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.

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

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

 

Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Vicar’s Note

Sunday Reflection: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52. “The kingdom of heaven is like…” what is the kingdom of heaven like? We need Jesus to tell us because we are mired in the kingdoms of the earth and find it hard to imagine what God truly wants for all of us. Our tiny seed of faith maturing into a place to provide shelter for all. Faith and love mixed like yeast into a community where all can feel the abundance of God’s grace. The treasures of God’s love for which we would give up every material thing. A net which gathers up all that we are and sorts out the pain, anger, and fear so that only love and grace remain. The kingdom of heaven… in times such as these, we need to cling to the parables about the kingdom of heaven so that we remember who we are and who made us.

  • Who yearns to be sheltered in your community of faith? How can you create a space for all?
  • How can the abundance of God’s love be spread throughout your whole community? What concrete ways can you reach out to your neighbors and help them to know God’s love and grace?
  • What material things hold you back from embracing the full love and grace of God’s kingdom? How can you learn to give those things up?
  • What do you need to separate out of your own net? Anger, fear, unjust privilege? What does it look like to live through grace and love?                                           Jennifer Allen, Sermons that Work

Vicar’s Note: We have learned from the Archbishop’s Office that parish congregations can start moving into Phase 3 starting on Sunday, August 16, 2020. This directive was released on Monday, July 20th, to all clergy and lay leaders of the Diocese.
St. Michael’s wardens, trustee and members of parish council will start to write our application for Phase 3. We will keep you informed about this process in the next few weeks. 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.

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus teaches his disciples with the parable of the weeds among the wheat and then, very clearly, explains exactly what he means by it. There is no need for us to guess what Jesus is talking about here, nor is there any way to soften his message or avoid the harsh judgment it contains. At the end of days, those who find themselves numbered among the weeds will be thrown into “the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Jesus is speaking in cosmic terms about God’s purposes and the very real presence of evil in the world. It is the “enemy” who plants the weeds among the wheat. For a time, the good wheat and the evil weeds will live and thrive together in this world, until the coming of God’s reign.
We may not be comfortable with judgmental parables like this one, but Jesus has an important lesson for us here about how to make choices in our lives. The seeds are sown either by Jesus or by the devil. The difference between them is their point of origin, out of whose hand they are planted. We may want to check our motivations to be certain about who plants us in the world and exactly what we are growing into. Jesus is urging us to join the company of “good seeds,” the children of the kingdom, to help to build God’s kingdom and make it fruitful.
In our work to build the kingdom of God, how might some of the seeds we sow become wheat and others weeds? Meredith Ward, Sermons that Work

Rector’s Note: On behalf of St. Michael’s church, we would like to welcome The Venerable Al Carson, Archdeacon of Lougheed and Rector of St. John’s Anglican Church, Sardis. Archdeacon Carson is preaching today to signal the shared ministry of St. Michael and Christ the Redeemer. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today.
Again readers or prayer leader during worship are allowed to bring your personal Bible in the church. You can also use your electronic gadget to perform these ministries. Should you have any questions, please let me know. The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: “Let those who have ears, let them hear!” It’s a well-known phrase. In the New Revised Standard Version, the language is “Let anyone with ears listen.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling the crowd the Parable of the Sower, and throughout the text, the exhortation both to listen and to hear is repeated several times.

Jesus is talking to the assembled crowd. Wouldn’t they already be listening? Wouldn’t they be hanging on every word, hoping to learn from the teacher? It’s not the only place that Jesus repeats this plea, but this passage perhaps contains the most emphasis, as he tells the story of one who sows seeds liberally, some falling on good soil where they can grow heartily, while others are immediately picked off by the birds, and still others fall on rocky ground where, even if they sprout, they will wither.

Jesus speaks in parables to help make his meaning plain, as he draws parallels between the situations of everyday life and the kingdom of God. Still, Jesus also knows that although we have ears, we often choose not to listen. It is easier to substitute our own meaning for what God is trying to tell us.

In what ways might God be trying to make something plain to you that it may be easier to overlook? In your life, in what situations are you the fertile ground for the seeds’ spread versus the rocky ground?

 

Rector’s Note: Praise God!!! St. Michael’s church is now open for in-person church worship. Thank you all for your presence at our service last Sunday. We also thank those who continue to follow us online.

Please note that if you a reader or prayer leader during worship, I am allowing you to bring your personal bible in the church. You can also use your electronic gadget to perform these ministries. We are all learning on how to serve God in the new normal of our church life. Again, be patient and should you have any other questions, please let me know.

The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar.

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Welcome back everybody! On behalf of St. Michael’s Church Wardens, Trustee and parish council members, I would like to welcome you all back to our in-person church worship service. It has been an uncertain time for all of us. While our parish had provided online church services on Sunday and Wednesday, there is no substitute to be back to the house of the Lord. It inspires me to share and reflect these words from scriptures: I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’ Psalm 122. Just like the Israelites of old, people praised God once they had entered the gates of the Holy City. This Church is the centre of our worship, and the place where the Lord continues to reveal himself to all of us.

I thank you for your patience and perseverance during the time that our church was locked-down due to safety reason. This is to comply to the guidelines from the provincial health office, and the Archbishop’s directive to all the parishes in the Diocese. This was so difficult to many of us, to stay home most of the time and not be able to gather in person for prayer and fellowship. It was very disappointing and discouraging as a parish congregation.

However, many of you supported our online worship service on Sunday mornings. In spite of the technological challenges, we managed to navigate and get through the past 15 Sundays participating in virtual services.

But today, we can give praise to God (in-person) and say, 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118

We also thank you for sending your tithes, pledges and offerings in support to the ministry of our parish. To all our readers, prayer leaders, music ministry, people behind the scene preparing the Sunday bulletin, power point slides and operating the zoom video/audio communications. All your contributions have help to keep us all connected.

May God bless you all. May God’s love be with us all. May we be a stronger and faithful congregation now and in the days to come. Thank you so much!

The Venerable Louie Engnan, Vicar

 

Phase II: Church Re-Opening Protocol.

(Please read carefully before you come to Church on Sunday Morning)

Parish Council members are pleased to let you know that St. Michael’s Anglican Church is now open for in-person worship service.  Please note the new Sunday service times as follows: 8:00am – B.C.P. Service and, 9:15am – B.A.S. Service. Both services will be a Morning Prayer.

What to expect when you come back to worship at St. Michael’s? Please see down below some of the re-opening protocols that should be observed by all of us when we come back to our church building.

Hand gloves and Face masks will be available to anyone who wishes to use them while inside the church premises.

 

  • Worship Service will be Morning Prayer. No Holy Communion. 
  • The entrance door will remain open to prevent surface

       contamination of handles and to increase ventilation.

  • Pews will be measured off in 6 feet sections and marked with

       tape. Please sit on the pews that are unmarked with tape.

  • Physical distancing must be observed, and we must refrain

      from touching each other.

  • Music will be piano/organ only – congregational singing is not

      allowed but a soloist is permitted.

  • The offering plate will not be passed – it will be left on the table

      at the back of the sanctuary for your envelope offering.

  • Washrooms are for emergency use only –  users will be asked

      to sanitize the washroom sink and toilet after use – gloves,    

      paper towels, and disinfectant solutions will be provided.

  • Bulletins will not be handed out – you will have to collect your

      bulletin on the table by the entrance doors. Afterwards, please

      place your used bulletin in the recycle bin by the exit doors at

      the end of the service.

  • Prayers books and Hymnals will be removed from the pews.
  • Coffee time is suspended for now and parishioners are

     encouraged to leave the building when the service is over.

  • Guests are required to sign the guest book upon entry to the

     building with their full contact information in case they need to

     be contacted because of any COVID-19 alerts.

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection

Matthew 10:40-42. These two verses at the end of Chapter 10 of Matthew conclude a treatise from Jesus to his disciples on the role of mission. Jesus gathers the twelve, gives them the powers of healing and exorcism, and sends them into the world to cast out demons and heal (Mt 10:1). Jesus then warns his disciples that in performing these acts of love, they will meet persecution and disdain.
Jesus still commands us, his 21st-century followers, to share the Good News of Jesus, which brings healing and life to the world. This may not make us popular, and neither will the work be easy. In these two verses appointed for today, however, Jesus reveals the rewards for those who are faithful. Notice that these rewards do not include wealth, fame, or worldly goods. Our reward is “the reward of the righteous” (Mt 10:41). God calls each of us to spread the Gospel in different ways—some are wandering prophets, some are teachers, some are even little children. All of us, however, carry the light of Christ and can take that light into the dark places of this world.

  • What are your gifts, and how might you use them to spread the light of Christ?
  • What brings you great joy? How might God use that joy to spread the Gospel?
  • Where are the dark areas in your community that need the light of Christ?

    Romans 6:12-23.Paul uses the imagery of slave either to sin or to righteousness. Today, this can sound harsh or even inhumane. But Paul means something different here. Just as God told the Hebrew people going into the Promised Land, God has given us teachings through the Law and through Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Law, which will lead us into a place of life and abundance. In particular, this “free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Jesus’ whole life, culminating in his death and resurrection, was a testament to the Law which he summarized as “You shall love the Lord your God with all our heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind . . . [and] you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Mt 22:37–39).

  • How might obedience to God deliver you from that position into life?
  • Where is our church/town/state/nation a slave to sin, and how might obedience to God deliver us into life?

These reflections were written by Charles Lane Cowen, Sermon that Works

 Re-Opening plans for St. Michael’s Church (Updated June 24, 2020). 

We are very pleased to let you know that our application to re-open St. Michael’s Anglican Church to in-person worship has been approved by Archbishop Melissa Skelton. Our first in-person worship service will be on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Please note the new service times as follows; 8:00am – B.C.P. Service and, 9:15am – B.A.S. Service. Both services will be a Morning Prayer. Many thanks to our lay leadership team in preparing this application. 

FYI: St. Michael’s will provide hand sanitizer, face face, and hand gloves to those who wishes to use these items as additional protection to all of us coming back to our worship space. 

Phase II Protocol.: Please see down below some of the re-opening protocols that should be observed by all of us as we come back to our church building. 

 Service will be Morning Prayer. No Holy Communion. 

 The entrance door will remain open to prevent surface contamination of handles and to increase ventilation. 

 Pews will be measured off in 6 feet sections and marked with tape. Please seat on the pews that are unmarked with tape.

 Physical distancing must be observed and we must refrain from touching each other.

 Music will be piano/organ only – congregational singing is not allowed but a soloist is permitted.

 The offering plate will not be passed – it will be left on the table at the back of the sanctuary.

 Washrooms are for emergency use only – users will be asked to sanitize surfaces following use – gloves, paper towels and sanitizer will be provided.

 Bulletins will not be handed out – they can be collected from the table at the entrance doors and placed in recycle bins by the exit doors at the end of the service – books will be removed from the pews.

 Coffee time is suspended for now and parishioners are encouraged to leave the building when the service is over.

 Guests are required to sign the guest book upon entry to the building with their full contact information in case they need to be contacted because of any COVID-19 alerts. 

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

A Reflection on National Indigenous Peoples Day, 2020: As we approach the celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 (National Indigenous People’s Day of Prayer in the Church), the news has been dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Then the George Floyd tragedy that happened in Minnesota on May 25.  This blatant murder by a police officer of an unarmed Black man has caused people to stop in their tracks and really consider what equality for all people is about.  The violence toward Black people in the USA, and the racism in our own country shows how deeply divided we are as a society.

In his book, “The Skin We’re In,” Black author Desmond Cole looks at Canada in the year 2017, month by month, and talks about his own experiences living with the injustices directed toward Black people on a daily basis.  He devotes a chapter to Canada’s Indigenous peoples, and urges solidarity with them as their experiences are similar.

We Indigenous people have lived with this for generations and in order to survive we have become numb to it all.  You might wonder what keeps us going on, and what is it that we have to celebrate on National Indigenous Peoples day….?

In the Diocese of New Westminster, and in the national Anglican Church, we have a lot to celebrate.  I cannot help but feel gratitude for how far the churches in this diocese and their Aboriginal neighbours have come in building relationships and celebrating each others’ communities. It is a joy to see churches celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day in their liturgies.  It has been wonderful to have an annual celebratory Feast on the grounds of the Synod Office, which includes singing and dancing offered by the Coast Salish and Nisga’a peoples, Métis dancers and fiddlers, and the Big Drum group representing the Plains peoples.  It was very special for the Kwhlii Gibaygum Nisga’a Dancers (of which I and members of my family are members) to be part of the Opening Eucharist for General Synod, July, 2019.

We can all truly look up to Indigenous heroes like; Dr. Martin Brokenleg, Dr. Chief Bobby Joseph, and Archbishop Mark MacDonald. Young leaders are emerging, such as Keane Tait who is keeper of Nisga’a knowledge. There are so many more people we can look up to as our Nations continue to grow and thrive.  Nii K’an Kwsdins (aka Jerry Adams) June 12, 2020

 

Re-Opening plans for St. Michael’s Church (Updated June 18, 2020). We are very pleased to let you know that our application to re-open St. Michael’s Anglican Church to in-person worship has been approved by Archbishop Melissa Skelton. Our first in-person worship service will be on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Please note the new service times as follows; 8:00 am – B.C.P. Service and, 9:15 am – B.A.S. Service. Both services will be a Morning Prayer.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the members of St. Michael’s Parish Council for providing support in preparing this application.

Phase II Protocol. Please see down below some of the re-opening protocols that should be observed by all of us as we come back to our church building.

  •  Service will be Morning Prayer. No Holy Communion. 
  • The entrance door will remain open to prevent surface contamination of handles and to increase ventilation.
  • Pews will be measured off in 6 feet sections and marked with tape – only alternate rows will be used.
    ·       Physical distancing must be observed and we must refrain from touching each other.
    ·         Music will be piano/organ only – congregational singing is not allowed but a soloist is permitted.
    ·      The offering plate will not be passed – it will be left on the table at the back of the sanctuary.
    ·         Washrooms are for emergency use only –  users will be asked to sanitize surfaces following use – gloves, paper towels and sanitizer will be provided.
    ·         Bulletins will not be handed out – they can be collected from the table at the entrance doors and placed in recycle bins by the exit doors at the end of the service – books will be removed from the pews.
    ·         Coffee time is suspended for now and parishioners are encouraged to leave the building when the service is over.
    ·         Guests are required to sign the guest book upon entry to the building with their full contact information in case they need to be contacted because of any COVID-19 alerts.

https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/documents-available-phased-re-opening-for-in-person-worship

 

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Sunday Reflection: In this selection from the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus is fulfilling his mission of teaching, preaching, and healing throughout the entire Galilean region of Israel. Motivated by compassion for the people whom he had realized were in great need of healing and leadership, and also realizing the task was too great for himself alone to fulfill, he gathers together twelve of his followers, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, to assist him in his task. He delegates his authority to them. These disciples were a diverse group from all walks of life and Jesus would often complain about the lack of faith shown by the apostles he had chosen, but nonetheless, they were faithful enough to accept the task Jesus had given them, even to the point of leaving their former lives behind and experiencing suffering. Jesus, in asserting his messiahship over his own people, while also knowing they were in great need of healing and spiritual guidance themselves, made the priority of his new apostles to go first to the Jewish people. They would provide healing to them and announce the coming of the Kingdom of God, for which John the Baptist had long been preparing them. However, while they were to accept whatever the people gave them to provide for their basic needs, they were not to request payment in the same way that Jesus himself had not requested payment from them. God’s unmerited, merciful love and healing were already payment in full.
How often do our church communities expect leaders to fulfill the mission of the church while being unwilling to actively assist in this great task? Do we see simply attending church on Sundays and perhaps participating in a Bible study session as enough of a burden in our busy lives? If we do offer to assist, do we expect something in return, even payment, before we are willing to do it? As Jesus himself realized, while there is much to do and people are in great need of healing and spiritual guidance, there is an even greater need for all of us to actively assist in this work. Let us be generous with our time and talent, even if we believe our faith is insufficient for the task, and simply offer ourselves in faithfulness and allow God to work through us.

  • In what ways does your church community fulfill its mission in the world? Do the church members actively assist in this mission?
  • In what ways can you use your time and talent to assist in the mission of your church? (Daniel Woods, The Episcopal Church)

Re-Opening plans for St. Michael’s Church (Updated June 10, 2020):  A draft of our parish application to re-open on Sunday, July 5th, is now being reviewed by members of Parish Council. After review, and if there any further suggestions, Jeddy and Ven. Louie will make the necessary edits before submission to the office of the Archbishop.

What to expect if and when we come back to our church building(s) for in-person worship and other events into Phase II. Please see down below some of the re-opening protocols.

  •  Service will be Morning Prayer. No Holy Communion. 
  • The entrance door will remain open to prevent surface contamination of handles and to increase ventilation.
  • Pews will be measured off in 6 feet sections and marked with tape – only alternate rows will be used.
    ·       Physical distancing must be observed and we must refrain from touching each other.
    ·         Music will be piano/organ only – congregational singing is not allowed but a soloist is permitted.
    ·      The offering plate will not be passed – it will be left on the table at the back of the sanctuary.
    ·         Washrooms are for emergency use only –  users will be asked to sanitize surfaces following use – gloves, paper towels and sanitizer will be provided.
    ·         Bulletins will not be handed out – they can be collected from the table at the entrance doors and placed in recycle bins by the exit doors at the end of the service – books will be removed from the pews.
    ·         Coffee time is suspended for now and parishioners are encouraged to leave the building when the service is over.
    ·         Guests are required to sign the guest book upon entry to the building with their full contact information in case they need to be contacted because of any COVID-19 alerts.

https://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/news/documents-available-phased-re-opening-for-in-person-worship

 

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment

Sunday Reflection & Rector’s Corner

Of Faith in the Holy Trinity: There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

(Articles of religion I)

One of the most difficult to explain, and often misunderstood concepts in the Christian faith is the belief in a Trinitarian God, one God with three aspects. Often characterized as the ‘Father,’ Son,’ and ‘Holy Spirit,’ the trinity represents God the Father/Creator, Jesus Christ the Son and Savior, and the Holy Spirit, or the creative, inspirational force at work in the world.

It is this ‘three-in-one’ characterization of God that some point to as contradictory to the doctrine of there being one and only one God, that somehow Christians pray to more than one god. Christian teachings and belief however are clear on this point: there is only one God, the Creator of the universe, who has three ‘persons’ or aspects, inseparable yet unique parts of the whole.

These three ‘persons’ integrate into the one that is ‘God’ who is beyond these distinctions. Just as we ourselves consist of body and mind and spirit (among many other ways of subdividing the parts that make up the whole) these three aspects of God in combination represent God to the world in general and to humans in particular.

(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

Here are some of the requirements and recommendations that we wanted to share with you as we plan to move into Phase II: Beginning Re-entry.

  • Before any re-entry, the parish must provide for a thorough cleaning of the entire church building, including pews, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, stair railings, and microphones. Please see the current cleaning guidelines from BCCDC.
  • Recommend considering removing all non-essential items from rooms (church sanctuary) so that there are fewer surfaces to touch.
  • Posting signs and making announcements about non-contact greetings and reminders to refrain from shaking hands and hugging.
  • If there are sick or are of a vulnerable population, they should stay home and join online, if available, through your parish or another.

Requirements for In-person Worship

  • During this phasepublicly sharing in the Holy Eucharist in person is prohibited.
    ·  There is no physical touching during any portion of in-person worship. This includes physical sharing the Peace if used at this time (although exchanging the Greeting of Peace, without physical contact, is encouraged).
    ·   There is no passing of an offering plate through the pews. To limit contact, parishioners may offer financial gifts online or to a stationary plate as they come in or during worship.

(more to follow) 

 

Posted in Messages from the Revd., Sunday Reflection | Leave a comment