Vicar’s Note & Sunday Reflection

Vicar’s Note: We give praise to God for the consecration of Bishop John Stephens. His grace will serve as Bishop-Coadjutor until the end of February 2021. On Sunday, Feb. 28th, Bishop John will be seated and installed as the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of New Westminster. Please pray for Bishop John as he takes a big step forward to pastor the churches in our diocese. 

Growing in Unity “I am the vine, you are the branches” Jn 15:5a

1 Cor 1:10-13; 3:21-23 | Is Christ divided? 
John 17:20-23 | As you and I are one

Meditation: On the eve of his death, Jesus prayed for the unity of those the Father gave him: “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe.” Joined to him, as a branch is to the vine, we share the same sap that circulates among us and vitalizes us. 

Each tradition seeks to lead us to the heart of our faith: communion with God, through Christ, in the Spirit. The more we live this communion, the more we are connected to other Christians and to all of humanity. Paul warns us against an attitude that had already threatened the unity of the first Christians: absolutizing one’s own tradition to the detriment of the unity of the body of Christ. Differences then become divisive instead of mutually enriching. Paul had a very broad vision: “All are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (1 Cor 3:22-23). 

Christ’s will commits us to a path of unity and reconciliation. It also commits us to unite our prayer to his: “that they may all be one … so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). 

Never resign yourself to the scandal of the separation of Christians who so readily profess love for their neighbour, and yet remain divided. Make the unity of the body of Christ your passionate concern. The Rule of Taizé in French and English (2012), p. 13 

Questions for Reflection 

1. Each Christian tradition endeavours to bring us closer to God, through Christ, in the Spirit. Paul warns us not to use divisions as a way to separate Christ; indeed, Christ has not been divided. How can our differences strengthen our faithfulness? 

2. The imagery in John 15:5 of a vine and branches is a powerful one. Take some time to reflect on what that vine-and-branches imagery might look like in or for your community. Is it different across communities? 

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interconnectedness of our lives – for example, the crucial importance of migrant farm workers, workers in food delivery and grocery stores, and other food industry workers, for our safety and well-being. How do our choices affect the lives of others? 2021 

From: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Canadian resources Biblical Reflections and Prayers

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Celebrating 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Canada

Every year, Christians around the world are invited to celebrate a Week of Prayer for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly-organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship.

The international resources for 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchampin Switzerland, a group of religious sisters from different church traditions brought together by a common vocation of prayer, communitylife and hospitality and by their commitment to Christian unity.

The 2021 theme – Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit (John 15:5-9) – calls us to pray and to work for reconciliation and unity in thechurch, with our human family, and with all of creation. Drawing on the Gospel image of vine and branches, it invites us to nourish unity with God and with one another through contemplative silence, prayer, and common action. Grafted into Christ the vine as many diversebranches, may we bear rich fruit and create new ways of living, with respect for and communion with all of creation.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (WPCU) was first proposed in 1908 as an observance within the Roman Catholic Church by Fr PaulWattson, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement in Graymoor, New York. Since the founding of the World Council of Churches in 1948, many other Christian denominations around the world have come to celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

In Canada, The Canadian Council of Churches and its ecumenical partners, the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre forEcumenism, work for ‘unity in diversity’ by supporting WPCU celebrations across Canada. For over 40 years, our Canadian ecumenical writing team has adapted WPCU materials developed by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unityfor the Canadian context. We create additional English and French resources for the use of Canadian communities and share them, as well asinformation about WPCU celebrations across Canada, on weekofprayer.ca semainedepriere.ca, and via social media: #WPCU2021 /#SPUC2021

The Canadian Council of Churches and its ecumenical partners, the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism and the Prairie Centre for Ecumenism, invite you to support and participate in our work. You can learn more at councilofchurches.caoikoumene.ca or pcecumenism.ca.

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Sunday reflection

“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” It seems counter-intuitive that John would go to the wilderness to proclaim his message. Why not go to the city, where people live? The answer is that the wilderness has special meaning to the Jewish people. It was to the freedom of the wilderness that God led them from their slavery in Egypt. It was in the wilderness that they became a nation.

Here in Mark’s Gospel, we get a voice from heaven, declaring that Jesus is a beloved child of God. We also have the sign of John himself, clothed in a way that ancient readers would have recognized as looking like the prophet Elijah, and saying that someone else – someone great – is coming. This just increases the anticipation and suspense at that moment when Jesus emerges from the river Jordan, dripping wet, and the sky breaks open and the Spirit comes down like a dove. An epiphany, for sure.

It is all about A NEW LIFE IN GOD. John baptized them to prepare them for the day when Jesus comes. It was a necessary first step toward a new life. A change of mind and direction. A total change of spiritual direction.

The purpose of Jesus’ baptism, in this Gospel, is to establish his identity as the Son of God. Verses 10-11, which tell of Jesus’ vision and the voice from heaven, constitute the core of this baptismal story.

Jesus’ incarnation reminds us that we are all the Beloved, we are all children of God, with whom God is well pleased. Remembering this belovedness can strengthen us during difficult times and help us live into our call as followers of Christ. Have you heard God’s voice telling you how loved you are? Try sitting in silence for a few minutes and listening for that voice. When have you experienced an epiphany, a sudden insight into something deeply real, deeply true? Where did that insight lead you? (Sermon that Works)

Rector’s Note: I would like to thank you all for your active participation in our advent and Christmas online worship services. It was a joy for me to be able to serve you in another way. I would like to acknowledge the stewardship of all people who were involved to make this ministry a blessing to all of us. 

Also, we thank you all for picking up your 2021 parish envelope offering. If you were not able to pick up your offering envelope, please contact Natasha and she would arrange a pickup time for you with our envelope secretary. Please continue supporting the work that we do at St. Michael’s.  Blessings! 

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Sunday reflection

“Arise, shine; for your light has come” The prophet Isaiah’s declaration is an invitation to wake from sleep, to gather in the holy places, to pay homage to the one true Gift: God’s desire to know and be known by us. “We observed his star at its rising,” the wise men say, and it is a reminder that even the light of inconceivably distant galaxies has been caught up in the narrative of Divine Love made manifest, reaching across the vastness of space to find itself reflected in the eyes of an infant Lord. 

As such, the wise people in Matthew’s Gospel are ideal guides for our journey—strangers from another land, led through the night by wonder and hope, following the path to Christ fixed in the stars (which, of course, can only be seen in the dark). The Magi are not bound by the political machinations of Herod; they are not beholden to the present order of domination and exploitation. Instead, they are guided by dreams and visions, by the wisdom of hidden roads, by attentiveness to the signs around them. And in their journey—one that is itself the union of brightness and shadow—they are led to the place of our collective longing: to gaze upon the hidden face of God and to know that it is indeed God gazing back, beyond metaphor, beyond language itself, as pure, Incarnate presence.

How might we, too, encounter God again, if we are courageous enough to think deeply about the language, we use to approach Divine Mystery? How might we, too, be guided to travel “by another road,” a road upon which we acknowledge the limits and the lamentable uses of “light” and “dark” in our recent past and then push beyond them? What new ways might we dream of to depict and express the epiphany that God is, and always has been, reaching out from across eternity to abide with us, to heal us, to bring us back to ourselves? (Sermon that Works)

Prayer: Eternal God, who by a star led wise men to the worship of your Son. Guide by your light the nations of the earth, that the whole world may know your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.The Book of Alternative Services. 

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Sunday Reflection

The Birth of Jesus Foretold, Luke 1:26-38: The Good News is that God has a place and plan for every person—even the ordinary person—especially the ordinary person. God calls Mary to be mother of the Lord, but calls every mother to raise her child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Our work for God seems less-than-ordinary—handing out church bulletins, driving for a youth group retreat, preparing for a potluck dinner. In some cases, our calling seems higher—teaching a Sunday school class or singing in the choir—but the kids are unruly or someone sings off key and we wonder why we bother. The reality is that each task, low or high, fits into God’s scheme-of-things in ways that we cannot yet understand. It matters less that we execute our tasks with expertise than that we approach them with devotion. God desires, not the skill of our hands, but the love of our hearts. The person who has only the ability to love God and neighbor is all-important in God’s economy.

Virtual Worship Service: We offer online (zoom) worship service on Sunday morning, 9:30. This platform is an opportunity for us to reach out to more people by sharing the coordinates of the service. As a tool for church mission, we encourage you, sisters, and brothers in Christ, to be God’s witness to the world. 

Church Donations: We would like to thank you all for tour support and stewardship to the ministry of the parish. You can send your donations through one of the following: Pre-Authorized donations, e-transfer, mailing your offering envelopes, or dropping-off your envelopes in the church mailbox. Please contact the Wardens for details. We appreciate your stewardship! A Reminder: 2020 Tax Receipts must be in the offering plate by Sunday Dec. 27thto count as a 2020 donation.

Drive thru 2021 Offering Envelopes: On Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021, 10 to 11am, our church envelope secretary will distribute your 2021 offering envelopes in the church parking lot. For those of you who can make a quick drive thru, we would hand out your envelope, say hello and thank you, and give you a “big social distancing-hug” to express our appreciation to your support and continued faithfulness to our parish church. Hope to see you in-person on that day. 

Prayer: Love-bearer, you called a faithful handmaiden to carry the essence of love, make room in our hearts for your arrival, amidst the winter chill, so that we, warmed by your presence, may share the good news of your coming with all. We ask this in the name of our brother and friend, Jesus the Christ. Amen.  St. Hildegard, 2018 M. Calabrigo.

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Sunday Reflection

Lessons and Carols: The service of Lessons and Carols is one of the most widely anticipated and well-known events during Advent in the Anglican Church. This year, we will experience this event in a slightly different way. As you may be aware now, the extension of the restrictions by public health prompted our physical worship spaces in this diocese to being temporarily closed due to public health protocols related to the pandemic. 

Anticipating this potential reality, the parishes of St. Michael’s Church and Christ the Redeemer worked together and set-up a joint worship team to organize and prepare each week an online worship platform. Our hope is to assist them you all in this advent season for the coming of the Kingdom of God.


John 1:6-8, 19-28
. “Who are you?” John is asked. “I am not the Messiah,” he says. Are you Elijah? “I am not.” The prophet? “No.” Relinquishment of these identity markers is his first act of truth-telling. John knows that he must name the roles to which he is not called before he can affirm that to which he is. And so must we.

“I am,” John admits, “the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” A voice, an invisible resonance piercing the air. Nothing more and nothing less than this. And this is exactly what God needs him to be.


Virtual Worship Service:
 We offer online (zoom) worship service on Sunday morning, 9:30. This platform is an opportunity for us to reach out to more people by sharing the coordinates of the service. As a tool for church mission, we encourage you, sisters, and brothers in Christ, to be God’s witness to the world. 


Church Donations: 
We continue to invite you to make an offering to support the ministry of the church by your donations through one of the following: Pre-Authorized donations, e-transfer, mailing your offering envelopes, or dropping-off your envelopes in the church mailbox. Please contact the Wardens for details. We appreciate your stewardship! A Reminder: 2020 Tax Receipts must be in the offering plate by Sunday Dec. 27thto count as a 2020 donation.

Prayer: Joy-giver, you rejoice over us with gladness and renew us in your love, fashion us into an Advent people, baptized in your power, and making way for the joyous light that no darkness could overcome, so that all might see your goodness. We ask this in the name of your incarnate Word, Jesus the Christ. Amen. St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary, 2018 M. Calabrigo.

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Sunday Reflection

The Gospel this Week: John the Baptist preached repentance and baptized the people, in preparation for the one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Mark 1:1-8Mark begins with the appearance of John the Baptist in the desert. On this the Second Sunday of Advent, we are invited to reflect upon the role of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus and the salvation that he would bring to us.

The people of Judea and Jerusalem flock to him, listening to his message of repentance and forgiveness; they also come to him to be baptized. Mark’s Gospel is clear, however, that John the Baptist’s role is only to prepare the way for another who will come, one who is greater than John.

John says that he has baptized with water, but that the one who is to come will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John’s baptism was not yet a Christian baptism, but a preparation for the Sacrament of Baptism through which sins are forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit is received.

John the Baptist is presented to us as a model during Advent. We, too, are called upon to prepare a way for the Lord. Like John the Baptist, we are messengers in service to one who is greater than we are. Our Baptism commissions us to call others to life as disciples of Jesus.

Virtual Worship Service: We offer online (zoom) worship service on Sunday morning, 9:30. This platform is an opportunity for us to reach out to more people by sharing the coordinates of the service. As a tool for church mission, we encourage you, sisters, and brothers in Christ, to be God’s messenger like John the Baptist. Archbishop Melissa Skelton will preach during the service. 

Church Donations: We continue to invite you to make an offering to support the ministry of the church by sending your titles, pledges and donations through one of the following: Pre-Authorized donations, e-transfer, mailing your offering envelopes, or dropping-off your envelopes in the church mailbox. Please contact the Wardens for details. We appreciate your stewardship! A Reminder: 2020 Tax Receipts must be in the offering plate by Sunday Dec. 27th to count as a 2020 donation.

Prayer: Peace-maker, you gave breath to a voice in the wilderness calling us to prepare, clothe us in the beauty of your compassion and swaddle us against all fear, so that we may rest in your arms of love and share in your way of shalom. We ask this in the name of the one who was, and who is, and who is to come, Jesus the Christ. Amen. St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary, 2018 M. Calabrigo.

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Welcome to the Season of Advent!

Welcome to the Season of Advent!  “The first season of the church year, beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas and continuing through the day before Christmas. The name is derived from a Latin word for “coming.” The season is a time of preparation and expectation for the coming celebration of our Lord’s nativity, and for the final coming of Christ “in power and glory.” (An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church)

The Gospel this Week: 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” Mark 13Patience is a hard-earned virtue, and many of us are deeply wearied by all the waiting we’ve had to do, all the times we’ve had to say no to ourselves and our children this year in order to stay safe and keep others safe. It might feel like 2020 is a year out of time, a wasted and empty expanse that consisted of nothing but life on hold. Waiting upon the Lord is no easy task – especially given our rapidly-shrinking attention spans and the challenges of this past year. What is one thing you can do to wait more patiently and lovingly?

Virtual Worship Service: In this time of pandemic, our church in-person gatherings and worship life may look a little bit different. As some of you are aware of, we have shifted back to our online (zoom) worship service on Sunday morning, 9:30. You may consider this online platform as an opportunity to reach out to more people by inviting them to join us during the service. This online platform can be an effective tool for church evangelism and mission. I encourage you, sisters, and brothers in Christ, to invite and share your faith experience to others. We are happy to welcome and support people seeking a church family who will journey with us. 

Church Donations: We would also like to invite you to make an offering to support the ministry of the church by sending your titles, pledges and donations through one of the following: Pre-Authorized donations, e-transfer, mailing your offering envelopes, or dropping-off your envelopes in the church mailbox. Please contact the Wardens for details. We appreciate your stewardship!

A Reminder: 2020 Tax Receipts must be in the offering plate by Sunday Dec. 27th to count as a 2020 donation.

Prayer: Hope-bringer, you in whom we live and move and have our being, may your advent revive our waning spirits, so that we may embody your hope anew to a fearful and weary world. We ask this in the name of God with us, Jesus the Christ. Amen. St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary “All Are Welcome”, 2018 M. Calabrigo. 

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Sunday reflection & Vicar’s Corner

Sunday’s Reflection If we try to understand this passage as one where the “talents” are the actual talents, or spiritual gifts and skills we each possess, then we may begin to understand this passage differently. Let us frame it this way: God is the master, and God has written into our individual lives our specific talents and spiritual gifts. God has given us these gifts and talents to be used, to be shared, in order to help make this world a better place. 

God is asking us to use our gifts, to follow Jesus and help make God’s kingdom manifest on this Earth. But if we are the last servant, the one who goes and hides his gifts and talents for fear of using them, then we are ignoring the gifts we have been given by God and are therefore not helping in the work of making God’s Kingdom manifest.

In this frame, the parable articulates how the relationship between master and servant, God and us, can be broken or at least put “on the rocks”. When we are not in right relationship with God, we are in our own version of despair. When we are not able to live out our individual calls, using our talents and skills for the betterment of God’s creation, then we are suffering. Surely in this place of brokenness, fear, and solitude, there is much “weeping and gnashing of teeth”. If we cannot live fully into our relationship with God by living out those gifts, callings, and skills we have been given, it can surely lead to a state of darkness and confusion.

Vicar’s Note: We have received a couple of reminders from the office of the Archbishop. This is in regard to the safety protocol that we follow during our in-person worship. A part of the message says,

On November 7, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer announced new Health Orders in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases in BC, particularly in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions. The implications for us in churches are the following, For the next two weeks: Weddings and funerals are limited to immediate family, keeping the numbers as small as possible. While churches may still host gatherings of up to 50 people, all churches must be especially vigilant with safety protocols, strictly adhering to physically distancing,mask wearing, hand washing and increased ventilation. In addition, churches should pay special attention to safety protocols when people gather in more confined spaces, (small meeting rooms, kitchens, etc.). Please be guided accordingly. Thank you.

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All Saints Day

WELCOME FROM THE ARCHBISHOP: Welcome to the Tenth Investiture of New Members to the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. In this liturgy we honour new people who have distinguished themselves in living out their baptismal identity and purpose in an exemplary way through service within their churches, in their broader communities and in the Diocese. While we are not able to gather all those to be inducted into the Order in one liturgy this year, this liturgy has been created so that parishes may induct and honour new members of the Order at the parish level.
I want to thank all those who have contributed to making this important event happen but most of all, thank you, current and new members of the Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. Thank you for your Christ-like faithfulness and your love of the Church. Archbishop Melissa Skelton

All Saints Day: Today’s festival had its origins in the fourth century, when churches in the East began to celebrate “the feast of the martyrs of the whole world” on the Sunday after Pentecost. Several Western churches adopted this festival and kept it on various dates in April or May, but in the early Middle Ages the church of Rome assigned it the much later date of November first and broadened the feast to include all the saints. Western Christendom has followed this custom ever since.
Saints are Christians who in various ways, often against great odds, showed an extraordinary love for Christ. The Holy Spirit acted in their lives so that they chose to bring aid to the needy, justice to the oppressed, hope to the sorrowful, and the divine word of forgiveness to sinners. For the sake of Christ, they were servants to the people of their day; and the service they rendered in the past makes them examples to the rest of the people of God throughout history.
The Church also believes that our life on earth has eternal consequences; and so our remembrance of what the saints were is directed to what they are. It is the Church’s conviction — a conviction often expressed in the Anglican tradition — that the saints continue to be our partners and fellow-servants before the face of God’s glory. We pray for our present needs, and the saints pray with us — not as if their prayers were better than our own, but because they are still bound to us in mutual service as members of the one body of Christ. (For All the Saints, The Anglican Church of Canada)

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