November  2006 Issue No. 9

A winner in every way

Every athlete dreams of making it to the Olympic Games. Such a goal requires endless practice, patience, hard work and dedication. It is an enormous honour just to qualify as an Olympian, to represent your country and your team. But to earn a berth as a Special Olympian is to face and to surmount unique and debilitating obstacles that most of us, athletes or not, cannot truly comprehend.

It is this very lack of comprehension that makes life even harder for such individuals: both to attain their athletic goals and to live their everyday lives. Their sports are merely the public face to the real battle.

These are the real Games. These are the finest players of all: who refuse to yield to stigma or despair.

Kim performing with hoop and rainbow ribbon 

Kim Blakeney has been competing for years. She excels in three different gymnastic floor routine programs, all performed to music. Each requires balance, precision and grace. The music not only sets the mood of the performance, but it also guides the performer in rhythm and speed. When done well, movements and melody flow together into one creation.

Kim has attended Games in Sudbury, Montreal and Niagara Falls. She has won thirteen medals: five gold, two silver and six bronze.

She has given an exhibition of her skills on the main stage of the Ottawa SuperEx. And in October she demonstrated to St Mark's exactly why she is so deserving of the great title of "Olympian."


Three Seasons and One God 

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
- John 1:14 (N.R.S.V.)  

Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are really like one season in the liturgical life of the Church, rather than three. We have returned to the colour blue (from the ancient Sarum rite) for the season of Advent, rather than purple, to distinguish it from the more penitential season of Lent. Themes that echo through this whole trinity of seasons that really are like one, are named by the titles sometimes given to the four candles on the Advent wreath, leading up to Christmas.

Hope (Advent 1) is symbolized by an anchor (the letter to the Hebrews). This anchor holds us steadfast in the storms and waves of life. It is an absolutely certain hope, not just wishful thinking, that we who share in Jesus’ death (the forgiving and self-giving love of the cross) will also share in his resurrection. Christ has made the gift of eternal life certain for all of us.

Peace (Advent 2) is symbolized by a dove carrying an olive branch (the story of Noah). This peace that comes from God is more than just living in non-violence together. It is being reconciled to God, to one another and to all of creation in wholesome relationship. It brings rest, healing and the freedom to grow in our God given uniqueness. It is the harmony that holds all creation together in its diversity.

(Advent 3) is symbolized by the fire of the Holy Spirit (David danced with joy when the Spirit came upon him). Joy is the presence of a person. Pure joy is God’s own presence gracing us in spirit and truth, in our very flesh. Yet paradoxically, joy comes only by entering into pain - our own pain, the pain of others, the pain of the world. This is the very purpose and reason for God’s coming to us in Jesus, the Word made flesh.

Love (Advent 4) is symbolized by the cross of our Lord and by his mother Mary’s “yes” to God. It is a wide openness to God and to the doing of God’s will in all things. It is compassion that brings the willingness to empty out one’s very life for the life of another. It always goes beyond feeling to action. It is for giving. Only through forgiveness is life made whole. This is the real Christmas gift from God. Forgiveness is the beginning, the middle and the end of the Good News.

As we enter and live through these seasons in our life of worship and service together at St Mark’s, I pray that all of you will be truly blessed and that God will be glorified by who we are together in this parish.

Your fellow disciple on the road,

- Roger Steinke +

Our Straight-A Nursing Students

Physical, emotional and spiritual healing in a time of crisis

We are third-year nursing students at the University of Ottawa doing a community placement at St Mark's. We are currently working with the Health Committee to develop an emergency / pandemic preparedness plan for the congregation. Flu epidemics occurred in North America in 1918, 1957 and 1968.

With avian flu now a threat, it is important to consider your needs should such an event occur. Although faith groups are a good source of support during crisis, the very nature of close community adds to the risk of spreading respiratory infections. St Mark's would like to ensure that our community is well prepared, and can continue its spiritual outreach in any emergency situation (ice storm, blackouts).
On Sunday, October 29th, we conducted a questionnaire and handed it out to the congregation to ensure that our project focuses on your needs. All answers will be kept strictly confidential. The findings and education project plans will be presented to the Health Committee on November 28th as well as at the church breakfast on January 14th.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us at (613) 224-7431.

- Alexis - Allison - Amanda - Andrea

(Ed.  The title of this column was shamelessly stolen from Fr. Roger's formal welcome of these students to our parish.)

Meditation .... THE GIFT

It's almost Christmas time, and once again we think of the gifts that we still must buy for our loved ones. Some of us have reached the time of our lives when we simply put cash or cheque in an envelope and let our loved ones buy what they wish, or we take them shopping with us. That way they're sure to get what they want.

Many centuries ago, God chose to give to His people a special gift. The gift of Himself, disguised as a baby, a human baby, who came to live among us and show us how to live. That baby became a child, and then a young man. Many thought that young man had strange ways: love your neighbour, do good to those who hate you. Many New Testament stories demonstrate the compassion He had for others. At the end of the story, many people had come to hate Jesus. They were disturbed greatly by His teachings, and as a result they crucified Him. The end of the story, though, is the Resurrection, not the dying.

The stories that we read in the Bible about Jesus are true. However, these stories are not just stories about someone who lived so many centuries ago; they are stories of Someone who lives today. Jesus still lives with us today. For that to be totally true, we must remove Jesus from the pages of the Bible, and have Him come to live with us. Jesus longs to be removed from the cross, or from the shelf, or from wherever else it is that we have stored Him, and come and live among us.

Will you give Him room in your life? Will we live in such a way so that the world can once again become aware of the living presence of Jesus, and come to truly know Him? Will we bring to others the greatest gift ever known? The gift of God Himself.

- Marion Stalter

The Puppy

One day as I was walking home,
I met a wee puppy,
all alone.
I coaxed him along.
"Here, puppy," I called!
It wasn't hard
to coax him at all.
I walked on the sidewalk
with puppy behind,
"Here, puppy, good puppy,"
all the while.
Arriving at home
as I opened the door,
I coaxed him in.
Need I say more?
As I searched the kitchen
for some meat or bone,
"Look, Mom," I cried,
"he followed me home!"

- Bob Wootton

The frugal
culture connoisseur

Budget restrictions are a fact of life for most of us, 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 that might interest a lot of people and that cost next to nothing. Here are Bob Ryan's picks for the 2006 Christmas season:

University of Ottawa's "Christmas Offering." Music Department, Choral and Orchestra. Tabaret Hall. Donations at the door.
National Capital Network of Sculptures "A Fine Balance." The Sussex Gallery Foyer, 222 Sussex Dr.,  Free!
Bethel Pentecostal Church's "Singing Christmas Tree." 500 Viewmount Dr. at Fisher Ave. Free!
University of Ottawa Guitar Ensemble. Frieman Hall, Perez Building. Donations at the door.
Ottawa storytellers "Stories and Tea" Creative narratives with tea, tasty treats. The Tea Party, 119 York St. in the Market off Dalhousie St. Free!
National Library's "The Peter Winkworth collection of Canadiana." Room 156, 395 Wellington St. at Bay St.  Free!

New Year's Resolutions ...

May God bless me with discomfort
At easy answers, half truths
And superficial relationships,
So that I will live deep within my heart.

May God bless me with anger
At injustice, oppression
And exploitation of people,
So that I will work for justice, equality and peace.

May God bless me with tears
To shed for those who suffer
From pain, rejection, starvation and war,
So that I will reach out my hand

To comfort them and change their pain into joy.
And may God bless me with the foolishness
To think that I can make a difference in the world,
So that I will do the things which others tell me
Cannot be done.

- Forward Day by Day   December 31, 1998

Mark This Word

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 4, 2007.

- Sheila Vaudrey  Editor

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

Newsletter editor:  Sheila Vaudrey


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