March  2008 Issue No. 14


Wassail

Welcoming Fr. Brian Kauk and his family to St. Mark's
February 3, 2008
(Tune: Here we come a-wassailing)

We've gathered here to welcome you
Within this parish hall,
To greet with warmth our Rector new,
Now join in, one and all:

CHORUS:
Love and joy come to you,
and to all your family too,
May God bless you as you begin this ministry ...
May God's love shine through all who gather here.

You may think the learning curve
Is long and somewhat steep,
But we will do our best to help
So don't lose any sleep!

CHORUS

The pancake supper Tuesday next
Will quickly make you see:
Whenever there's a call for food,
St. Mark's responds with glee!

CHORUS

Committees, council, meetings too,
You'll find no shortage here;
And willing hands to share the load
With plenty of good cheer!

CHORUS
So, Father Brian, all of us
Reach out to take your hand;
Let's all thank God as we process
toward His promised land!

CHORUS

And if you might be wondering,
We're known as St. Mark's choir:
Melodic voices singing
Sweet music to inspire!

CHORUS

- Brenda Zanin
with contributions from
Margaret Lodge, Ariane Dind, Cynthia Greer
and critical input from many other choir members!


Introducing Brenda Adam and Brian Kauk



THE PASTOR'S PREAMBLE 

Charge for Vestry
and for the Future

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
- Hebrews 11:1 

St Mark's Vestry, February 19, 2008:   My first report to this Parish will be brief.

The last two weeks since I joined the ministry here at St Mark's seems to me like drinking from a fire hose, but I recognize my experience so far shrinks in comparison with everything else underway, represented by the reports in your Vestry package. There are really only two things I can report since I arrived February 1st . One: I found the bathroom. I didn't find the light switches that night, but I did find the bathroom. That's about the extent of my accomplishments to date. The other thing to report is how welcome Brenda and I feel here. You have a tremendous gift of welcoming newcomers - at least new clergy and families. I hope we can build on that gift and the good work already starting here on our way to becoming a truly welcoming community that practices intentional hospitality.

I first became acquainted with St Mark's by reading your parish profile, written by the members of the Parish Committee for the appointment of this Incumbent. I noted that you named the challenges you face in transitioning from one generation to another, a theme that I see also in Father Roger's report to last year's Vestry meeting. There's something else in your profile document that I believe we should note in connection with the challenge of renewing and revitalizing Christ's Church here: faith. St Mark's used the word faith over and over again in describing your ministry here. I have come to envision our ministry here with the following phrase: "We have faith in this community." We are God's people, placed in this geographical place, commissioned to be people of faith. More than simply residing here, we are sent in apostolic fashion to direct our faith outwards towards the wider community in which we live and serve.

For some, the task of handing over our roles and responsibilities seems daunting, invisible, a faint hope. The question always arises: who will be there to take the baton when I can no longer run this race? I have only one answer: faith. Faith is assurance of things hoped for, conviction of things not seen, the knowledge that by faith we will one day see. Faith is letting go and letting God. Faith is the next test to which St Mark's must dedicate itself. Putting faith first seems to run counter to all intuition, but it is the only way for us to proceed. Faith built this Church, faith grew this Church, and faith will constantly renew and revitalize this Church for many years to come. Of that I am convinced, and I will aim over the next year to convince you of the same.

There are too many people for me to thank. I found out at one meeting that I am supposed to thank the Servers and Lay Administrators at Communion. I assume it is someone else's job to thank the Music Director, Junior and Senior Choirs, Sidespersons and Coffee Hour hosts, Sunday School, Wardens and Deputy Wardens, Administrators of our Finances and the Parish Office, Readers and Altar Guild, Property, Stewardship, Membership, Prayer and Healing ministries, and all the other hosts of activities I neglected to mention.

I ask for your prayers as we journey together into God's exciting future, to a place that we cannot see yet, but that we know awaits us, trusting in God's grace by ... faith!

In Christ,
- Brian Kauk  Incumbent


The Guardian Angel Hall of Fame

It's been said that God watches over children, drunks and fools ...

I was in my late teens, still living with my mother, but old enough to go out shopping on my own. I would have said that I wasn't a child, or a fool, and I certainly didn't drink, but with hindsight I know now that I was too innocent for safety's sake in this world.

I had stepped out of a hardware store on a busy street, and was strolling down the block towards the bus stop, when a man pulled up beside me on a bicycle. He was middle-aged and clean-shaven. He greeted me very pleasantly, and I replied politely as any strangers might on the street. Then he asked me if I would like to see something really neat. My curiosity rose. He pointed down a side road that ended perhaps fifty metres beyond at the loading bay of another store, and said that all I had to do was walk down there. It would only take a minute.

I remember thinking that the street was wide and sunlit and looked safe and ordinary, but there was no traffic and no one else in sight. I don't remember in considered the fact that no one would be likely to drive or walk down there unless making a delivery. In this moment my curiosity was tingling ...

Then a silent voice whispered in my ear that this was definitely not a good idea. It wasn't some inbred caution rising to the surface, because I'm pretty sure that at this point of my life I had never heard of what can happen to girls and women walking alone. It was the voice of someone else entirely, someone I would no more disobey than I would disobey my parents. So I told the man on the bike that, even though his offer did sound interesting, I needed to get home and didn't have time to spare.

As I walked away, the next business I passed was a restaurant. The voice whispered to me again, telling me to go inside. I had no idea why I should do so, but I obeyed. The voice whispered that I needed to phone home. Now I knew that my mother was out of the house, and that I would get no answer, but I obeyed. There was a pay phone in the entranceway. I inserted a coin and dialled. I knew that the restaurant patrons could see me. The voice whispered that this was good. The phone rang and rang, and no one answered. The voice whispered that I must show surprise and even concern, as though not being able to reach anyone was bad news. I had no idea what this would accomplish, but I obeyed. As I hung up and hurried out, wondering aloud why no one was home, I knew that the patrons could hear me, but the voice whispered that this was good. The patrons would remember me and could testify as to what I had done. I had no idea why that might be important, but I obeyed.

Right outside the restaurant, the man on the bike was waiting for me, almost but not quite blocking my path. He smiled and asked if I had changed my mind, because his offer to see this neat thing would really take just a minute. The voice whispered that I must keep up the act it had helped me to create. I told the man on the bike that I had just tried to phone home and no one was there, and I was worried, so I had to go home at once.

Just as I walked past him, the local bus roared past me and pulled up at a stop only a few more meters down the street to pick up a waiting passenger. I seized this wonderful opportunity and sprinted forward, just reaching the stop in time to board.

Once seated on the bus, I felt a bit strange. What had just happened? Who was that man on the bike, and what really neat thing had I missed? Where did that voice come from, and why did it tell me to pretend to the man on the bike and to other people as well that there was a problem at home when I knew there wasn't?

I had no answers. Eventually I gave up wondering. It wasn't important.

In my maturity, I have resumed wondering ... and I shiver. It could have been dreadfully important. What might have happened had I yielded to youthful curiosity and walked down that empty side road? Nothing good, surely: I might have emerged scarred for life, or I might have never emerged at all. What if I hadn't manufactured a convincing reason to leave at once? Without such a good excuse, I might have been convinced to stick around. What if the bus hadn't come just when it did, or if it had come just a minute sooner, or if there hadn't already been another passenger waiting at that nearby stop to flag it down so that I could catch it as well? I would have been stranded on that street for some time with no other company but the man on the bike.

The silent voice not only guided me through this not-quite-an-adventure, but it also put the elements in place to ensure that I got out of there safely before this could become an adventure.

I never heard the silent voice again with such clarity. But now I give thanks for that voice, that invisible companion who hovered over me on the day where my hopes for adulthood might have ended before they began.

-Anonymous

Our Heavenly
Father Knows Best

How strong is your faith?

It's a question each Christian must ask himself or herself. It's easy to have faith when things are going well. When there's plenty of food on the table, a steady paycheque coming in, peace and health in your family. That's when it's easy to trust that God is looking out for us and has our best interests at heart.

But what about when things are going badly? How easy is it to have faith when something horrible happens to ourselves or to a loved one, when financial misfortune befalls us, or when we contemplate the gross injustices and abominable evils in the world, inflicted by our fellow human beings upon each other?

It is at these times when our faith is tested, and it is at the same time when we need our faith the most. We need to believe in our hearts that everything happens for a reason, according to God's will, and that even if we don't understand it, He knows best.

It helps if we think of ourselves as children, and God as our parent. Anyone who has children knows that, sometimes, you just have to tell a child, "Because I said so." We all remember being children ourselves, and our frustration when a parent would deny us something we wanted. Looking back, we know now that our parents' reasoning was sound and wise, although at the time it was beyond our comprehension.

That's how it is when it comes to faith in hard times. We cannot pretend to understand God's will, being that His mind is so far beyond the grasp of human understanding, and that we are so infinitesimally tiny in the grand scheme of His universe. This is the core of true faith; surrendering our will to God, putting our trust in Him one hundred percent. Once we accept that God loves us, (as the Bible teaches us), then we have a solid base for our faith in Him; if He loves us, and the universe is driven by His will, then everything that happens does so for the best. We (being His children) may not understand it, and sometimes may not like it much ... but if our faith is strong, it will always see us through.

- Jonathan Moore



Robins

The songs the robin birdies sing
I well recall when I was small;
From my bed I could hear their song
Through the window in the spring.
Bedtime was at 7pm;
Robin's twilight song  was then.
In early morning as I awoke,
Their "wake-up chirrups" the wee birds spoke.
Robins give such joy to life,
A relaxing sound in a world of strife.
I still love it when I hear
The robin birdies' songs of cheer!

- Bob Wootten   

A Note
from the Treasurer

We ended 2007 in a positive financial position,
with a budget surplus of approx- imately $2000.


At the January Parish Council meeting, the Council voted to direct $200 toward Lenten Outreach as a thank-offering and direct the remainder to the Capital Projects Reserve.


The 2008 budget is a balanced budget and was balanced without much difficulty.


Although it is difficult to judge after only one month, so far we seem to be on track with the 2008 income and expenses.


- Joy Bowerman

Resurrection Window
given to the Glory of God
by Bill & Gwen Bell



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 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: 
June1, 2008

- Sheila Vaudrey  Editor
e-mail:  jubilate@magma.ca

Meditation ... The Field

In the middle of February, the Lesson of the day was about the Sower (Mark 4: 1-20). It will be at least a couple of months before our ground is available to plant our crops. Nevertheless it is a good time for us to ponder what we might plant in the gardens we have.

However, the Lesson today is not about what we might plant, but about the soil. It is a good time to meditate on the soil, and the type of soil that we are for the flourishing of God's kingdom. We have no control over the type of soil we are. We are dependent upon the Farmer who tills the land. Or, perhaps it is more. Maybe it depends on what we allow the Farmer to do with the land.

I am reminded of an acre of ground that my father had, and how he worked the land until he was able to get good crops. The ground often needed rocks removed, big branches cut, thorns weeded out. The ground needed to be as smooth as possible: not always easily accomplished when we had heavy clay soil. The ground needed tilling, ploughing, fertilizing, watering and rotation of crops. It needed work. My father worked long and tedious hours to ensure that the ground was the right texture for the fruits and vegetables he wanted to grow. The earth needed to yield to his hand and his work.

If we are to be fertile ground for the Word of God to grow in, then we must yield to God's hand and allow the necessary things to happen within our lives. We need to be aware that God is constantly tilling, ploughing, fertilizing, watering and rotating the crops within our lives. Many of us don't mind the watering, until we realize that the watering may be our tears. Many of us know fertilizing is a good idea too, and yet we fail to realize that the fertilizing within our lives may be the bad things that happen to us, from which we grow. Many of us fail to recognize the tilling and ploughing within our lives as the disruptions which God puts there to test us. The rotation of crops is another avenue that we don't always see, and I think it may be how God asks us sometimes to change direction within our lives, sometimes leaving things, and letting go of things, and allowing another to pick up the task and see it through to completion. The fruit we bear is sometimes quite unknown to us. It is rewarding when someone speaks and says "thank you" for the way in which you helped me. Sometimes the thank you is a long time coming. And so our soil is tilled, ploughed, fertilized and watered so that we can bear good fruit.

It is God who prepares the soil. Are we ready to be the field, and to allow God to prepare the soil within us, so that we too might bear good fruit?

- Marion Stalter

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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