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

St. Helen’s Covid-19 Response – May 2020

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.

St. Helen’s Anglican Church Orleans, Ontario
The Sixth Sunday of Easter  Sunday, May 17, 2020          

A Liturgy for Use at Home

Alleluia! Christ is risen.                  
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
May his grace and peace be with us.
May he fill our hearts with joy.

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouths shall proclaim your praise.

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He gave us new life and hope by raising Jesus from the dead.

Rejoice then, even in your distress.
We shall be counted worthy when Christ appears.

God has claimed us as his own.
He called us from our darkness into the light of his day.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Collect of the Day: Merciful God, you have prepared for those who love you riches beyond imagination. Pour into our hearts such love toward you, that we, loving you above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Readings

Acts 17:22-31 “…I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown God.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

Psalm 66:7-18 Be joyful in God, all you lands.

1 Peter 3:13-22 Keep your conscience clear…

John 14:15-21 “If you love me you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth…”

Homily: Susan+

The Spirit of Truth

As Jesus stood before Pilate, in that travesty of a trial, they engaged in this dialogue: ”So you say you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king, for this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to myvoice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38)

Truth is most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality or, fidelity to a standard. In other words, not ‘alternate’ facts!  Truth is also sometimes defined in contemporary contexts as the concept of “to thine own self be true”, or authenticity. The opposite of truth is dishonesty…or lying, misrepresentation, deceitfulness or hypocrisy. Often the dishonesty is deliberate. Sometimes it exists out of ignorance or selfishness. We have seen evidence of both on a daily basis, during this pandemic, in the news, on the internet and even among our acquaintances. Perhaps during these trying times someone has asked you ‘How are you?’ and you have replied ‘I’m fine’ but that acknowledgement really needs clarification to be true! Pretending to be something you are not, or professing to believe something you don’t, or unfaithfulness of any kind, is living a lie. A ‘half-truth’ is a lie. A ‘white lie’ or a ‘grey lie’ is a lie, even if the avowed purpose is to protect someone’s feelings. ‘Stretching the truth’ is a lie.

In a court of law, sworn testimony is evidence given by a witness who has made a commitment to tell the truth. “I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God” or some secular variation. If the witness is later found to have lied, they can be charged with the crime of perjury, or breach of oath. 

So when Jesus taught his disciples saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) he was calling his followers, then and now, into a relationship owning a higher standard and a deeper commitment and faithfulness to God.  “If you continue in my word you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31) Today’s reading (John 14:15-21) is about the promise of the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. ”And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth…” Advocate means, of course, one who pleads the case of others.  L’avocat, en francais, is a lawyer or solicitor.

So not only does our Lord promise that “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you…because I live, you also will live.” but the Holy Spirit will be present to be our Guide, Counsellor and Comforter.“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) This is the Spirit of truth within us, to strengthen and empower us, in the journey of faith.  Glory to God, we pray in the doxology “whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever. Amen.” B.A.S. p. 214

Intercessions

In joy and hope let us pray to the source of all life, saying, “Hear us, Lord of glory!”

We pray to find fresh strength in the Easter Gospel, that our risen Saviour may fill us with the joy of his holy and life-giving resurrection, let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for peace in the world during this time of confinement and uncertainty. We remember those are severely tested during this isolation, those who live alone, families, the elderly, youth, caregivers, and all in challenged relationships. We pray for those suffering in situations of ongoing domestic conflict and violence. We pray for all who have limited food and money, who have lost their jobs, who are among our most vulnerable, in institutions and those on the streets and in shelters.  We pray that there will not be a ‘second wave’ of illness.

Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

In the world cycle of prayer of the Anglican Communion we remember Christian communities in Korea, Kenya, Nigeria, Scotland, Southern Africa, Uganda, South Sudan, West Africa, South India, Australia, North India. In Canada, we pray for our Primate, The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls and our Archbishop, The Most Rev. Anne Germond.  In our Diocese we pray for St. Bede’s, Nolan’s Corners, Mary Ellen Berry, priest; for vocations to the diaconate, priesthood and religious life.   As we pray for the Diocese of Ottawa and her people in this time of transition, we ask for the blessing of God’s grace upon Shane Parker, preparing to shoulder the mantle of Episcopal responsibility.   

Let us pray to the Lord.   Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for protection for those who work in essential services, ministering to all of us. We pray for all political, industrial and social leaders and for all who work in the field of medicine. We pray for farmers, during this planting season, and all involved in food production and delivery, let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick, in body, mind or spirit. We ask for God’s blessing upon all in hospital, and any recovering from surgery or illness.  We pray for those who are dying, that they, and their families, may be comforted and strengthened. We pray for the souls of all who have died and those who mourn. Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for ourselves and our own parish family… to be subject to one another in Christian love, let us pray to the Lord.   Hear us, Lord of glory!

That our Risen Saviour may send the fire of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate,  upon his people, that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection. In hope and confidence.

Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory! Amen

The Lord’s Prayer: New Zealand

Eternal Spirit, Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-Giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
Sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
Now and forever. Amen.

Doxology: Glory to God whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen

Blessing: May the Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with us to the end of the road.
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands stretch out our hands to serve.
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart open our hearts to love.
May we see the face of Christ in everyone we meet, and may everyone we meet
see the face of Christ in usand may the blessing of God, Earth-Maker, Pain-Bearer, Life-Giver be with us all evermore. Amen.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay faithful. Stay strong; as we rejoice in the Risen Lord. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

Eastertide Reflections:
Food for the Soul
The Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey

Week of Easter 5

“Thank God for small blessings” is an idiom that calls us to recognize our Risen Lord’s presence, grace and gifts, at all times.  Some of those blessings are not so small, as, for example when a loved one comes through surgery, a newborn cry is heard or a significant anniversary is marked.  Others may just be gentle indicators of God’s creativity prompting us to a greater mindfulness of the Spirit at work and play in our midst. It isn’t always easy to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), especially since COVID 19 continues to impact our lives. And we know it’s not over.  And yet, even acknowledging fears, frustrations and anxiety, there are a multitude of gifts for which we can give thanks. These include thanksgiving for the sacrificial dedication of all frontliners, of course, but also for other things which touch our minds, bodies and souls.  In offering thanks, we are, ourselves, lifted up!

Small blessings such as…

A call from someone, just to ‘check-in’…
White clouds scuttling over a deep blue sky…
Slipping into clean bed sheets…
Opening the window wide to let in the spring air…
Snow falling on daffodils (yes, really!)…

An encouraging e-mail…
The smell of baking bread or, maybe, brownies…
The brilliant colours of the birds in courting dress
or a robin mother sitting on her nest…

Sprouting lettuce and chives  in the garden trug…
Music to gladden the heart…
Bidding prayers to do our part…
Smiling eyes, above a mask…

The release of tears…A moment of laughter…

Knowing the strength and love of our faith community…

What are your ‘small’ blessings?

A Service for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

The Rev. Canon Peter Lackey and the Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey provide a service for the fifth Sunday of Easter. The St. Helen’s Choir provides an offering of the song “Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness” lyrics by Rusty Edwards

Eastertide Reflections: Food for the Soul

The Ven. Susan Churchill-Lackey
Week of Easter Four

“Pull from the roots and the stalks will just pop out.  The bright pink ends are where the colour comes from.  Cut off the leaves, they are toxic. It is the first fruit of the garden(along with dandelion leaves). It can be quite tart but it is so good for you, even with sugar or maple syrup added.” This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day and the above quote is from my mother, God rest her soul. As a child of the Depression she held to the proverbial ‘waste not, want not’ approach to life, even when her circumstances had changed for the better. It’s a lesson we have relearned through these days of isolation.  Certain items are unavailable. We are definitely ‘rationed’ in terms of appropriate activities. And many people are struggling with the lack of real(rather than virtual) human contact.  And yet, we are blessed!

The Hebrew scriptures speak of God’s abundant blessings and the giving of the first fruits, the first grain, the first oil, the first wine, to the Lord. A tithe, a 10th, of what one has, is given back in thanksgiving to God. Passages from Deuteronomy and elsewhere have, in the past, often been the basis for financial stewardship education(You can do the math regarding your own gift to St. Helen’s…) “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 God also loves the grumpy givers and others in our midst but continues to invite us into deeper faithfulness!

And while we may well wrestle that aspect of our faith, perhaps even more challenging is what is said about the fruit of theSpirit in the New Testament letters.  Galatians 5:22, of course, lists them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and self-control.   These fruits, these attributes are ones to strive for because no human being can attain them fully.  Are we not all ‘a work in progress’? Chapters 7 & 8 in Romans are about dying and rising with Christ, about being children of God and life in the Spirit.  Romans 7:4, however, is not simply teaching but call: “…you have died to the law…so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God.”  Is that true, for you? During this Eastertide consider how you might make it so.

St. Helen’s Anglican Church
Orleans, Ontario
The Fourth Sunday of Easter

Sunday, May 3, 2020
A Liturgy for Use at Home

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
May his grace and peace be with us.
May he fill our hearts with joy.
Lord, open our lips.
And our mouths shall proclaim your praise.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He gave us new life and hope by raising Jesus from the dead.
Rejoice then, even in your distress.
We shall be counted worthy when Christ appears.
God has claimed us as his own.
He called us from our darkness into the light of his day.
Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Collect of the Day, often heard as a Blessing: O God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, that great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, make us perfect in every good work to do your will, and work in us that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflections on the Readings

Acts 2:42-47  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers…all who believed were together…” We miss being together physically but rejoice that, in the Spirit, we continue to be the Church, ministering in Christ’s Name to a world in need of healing and of hope.

Psalm 23 Only a few people, in our suburban environment, understand much about shepherding sheep and yet the image remains iconic in church land.  

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…”

Or “The Lord is my Pace-setter; I shall not rush. He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness, that restore my serenity…”

Or “The Lord is my choirmaster, I shall never be out of step with the music.
He leads me in songs of praise and thanksgiving as I remember all His love and goodness to me…” Margaret Rodgers

Or “The Lord is my drover, I travel well. On outback tracks He finds green feed. He guides me safely to cool waterholes; His understanding revives my dusty life…” Bruce Prewer

Or…

1 Peter 2:19-25 What is the nature of suffering? How can we endure it? What about how Christ suffered for us, ‘bore our sins in his body on the cross’? Do we believe that ‘by his wounds we have been healed’?  To what end?

John 10:1-10(11-16) For many of us, not greatly experienced in teleconferencing, there has been a steep learning curve for the past few weeks as we connect ‘virtually’.  And whether it is a work related meeting, or a clergy or Council check-in, a chorus of singers, or Parliament gathering, issues related to audio-visual factors can prove to be both frustrating and amusing. Some people enjoy the ‘economy’ of it, others miss the human embrace, both figuratively and literally.

Up until today, our Sunday Gospel readings have focused on the Resurrection appearances of Jesus…from Mary’s encounter in the Garden, to Thomas seeing and touching the Risen Christ’s wounded hands and side, to the disciples whose ‘eyes were opened’ on the way to Emmaus.  There were, certainly, profound words exchanged, but the experiences were, firstly, visual ones. These, and others in scripture, are about believers seeing Jesus, alive in their midst.

This week with the reading from John’s Gospel, the shift is away from the appearances and the visuals to the audio version of our Lord’s teaching ministry.  It is about what is heard by the disciples, and by extension, by us.  The Fourth Sunday of Easter is often called ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ as we reflect on both Psalm 23 and the Good Shepherd passage from John’s Gospel, the only Gospel in which it is found.  This year the Lectionary calls for John 10:1-10, but you really have to read along a little farther(11-16) to get the full gist of the teaching.

“I am the good shepherd.” Jesus says.  And, as with any flock, the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. They follow him because they know and trust that voice, the intonation, the song.  We have, during isolation, all make an effort to contact family, friends, coworkers and parishioners in various ways.  I think that, along with other communication tools, we have also rediscovered the telephone.  There is something about the voice of authentic concern, of sharing, of laughter, of love, one-on-one.   Yes, the facial expressions and body language are missing but engagement can be very deep and very meaningful.  So it can with God, when we take the time and listen to the voice.   Susan+

Intercessions

In joy and hope let us pray to the source of all life, saying, “Hear us, Lord of glory!”

We pray to find fresh strength in the Easter Gospel, that our risen Saviour may fill us with the joy of his holy and life-giving resurrection, let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for peace in the world.  In this time of global pandemic, we pray that our Lord will keep us mindful that He is the Good Shepherd, caring for us in this time of confinement and uncertainty. We remember those are severely tested during this isolation, those who live alone, families, the elderly, youth, and all in challenged relationships. We pray for those suffering in situations of ongoing domestic violence. We pray for all who have limited food and money, who have lost their jobs, who are among our most vulnerable, in institutions and those on the streets and in shelters.  Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for the church throughout the world, for people of every faith and those who hold no religious beliefs,  that we may all grow in our compassion for the whole human family. In the world cycle of prayer we remember Christian communities in Japan, Uganda, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Sudan, North India, Kenya, England, Melanesia and in Canada, the Diocese of the Yukon. We pray for our Primate, The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls and our Archbishop, The Most Rev. Anne Germond.  In our Diocese we pray for St. John the Evangelist, Ottawa, Beth Bretzlaff and Caroline Ducros, clergy and in the Diocese of Jerusalem we pray for St. Philip Church, Nablus, West Bank.   We pray for Executive Archdeacon David Selzer, Assisting Bishop Michael Bird, and for Bishop-elect, Shane Parker.  

Let us pray to the Lord.   Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for protection for those who work in essential services, ministering to all of us. We pray for all political, industrial and social leaders and for all who work in the field of medicine. We pray for farmers and all involved in food production and delivery, let us pray to the Lord.

Hear us, Lord of glory!

That he may reveal the light of his presence to the sick, in body, mind or spirit, to the weak, and the dying, that they may be comforted and strengthened. We pray for the souls of all who have died and those who mourn. Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory!

We pray for ourselves and our own parish family… to be subject to one another in Christian love, let us pray to the Lord. 

Hear us, Lord of glory!

That our Risen Saviour may send the fire of the Holy Spirit upon his people, that we may bear faithful witness to his resurrection. In hope and confidence. Let us pray to the Lord.  Hear us, Lord of glory! Amen

Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen

Doxology: Glory to God whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen

Blessing: May the Christ who walks on wounded feet walk with us to the end of the road.
May the Christ who serves with wounded hands stretch out our hands to serve.
May the Christ who loves with a wounded heart open our hearts to love.
May we see the face of Christ in everyone we meet, and may everyone we meet
see the face of Christ in usand may the blessing of God, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver be with us all evermore. Amen.

Stay home. Stay safe. Stay faithful. Stay strong; as we rejoice in the Risen Lord. Thanks be to God. Alleluia!