"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

St. Helen’s Anglican Church, Orleans, Ontario

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A Service for Pentecost

The Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for Pentecost. The choir provides an offering of the song “Breathe on Me Breath of God” and the contemporary music group Emmaus provides an offering of the song “Sweet Wind” by David Ruis

“One Heart” From Archdeacon Susan+ May 30, 2020

This past week, as the news continued to report global coronavirus statistics, we were also faced with other systemic harsh realities, perhaps magnified by the pandemic but obviously predating it.  Some of these issues are local, others are international. Among many concerns, I will note only two:  Long Term Care facilities, housing vulnerable members of our population, have suffered deeply throughout the last 2 ½ months, with major labour issues, rampant illness and multiple deaths. The call for oversight, and for change, has, I hope, been heard.  In Ottawa, 2000 people have tested positive for the virus(that’s just those who have had a test) and there have been 240 deaths. In Canada the figure is nearly 90,000 with close to 7,000 deaths. South of our border, the death toll is at 110, 000 and the political circus continues to cause dismay.  Then, in Minneapolis, a video documented the horrific death of George Floyd.  The officer responsible has been charged with murder but the effects of the violence and injustice continue to reverberate across the Sates and here in Canada.  We cannot deny that the sin of racism is present in our society but attitudes, practices and laws can be changed, one heart at a time.  In the Baptism liturgy we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.”(B.A.S.) This then, is our prayer:  “I will, with God’s help.”

St. Helen’s Anglican Church
Eastertide Reflections: Food for the Soul
The Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey

Week of Easter Seven, post Ascension

Red Trillium, Navan, Ontario
Dressed for Pentecost

As the liturgical calendar anticipates the Feast of Pentecost, we say goodbye to the Easter season. Our ‘alleluias’ remain heartfelt but the way forward takes a different path. The coming of the Holy Spirit, in the Book of Acts, is not as gentle an encounter as recorded in John’s Gospel(20:20-23)when the Risen Lord comes into the Upper Room crowded with fearful disciples and blesses them saying,  “Peace be with you… and he breathed on them and said to them “Receive the Holy Spirit…”

In Acts Chapter 2, the event is a very public spectacle complete with special effects: the rush of a violent wind, ‘divided tongues as of fire’ and the gift of speaking in other languages in order to proclaim the works of God to all the world.  Some, even though they heard the testimony in their own language, guessed that the disciples were drunk on new wine, even at nine in the morning.  

Peter, preaching to the crowd, (and knowing his Hebrew scriptures) explained that it was not alcoholic fervor that enlivened them but rather that about which the prophet Joel had written: “In the last days it will be God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams…I will pour out my Spirit.”  And so ‘The Church’ is birthed.

This ‘power from on high’ is not to be trifled with.  It is no wraith of Hollywood invention, neither kindly nor malevolent, but rather the creative force of the Divine, on the move. This is  God in action, in our lives and in our world.  This is the Spirit ‘whose power working in us, can do infinitely more that we can ask or imagine.’  Our church building may be closed, due to COVID 19, for some time yet, but our Lord’s Presence is with us always and ministry of all kinds is alive and well, inspired and empowered by the very Spirit of God!

The Spirit of God as Wind Personal Bible Study  #1 June 2020

Please read the following passages of scripture in your own Bible or online:

Genesis 1:1-5;
Genesis 7:1-5, 8:1-3;
John 3:1-10;
Acts 2:1-4

We first encounter the Spirit of God in Holy Scripture in the Book of Genesis 1:1-2. “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.” Often, when the Hebrew Testament talks about the “Spirit of God,” the word used is ruach which means ‘wind,’ ‘breath,’ or ‘spirit’.  The corresponding Greek word is pneuma. Both words are commonly used in passages referring to the Holy Spirit.

Chapters 7 & 8 of Genesis tells the story of the Great Flood, and that ubiquitous account of Noah, his Ikea boat and his zoo. Chapter 8:1 describes God sending holy ruach, ‘wind’, over the earth to dry the muddy mess and bring new life to the ravaged land.

In the New Testament, the Spirit as ‘wind’ is illustrated as Jesus and Nicodemus have a cold beer and talk theology. “What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit…The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:6, 8. 

We also encounter the Spirit in the Book of Acts, chapter 2:2, in the narrative about the day of pentecostal special effects, as the house where the disciples were gathered, was “filled a sound like the rush of a violent wind”.

Can you think of a time when you were awed by wind?  Was it enjoyable? Perhaps a bright billowing spinnaker giving momentum and direction, or a salt kissed sea breeze filling your senses? Or was it frightening, as in a wild and reckless storm? Was it observed from a safe distance, or were you caught up in it?  Was it only the feel of the wind, tugging and tousling, or also the sound of it, calling out from the tops of tall pine trees or wailing down a city street wind tunnel?   

Reflect on how the Spirit of God may have touched your life as ruach.

The lyrics from Wind Upon the Waters, by Marty Haugen, come to mind: Wind upon the waters, rains upon the sand, grace your sons and daughters, new born by your hand. Come, O Spirit, and renew all the life that comes from you, send your winds upon the waters of my soul.

Click here to download a colouring page for Pentecost

A Service for the Seventh Sunday of Easter and Ascension

At St. Helen’s Anglican Church the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for the seventh Sunday of Easter and Ascension. The contemporary music group Emmaus provides an offering of the song “Lighthouse” by Rend Collective

A Letter from The Most Reverend Anne Germond, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario

Please read the letter from The Most Reverend Anne Germond, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, On the Safe Reopening of Our Churches

Eastertide Reflections:
Food for the Soul
The Rev. Kay Richardson
Week of Easter 6: A Note from Kay

As we finish our Victoria Day weekend, we are now ready to celebrate Ascension Day, transferred to this coming Sunday at St. Helen’s.  This year that seems to fit very well because now spring is arising everywhere. Trees are coming out, however slowly, and daffodils and tulips are in bloom. The days are warmer. At last! In honour of the sun and the long weekend, Brian and I decided to take a look at the tulips in Ottawa, so we drove to Dows Lake. It was a pleasant surprise to find the parking lot open with plenty of room.

So we walked. No sooner were we in the park near the tulips than we saw a family of four with a dog with a little boy who kept on saying, “Can we leave now?” every five seconds. That’s when I realized that things really are normal in spite of distancing and staying home that we have been doing and continue to keep on doing. People remain the same in spite of everything. As we continued our walk we went one direction and the family went another, so we did not see them again. The park allows walk through only, or you could bike. We had no trouble keeping a safe distance, making it possible to enjoy the day outside in a park.

We saw loads of tulips, some daffodils, heard languages including French and English. We saw a family of geese with ten goslings. It seemed to me that yes, we still have to keep our safe practices of staying home, or walking with distance, shopping with distance, and generally practicing common sense. We may have to continue this for some time to come.

But in spite of that, spring has arrived, Ascension Day is upon us, God’s creation remains as beautiful as ever, and Ottawa is a great place to live.  In spite of all that, and maybe because of all that, I have become more acutely aware of the beauty surrounding us in the earth, in our neighbourhood, and in the community of people who live in or visit Ottawa.

This is also true of the church. Though we cannot go physically to the church to worship and have our other activities, the community remains. We may not be able to come into close contact, but we can have the faith that there will come a day when we will be able to once again worship together.

While we are waiting of that new day to come, we can keep the faith. Jesus has risen. We celebrate his Ascension and await the celebration of coming of the Spirit and the birth of the Church.  Alleluia! May the Joy and Peace of Christ be with you.

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