This Week: Dec 11th 2016

picture1This is a quick update of our ongoing work to make our diocese an inclusive Christian community that marries same-sex couples and welcomes all as equal members of the Body of Christ.

Back in September six clergy and a marriage commissioner joined to perform a wedding ceremony at St. Stephen’s for a “queer” couple (their own designation). It was an act of defiance within a diocese that does not permit same-sex blessings or marriages.

The six clergy were called before the archbishop a few weeks later, dressed down by the chancellor, and handed a disciplinary letter warning them not to do it again. Then, two months later, the archbishop sent an email to all the clergy of the diocese describing those events and attaching a copy of the disciplinary letter he had given the six clergy. A legal challenge has followed, citing a breach of the Personal Information Protection Act.

picture2The archbishop is now expecting all clergy and designated lay people from each parish to attend “Generous Listening” events he has planned for the New Year. Designed as study opportunities, they are not intended to lead to a decision but rather to help people “do their work” around this issue.

A group of clergy and lay people from across the diocese met recently to plan a way forward that presses for an end to study and debate and insists that “local option” be adopted as a diocesan policy, allowing individual parishes to make up their own minds about same-sex blessings.

Renaissance Singers & Players: Noé, Noé, Noël!

Our first concert of the season will see us exploring the music of Old France and New France with Noé, Noé, Noël! Old France will be represented by some French composers (Mouton, Costeley), a Franco-Flemish composer (Josquin des Prez), a Dutch composer who composed in the French polyphonic style (Sweelinck), and by at least one composer who was not at all French but who happened to write a beautiful, little-known gem in French (Orlando di Lasso and his La nuict froide et sombre.)

New France will be represented by two Canadian composers (Peter Togni’s setting of Ave Maria and Eleanor Daley’s interpretation of The Huron Carol), arrangements of French carols by the Canadian musicologist and performer Ernest Gagnon, and The Huron Carol sung in the Huron language.

Joining us will be the CRSP Players, a group of eight musicians led by the wonderful John van Leeuwen and playing recorders, baroque oboe and bassoon and violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord.

All in all, it promises to be a glorious evening of music, enriched by the acoustic warmth of the sanctuary at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church

Instrumental Society of Calgary: Classical Guitar: The Element of Surprise

In collaboration with the Classical Guitar Society of Calgary
Presenting Performers: Brett Gunther, Ralph Maier, Darren Young, MRU String Quartet
Three of Calgary’s finest guitarists will join forces with an up-and-coming string quartet from the MRU Conservatory in a Baroque and Classical music feast perfect for the season.

Cowtown Christmas

Kick off the Christmas season with Cowtown at our annual Christmas Sing Along!  Featuring Cowtown’s talented singers, chamber orchestra and your own voice!   Seasonal fun for the whole family. Prizes for the ugliest Christmas sweater competition!  7:30 pm at St. Stephens Anglican Church ( 1121 14 Ave SW). $25 regular, $15 students/seniors, Free for audience members under 5.  We will be accepting cash and canned donations for the Calgary Food Bank

This Week: December 4th 2016

picture1A  secret garden is growing in the heart of Calgary’s Beltline. Flower boxes, brightly painted, mark it outwardly, busy with gardeners of all ages during the growing season. But inwardly, there is a cultural flowering of art and music that is attracting world-class artists and savvy urban audiences. That secret garden is none other than St. Stephen’s!

Several weeks ago the Calgary Instrumental Society hosted a Sunday afternoon concert by CPO violinist and concertmaster Diana Cohen and members of her musical family. Over two hundred were in attendance for this intimate family affair. This Sunday we are visited by three of Calgary’s finest classical guitarists for a baroque and classical Christmas feast.

Professional choral groups love singing—and recording—at St. Stephen’s. In coming weeks the Renaissance Singers, One Voice Chorus, and La Vie Vocal Ensemble will all be taking the stage here, and in the New Year Luminous Voices will be recording their second album in our sanctuary.

This garden is overflowing with delight. Calgary’s culture vultures know it well, but to many it remains one of our city’s best-kept secrets, which doesn’t seem right. Good news should be proclaimed from the rooftops and in the city squares.

Your church has become a cultural mecca! Come and be fed by the cultural offerings happening here almost every week (check the Sunday bulletin, our weekly e-newsletter, or the bulletin boards for details). And then go tell the world there’s a cultural garden flowering here … and that it’s no secret!

This Week: November 27th 2016

picture1In early November, our rector and his wife visited Emmanuel Gatera in Rwanda to learn more about the work of YEGO-Rwanda, a foundation created by Emmanuel to bring healing to Rwandans and peace to a post-genocidal Rwanda. This is their story, in three parts. YEGO-Rwanda (Part III)

In 2008, sitting at the computer at the home of our rector and his wife, Emmanuel Gatera, beginning his doctoral studies at the University of Alberta, tapped out the guiding principles for a new foundation—YEGO-Rwanda (“YES-Rwanda!”), its mission, to heal the lingering and devastating trauma of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

Early in his ministry, while starting up a new congregation in Kigali, Emmanuel was troubled by the deep and disproportionate pastoral needs of his congregation. From adults who had lost entire families during the genocide, to young people being poorly raised by traumatized parents, to emotionally unstable individuals languishing in abject poverty, Emmanuel recognized a massive problem whose solution lay beyond what even a caring Christian congregation could do.

picture2pngYEGO-Rwanda was his answer. From a tiny office in Kigali, Emmanuel, his wife Athanasie, and a “staff” of volunteers started hearing the stories of genocide survivors; they provided counselling, healing retreats, and, for the young, programmed activities like traditional dance; and they offered what material assistance they could to those most severely marginalized by their trauma.

All the stories told by those touched by YEGO-Rwanda conclude (implausibly, given all they’ve been through!) with thanks to God and with tearful appreciation for the love and healing they have experienced through Emmanuel and his staff. Lives that were burned and scarred, like that of Rwanda itself, are rising from the ashes.

We support Emmanuel and YEGO-Rwanda through our “Outreach-Beyond” pink envelopes. But you can offer direct support through YEGO-Canada at www.yegorwanda.net.