiar with your bible are aware that this part of the gospel was written before the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, we are reading it once more in the context of the Resurrection, the aftermath of betrayal and in the midst of the disciples’ uncertainty. Now, the disciples were commanded to choose love. This is what it means to live-out our faith when Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35.

“This is the kind of love Jesus is asking us to live — not for guarantees, not for reciprocity, not for assurances, but for the sake of a different way to live in the world. And why? So that the world can come a little closer to knowing God’s love.” (Karoline Lewis)

In other words, when you love, you can more easily see the love that surrounds you. When you love, you can more readily recognize acts of love. When you love, you can more clearly sense expressions of love. Love can often be overlooked, taken for granted, dismissed as just an act of kindness when you are not used to living in love.

What is new about the commandment to love one another? What is radically new about the way that God has shown his love for us in Jesus? What does it mean to be a disciple under this new commandment? How can we, people of St. Michael’s Church, continue to proclaim that Resurrection is Love?

Rector’s Corner: Last Week, members of our church greeters met. We reviewed some roles that greeters should keep doing on Sunday morning. We also agreed to promote St. Mike’s 60th Anniversary to those who are visiting our church. An idea was brought up that a family could be greeters on a given day. We will extend an invite to all members who may be interested to this ministry.

Bible Study will resume on Tuesday, 6:00pm, at St. Michael’s House. Bring you Bible. All Welcome!

Our parish will be represented by Corri and Tony at the Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster on May 24 and 25 at the Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver. This is the biannual convention of all 66 parishes and 3 worshipping communities of the Diocese. FYI: The Primate of the Anglican Church, The Most Reverend Fred Hilts, will be the guest of Honour.

The Tri Parish Ministry of the Church of the Epiphany, St. Helen’s and St. Michael’s will gather for our annual Service and Picnic in the Park on Pentecost Sunday, June 9th, 9:30-2:00, Bear Creek Park picnic area (entrance is off 140th Street). Bring your lawn chair. Share a side dish or dessert for the Fellowship Meal. All Welcome!

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: Acts 9:36-43. One of the true joys of the Easter season is dwelling in the Book of Acts and seeing the immediate effects of the Resurrection upon the community of Jesus’ followers. We hear of people, at least men, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and how they evangelize, prophesy, and build a community centered around the Holy Spirit. In this community, poverty is confronted with the sharing of wealth, hunger with the sharing of food, and death with resurrection. Those who are marginalized, like widows and orphans, are tended to by disciples like Tabitha. As we continue to reflect upon the Resurrection and how it might transform us and our communities, these stories help us to see where our own communities can be led more fully by the Holy Spirit.

However, this passage also encourages us to be more critical of both the text of Acts and of our own society, particularly around gender roles. A close reading of Acts shows that men and women are treated differently from each other, which would be expected, given the culture in which it was produced. The men are filled with the Holy Spirit and consistently do the “public” work of ministry by preaching, healing, and teaching; these are not roles that we see being held by women in this text. While we may react to that with frustration, anger, or acceptance, this text could also be an opportunity for us to ask where in our community’s gender roles are deeply entrenched and how we might be called to begin the hard work of building communities where gender roles are more equal. The message of Easter, particularly as exemplified in Acts, encourages us to look deeply at not only our individual lives but at our communities and how we might live more fully into a life filled with the Holy Spirit and to address—and dismantle—the cultural systems that hinder that journey. (From: Sermon That Works)

How can we continue working together as a faith community and serve people beyond our congregation? Does that service feed you spiritually? Does that service build those who are served up and incorporated into the ministry of the church?

Rector’s Corner: On Saturday, March 16, our parish participated in a Diocesan Conference focus on Stewardship. The day was filled with various plenary talks and workshops focused on sharing tools, practices and suggestions to help parishes grow in generosity and sharing. Here are some of the focal points of the conference:

  • Capital Campaign to raise money to replace a church building. This multi-year project has resulted in pledges from more than 90% of the parish membership.
  • Resources and ideas from a year-round stewardship program like annual schedule of stewardship focused activities, picking annual themes, resources used in the fall financial focus as well as a spring time/talent focus, and a narrative budget.
  • Organizational approach like stewardship team diversity; link the stewardship team to the various ministry teams; ensuring there are regular stewardship homilies throughout the year; and ongoing parish stewardship education.
  • A tactical facets of promoting Pre-Authorized Donations (PAD); sending a team to the annual diocesan stewardship workshops; and being accurate and timely in issuing tax receipts and thank you note.
  • Creating a Culture of Generosity focused on the need to have a clear and explicit understanding in the parish of the link between our faith and our parish ministry so that people can feel ‘ownership’ of the ministry.
  • Assess at whatever it is that a congregation is currently doing for stewardship and see what the ‘next steps’ would be to enhance it.
    You can read a comprehensive report of this event by visiting the Diocesan website at  https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/celebrating-generous-congregations
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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Julian of Norwich, Spiritual Teacher – 8 May:The church celebrates the Feast of Dame Julian of Norwich. Julian (or Juliana) was a fourteenth-century Englishwoman who is known for one book, The Revelations of Divine Love. This work records sixteen visions which were granted to her on May eighth and ninth in 1373, with the fruit of twenty years’ reflection on their meaning. Written in the English dialect of fourteenth-century Norfolk, her book is one of the undisputed masterpieces of mystical theology.

Little is known about Julian herself. From hints in her work, it is possible that she was once married, and she may also have been a mother. There is nothing to suggest that she was a professed nun or ever lived in a convent. In The Revelations of Divine Love she tells us that she experienced her visions when she was thirty years old and they came to her during an illness which brought her to the brink of death. Sometime after that, she took up the life of a recluse, living alone in a hovel attached to the parish church of St. Julian and St. Edward, Coniston. It was from the title of this church that she took the name Julian; and other contemporary documents attest that she was still living there in the second decade of the fifteenth century.

The heart of Julian’s visions were the knowledge of God in the crucified Christ. Because the Saviour bore and nurtured a new humanity on the cross, she took up an image often employed by other spiritual teachers in the Middle Ages and likened him to a mother. This image of Christ, and all else in her book, found fulfillment in the divine love. For in everything that God showed her, Julian wrote, “Love was our Lord’s meaning. And I saw for certain, both here and elsewhere, that before ever he made us, God loved us, and that his love has never slackened, nor ever shall.” (From: Sermon That Works)

Prayer: Source and Partner of the eternal Word, who brought to birth in the Lady Julian many visions of your nurturing and sustaining love, move our hearts, we pray, to seek your will above all things, that we may know the joy of your gifts and embrace the gift that is simply yourself; through Jesus Christ our Lord, our Saviour, Brother, and Mother, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rector’s MessageA special thank you to Corri and Andy for facilitating the conversation with regards to producing a common magnetic car and house signage for St. Mike’s 60thanniversary.

Bible Study will resume on Tuesday, May 21th, 6:00pm, preceded by evening prayer. Our focus will be on a few stories about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. All welcome. Invite a friend.

Last week, Parish Council members met and have identified a few major building maintenance and/or replacements that needs attention in the next little while. This could have significant impact on the financial capabilities of the parish to respond to this concerns. If you wish to know the details, please talk to our church wardens.

Tri-Parish Men’s breakfast will be on Saturday, 9am, at Denny’s – 68thand K. George. RSVP Jeddy on or before Friday.

Diocesan Synod will be on May 24 and 25. Corri and Tony are lay delegates from our parish.

“You are rewarded not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love.”Catherine of Siena

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: In the days after the Crucifixion, the apostles were in a locked room, hiding from their enemies and trying to figure out their next steps. Jesus suddenly appears to them, and rejoices, prays, and blesses them. But Thomas was away, perhaps running an errand, picking up the milk and bread. He missed out.

Was he a “doubting Thomas?” Perhaps he was simply the unlucky Thomas, missing out on the coolest thing that had happened in centuries. Did he truly “doubt” Jesus’ resurrection when he heard about it from his friends? Perhaps he is shocked or scared or confused Thomas, in the middle of the cognitive dissonance that comes from trying to believe something impossible.

This story about Thomas is a quintessential lesson that God acts in ways which are unexpected and impossible. Faithful Christians today are called to believe in the Risen Christ without using our physical senses to experience Jesus’s resurrected body in the flesh. But in miracles big and small, Christ appears in ways which don’t make any sense to us and blows away our expectations. Jesus blesses us if we “have not seen and yet have come to believe” – even if what we believe is impossible.

  • When have you been surprised by God’s presence?
  • In what ways do you or do you not relate to Thomas?

 (From: Sermon That Works)

Prayer: Risen Christ, for whom no door is locked, no entrance barred:  open the doors of our hearts, so that we may seek the good of others and walk the joyful road of sacrifice and peace, to the praise of God, the Source of all life.Amen.(Trial Use Collects)

Rector’s MessageI would like to thank all church members for supporting our Easter “spaghetti night”fellowship. A special thank you to Clark and Martha for hosting this event.

On behalf of the members of church council, I would like to thank you all for participating at our Easter church services. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all church members who have invited their families and friends to attend our Easter Sunday services. We had eight guests/family members at our 10am service. Please continue to invite people to the various ministries which our parish offers.

Today, after the 10am service, during coffee hour, we will have a consultation on the proposed magnetic car sign for St. Michael’s 60thanniversary. We would appreciate if you could stay and engage for this momentary conversation.

Bible Study will resume on Tuesday, May 21st, 6:00pm, preceded by evening prayer. Our focus will be on a few stories about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. All welcome. Invite a friend.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

 “Easter is both about Jesus and about us.” Luke 24:1-12

Easter is not just one day. It is a season of 50 days, significantly longer than the 40 days in Lent. Our Church’s calendar is designed this way to help us remember that we are called to GO and live a life that is centered more on resurrection joy than on fear. During this Eastertide, find ways to live into the Way of Love you have walked this Lent.

The end of our Lent journey is only the beginning, as we take all the transformation we have experienced and imagined and use it to join God in healing and reconciling the world. How will you GO and tell the story of the empty tomb out loud? How have you been changed and how might you change others? (From: The way of Love)

Easter Day Prayer:Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Rector’s MessageI would like to acknowledge the faithful stewardship of each and everyone of you. Your continued participation in the life of St. Michael’s give meaning to our mission and ministry. Again, “Easter is both about Jesus and about us.”. Let us come together and renew our common calling for our parish congregation as we approach its 60thyear of missionary work to the people of this community and to the wider Christian community.

Our collective story as God’s people based on the gospel of the risen Christ should continue to encourage us in bringing people to Jesus. Our church should be an instrument or a way to achieve this goal. My hope and prayer is that we will continue to be a church of the resurrection. This is not an instant joy in the life of our congregation. But it is the beginning of a joyous and victorious life as servants of the one, true and living God. Our God that we worship in our daily living.

My prayer is that God would give us the strength and will to roll the stone and experience a renewal of our mission towards growth and development.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Venerable Louie Engnan

Rector

 

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