A few years ago, we dreamed a dream of our future buildings and property, imagining a community hub, a cultural centre brimming with activity. We saw St. Stephen’s not just as a place for church members, but for the neighbourhood, indeed, for the whole city. Our renovations opened the doors, and the people came—for music, for theatre, for art. This week’s Midtown Mosaic art show is the triumphant realization of our dream, crowned last year by the official visit of our mayor. Here, church members mingle with our citywide neighbours in a colourful testimony to the riches of community life, creating cultural circles of connection that move out beyond our congregation.
Meanwhile, another community meeting place was evolving, one that did not require hundreds of thousands of dollars in costly renovation. It began with our web site, designed to attract seekers and church members alike, where we posted past sermons and promoted upcoming events, and projected a people- friendly image of ourselves to the world. It remains our main vehicle for meeting people who are looking for a church.
But from nowhere, a cheeky upstart called Facebook surpassed our website as the principal way we now connect with the world. A post celebrating our recent blessing of a civil same-sex marriage attracted over 2000 views, as well as wildly supportive comments from people we don’t even know. We are not one community hub, but three: a street address, a website (ststephenscalgary.org), and a Facebook page (St. Stephen’s Anglican Church Calgary).
Heading into the fall season, what are the personal habits and disciplines that will keep you healthy? A good diet, exercise, mental stimulation, meaningful relationships, and of course a balanced approach to it all! St. Stephen’s can help you with your spiritual health, which has both inward and outward components.
Inwardly, we think of those practices that keep us rooted in God’s loving presence—like prayer, study, and meditation. Our meditation group will be starting up shortly for those who want to learn a simple practice of mindfulness. The labyrinth group is working on some special events this fall to introduce you to the benefits of a walking meditation. And our weekly adventure in Bible study stimulates your thinking about the Christian life.
Outwardly, we think of service, of ways we can contribute to the needs of others, and support our community life, both in church and in the neighbourhood. St. Stephen’s is exploring a new relationship with the Metro Alliance for the Common Good to identify and meet the city’s greatest needs. Our refugee committee is awaiting the arrival of our sponsored family from Syria. And cultural events such as the upcoming Midtown Mosaic Art Show help connect us with our neighbours.
All of this comes together in our worship, which offers many ways to become involved from choir to greeting to chancel work to the tech team. So pick up a copy of this year’s Spiritual Menu from the entrance foyer and choose your own new spiritual habits.
Kerri Singh, of Irish and Danish ancestry, was born and raised in southern Alberta. Married and with an eight year old son, she is the Founder and Photographer behind 2Create Photography, a childhood passion which she turned into a professional practise. Her clientele and commissions are global and with many noteworthy corporations and individuals, including Indian Royalty.
At her core Kerri Singh is truly a multifaceted artist. She uses the medium of photography to manifest her artistic expression. Early experimentations with the use of mixed media, watercolor, pastels, charcoals & drawing taught her that art has many detailed layers. She uses this knowledge with her photographic skills to create art, using the camera as her brush and the world as her inspiration.
In her quest to capture the beauty that she envisions in people, places and nature she has extensively travelled across Europe, Indian subcontinent and North America. The energy of a person or place and its emotional and spiritual vibrations are always important to her. Her work consists of balancing environmental portraiture and personal perspective. She captures the essence of her vision in documentary, theatrical or editorial styles then applies the metaphorical lens to create a spectacular memory, a moment in time.
She is currently working on art projects illustrating Women & Children of the streets in India, ‘Life in a Shopping Cart’ ( A documentary of homelessness in Canada) and Exotic Tastes of India.
She lives and works from Calgary, Canada. You can read more about her on her blog at www.kerrisingh.ca.
YOU’RE INVITED to a BOOK LAUNCH
“Halfway Home: 50 Years in 50 Chapters”
Approaching middle age can be a rattling and unnerving time of life. But it can also be a wonderful opportunity to laugh, remember and reflect. In Halfway Home, author and commentator Todd Hirsch reflects on each of his 50 years so far—one chapter for each year—sharing details of his childhood, growing through adolescence, and finding his way from job, to career, to calling.
Todd is launching the book at St. Stephen’s on Friday, September 9th, at 7:00pm. He will be doing a few readings from the book, which will be followed by a short moderated conversation on ageing, celebrating and living in gratitude. Everyone from the church is encouraged to come. And, it’s free!
St. Stephen’s has been a long-time supporter of the queer community, dating back to the days of Integrity Calgary, which met monthly here for many years, including several Pride Eucharists. Now, the queer community has taken many steps toward acceptance in our broader society.
This weekend is Pride weekend in Calgary, and there are numerous events to take in. Two, in particular, may be of interest to St. Stephen’s parishioners. The Pride Parade starts at noon on Sunday, September 4th, and runs along 9th Avenue from City Hall to Shaw Millennium Park.
It’s a fabulous event, and groups as diverse as ATB, Hillhurst United Church, and politicians come together to celebrate Pride by marching. As the parade wraps up, attendees often tag along at the end of the parade as they make their way to Shaw Millennium Park.
There, they’ll find a family zone, a Village Brewery-sponsored beer garden, and a marketplace highlighting fantastic products and services of interest to all people. Admission is free, and it goes rain or shine!
St. Stephen’s has been a proud ally of the queer community for years, and that legacy can continue, with your support, this weekend. Hope to see you there!
Anglicans in Canada narrowly rejected a resolution to allow same-sex marriage. Then, the voting process was reviewed, leading to a stunning reversal. Brian Pearson, from St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Calgary, explains the changing relationship between religion and gay marriage in Canada.