Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

The Day of Pentecost: Pentecost is one of the Great Feasts in the Anglican Communion.

The term means “the fiftieth day. It is used in both the OT and the NT. In the OT it refers to a feast of seven weeks known as the Feast of Weeks. It was apparently an agricultural event that focused on the harvesting of first fruits. Josephus referred to Pentecost as the fiftieth day after the first day of Passover. The term is used in the NT to refer to the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, shortly after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension. ‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Acts 2

Christians came to understand the meaning of Pentecost in terms of the gift of the Spirit. The Pentecost event was the fulfillment of a promise which Jesus gave concerning the return of the Holy Spirit.
It emphasizes that the church is understood as the body of Christ which is drawn together and given life by the Holy Spirit. Some understand Pentecost to be the origin and sending out of the church into the world. (An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church)

 

Re-Opening plans for St. Michael’s Church: After consultation with the members of Parish Council, we are looking at two possible dates on the re-opening our church facilities to in-person worship. These dates are either on July 5th OR July 12th.

The plan is to take a ‘phase approach’. Details of this plan can be found on the Diocesan website at: https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/documents-available-phased-re-opening-for-in-person-worship

Our priority is the safety of our parishioners. We will be guided by the advised of the provincial health officer and the directives of the Archbishop.
Should you have any thoughts about this matter, please let me or the Wardens know. Thank you!

The Venerable Louie Engnan,

Rector

Prayer: Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Receiving the spirit is God’s gift to the church. Some thoughts on today’s scripture.

Jesus breathes upon us and gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of peace and truth and joy. At a time of crisis and fear, how do you see yourself empowered by God to be a sign of love, kindness and love to others?

Come Holy Spirit, Come!

 

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday’s Reflection: John 14:15-21

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you.” This promise is the center of this section of the Farewell Discourse. In last week’s passage from John, Jesus told the disciples that he was going to the Father. This week, he reassures them that they will not be left alone. The Father will send “another Advocate” who will always be with them. Jesus is the first Advocate, the one who is the Truth, and the Advocate whom the Father will send will be the Spirit of Truth, the spirit of Jesus himself.

Twice in this passage, Jesus tells us that those who love him, who follow him, will keep his commandments, which involve love for others and will result in being one with him and the Father. This union with Jesus and the Father is the Spirit who is with us always. The world, that is, the powers that do not receive Jesus, cannot know either him or the Father and do not know the Spirit. Those who love will be loved and receive the revelation of Jesus’ Spirit.

  • What are the signs you see of the Advocate, the Spirit, moving in the life of the world today?
  • What does it mean to you to keep Jesus’ commandments?

(Sermons That Works, by Sr. Kate Maxwell)

Prayer: Faithful God, make our hearts bold with love for one another. Pour out your Spirit upon all people, so that we may live your justice and sing in praise the new song of your marvelous victory. Amen.

(Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002), 122 alt.)

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

I would like to start by saying thank you to all of you for your continued support to our St. Michael’s Church. In this unprecedented time, our church family has been connecting virtually every Sunday to pray and worship together as a faith community. I know that all of you miss each other, and we really want to come back and worship in-person in our sanctuary. Just be a little bit more patient, and one day we will see each other again.

Plans are now underway to start the process of re-opening our churches to in-person events. We are cautiously and carefully looking into some models that would assist the parish leadership of St. Michaels to make some plans. We would like to assure everyone that this will be according to public health safety protocols, and the Archbishop’s directive in using again our church facilities. If you have any thoughts, feelings, and suggestions on how we should proceed with this plan, please let me know or the church wardens about this matter for discussion during our meeting.

Reading listThe gifts of the small church in a pandemic is an article written by Allen T. Stanton. He wrote, “In times of sickness and anxiety, the deep relationships in a small-membership church can be a powerfully sustaining force.”

This gift that we have is a way on how we can continue to cultivate our relationship as a church family. We are sustained by this virtue at St. Michael’s. We have this very powerful gift that we can share to one another in times of isolation. The goal is always to support our people. Members of the small church depend on one another — for connection, for friendship, for help.

Please continue to pray and uphold one another in the name of the risen Christ15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandment.” John 14

The Venerable Louie Engnan,

Rector

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday’s Reflection: How can you fix your eyes on Jesus?

  • Acts 7:55-60. In the midst of his suffering and persecution, Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he saw the glory of God. The fact that Stephen was full of the Holy Spirit shows the source of his courage, wisdom, and power in preaching. To make room for the Holy Spirit, he had to let go of his need for control – or the need to cling to his own life. In his hour of trial, Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.
  • Where do you see the glory of God? Where do you find beauty, joy, and peace?
  • How can you fix your eyes on Jesus?
  • John 14:1-14. Jesus told his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” Jesus never wanted his disciples, then and now, to have life without trouble. But Jesus promised that we could have an untroubled heart even in a troubled life. Jesus told us that putting our trust in him was the path to a non-anxious presence. Jesus told the disciples to put their trust in God. This was a radical call.
  • What does life in Jesus’ name look like?
  • What helps you to put your trust in God?

(Sermons That Works, by Santi Rodriguez)

Prayer: God of life, you sent your Son into the world that we might live through him. May we abide in his risen life, so that we may bear the fruit of love for one another and know the fullness of joy. Amen.

(Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002), 120.)

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

 

In one of my weekly readings, I came across an article entitled, Will the church financially survive the COVID-19 pandemic?This article talks about money, financial crisis, sustainability, Christian leadership, and congregations’ response in this time of crisis. Pastor Prince Raney Rivers shared some of his views about church giving and says;

In the short term, Rivers said, churches need to appreciate the importance of adopting online giving if they haven’t already, and convince members that it’s a viable alternative to the Sunday offering.

Our way of giving has been nurtured by brining our envelope offering and making an in-person contribution during our worship service. For me, this is still the ideal way of practising our stewardship ministry in the church. But like many other church congregations, what adjustments should we make in order to continue our commitments to the Lord.

Rivers said that giving lagged at his church during the shutdown until they scheduled times for members to drive by and drop off their offerings. Many people do not feel comfortable giving online or even mailing their checks, he said. They want to practice the physical act of giving at the church.

In doing so, I am so grateful to all of you for your continued love and support to the ministry of St. Michael’s. There will still be challenges in our parish even after the in-person worship gatherings will be lifted. However, every time I see you on our virtual Sunday worship service, it gives me more reasons to have faith in God and believe in the glory of Christ’s resurrection. Let us continue what we are doing and adapt to the new ways on how we could better make use of our stewardship ministry post the “isolation period.” I am always praying for your safety.

The Venerable Louie Engnan, Rector

(The quotations above are from, “Alban Weekly | Imagining congregational life after the pandemic”, May 4, 2020)

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday’s Reflection: John 10:1-10. Jesus is the shepherd who knows and tends to his sheep. Jesus does identify himself as the Good Shepherd in verse 11, but our text stops at verse 10, leaving us with the identification: “I am the gate for the sheep.” How might you understand Jesus to be the gate in this passage?

We are not the first to ask this question, and numerous theories and approaches exist. One common interpretation is the idea of Jesus as the gate to salvation. For me, the most powerful meaning of Jesus as the gate is in connection with his will for all to have abundant life. Jesus as the gate stands between us and the thieves and bandits who would kill and destroy. But Jesus as the gate takes the full force of this threat, creating a safe pasture in which we might attain abundant life. (Sermons That Works, by Charlotte LaForest)

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Rector’s Message: Many thanks to all of you for your continued support to St. Michael’s Church. We have been receiving your tithes, offerings and donations to keep the ministry of our parish. Again, Church is NOT cancelled. We are just doing it in another way. This is just for the time being. Also, we have re-started our Wednesday prayers. Join us (virtually) for a time of prayer and reflection at 7:00pm.

Last week, I was in touch with some of our parishioners, and everyone I spoke with seems to be doing well. I mean safe and healthy. Pray for our church family. Pray for all frontline workers. Pray for all working from their homes. Pray for healing and restoration of the whole creation.

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflections: The Walk to Emmaus is a an extraordinary Eucharistic passage as the resurrected Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, breaks it, and gives it to his companions.

It should be comforting that faith isn’t entirely about knowing what happened during Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection; not entirely about having heard another’s testimony; not even entirely about understanding every bit of scripture. These disciples had every opportunity for faith in the ways we would know how to measure. But blessedly, curiously, miraculously, they didn’t really know Jesus in all of those things. They knew Jesus when they’d opened their hearts to a stranger, when they’d shared a meal, when they’d offered hospitality and welcome. It was in being with someone that they came to know the risen Christ. And it is in gathering for the Eucharist, inviting strangers into our own lives, and welcoming people just because we happen upon them that we will grow in faith. It won’t be because of what we know. It’ll be because of what he told us to do: love one another.

Can faith ever be about what we ourselves have learned or heard? Or is a community required if we are to be followers of Christ? (From: Sermons that Work)

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!

Rector’s Message: Last Week, Parish council met (virtually) and discussed a few matters related to our ministry. We have completed and submitted to the Archbishop’s office the nomination of Leo Golden to the 2020 Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. We will keep you informed as we move closer to the investiture service this fall.

With the hope to resume our in person church services on Sunday, June 14th, I will offer a (virtual) Wednesday Evening Prayer and Bible reflection starting next month, 7:00 – 8:00pm. Details will be sent to you via email starting next week. Please continue to pray for our brother Dave for the lost of our beloved Mavis. Thank you! Louie

 

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflections:  Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is full of hope, joy, and anticipation. Riding on a donkey, people welcomed Jesus waving palm branches crying, “Hosanna, Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.”

“Jesus walked courageously to face his death in defence of the truth-the truth of the brokenness of the world, the truth of power that oppresses others, and the truth of God’s dep love for all creation. Jesus transformed a place of fear into a place of hope. Do we have to live the vulnerable and authentic life that marks the call of Christians?

To live courageously is to live as the one to whom we truly belong. Jesus knew to whom he belonged. He lived fully as God’s beloved son and it showed. Jesus was life itself and brought that life to those he met. Jesus raised the dead, cured the sick, gave sight to the blind, and fed the hungry. His actions proclaimed the nearness of God. His life threatened the way of death. We, too, belong to God. We, too, belong to the kingdom yet to be known in this world.”  (The Rev. Jennifer Gamber, Living Well Through Lent 2020, page 59.)

With all that is happening right now, do you think that there are reasons to welcome and celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus in our communities today?

How can you continue to exercise your mission, as a Christian believer, when everything seems to be difficult navigating our day to day life?

Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross. Therefore, God also highly exalted him   and gave him the name that is above every name, Philippians 2:8-9

Rector’s Corner: This is our third week meeting and worshiping virtually as a parish congregation. I know that many of us are hungering to get back to our usual lives and be reconnected, in person, with our families, friends and even co-workers. However, with the advice of our health professionals, particularly the provincial health officer, these next two weeks will be very critical on how we will be able to flatten the curve of this pandemic.

I’m pretty sure that by this time you are all familiar with the drill; stay home as much as possible, practice physical distancing, and frequent hand washing. These measures will help keep us all safe and healthy.

As a church, we have continued to support our parishioners through fervent prayers. I, as your minister, remain committed to be here for you in this time of crisis. I am available on call at 604-585-6835 for your pastoral needs and concerns.

I have also continued to phone some of our church members and friends. This is just one way to remind everybody that we are all in the same boat. I also ask that you continue to pray for all people affected by this pandemic. May God’s grace and healing power be an encouragement for us to pray for one another.

I hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy at all times. Blessings!

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Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflections: The repeated journey to the well, is a real toil, which is why she wants to stop coming to draw her water. But it is not hard to deduce that she is weary about plenty of other things, as well. Weary of men (you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your husband – John 4:18). In other words, “I’ve made a mess of love, and partnerships, and sex and I can no longer be bothered taking my fellow human being seriously.” Weary of religion (our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem –  John 4:20). In other words, “Who can be bothered taking religion seriously, with all these stupid disagreements?”

But then, something changes for this broken woman, for whim “nothing is as I would wish it to be.” Something changes at the well, when it is “about noon.” For at the well is someone else, weary and in need, but whose weariness comes not from cowardice but courage-the courage to live out a God-given vocation, one that will lead inevitable and inexorably to Jerusalem and the Cross. (by The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington, Living Well through Lent, pg. 35.)

Rector’s Corner: I have received some feedback about the changes made with regards to our Sunday gatherings in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Again, these measures were put in place to help one another be safe, and keep our church community protected from the spread of this virus.

Below please find a treasure of prayer resources that you may use during the COVID-19 outbreak. These selections are courtesy of Archdeacon Richard Leggett.  All come from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship:  Occasional Services for the Assembly (2009).

Anxiety, apprehension, fear [OSA, p. 401] Almighty and merciful God, you are the only source of health and healing; you alone can bring calmness and peace.  Grant to us, your children, a consciousness of your presence and a strong confidence in your love. In our pain, our weariness, and our anxiety, surround us with your care, protect us by your loving might, and permit us once more to enjoy health and strength and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.

Chronic illness [OSA, p. 288] Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation.  Pour out your Spirit upon Nand all people living with illness for which there is no cure, as well as their families and loved ones.  Help them to know that you claim them as your own; deliver them from fear and pain; and assist us in ministering to their needs; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord.  Amen

Health care providers [OSA, p. 298] Merciful God, your healing power is everywhere about us.  Strengthen those who work among the sick; give them courage and confidence in all they do.  Encourage them when they are overwhelmed with many pressing needs or when their efforts seem futile.  Increase their trust in your power to bring life and wholeness even in the midst of death and pain and crying.  May they be thankful for every sign of health you give, and humble before the mystery of your healing grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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