November  2009 Issue No. 21

St Mark's Does it Best

Outreach is the process of engaging with individuals and organizations with the primary purpose of serving as a resource. St. Mark’s is surely a leader in this area. During my three score years and more as a parishioner here, the congregation has always demonstrated the spirit of giving and reaching out to people less fortunate than themselves, and this is one of the things they do well.

A little more than two years ago, I introduced a severely handicapped 12-year-old child in Guyana – Ashley Persaud – to the St. Mark’s community. My initial aim was to bring her to Toronto for surgery and to raise funds for support during her stay.

In order to raise funds for Ashley, a group was formed: “The Friends of Ashley Persaud – Ottawa.” Many caring friends rallied and St. Mark’s parishioners led the way – Judy Corbishley, Margaret Lodge, Pamela Rogers, Margaret Williamson and Keith and Heather Guild. We were helped by members of the Prayer and Praise and Something More Groups, and numerous parishioners donated their time or gifts in every way they could to achieve our goal.

For two years, ongoing events were held to assist in paying Ashley’s medical bills, but due to the many and varied complications of her health, surgery was no longer an option. Doctors opted to leave her in Guyana where she could be treated with the best possible medication for her condition, receive the best medical and personal attention, as well as keep the family together.

The Friends of Ashley developed a new aim: to find a way of providing this assistance in Guyana. 

During all this time I was in touch with Pat Pierre, an exceptional volunteer in Guyana. She and Nurse Marina, the public health nurse, are advocates for Ashley.

Sheila Pitt, Ashley and Nurse Marina

Last summer, I travelled to Guyana, not only to vacation there, but to ensure that the funds were put into responsible hands for Ashley’s care, and I finally met her. When we arrived at Ashley’s home, one built specially for Ashley by the Missionaries for the Poor, Ashley’s mother welcomed us with: “Come in, it’s hot, you want something to drink?” and she proceeded to pour pop into a glass. I was amazed, because this poor woman from the little she had was willing to share it with us. It is little wonder that I believe God is blessing them through us.

Ashley is growing into a beautiful young woman, but she still has a lot to deal with. Her pride has kicked in and not once did she expose her badly deformed legs. Her siblings were close at hand and they appear to be a very loving family. When I asked Ashley what I should say to the Friends in Ottawa, she said, “Tell them thank you.”

After extensive research for the best possible recipient of the funds collected, the St. Ann’s Orphanage was chosen to receive and dispense funds. I am very pleased to report that we turned over the sum of $5,674.73 CAD to Sister Beatrice Fernandes, Director of St. Ann’s Orphanage in Guyana, for Ashley’s care.

Jesus said: “In as much as you've done it for the least of my brethren you've done it for Me.” Seeing the congregation of St. Mark’s become involved in outreach is such a beautiful thing. 

It has been said that a rich man’s trash is a poor man’s treasure. During a conversation with Lorne Bowerman about the plight of the children and young adults in Guyana, I received yet another windfall: numerous bags of clothing and bedding to be sent to Guyana. My thanks to Lorne, Les Cundell and Helen McGill for all their help. 

I would be remiss if I did not also mention St. Mark’s Mothers’ Union, who allowed the Friends of Ashley to share their space at their fundraising picnic in June, so that we could auction off items donated to the cause, and further add to funds we had already collected through individual donations and a gospel concert.

I have an image in my mind of Lorne Kelly asking me: “How is that little girl doing?” and it brings tears to my eyes. She is doing well – thanks to you.

On behalf of Ashley, her Friends commend each one of you for opening your hearts, and the recipients of your givings are truly grateful.

– Sheila Pitt
Chair, Friends of Ashley Persaud – Ottawa

The Pastor’s Page

All I ever needed to know about stewardship,
I learned as a child…

In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him —
Give my heart.

Christina Georgina Rossetti 
(1830-1894)
When I was young, around this time of year my mother used to hang a banner she had made. It had a shepherd who looked like a child (Like me! I thought) and a lamb. The message on the banner was the last verse of a poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti. We know that poem as the famous carol “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

In the bleak midwinter…The first verse places the setting of what is to come squarely in the reality of life. For me, that means God comes to us in the real moments of life. God knows firsthand what we are going through, and God understands the conditions under which we work, strive and survive.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him… We then find out that God was not content to remain in heaven, nor content to leave our world the way it was. He first came (at Christmas), will come again (the Ultimate Advent), and by implication comes in the here and now (which we remember each year at Advent). He comes to be with us, content with what He finds and shares with us. This gift of God’s self without any conditions or limitations is the ultimate self-revelation of God’s generous and abundant nature.

Angels and archangels… The heavens attend the Christ Child, who also knows the intimacy of His Mother’s kiss. As the God-Child receives the ministry of angels and archangels, the infant Jesus receives His Mother’s love and affection. He receives both offerings, treasures each and every response. As Martin Luther said, “The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.”

This is where the stewardship lesson comes in, and this is the verse that was stitched on the banner in my childhood home.

What can I give him… All that we have is a gift from God. From God’s abundant generosity, we are empowered to give as we have received. We can do more than we can ask or imagine; we only need to see ourselves as gifted people, who are called to become more and more like the Giving-God. Imitating Jesus, encouraged and guided by the Spirit of abundant grace, we start with offering ourselves. What does that gift of ourselves – our ‘heart’ – look like in real terms?

God generously gives us gifts of time, energies, abilities/talent/skills, and financial resources. We are given gifts in abundance… more than we could ever need just for ourselves. What else can God expect from us, except to give back from what we’ve been given? What else can we expect from ourselves, except to give abundantly, as we have been shown to give?

Imagine a Christmas-induced revival in the Church where we all redoubled our efforts to give as generously as we have received. I bet our parish budget would runneth over! Generosity would be spilling out into good works in our community, our city and our world. We’d be having conversations about what more we can do. 

If God can give us himself, the true meaning of Christmas, then what is our response? What can we give? Where does our heart truly lie?

May God bless you and yours this year and always, and through you, may God bless this world He loves so abundantly.

– Fr. Brian Kauk


Celebrating 60 years at St Mark's

An abridged version of the homily given by the Ven. Gordon Worden (Rector, 1984-1990)
on Sunday, September 27, 2009 at St. Mark’s.
 

It is an honour to help celebrate the 60th Anniversary of St. Mark’s. St. Mark’s is one of the most vibrant parishes of the Diocese and I feel honoured to stand among you. I see a lot of good friends in Christ and it is always good to meet and chat with old friends. I’m also deeply moved to be here, because just being here brings back so many memories, some fond remembrances and some heart-aching remembrances, but all spiritually significant memories.

The first time I stood at the front of St. Mark’s [was] October 16, 1971, and it was my wedding day. It was a beautiful and powerful day when Leslie and I exchanged solemn vows in front of God and the assembled congregation. 

This church has been a sacred place where thousands of people have expectantly come to hear God’s Word and have discovered meaning and insight into their daily lives. People have come to St. Mark’s with heavy hearts and hurting health and have experienced healing prayer and touch and wholeness of being. Parishioners have come week by week to enter into worship, in liturgy and music, and have found that their life is worth living. Sunday by Sunday, seekers have journeyed to the front of St. Mark’s, hungry for renewed life and with a thirst for deeper faith, and have been spiritually filled by the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Let us not forget to give thanks as we celebrate sixty years of ministry for this sacred space where so many men, women and children have encountered the unconditional love of God, by the grace of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. I know, I won’t forget.

It just felt so right to me and to Leslie to come to this church that held such significance for us. The warmth of the wood interior of St. Mark’s was surpassed by the warm welcome our family received when we arrived in March of 1984.

I must admit that sometimes we were a little overwhelmed by St. Mark’s gregarious and extraverted corporate personality. But that is who St. Mark’s is – a family, a community of faithful people who strongly believe that their church is the best church ever! It is a great gift to have a positive image of your church. St. Mark’s people are proud of their Church and that’s something to give thanks for. I know I do.

And there is good reason to be proud of St. Mark’s. It is a place where people care for others. When someone was hurting or ill or lonely or mourning, there were people who showed compassion and reached out. Illness, death, tragedy were felt by everyone in the congregation because we were a relatively small community. We knew each other and cared for each other.

Certainly the clergy families of St. Mark’s knew and experienced that caring. It was a horrendous shock when Leslie was diagnosed with cancer on September 14, 1988. As the news spread thought the parish, the messages of hope and concern began to arrive at the doorsteps of the Rectory. Cards and telephone calls and offers to help with baking, child care, driving. Freshly baked loaves of bread… tasty meals and tickets to the theatre. After Leslie’s chemo, radiation and surgery, [she] received her voice back while singing carols at St. Mark’s Christmas Service. We had a marvellous trip to Barbados, thanks to the generosity of St. Mark’s people, and others helped in numerous ways.

St. Mark’s people care for others. Let us give thanks for sixty years of caring. I know I do.

The liturgy at St. Mark’s is very well done. Many lay people participate in the service and people want to do their very best in the service of God. The Book of Alternative Services was generally accepted as an obvious successor to the years of experimentation in Liturgy. And that experimentation was good – it made people more aware of saying what we mean and meaning what we say.

We had lots of discussions and trials around bringing the Altar forward. It didn’t happen in my day, but I appreciated peoples’ patience and willingness to see that if we believe God is with us here and now, then our liturgy should express that. The willingness to try something new for the sake of growing in faith and service, I believe, is part of St. Mark’s character.

When I was Rector, we didn’t have an outreach project. There was a need at the old Perley Hospital for a visiting Pastoral Care Team, and it seemed like God had given us a ministry opportunity that we couldn’t refuse! People took pastoral care training, visited patients on a weekly basis, and we gathered for a Eucharist on Friday at the Perley. It is very rewarding to see that something that started off as an experiment is still being carried on by St. Mark’s at the new Perley Hospital.

St. Mark’s willingness to try something new for the sake of growing in faith and service is something to celebrate. I know I do.

Everyone at St. Mark’s is a minister. “The ministry of this Church belongs to everyone here.” That’s what it says in your bulletin. And that’s what I discovered about St. Mark’s. I had to really think about what it meant to have a ministry as a priest because so many of the ministries I thought of as priestly were really done well by lay people. Visiting the sick at home, in institutions and in hospital was done by the Pastoral Care Team. Preaching was occasionally done by one of the four Lay Readers. Social and justice issues were raised by and responded to by lay people. The Choir Director and the Choir provided a marvellous ministry of music in the liturgy on Sunday, as well as for social and fund-raising events. Educational ministry for adults and children was supplied by lay people in adult study groups, in Church School and through the Royal Conservatory of Music Choristers program run by the Choir.

As well, there were scripture readers, lay assistants at the Eucharist, servers, trainers for baptism, sidespeople, a Hall Convener, a caretaker, a Property Committee and finally – but certainly not least – a very efficient and effective office administrator to keep track of all that was happening at St. Mark’s. The most important ministry of all: the ministry of all baptised Christians – your ministry – of faithful worship and partaking in the Eucharist, of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of evangelism, of social justice, of unconditional love and respect of others.

Who are the ministers of St. Mark’s? All the people. That’s definitely something to give thanks for as we celebrate sixty years of ministry. I know I do.

This has been a rather personal thanksgiving for the 60th anniversary of St. Mark’s, but I hope it has allowed you to see through one priest’s eyes a little slice of the life of St. Mark’s and why it is important to take time to give thanks to God for St. Mark’s Church.

–  Gord Worden +

In Recognition

On July 5, George McCaul was presented with the Common Praise hymnal by Fr. Brian Kauk – a gift from the Choir – to honour his many years of commitment and dedication to the Choir and the Choral Ministry at St. Mark’s. 
George, who retired from the choir this year, joined St. Mark’s and the Choir with his wife Diane in 1984. By 2009 he had been a chorister for over 60 years. Thank you, George, from all your fellow choristers, past and present.


The Nurse's Nook

H1N1 UPDATE: As the second wave of H1N1 flu has hit the Ottawa area, and deaths have been reported, many are worried about what to do if they get H1N1. Below are the Ottawa Public Health guidelines. 

When to stay home: Even though flu symptoms (such as fever, cough, muscle aches, a sore throat, fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite) can make you feel really sick and can last for several days, in most cases you can care for yourself at home.

- Rest
- Drink plenty of fluids – to avoid dehydration 
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for aches and fever
- Avoid spreading the flu: Wash your hands frequently, clean frequently-touched surfaces such as door handles with normal household disinfectants, keep at least two meters from household members and friends, postpone going out and getting your vaccine until after you are well, stay home until you are fever-free for 24 hours AND you are feeling better. 

People who are unsure whether they should see a health care provider can call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 to speak to a nurse. 

When to see your physician or primary care provider: If you are pregnant or have a medical condition related to heart, lungs or immune system, see your physician, primary care provider or a flu assessment centre within 48 hours of the onset of the symptoms.
If you don’t have underlying conditions and your flu symptoms are worsening quickly, seek medical assessment immediately from your family physician, primary health care provider or a flu assessment centre.

When to go to a hospital emergency department: If symptoms become severe – such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, lips turning blue, extreme weakness or passing out – go to a hospital emergency department.

Do not go to the emergency department to confirm that your illness is the flu, to get tested, to get vaccinated or to be cleared to resume your regular activities.

Have a plan in place in case you do get the flu. While you are healthy, shop for the things you might need if you are sick. Keep in the house:

- Tylenol or ibuprofen
- A thermometer
- Hand sanitizer and hand soap
- Cleaning supplies
- Kleenex
- A supply of easy to prepare food, soups, and juices.

If you live alone, plan ahead for those you can call on to help you if you do get sick.

If you need more information please call me or go to www.fightflu.ca. I am available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 613-224-7431, extension 3.

– Patti Robillard, RN

A Christmas Prayer

This Christmas, Lord,
may I be reminded that both the manger and the tomb are empty,
for You are not confined to Christmas and are not destroyed by death. 
You are the Living Lord and You are waiting to be born in my life. 
This Christmas, help me to make room for Your birth 
that I may be filled with Your love 
and empowered to share 
this wonderful gift in whatever ways I can. 
Amen.

– Leslee Alfano

Published in “The Lion’s Mark,” Advent 1982


A Note from the Treasurer

This year to the end of October, our expenses have exceeded our income by about $25,000. Although this is horrifying to look at, based on our spending and income patterns, we projected a deficit of about $17,000 – so the real difference is around $8,000. We are about $8,000 behind where we expected to be at this time of year. This is mostly due to a lack of income. Our expenses have not been out of line with our budget. Our income every month has just been a little bit below projected – not a lot – it works out to a little under $1,000 per month. We will reduce our income expectations for 2010, but it looks like 2009 will end with a deficit.

– Joy Bowerman


Happy Returns 

During our 60th Anniversary Year, not only did we celebrate amongst ourselves, but we also received visits from those past Rectors and their wives who were able to join us for Sunday morning worship. It was like a family reunion each time!


Gordon & Leslie Worden


Phyllis & David Lethbridge


Karen & Roger Steinke

 

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: February 14, 2010

- Sheila Vaudrey  Editor
e-mail:  jubilate.sv@gmail.com

The Frugal  Connoisseur

Budget restrictions are a fact of life, but they should not restrict our exposure to culture. Fortunately, they don’t have to. Ottawa has an amazing selection to fit all price ranges. There are various events taking place that might interest a lot of people and that cost next to nothing. Bob Ryan makes a point of searching out interesting demonstrations of local talent.

Dec. 4, 12:00 to 2:00 pm: The University of Ottawa’s “Christmas Offering” by the Music Dept. Choral and Orchestra. Tabaret Hall, 550 Cumberland St., room 112.

Dec. 12 & . Dec. 13, 2:00 & 7:00 pm: Bethel Pentecostal Church’s “Singing Christmas Tree.” Corner of Viewmount and Fisher Avenues. Food or cash donations are appreciated.

Dec. 5, 6:00 pm: “Help Santa Toy Parade” starts at the Canadian War Museum and finishes at City Hall. Toys or cash donations are appreciated.

Dec. 6: The Ottawa Christian Chorale presents “Glad Tidings” – classical, sacred works by Handel, Pergolesi and Mozart, with traditional carols for Advent as well. Emmanuel Alliance Church, 4 Thorncliffe Place, Nepean. Freewill offering.

Dec. 8, 7:00 pm: The Ottawa Storytellers present “Amazing Autobiographical Adventures” at The Tea Party (café), 119 York Street (down from Dalhousie Street).

Dec. 12, 5:30 pm: Parliament Hill’s “Christmas Lights Across Canada” – 300,000 local lights, with dignitaries, snacks and festivities. At 7:00 pm, the Olympic Torch relay, commemorating the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, reaches the Hill.

Dec. 13, 3:30 & 7:30 pm: The Salvation Army’s “Festival of Carols.” Phone the box office (613-580-2700) for availability of tickets and show times. Pick up free tickets at the Centrepointe Theatre box office ahead of time. 101 Centrepointe Dr., just west of Baseline bus station.

Mondays, up to Dec. 14, 7:30 to 10:00 pm: The Men’s Capital City Chorus invites everyone to listen to the musical preparations of their Christmas Show. Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, Britannia Park.

Up until Dec. 30: “A View from the Hill” – Parliament opens its doors; take the elevator up to the Peace Tower observation deck for a rare and striking night-time view of the city. Until Dec. 24, hours are 9 am to 4 pm; Dec. 26 – 30, hours are 11 am to 4pm. The last elevator is at 3:30 pm.

GLORY to OUR NEWBORN KING 



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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