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

St. Helen’s Covid-19 Response – June 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

A Service for Trinity Sunday

At St. Helen’s Anglican Church the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey and the Rev. Canon Peter Lackey provide a service for Trinity Sunday. The choir provides an offering of the song “Lord of All Hopefulness”.

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 a Summer Sabbath Rest

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

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