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

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In This Together – The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Plan (Version 1.0)

On July 7, 2020, the Rt. Rev. Shane A.D. Parker, Bishop of Ottawa, has authorized the release of In This Together, the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa’s COVID-19 Plan (Version 1.0). The plan includes a letter from Bishop Parker, a very detailed plan for the gradual reopening of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa’s worship spaces and a checklist for parish leaders within each congregation to help them through the plan.

A Service for the Fifth Sunday of Pentecost – July 5, 2020

A Service for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost – June 28, 2020

At St. Helen’s Anglican Church in Orleans, Ontario, Canada, the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for the Fourth Sunday of Pentecost. Derek and Kim provide an offering of the song “I Am Persuaded” by Robin Mark.

A Service for the Third Sunday of Pentecost – June 21, 2020

At St. Helen’s Anglican Church in Orleans, Ontario, Canada, the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for the Third Sunday of Pentecost. The Choir provides an offering of the song “Morning Has Broken”.

The Spirit of God as Fire  Personal Bible Study #2 June 2020

Key Passages:
Exodus 3:1-6
1 Peter 1:3-9

The presence of God and the Holy Spirit’s work and power, is frequently represented iconographically by flames.  It is a key image in the ‘burning bush’ passage in Exodus(3:1-6) and in the Pentecost event described in Acts 3:3, where it is revealed in ‘tongues as of fire’, but it is a multifaceted symbol elsewhere in scripture.

For anyone who has experienced a devouring fire in their home or witnessed a wild fire of any kind, it’s a challenge to reflect on fire in a positive way.  But even the aftermath of a forest fire eventually brings new life, as Creation heals and fresh growth blankets the forest floor. The image of fire can also be a comforting one, prompting memories of campfire gatherings, complete with s’mores and sing-a-longs, or winter evenings enjoyed resting by a fireplace dancing with crackling flames.

Hebrews 12:29 describes God as a ‘consuming fire’ but 1 Peter 1:3-9 draws together references in the Hebrew scriptures to ‘refiner’s fire’,  as a silversmith would use fire to purge the dross from precious metal.  As Peter+ has said, “A silver refiner knows when the metal is pure enough when the artist can see their reflection in the molten metal; as God see God’s self in us.” This fire is the presence of the sanctifying, indwelling Christ providing light and guidance, warmth and passion. Did not the disciples meeting the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus describe their hearts as “burning within us.” (Luke 24:32)? This fire cleanses from sin, purifying, and thus enabling disciples to be open to God’s call, to a Spirit-filled life and to ministry in Christ’s name.

Reflect on how the Spirit of God has, or may, touch your life with Divine fire.   

The lyrics from Refiner’s Fire by Brian Doerksen truly speaks to this image:

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
And precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
Pure gold

Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You My Master
Ready to do Your will

A Service for the Second Sunday of Pentecost

At St. Helen’s Anglican Church in Orleans, Ontario, Canada, the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for the Second Sunday of Pentecost. Derek and Reni provide an offering of the song “Open the Eyes of My Heart” by Paul Baloche.

My Virtual Camino

by The Rev. Kay Richardson

Last September I had a complete hip replacement. In the months and years prior to the surgery, I had trouble walking any distance or any length of time, so after the surgery and after I finished my physio exercise program, I resolved to get back into walking again. I set a goal for myself to walk a Virtual Camino. The Camino is the name given to the pilgrim walk to Santiago de Compostela (St. James of Compostela) in Spain. There are several walks to Santiago de Compostela, and I took the French walk from St. Jean Pied du Pont in Southwestern France to Santiago de Compostela in Northwestern Spain, a distance of over 770 kilometres.

In order to undertake this challenge, Catherine Cromey agreed to be my guide. She asked me to send her the distance I had walked each week and she lent me two books about the Camino and gave me three little gifts: a scallop shell, which is a symbol of St. James, for his body was reputed to have washed up on the shores of Spain covered in scallop shells. She also gave me a little yellow arrow pin, for there are many yellow arrows showing pilgrims the way on the Camino. She also gave me a Camino pilgrim patch. (See picture.)  I set my day to begin on January 4, 2020 in Port Charlotte, Florida, where we were renting for three months.

And so I began. At first I found that I could walk about a half an hour, and over time I could increase the time and distance that I could walk at a time. I found it possible to do two walks in a day. Almost at the beginning, I developed blisters at the bottoms of my feet because I walked in my sandals. I discovered in the books I was reading, that people almost always develop feet problems as they walk the Camino. Some of them end up needing emergency aid. So, here I was, in a virtual walk, doing exactly the same thing. I learned to do my walks in good shoes with socks. In order to keep track of my walking distance I was using a Fitbit, which I was given at Christmas for this purpose. This allowed me to send Catherine the distance in kilometres that I walked each week. This has been quite an adventure: not only the walking, but dealing with the Fitbit, which has to be charged from time to time, and sometimes that can be a challenge.

For the most part, while in Florida, I walked around the Mobile home park where we were staying, sometimes with Brian, and sometimes by myself. This, too, is like an actual Camino, where people sometimes walk together or alone. We also walked in stores. You would be surprised how far you can walk in a grocery store or in Walmart. I was surprised to see how many arrows there are while I am walking (Just like the Camino). They are everywhere. One difference from walking in Spain, though, is that Florida is very flat for the most part, and in Florida, we had very few stairs.

We also went walking in parks around Charlotte, and in a lovely walking trail we found south of Punta Gorda. We walked a while on that path until we came to a flooded out section, and had to turn around.

The pictures shown from that walk are typical of Florida natural vegetation. There was also as sign there to watch out for wild boar but we didn’t see any. Before our time in Florida was finished, the coronavirus became a problem and we were called back to Canada. So my journey will be continued next time with pictures from Orleans…..

Statement on Racism – A letter from The Right Reverend Shane A. D. Parker, Bishop of Ottawa

June 9, 2020

Commending the Anglican Church of Canada’s Episcopal Statement on Racism

Dear Friends,

I commend to you the Anglican Church of Canada’s Episcopal Statement concerning racism, issued on June 8, 2020.

Systemic, intentional and gratuitous racism is a present and persistent reality in all our communities. Racism is both conscious and unconscious, and is always insidious, dehumanizing those who are targeted and those who perpetrate.

Racism is utterly incompatible with the life and teachings of Jesus. We who seek to follow him must be unafraid to cross over the boundaries of denial and repression to hear how racism undermines the dignity of individuals and groups, and to understand our complicity in perpetuating racist structures, language and attitudes.

The video of George Floyd’s violent death gave graphic insight into his final experience of racism, and it has rightly awakened outrage. Making space to hear and listen to racialized brothers and sisters speak of how racism cuts into self-esteem, safety and opportunity is the transformative next step.

Becoming acutely aware of the prevalence of racism in our communities, and in our own actions, words and thoughts, and turning from and rejecting racism in all its forms, is integral to our vocation as followers of Jesus Christ.

To quote my colleague, Bishop Peter Fenty of Toronto: “I believe that we must make a commitment to take action at this time and not just make statements to soothe and placate. Systemic racism is real and negatively impacts the lives of many people. We all must work towards dismantling it. May God give us the grace and courage to do so.”

Amen.

+Shane

The Right Reverend Shane A. D. Parker

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