Thursday, December 11, 2014

Advent 2014

I am quite sure that I am not ready for Advent!  This fall has had so much going on that I can barely summon the memories.  My children might account for that due to my aging.  They may be well be right!
In my defence these last months really have been a very full time for St. Barnabas.  And, of course, they have culminated in the greatly successful Holly Tea and Bazaar.  What a wonderful event brought about by so many hard working “St. Barnabites,” and friends, under the capable leadership of Donna Wright.
But there is no getting around my feeling that I am not ready for Advent.  If Advent is a time to prepare then I suppose you might say that I am not even ready to prepare to be ready.  Thank God for that little booklet of meditations by Henri Nouwen!
However, to be blunt, when I looked them over a couple of months ago I thought they looked ok and would be “nice” to read when the time came.  I had no idea how much I would truly require them.  We are less than a week into Advent and already they have helped me see just how great is my need to stop and meditate on the One for whom we prepare and wait.
I need them to help me stop bouncing from one duty to another.  To help me see beyond the unwarranted expectations both of myself and others. Perhaps above all to enable me to transform my busyness in to readiness.  I was shocked at how today’s meditation literally grabbed my racing mind and allowed me to see how fractured my thinking had become, and how I must slow down.
We are a culture of full blown hurriedness with a paradoxical emptiness. I wonder if that emptiness may be seen in the growing number of adults who are stricken with depression in Ontario, as well as an alarming number of teenagers who also suffer from the same condition.  In this morning’s reading I was reminded of just how easy it is for life to overwhelm.
Despite my earlier statement about my lack of readiness I am aware of how crucial it is for us to prepare for the One who can bring us the gifts we need, especially when feeling overwhelmed.  I am returning now to times to pause and look for the One whose presence will bring us those four things we anticipate during Advent: Hope, peace, joy, and love. 
But I have to let go of the inconsequential things which can prevent me from seeing how indispensable hope, peace, joy, and love truly are to us.  I must strive to imagine what I would be like if I embodied them more fully in my life.  And perhaps try to share of such things with others as I tentatively strive to embrace them more fully each day.
I am so thankful for Advent. 
I am so thankful for being drawn away from those things which can so easily eclipse what is important and leave us without fullness of meaning in life. 
I hope you will spend time preparing for God’s wondrous gift for us – Jesus.  I know He is always with us but life seems to insidiously conspire to overshadow His presence in our lives with so many other less important things.  That is why we must deliberately and collectively remind ourselves how vital it is for us to prepare to meet once again, “a living force which sustains us in the present.[1] 
We must pry open our hearts to welcome Him back and rediscover what it feels like to know that hope, peace, joy, and love are not just what we prepare and wait for, they are that without which we cannot live. 
So, as I prepare, I am praying your preparations will come to the richness of a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas filled with His presence as well as His extraordinary gifts for you and those you love.
François



[1] Henri Nouwen, “Wait for the Lord.”

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stewardship Sundays



Sunday, October 19th, 2014, marks the beginning of our Annual Stewardship Initiative.  My hope is that this initiative will raise our awareness of the centrality of Stewardship in our lives.  Stewardship stems from a fundamental response of thanksgiving.  

Indeed, thanksgiving raises within us the reality that all that we are, all that we have, and all that we give comes from God.  Our thanksgiving is a willing response to God’s presence in our lives and the many gifts which God's abundance provides us. 


Our response can be manifested in a variety of ways; whether it is in the devotion of our precious time to the work of this church, our financial contributions to the ministries of this church, or in the ongoing sharing of our God given skills with others.  Our Stewardship can and does touch others both inside and outside our church community.  It affords others with opportunities to see just how powerfully God's love motivates us to share of what we have regardless of any tangible return, just as Jesus did!  I hope over the next three weeks you will prayerfully consider your commitments to this church in the light of God’s ways of love, compassion, and justice.


Peace,
François

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the 2015 Stewardship Brochure.

CLICK HERE for a PDF of the 2015 Commitment Form.



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Blessing of the Animals Sunday!


This Sunday, Oct. 5th at 10:00  a.m is our "Blessing of the Animals" service.  Everyone is invited (two and four-legged), fin, fur, feathers, scales – all are welcome!   

This service celebrates the wonder of all creation, honours St. Francis of Assisi, and provides a blessing “to these animals whose love is a blessing to us.” 
 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

St. Barnabas Invites You To A Talk By Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells


Under the auspices of the Diocese of Ottawa the people of
St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Deep River are pleased to invite you to a talk given by the Rev. Dr.Samuel Wells on October 2nd at 7:00 p.m.at our church. Dr. Wells is the current Vicar of St. Martin in the Fields church, London, England and the former Dean of Duke Chapel at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  He is also a much sought after speaker who has written numerous books and articles on Christian social ethics. 

Most recently he has co-authored a book with Marcia A. Owen, "Living Without Enemies: Being Present In The Midst of Violence."

The content of the talk will explore three challenging issues which face the church as well as offering strategies to help the church contend with these issues:
  1. Being captivated by the notion of scarcity
  2. Moving from the scarcity of "not enough God" to an "abundance of God"
  3. Improvising to meet the unexpected
Refreshments will be served at the break during his talk. 

There is no admission charge but a free will offering is encouraged to help defray the costs of this event.  We are located at 80 Glendale Avenue, in Deep River, ON. 

If it is your intent to attend please let us know by calling our church office at 613-584-4131.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Time Away.....

Summer is usually when parish life takes time to rejuvenate.  Attendance on Sundays falls off; the number of meetings dwindles and planned giving usually declines during the months of July and August.  This is understandable as many people take much needed time away; vacations, visiting relatives, or just staying away from worship for a change.  While our spiritual needs do not take a vacation I think that other than making sure that the financial responsibilities of the church are met (they do not take a vacation) there is no reason to be overly concerned about people’s absence at this time of year.  What I would like to offer here is the opportunity to make sure that even though one may not be in church every week the demands of our spiritual lives are not put aside. 

I am sure that there are many of you who undertake activities that refresh the soul each summer.  We Trottiers retreat to what I consider to be a very a holy place for a glorious few weeks.  Our secluded cabin by the lake is so removed from the demands of ministry that as the days of my time off begin to wane I feel anxious “to get back at it.” 

Our time there is imbued with an unmistakable sense reverence and wonder which I hope you also experience during your time away.  We do not neglect the daily and weekly piety that has become a part of our life. In fact our spiritual practices increase in many respects: contemplative, prayerful, and disciplined times where matters of the soul are honored in ways that I do not always have time for in normal parish ministry.  I come back refreshed and enthusiastic, but I am deliberate about it. 

Have you had trouble being deliberate in such ways; trouble carrying your spiritual disciplines with you in your vacation luggage?  I would like to offer you some very simple yet helpful hints at changing that:
Join your spouse or partner in prayer time each day.  If blessed with children find ways that they can participate (greater time with blessings at meals is a good start).

Talk to me before you begin your time away and I can connect you with some interesting reading possibilities.

When on vacation make it a point to search out a church near your location – it can be a lot of fun to see how other people worship.  If you do, make sure and bring back the bulletin so that we can borrow good ideas!

Statistics tell us that women read the Bible more than men.  Perhaps we men can improve on that by regular scripture reading as a summer discipline!  “Forward Day by Day” booklets are a real help as an introduction to daily reading and meditating on scriptures.  They can be found in the narthex and are available to women too!

Take the time to experience the glory of God as made manifest in creation.  We live in one of the most beautiful settings I can think of and opening our eyes and rejoicing at God’s creative wonders is a blessing indeed – regardless of the locale.

Remember that St. Barnabas still needs your financial support; you can change to direct deposit contributions if you have not done so already.  Or you can leave our envelope secretary your post dated checks!

Whatever disciplines you may choose, or if you choose all of them, I pray that if you are blessed with vacation time it will be a time of refreshment and growth, rediscovering God’s presence as the gift it is meant to be.  And that if you are able to find precious time to get away that it will be a source of rejuvenation to you and your loved ones.

Peace,

François


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter 2014: “Not a natural ‘therefore,’ but a miraculous ‘nevertheless.’” Karl Barth



There are many who refer to Karl Barth as the greatest Protestant theologian of the 20th century.  I am not sure I know enough about the matter to agree or not.  However, the quote above, originally intended to characterize the gospels, always strikes me at this time of year because from almost every vantage point Easter is miraculous and does not “make sense.”
I suppose that may not true when it comes to Christ being raised from the dead on that first Easter morning.  How could he have not been raised from the dead by God, given the life he lead, the lives he helped transform, the eyes he opened, the hearts he mended; that HE could not be held by death is fairly easy for most of us to accept.  My difficulty is that such criteria does not apply to me.
I fall so far short of the mark in emulating Jesus’ life that the only thing that could ever make Easter possible for me, Lenten efforts notwithstanding, is a “nevertheless” and NOT a “therefore.”  The sum total of what I have thought I have done, should have done, and actually have done to fully engage in imitating Jesus over the last 6 weeks does not end up in an equation which comes anywhere near meriting Easter’s new life, if such a thing were even possible!  Though I have taken Paul’s words of the 5th chapter of Ephesians very seriously, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children," I am keenly aware of just how imposing the gulf is between the imitated and the imitator. 
So, thank goodness God’s methods are not transactional.  Thank goodness God does not make “sense” when it comes to dealing with me. Thank goodness there is grace!
That last one is the clincher isn’t it?  God is not bound by our categories, regardless of how much we contrive to make them so.  We may construct all manner of levels of goodness, religious achievement, and pious responses but what grace seems to be telling us is that the only thing which stands between us and God, is us!

So, the manner in which we let our desire to be with God colour our lives is vital, not in the sense in measuring our achievements as part of transactional, logical conclusion.  It is important because that desire to be with God must be put into practice, as faulted as it may be, to prepare us to hear God’s voice when the time comes.  Not our own voice, with which we are so familiar, not the voice of others, which may help keep us in our comfort zones but the voice of the one who is calling us each day into a new and gracious life. 

Easter is the grand moment when we, both individually and collectively, hear that voice and are given new life not as a “therefore,” but as God’s gracious “nevertheless.”

May you have a blessed and glorious Easter.

Peace,

François

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Memorial Service for Peter Knight

Peter at the 50th Anniversary dinner.
Peter Albert Knight 


A Memorial Service will be conducted in St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Deep River on Thursday, April 10 at 11:00 a.m. for our dear friend Peter Knight who died suddenly on Friday, April 4th, at the age of 89. A light luncheon will follow the service.

Peter was a well loved and long time member of our parish, serving for many years as Server for the 8:00 a.m. services. He was man of great faith and will be dearly missed by all.

Peter was the beloved husband of the late Aileen Knight, loving brother of Frank Knight and Annie Oldfield both of England. Predeceased by a brother Alfred Knight, 2 sisters Winnifred Heaney and Edith Hatton and a step-sister Dorothy Mellish. 

By request there was no visitation.  

In memoriam donations to St. Barnabas Anglican Church, Deep River or the North Renfrew Long Term Care Centre, Deep River would be gratefully appreciated. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lenten Disciplines


Some of you may recognize the name, Ed Lawrence.  I have been a fan of his for decades.  Every Monday noon hour he answers all kinds of gardening questions on CBC radio.  I am sure that it has happened but I have rarely heard him stumped by a horticultural question.  His love of gardening, his expertise, and his patience in dealing with people who do some of the strangest things have always impressed me.  People rightly turn to him to help get things growing again.

If one accepts that Lent is a wonderful opportunity to amend our faith lives and get things growing again in our faith lives then the notion of seeking help with our Lenten disciplines is most a propos.  We can turn to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, the traditional modalities of Lent, but we should not be limited to them. 

Every year I invite people to take up the discipline of confession as a part of the Lenten journey.  While I may not be to Lenten practices what Ed Lawrence is to gardening I am aware of just how God’s grace is operative in the Lenten discipline of confession.  Not as a tit for tat transaction where one confesses and an absolution automatically follows.  But as a second opinion on the matter of how well we are doing at making the changes we need to make in order to receive the grace filled gift of God’s new life at Easter.

Another very helpful discipline is our Lenten booklets by Henri Nouwen, available again this year.  Or, if you have access to the internet I would like to recommend an online resource called "Love Life".  It is Lenten series of videos sourced through the Anglican Church of Canada.  It expands upon the notion that Jesus came to be with us so that we might “have life and have it more abundantly," (Jn 10:10).  The web address is easy to find at the Anglican Church of Canada's website: www.anglican.ca/lent2014/  If you choose to subscribe to the series you will receive a daily video devotional right in your computer’s inbox! 

Whatever media we choose I think we should approach Lent as a wonderful opportunity to amend our lives and hopefully find new life; and through God’s grace and love for us, find it more abundantly!"

Peace, François

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Miss these Upcoming Events!




Tuesday, March 4
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. 
with donations freely accepted for 
The Northern Clergy Fund 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Art on the Lawn 2014 Dates are SET!!!!



The dates for Art on the Lawn 2014 have been set!

This juried fine arts and fine crafts show will be open on Friday, September 12th from 12 noon to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday September 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Our Call for Entries form has been issued and is available on the Art on the Lawn website.

Please click on the poster to your left to be taken to the Art on the Lawn website for more information.

SAVE THE DATES!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Join us for Movie Night Saturday February 1!!!!!!


Since no one offered to show their favourite film, Morgan Brown gets to show one of his.  He tells us that he normally watches this one on his birthday, but he forgot this year, so he's making up for it.

This coming Saturday (February 1, 7 pm, downstairs at St Barnabas) Margan will show the BEST EVER TRAIN MOVIE, simply called "The Train" (1964).  It is to trains what "Flight of the Phoenix" (1965, NOT 2004) is to aircraft (Morgan showed that a couple of years ago).

The Train is a classy black and white drama about a train of French art stolen by a Nazi colonel (Paul Scofield) in Paris and being shipped back to Germany.  Burt Lancaster (!) gets to play the tough French railway man, Paul Labiche, who does his best to save the art for France, but at what cost?  Yes it has great train scenes (ALL real, no models!), but it is a well-written and crafted story that makes you think about the cost of war.  Yeah, yeah, there's a bit of a love interest, but we'll skip that.  The stunts are all real (including Lancaster's, done by the man himself).

It has lots of action, but it is nonetheless a thoughtful movie.  Bring a friend or two.  They don't even have to be train buffs!

The Train (1964)
St Barnabas Anglican basement
7:00 p.m., Sat February 1, 2014
Absolutely no charge !
(though you're welcome to bring goodies!)