This Week: “Summer camp” [January 21st, 2018]

It may only be January, but it’s not too soon to be making your summer holiday plans. And when you do, regardless of your age and stage in life, be sure you consider the possibility of summer camp. That’s right. Summer camp.

The Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centre, on the shores of beautiful Shushwap Lake in British Columbia, is “Anglican in tradition, ecumenical in programming, and inclusive in welcome”—a recreational gathering place for all ages that offers restful surroundings and stimulating programs from May to October, but especially through the summer months.

From private rooms to family camping facilities, on-site accommodations help create a multi-generational community. Day programming keeps children active and engaged while adults participate in hikes, discussion groups, and arts workshops led by world-renowned speakers and facilitators.

This year’s adult programming includes story-telling, a weeklong music workshop titled, “Singing Locally, Thinking Globally,” water-colour painting, and Creative Journaling, just to name a few.

Worship is part of every day life at Sorrento, held mostly in the wooded outdoor chapel overlooking the lake, and a weekly public lecture by one the program leaders welcomes the wider community. The programs are not compulsory and many people sign on for a week of individual rest and recreation.

The Sorrento Centre is supported by Anglican dioceses and parishes across B.C. and Alberta and of course by individual patrons and donors. To learn more, visit their website: Or ask around—St. Stephen’s has a number of “happy campers” with stories to tell!

This Week: “Open Doors II” [January 14th, 2018]

In a bustling parish like St. Stephen’s, advance planning is a way of life. Whether it’s this week’s worship, next year’s retirement, or five years down the road, we are always thinking ahead. Our new building committee, Open Doors II, is a good illustration of this

When we completed our last round of renovations, in 2013, we knew we were not done. Phase I was complete, including radical changes to our worship and program space, our accessibility, and our infrastructure. But Phase II was already on our minds. The church offices and Canterbury Room were dying a slow ragged death and the Memorial Hall was literally falling apart!

Open Doors II is our attempt to articulate a new vision for our ageing buildings and to coordinate their revitalization through a new renovation project. At the core of this vision is the Memorial Hall and its potential as a community hub for our neighbourhood.


The lower floor of the hall, where we used to host Inn From the Cold, boasts a kitchen and banquet hall, ideal for redevelopment as a community kitchen. The upper hall, which now houses a dozen artists in affordable studios, is in fact a full–sized community hall with stage and wings. The office space provides homey administration for small organizations.

So our team is busy these days meeting with city planners and other potential partners to flesh out a vision, to be followed by parish consultations, and then some feasibility planning. There’s no moss gathering here!

This Week: “A Community Grounded In Care” [January 7th, 2018]

Beneath the hubbub of a modern parish church, a silent flow of care binds church members together in a ministry so natural it goes largely unnoticed. That ministry is the simple art of visiting.

Sometimes this ministry takes the form of a phone call to someone we haven’t seen for awhile, sometimes as a text or an email. Sometimes it means a drive to a seniors’ home or to someone shut in by illness. Every week, the altar flowers go to someone in need, or to someone who might be encouraged merely by being noticed. Every week, the clergy meet to coordinate their visits to those in need, or to those who have asked for our care.

A few years ago, when Clara King left us, we wondered how all the pastoral visiting would get done with only one priest on staff. But then it dawned on us that it would get done the way it always gets done—by church members caring for one another. So we surveyed how many such visitors there were, and we asked them simply to report in about how the person they visited was doing, and whether a visit from the clergy might be useful.

Jesus said that God’s people would be identified at the end of time as those who visited the sick, fed the hungry, clothed the naked—those who cared for one another. Two thousand years later it’s still true: we are a community grounded in care, and therefore in visiting.