This Week: July 17th 2016

51a56e50-0531-43c3-beff-910d25b48aacA few weeks ago, as we awaited the outcome of General Synod’s vote to permit same-sex marriage in the Anglican Church of Canada, Parish Council debated the merits of hanging a rainbow flag outside our church. It would have been a sign of our solidarity with our LGBTQ+ members and friends … while the church debated the legitimacy of their relationships! In the end we decided not to fly the flag, at least until such time as equality and justice was achieved nationally.

Then, in a surprise turn of events, same-sex marriage captured the support of over 70% of the popular vote at General Synod while losing by one vote in the House of Clergy. Within 24 hours that count had been corrected and the motion passed. So now we anticipate its return to our national body three years hence for ratification and implementation.

In the meantime, three dioceses have already declared they are proceeding with same-sex marriages without General Synod’s ratification and several more are considering similar actions. Where our own diocese stands on this issue remains a mystery: our bishop (who voted against the motion) has not issued any public statements. Nor is it clear if, in the wake of General Synod’s decision, he will now permit same-sex blessings.

So … is it time to fly the flag? Would it be a sign of solidarity, or would it confuse our hopes with our actual ability to act? What do you think? Tell us. Operators are standing by …

This Week at St. Stephen’s: June 26th, 2016

wellness6To everything, the Bible tells us, there is a season: a time to plant and a time to till; a time to mourn and a time to dance. We might add, a time to work and a time to play. And summer, in this part of the world, is a time to play.

We have worked hard this past year at St. Stephen’s. We have sheltered the homeless, prepared a place for refugees, and advocated for those whose sexual orientation has left them sidelined by their own church! We have welcomed the neighbourhood and we have taken delight in the arts. And behind it all we have worshiped exuberantly and grown ever deeper in our faith.

But now is the time to rest, a welcome respite that will be reflected in our quieter weekday buildings and our lighter Sunday worship. We call summer worship at St. Stephen’s “Summer Lite”. At both 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. the service will be shortened to allow for people’s summer plans. In place of the usual three readings and sermon we will hear one reading—usually the gospel—and the sermon will be more a brief meditation than anything more expansive.

Our faith—including both our prayer life and our good works—does not take a break in the summer. But our emphasis shifts to the many recreational pursuits that help to rejuvenate us and prepare us for the work to come. Let St. Stephen’s become part of your summer re-creation. You’ve earned it.

This Week at St. Stephen’s: June 26th, 2016

wellness6To everything, the Bible tells us, there is a season: a time to plant and a time to till; a time to mourn and a time to dance. We might add, a time to work and a time to play. And summer, in this part of the world, is a time to play.

We have worked hard this past year at St. Stephen’s. We have sheltered the homeless, prepared a place for refugees, and advocated for those whose sexual orientation has left them sidelined by their own church! We have welcomed the neighbourhood and we have taken delight in the arts. And behind it all we have worshiped exuberantly and grown ever deeper in our faith.

But now is the time to rest, a welcome respite that will be reflected in our quieter weekday buildings and our lighter Sunday worship. We call summer worship at St. Stephen’s “Summer Lite”. At both 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. the service will be shortened to allow for people’s summer plans. In place of the usual three readings and sermon we will hear one reading—usually the gospel—and the sermon will be more a brief meditation than anything more expansive.

Our faith—including both our prayer life and our good works—does not take a break in the summer. But our emphasis shifts to the many recreational pursuits that help to rejuvenate us and prepare us for the work to come. Let St. Stephen’s become part of your summer re-creation. You’ve earned it.

This Week at St. Stephen’s–June 19, 2016

Picture1When Calgary’s Inn From the Cold Society closed the doors of all its community inns, including our own, we felt something was being taken from us: a great opportunity to serve and a source of great blessing both for our guests and for ourselves. We will gather to celebrate that ministry, which started here at St. Stephen’s, and also to give thanks to God for such a rare and rich experience. But then we will move on to seek a new way of applying our considerable talents and energy to those who need it most in our city.

 

So this Sunday, June 19, at 5 pm we will gather in the Memorial Hall for a Gala Potluck meal, reuniting volunteers and coordinators from almost twenty years of service. At 7 we will move up into the church for a service of thanksgiving, singing songs of hope and taking inspiration once again from Bob Purdy as he reviews this great chapter in our history.

 

Then on two Sundays this summer—July 24 and August 21—we will participate in intentional listening events to identify needs in the city and ways of working together to meet those needs. This is part of a city-wide conversation hosted by the Metro Alliance for the Common Good (MACG) as churches, not-for-profit organizations, labour unions and interested citizens work together to build a better world. Sign-up sheets are found in the narthex, introducing us to MACG and inviting our participation … if we love our city.