“WE’LL FIGURE IT OUT”
When we moved back into our Sanctuary, our motto was, “we’ll figure it out!” Well, seven months later, there’s several groups of people who continue to work quietly behind the scenes, helping us figure it out as we go along.
The folks on the Chair Team (aka: “Cardio for Christ”!) give us an incredible gift every Sunday, reliably showing up sometime after 9:00 and arranging our worship space. Their quiet attention to symmetry, straightness and the curve of the rows really beautifies our Sanctuary, and we are hugely thankful for this ministry of welcome.
The folks on the Tech Team are at work all the way through the service, in a way most of us never notice: subtly changing the light to match the movement of worship, monitoring sound quality and volume, adjusting the microphones for different voices, and the height of different speakers. There’s a lot to learn about our tech systems (and a lot more still to learn), and we are so grateful to them for their ongoing learning and service.
We also want to say thank you to the Coffee Time volunteers and the Sides People for their flexibility in adjusting their roles to match our new space. And a huge thanks to the staff in the office, Lynn and Beverley, for their hard work and endless problem-solving capabilities. We continue figuring it out, and thank you to everyone for journeying with us as we do!
LOOKING AHEAD TO SUMMER
With the lovely weather these days, we start looking forward to the glorious months of summer ahead, and again this summer, we’ll be winding down activities at St. Stephen’s. Normally, we follow the civic calendar for when we begin winding down, but Easter was very late this year and so the liturgical calendar is giving us reasons to do things a bit differently.
Because Easter was so late, Pentecost is late too, falling on June 8, and the Sunday following Pentecost is Trinity Sunday (June 15). That means that there’s only two Sundays in the gap between Trinity and the Stampede Service. If we did things for the 10:30 service as we usually do, that would mean 5 different worship templates over 7 weeks, and that’s just too much! The thing about Anglicans is we like to establish a little routine, a little repetition, so we can take some things for granted in the worship services (which is relaxing) and yet we still get some new material every week (which keeps things interesting).
As a result, this year, we’re going to start our Summer Lite services on June 22, and the service will be very similar to previous years. But there will be one particular change to the 10:30 service to see if we can make it more family-friendly: we’re going to try it without a period of silence. We’ll give this a try for this summer and see how it goes. Start Up Sunday will be September 7.
“A word from our Synod delegates about Synod May 9-10”
Four members of St. Stephen’s attended Diocesan Synod this past weekend: the Rev. Clara King, Heather Campbell, Blake Kanewischer, and Jean Springer. Why did they give up their weekend?
Diocesan Synod is a decision-making body that advises the bishop and his senior administration of the wishes and will of the clergy and people of the diocese. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? This year’s synod was largely administrative in nature, and there was relatively little discussion about substantive issues in the life of our diocese.
Some of the administrative tasks we accomplished included electing clergy and lay delegates to our senior synods—the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod, which meets in Toronto in 2016, and our Provincial Synod, which meets in Saskatoon in June 2015. Heather Campbell was an unsuccessful candidate for General Synod delegate, though she will serve on the Legislative Committee of the diocese.
We also made some housekeeping changes to our canons (our church rules and laws). One of the most significant was the removal of a maximum age for clergy to hold a license from the bishop (it was age 70).
The other joyous (and challenging) part of the weekend was the presence of the Very Rev. Canon Kevin Martin, who shared some insights into how churches continue to grow. He spoke of the tension between love and growth, and of the shifting demographics we face as a church. He’ll also be speaking at the Clergy Conference, so look for more about his ideas next week!
A Different Kind of Resurrection
It’s been almost two years that the little fenced-off patch of land beside the door of the Memorial Hall has lain abandoned. But one person’s trash is another’s treasure: the Beltline Communities Association has been looking for a location for a community garden, and it’s a brilliant ministry opportunity for our abandoned patch of land. Gardening is good for us in all sorts of ways: apart from the physical benefits, it reduces stress, improves your mood, eases symptoms of depression, and it can even lower the risk of dementia. And perhaps even more importantly, it can play a crucial role in building community. Social isolation is a big issue in this high-density neighborhood of ours. A community garden gives people a reason to interact with their neighbours and build connections with strangers, which in turn builds safety, supports diversity and promotes neighborliness, and that can have huge knock-on effects for our collective physical and mental health.
You’ll see the garden being installed over the next few weeks, and we’ll be planting on May 31, the day of the Community Fair we’re hosting in the Lower Hall. All members of St. Stephen’s are warmly welcome to participate in the Community Garden, and you are particularly encouraged to get involved if you’re also a resident of this neighborhood. We’ll even be hosting some gardening classes (specific to our climate!) on June 7, 14 and 21 to help get you started – details are on the bulletin board.
WE’LL HOLD STEADY; A WORD FROM CLARA ABOUT THE COMING MONTHS
This past year has been a time of huge change at St. Stephen’s, and it’s been both exciting and challenging. Since we moved into our new space, we’ve had to work hard at “figuring it out” – discovering what the new ‘normal’ is, and how to make it all work. It has been, in varying degrees, hard on everyone in this parish to keep up with all the change. And it might seem that Brian’s departure on sabbatical is going to make for even more changes.
Quite a few people have asked me whether I’m looking forward to being “in charge”, but that’s not how it goes. Decision-making authority remains in the hands of the legal Corporation of the parish, of which Brian, as the Incumbent, is only one member of three. The other two members remain at the helm while he’s away: our Wardens Mary Lou Flood and Louise Redmond. And Parish Council remains in place as vision-setter and sounding-board. Together with them, my role is to be a faithful steward until Brian returns to us.
A lot of things have been changing at St. Stephen’s, but over these next four months, we’ll just keep working on the new normal that we’ve been figuring out. And the heart of what we do won’t change: come on Sunday mornings to be fed, to pray, to sing, to think and reflect and learn and grow. And we’ll hold steady until Brian comes back.