Participating in God’s Future
I did not come up with this title — you did. At least your representatives on the parish selection committee did. “Participating in God’s Future” is the title of the parish profile that was developed as Epiphany & St Mark searched for a new Incumbent. It was in this document that I heard an echo of my own calling to ministry. I was drawn to the particularities of this place and these people, but I was also drawn to the openness to God’s future that this document spoke of.
Advent is about a lot of things. But this year our focus will be on the future. What is God’s dream for the future — of our church, of our neighbourhood, of our city and our world? We won’t arrive a clear answers to these questions. But by sitting intentionally with them for the next several weeks, we will find deeper purpose.
The role of the local parish, I believe, is to be the place where God’s dream for the world takes shape. I believe we are being called to welcome God’s dream for the world into this place we call Parkdale, this place we call Epiphany & St Mark. Let us be open to God’s future this Advent!
In hopeful anticipation,
An Advent Resource
We already have a practice of lighting a candle as we begin our worship services. This candle signifies our shared sacred space, even as we are worshipping apart.
It is, of course, a common Advent practice to light a candle for each week of the season. This week we light the candle of hope. I invite you to set out four candles in the places you are. If you would like to create an Advent wreath for the season, there is a simple but beautiful Celtic wreath that can be downloaded here. You’ll just need a printer, a pair of scissors, 4 tea lights and some crayons or markers.
Upcoming Episcopal Visits
Bishop Peter Fenty is about to retire from his episcopal ministry, but he has agreed to be with us on the third Sunday of Advent! It’s always a joy to have Peter with us.
Finally, although our Area Bishop, Jenny Andison, has answered a call to become the Incumbent of St Paul’s Bloor Street, she will be with us one last time in her current role. She will be with us on January 3, 2021.
Join us for online weekly worship held on Sundays at 10:30am
Join our services through Zoom Meeting on your computer:
Meeting ID: 777 678 934
Or call in with your phone:
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
+1 647 558 0588 Canada
Meeting ID: 777 678 934
If you do not have a copy of the Book of Alternative Services at home, you can download a copy here.
COMPLINE – Wednesdays at 7:30 PM
Each Wednesday at 7:30 PM, we will gather for a short service of prayer. You can access the service through the same link that we use for Sunday worship.
Compline, which comes from the same Latin root as the word “completion,” is a form of prayer that marks the end of the day where we hand the night over to God and ask for a restful sleep.
PRAYERS: FOR USE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The Church of England has produced an excellent prayer resource for use during the pandemic. The booklet includes prayers about the outbreak, personal prayers, prayers with children, and a pattern of daily prayer.
| FROM THE DEACON’S DESK – Prayers and Reflections |
As I write this reflection, it is very dark outside. It looks like midnight but it is actually 6:54 a.m. How appropriate it is that the Church celebrates Advent during this time of darkness!
Each Sunday for the next four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day and on Christmas Day itself, many Christian churches will light Advent candles. These candles remind us that Jesus is the Light in our dark world. The circular Advent wreath in which the candles are often set, symbolizes everlasting life existing in the midst of bleak winter. This Sunday’s candle symbolizes hope and is called the “Prophet’s Candle” because the prophets waited in hope for the promised Messiah. The colour of the candle is purple–a symbol of royalty, repentance and fasting.
“Hope,” according to Desmond Tutu, “is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Life exists even in the midst of terrible circumstances. Hope is one of the most powerful gifts that we have been given. Hope inspires and carries us through very difficult situations. As we all struggle to live through the uncertainty, fear, and despair of 2020, we must hold on to hope. “If you only carry one thing throughout your entire life, let it be hope. Let it be hope that you can get through even the toughest times…” Nikki Banas|Walk the Earth
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 (NRSV)
Gracious God, in the night of distress we forget the days of sun and joy. Even when we do not know your presence, preserve us from the dark torrent of despair. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(The Book of Alternative Services, p. 759)
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