February  2007 Issue No. 10


DOES OUR MINISTRY MATTER?


Good Friday
window given by
Frank & Win Finnie

On January 28, 2007 the Corporation invited the parish into Bishop Reed Hall for a light lunch and a well-attended parish meeting called “Does Our Ministry Matter.” The basis for this meeting came as a result of the Finance Committee Meeting and the creating of the Budget for 2007. The Corporation recognized that the changes taking place in the parish: i.e. rising costs, our aging population, community demographics, and the fact that the majority of you refuse to have any more children (I mean, really, what’s 70 years between mother and child anyway), would in the long run make the exercise of annual budgeting much more difficult in the years to come.

It was not to scare people or to assume the worst case scenarios or to paint a bleak future for our parish. The intent was to exchange information and ideas between all members of our parish family, much as you would sitting down together in your living room with family and friends and just exchange ideas – not being judged or ridiculed for what seems to be a silly idea or concern, but to help your family and friends (Corporation and Parish Council) by giving them time to discuss ideas and do their best to prepare for the future in a clearer, healthier and more positive way.

Out of the many subjects and ministries we could have chosen, we selected four topics to give an overall view of areas requesting or hoping for some changes, if at all possible, and where the parish wanted to go with them. These topics were: Roger’s announcement of his pending retirement and how this will effect the coming year; David Matthews giving a brief synopsis of the finances of the church, which is always on the minds of Corporation and Council; Georgia Roberts with an update on the Parish Nursing Ministry; and Marion Chapman on the effects we are having on our Debra-Dynes Ministry. We also knew that other ministries just as important and perhaps even closer to the hearts of other parish members would be brought forth as well.

There were many questions as to whether or not we were proceeding in the direction the parish wants to go. Are we doing enough both inside for the ministries that cater to the needs of our own parish family and those that we support outside the walls of our church?

Personally I have learned a lot. I think the members of the parish who attended this meeting proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that YES, “Our Ministry Does Matter,” and they were prepared to do more. I saw a group of people passionate about the ministries at St Mark’s and willing to fight for their ministries to continue. “Does Our Ministry Matter?” It sure does at St Mark’s. I think that the Corporation, the Finance Committee and Parish Council, with God’s help, will be able to act upon the constructive opinions and suggestions expressed at this meeting. I also believe that a healthy dialogue has commenced within the community as a whole. It should be encouraged to continue. Therefore, every once in a while we should let Bishop Reed Hall become our living room. Let’s just gather, and laugh and eat, and talk, and listen to each other.

Your humble servant
 - David Whitman



THE PASTOR'S PREAMBLE 

“CONTEMPLATION”

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.”
For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

Mark 6:30-32 (N.R.S.V.)
The season of Lent is a call to self-examination and repentance. This requires taking time for personal reflection, meditation, prayer and corporate worship. It is a time to grow in awareness of all the barriers that separate us from God, and through our participation in the Paschal Mystery (Jesus’ dying and rising) to draw closer to God.

Our Lenten Program at St Mark’s this year is based on a talk by Father Richard Rohr on Contemplative Prayer. This compliments the program from last fall of Rohr’s talk entitled “Bias from the Bottom,” about Christian action in the world.  Our first night will be the longest, viewing the entire talk of an hour and a half, from 7:30 - 9:00 PM, on Tuesday, February 27. The next four one-hour sessions on Tuesdays in March will explore this talk in more detail, with Biblical references and discussion, as we view the video again in sections as follows:

March 6:“Learning the mind of Christ”
March 13: “Praying always”
March 20:“Living out of who we are in God” March 27: “A journey from mind to spirit.”

Study sheets will be available in advance to all participants. The one-hour format will begin at 7:30 PM with prayer and some lead-up questions to the 25 minutes of video (approximately) that will be shown.
This will be followed by a short time of discussion, and concluded with the singing of a hymn and closing prayer.

A book that compliments this talk and study sessions is Everything Belongs (The Gift of Contemplative Prayer), by Richard Rohr (The Crossroad Publishing Company, N.Y., 1999).

Come to join our walk in the church around the Stations of the Cross, in meditations and prayers on Wednesday, March 21, at 7:30 PM.

Do not carry your guilt any longer, for he has taken the guilt himself, he has buried it in his grave, he has lifted it to his cross, and he is here among us now. People of God, why do you seek the living among the dead? Because our wounds are deep, we have torn away from that man, we have broken with him and with our brothers and sisters. Do not dwell on your wounds, for he has risen to heal you, he has risen to forgive you, he has risen to change you all, and bind us all together now. People of God, he is not here; he is risen. Alleluia!
(From A Walk in Jerusalem, Stations of the Cross, by John Peterson.)

A blessed Lent and Easter to you all,

- Roger Steinke +


The Anger of Grief, the Grief of Anger

I am a table. A modern, decorative table. But the wood within me, the spirit that is mine, has taken many different shapes over the centuries, and served many different functions. I have formed parts of furniture, walls, tools, weapons and ornaments. My atoms have grown from tiny seeds into towering trees; my fibres have been cut and whittled and painted; my myriad forms have been lovingly polished and savagely shattered; my splinters have been cast aside to wear away into the earth and nourish sprouts and grow into new trees.

I have been a table many times before. Once I stood in the foyer of an enormous temple. I was larger then, and of more functional design. Money traded across my scarred surface all day, and the busy marketplace atmosphere never faded. I was serving a very practical purpose, which is what any table aspires to do. And yet… I never felt – comfortable.

Yes, furniture and tools can feel. When it is used for its intended purpose and in the correct manner, wood glows. When it is forced into a task for which it was not constructed, or when its surroundings are not compatible in some way with its spirit, wood grieves.

But what can a table do about any of this?

One day a man walked in who could do something about it – and did.

I was closest to his point of entry, so I was the first to receive his attention. I felt his grief, even more clearly than I felt my own: grief that I and all the other sellers’ tables should be here. I felt his anger: anger that such commerce should be permitted in such a place. And then I felt his hands take hold of my edge and throw me over onto my side. Coins tumbled everywhere.

The money-changer sitting behind me barely leaped out of the way in time. There was an instant uproar. The man who had just walked in proceeded to knock over other tables and scatter other piles of coins and loosen the captive animals and send the sellers running for cover.

I lay on my side, amid scattered shekels, long forgotten, one leg broken from the violence of my upset. I felt grief that I was in a place where a table such as I should not be.

I felt anger that such violence was needed to drive away the business that should not have been here either.

I understood the anger of the man who had found me in this temple, and I understood his grief that violence had been necessary to right the wrong. Both were natural emotions, powerful emotions, and in this instance entirely justified emotions.

Strangely, I felt neither anger nor grief for my own damage. I would never again sit here and make it possible for the money-changers to ply their trade, and that was good. The price was worth it.

There have been many changes to my structure since then, and many other occasions of grief and of anger vented around my silent, practical existence. None, however, were as welcome as that day in the great temple.

Now, many ages later, I am a table again. A modern, decorative table. Until last month, I belonged to a stately woman who greatly valued me. I stand in a bright, cosy living room where friends and family have gathered in happiness and contentment. I have been polished so that my wood gleams. I support several potted plants so that they can bask in the sun – plants that, deep down in their roots, know me from previous times when we shared soil together. I am serving a slightly less practical role than I sometimes have in the past, but an appreciated role for all that.

And I felt comfortable. Until last month.

The woman died. I was not polished. Her plants went unwatered. Her family has gathered to grieve… and I feel their grief. I feel their anger, too – anger founded upon the pain of wrongness and injustice and loss. I feel these emotions as keenly as I did from the man who cleared the temple. I understand these emotions now as well as I did then. And I would not be the least surprised if a member of this family suddenly took hold of my edge and threw me onto my side, just to vent those powerful, natural, justified feelings… so that the healing could begin.

The price would be worth it.


(Note: no furniture was injured in the writing of this article.)

meditation
Peace ... be still

“Come apart and rest awhile. Lay your burdens down and take My yoke upon you. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. In quiet and confidence shall be your strength. Be still and know that I am God. I am the God who gives you strength. I am the God who loves you, loves you deeply. Know Me, know Me in the quiet of this hour. Find Me in your life, find Me and love Me, for I long for your love, just as you long for Mine. Know what a great blessing it is to sit quietly or to rest quietly in My presence, not thinking about anything in particular, not wanting anything from Me, but just to enjoy My company. Know always that My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Be still and know that I am God.”

May my being rest in God. May I know God through this silence, this quiet. May I find my strength in this silence, the strength that God offers me through my weakness. Through this silence, may I know God’s grace and lay my burdens down. May I find myself truly in God at this time, know God’s comfort and strength surrounding me, giving me peace for these times. May I feel the deep love of God penetrating through me, and making me new.

O this being of mine, live in the newness of God. Understand the stillness that is needed to know the grace of God. Calm my soul and let me know that God is in charge of all things. Align my will with God’s, and help me trust in all things. Know and understand that God’s grace is always sufficient for me. God’s grace will give me strength in my weakness. God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.

– Marion Stalter

a note from the Treasurer

On the subject of last year, I would just like to say: “Well done.” We showed a real increase in collections income for the first time in several years, and our expenses were less than expected. We ended the year with a budget surplus of about $10,000. (That is, our current year income exceeded our current year expenses by about $10,000). We also received a bequest of $80,000, which is being held in the Consolidated Trust Fund of the Diocese for us. We look forward to using the investment income from this bequest in the years to come.

- Joy Bowerman



Lenten Outreach

As has been our custom, St Mark's is running a Lenten Outreach this year. This is an opportunity for Lenten almsgiving. That means giving over and above our regular offering. At Vestry, four choices for Lenten Outreach will be presented. These will be voted on, and the top two choices will receive half each of the un-designated Lenten Outreach offering. If you wish to make an offering only to one project, you should mark this on the outside of the enclosed envelope. When you put your offering on the plate, make sure it has your name and/or envelope number on it so that you can receive tax credit for it.

The four projects presented this year are: Centre 454, The Mission, St Jude's, Iqualuit, and Hope Africa. The two that are chosen at Vestry will be published in the bulletin and on the website.



Mark This Word ... SUBMISSIONS

Any and all contributions are welcome. It is a great convenience to receive files electronically,
but I shall willingly transcribe for people who do not have computer access.
The best method for e-files is to save them in Rich Text Format (RTF) and email them to me.
Hard copy can be mailed or handed to me on Sundays at St Mark’s.

Next submission deadline: May 13, 2007.
- Sheila Vaudrey Editor e-mail: jubilate@magma.ca


The Parish of St. Mark the Evangelist
Anglican Church of Canada

1606 Fisher Ave, Ottawa, ON K2C 1X6
Tel: (613) 224-7431  *  Fax: (613) 224-7454
e-mail: stmarks@
stmarksottawa.ca
www.stmarksottawa.ca


Newsletter editor:  Sheila Vaudrey


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