The E-Postle

E-postle – June 4th, 2017

The E-postle June 4, 2017 “The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be *          A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody *          transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ *          and sent out to share God’s Love” – draft mission statement A Spirited Community It takes energy to change.   The natural human tendency is to resist something new because the familiar is, well, familiar.  At least we can gauge how much we have to put in to stay in the same spot.  But being stationary is not good for any living organism:  witness how sore your back gets when you sit for too long.  The Holy Spirit stirs us to restlessness, to dissatisfaction with the way things are.  But to overcome inertia, we need both a vision of where we want to get to and courage to take a first step. Within the transition process, talking is important but talking is not enough.  God is stirring us to change.  It is about letting go of the old so that we have our hands free to grasp the new.  The work is daunting for a few parish leaders.  Each and every member must be part of the change process:  willing to make room inside to be filled by the Holy Spirit.  The gifts given at Pentecost are here among you:  wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, and interpretation.  Bring them forward and share them so that your leaders may be strengthened and renewed.  Every voice is needed to engage in our identity and priorities.  Every ear is needed to listen for God in what others say.  And every hand is needed for first steps.  The depth of your engagement will determine how quickly the Spirit can drive us forward. Or for those of...

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The E-postle – May 28, 2017

 “The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be *             A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody *             transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ *             and sent out to share God’s Love” – draft mission statement


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The E-postle – May 21, 2017

   “The Parish of St. John the Apostle is called to be *          A Spirited Community at the heart of Port Moody *          transformed through the experience of the presence of Christ *          and sent out to share God’s Love” – draft mission statement The Eucharist Every time Christians gather at the table and share bread and wine, we re-live the reality of who we are as the people of God.  The celebration of the Eucharist, or “Great Thanksgiving”, is the work of the whole community.  The celebrant is the one who presides at the front, but the liturgy is a collective prayer-filled action.  All of us are participants and witnesses that it is Jesus Christ who is the host of this holy meal.  Sometimes the bread that is blessed is called “the host” to remind us of this truth, as it becomes for us the body of our Lord.   Every baptized person is a full member of the body of Christ and is welcome to receive both bread and wine.  Even small children may do so, and this discussion is part of the preparation for baptism. But no one has a complete theological explanation for the mystery and amazing love that is symbolized by this sacrament, and the Church doesn’t demand you to have one before you come to the table.  What we instinctively understand and are drawn toward is sometimes more than we can put into words.  We grow into a deeper maturity in faith as we learn through practice and reflection. For this reason, our communion services on Sunday May 28 at 8:30 am and 10 am will be Teaching Eucharists.  During the liturgy we will consider the meaning of some of the things we do.  There will be time after the service to ask questions...

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The E-postle – May 14, 2017

Baptism and Confirmation I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. It is such a simple sentence.  But with these words, we acknowledge the love of God active in our lives from the moment of birth.  We choose the One who has already chosen us, and we do so in the sight of the community.  It is a crucial turning point: to forgiveness, healing, and strength in a new life of service.  We use the language of dying and rising again, of being washed clean, of becoming part of a new humanity. It is the first decision in faith that we make for ourselves or our child, and we have the rest of our lives to work out God’s purpose.  Ongoing participation in a Christian community is how we grow into this new life together. Strengthen, O Lord, your servant with your Holy Spirit;empower him/her for your service; and sustain him/her all the days of his/her life.” If you were baptized as a young child, or if you are coming to a point in your life when you feel it is important to make a public declaration of your faith, you might want to consider the rite of Confirmation. In previous generations, young people had to wait until they were confirmed to receive communion.  This was in part a historical consequence of a bishop’s inability to be in every parish to do baptisms, so the bishop had to come around to “confirm” what the local priest had done to teach and initiate new believers.  With the liturgical renewal of the 1960’s and 1970’s, a regained understanding that baptism is the “full meal deal” introduced young people to the life of the Eucharist at a much earlier age.  But there...

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The E-postle – May 7, 2017

  Partners in Christ:  New Westminster and Northern Philippines The Episcopal Church in the U.S., ECUSA, has oversight of the Diocese of Northern Philippines, which centres on Mountain Province around the city of Bontoc, in the northern or Luzon area of the islands known collectively of as the Philippines. In May 2016, The Diocese of New Westminster accepted the invitation of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) to enter into a companion relationship seeking opportunities for prayer, mutual learning, and witness to the gospel.  Within the Anglican Communion, this is known as a “Companion Relationship”.  New Westminster had previously had Companion Diocese relationships with Argentina (1989-1999) and Taiwan (2000-2015).  Exploratory conversations with Bishop Brent Alawas and his staff and the Provincial Office of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) occurred, and visits had been made by senior clergy and our Bishop Melissa Skelton.  Bishop Brent then came to our Diocesan Mission Conference last spring. Now we are moving forward to build bridges of communication. The hope is to link parishes to pray with each other and to share opportunities to serve.  Each parish has been asked for a liaison to be in contact with a recently developed diocesan committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP). That person would also encourage a parish group to develop an electronic document profiling the parish and congregation, worship, activities etc. that we can share with our brothers and sisters overseas. This will be a very useful drafting exercise for our parish profile.  Our liaison does not have to have previous knowledge of the Philippines (although if you do, God may be leading you to this) nor does he or she have the responsibility of doing the profile (that’s something we need to get working on anyway!).  But if you have...

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The E-postle – April 16, 2017

    This Joyful Eastertide Joy is a funny thing.  It’s not the same as happy.  It can be held at the same time as acknowledging pain and hurt.  Joy is an awareness of hope and love and beauty and God’s grace that can cause our hearts to leap within us.  It is the proclamation that death is not the end, and that sin does not have dominion, no matter how much we struggle with the world’s brokenness. This Easter, in spite of all that is happening around us, we are called out of our darkness into the light of the resurrection.  As individuals and as a community of faith, we proclaim that we believe in new beginnings.  Our task this season is to focus on the new beginning God has in store for St. John’s.  Vision has to be framed in mission- what God is calling us to do- before it can be translated into concrete action.  The risen Christ bore the marks of his mission on his hands and feet.  What are the marks that St. John’s is willing to bear joyfully forward? From the Anglican Church of Canada, the following marks of mission have been identified.  Is there one that speaks most strongly to you in terms of where St. John’s must concentrate its energy? Share the good news Teach new believers Help people in need Work to make things fairer Look after the planet Please pray for the new life that is already among us in this Eastertide, that we may joyfully follow where God is calling us next, Yours in Christ, Stephanie+ Readings for Easter Sunday April 23rd   Acts 2:1-14, 22-32 Psalm 16 1 Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31   Upcoming Dates April 17- Fellowship Supper with Lower Mainland Moslem Community April 22- Re-Sponse Refugee...

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The E-postle – April 9, 2017

  Everyone on the parish e-list will be receiving a weekly update of notices and coming events instead of an insert in the Sunday bulletin.  Physical copies of this email will be available on Sundays for those who do not have email or prefer a paper version.  If you know of an event of interest to the parish, please send details to the parish office.  A Safe Community On Saturday April 1, members of the St. John’s community who work with vulnerable persons gathered for a training workshop on the diocesan sexual misconduct policy.  We are called to grapple with this sensitive topic because, as Bishop Melissa Skelton reminds us: “All Christians- lay and ordained- are called to be signs and agents of God’s love in the world.  The church must therefore be a place of welcome, respect, and safety for all people.  No one entering our community should ever have cause to fear for their well-being or the betrayal of their trust… You are helping to ensure that our church remains a place of safety and dignity where all may know the forgiveness and peace of God”.   Some simple and important guidelines: Ask before you give a hug. When you see or experience inappropriate behaviour ask that it be stopped. Do not be alone with a child. If an unusual or inappropriate encounter occurs, tell someone. All of us have a responsibility for maintaining a safe environment. If your ministry involves working with the elderly, children, or vulnerable persons, or you are in a position of authority within the Church and have not taken this workshop in the last five years, speak to me about future workshops.  As part of our commitment to each other in faith, position descriptions for volunteers in the church which outline responsibilities and...

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The E-postle – April 2, 2017

The E-postle Pilot Edition April 2, 2017   Dear friends in Christ, Welcome to an experiment in better communications from the parish of St. John the Apostle, Port Moody.  You are receiving this email because you are on the parish e-list.   At the parish council retreat on March 25, communication was listed as a top priority for this year of transition, with clear channels for parishioners to receive and convey information and ideas.  As a result, everyone on the parish e-list will be receiving a weekly update of notices and coming events instead of an insert in the Sunday bulletin.  Physical copies of this email will be available on Sundays for those who do not have email or prefer a paper version.   If you know of an event of interest to the parish, please continue to send details to the parish office.  All pertinent information will be shared.  Our hope is that you will feel more connected to the life of the community and be able to engage in our continuing process of transformation.   Where are We? A Word on the Interim Process St. John’s is now at the 3 month mark since I joined the parish as Interim Priest-in-Charge on January 1, 2017.  The first couple of months have been spent meeting with the leadership and individuals and groups in the parish and developing an understanding of who does what and how.  I have appreciated that there have been many emotions at play in this time of change for the parish, and tried to offer a non-anxious and supportive role for the ongoing work of ministry.  Through the Lenten series on sources of transformation, the leadership has begun to elicit some of the stories, concerns, and hopes of the community.   The next step is for the wardens...

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Fall Apostle

The Apostle September 2015 Dear Friends in Christ: This summer I began a new chapter in my life as I became the Director of Anglican Formation at the Vancouver School of Theology (VST), University of British Columbia. I am considered faculty, and I have an office on the third floor of the new VST building on campus. People of the parish have been very congratulatory, supportive and encouraging, which has been a blessing. I was touched that so many expressed relief that I am not departing. I will continue as Rector of St John’s and I will be here most Sundays. I will be at VST Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my typical office hours at St John’s will be Monday and Wednesday mornings (which is not that different than what I was doing). This is a new lease on life for me, as I enter into a teaching and mentoring role with people in the process of discerning and training for their future in ministry. Having been a university chaplain many years ago, I know what an exciting and stimulating place a university environment is. I also know that I will bring that enthusiasm, and new insights and experiences, into the life of St John’s as a result. It is also a new lease on life for the parish, as we seek and find a person to become part of the ministry team. This person, who will work at 1/3 time, will bring a new set of gifts and interests and experiences, that will be enriching to the parish as a whole. We are still in the process of figuring out exactly what the role will look like, but we have had interest expressed in the position, so I hope we will be announcing this new staff person sometime soon,...

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