Dear beloved friends,
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
– Psalm 30:5
I hope that you and those you love are doing well, and staying healthy.
Today we give thanks for the The Rev. Canon David Clark as he celebrates his 80th birthday this week. David, we are so grateful for your devotion and service to St. George’s, for your inspiring faith and wisdom, your loving kindness and your pastoral care of us all. May God keep you and Alene well in this crisis — and we promise that when all this is over, there will be cake!
Last Sunday, we learned of the tragedy that had unfolded in rural Nova Scotia over the weekend, in which at least 24 people lost their lives. All week as we have heard the stories of the precious lives lost to senseless violence. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and communities of those who have been killed. As our Primate said, “as we remember we turn to prayer for it is at a time of unexplainable tragedy we cry to God and know God cries with us.
This week we also learned of the loss of life in Care Homes across our country. Two homes where we conduct services are grieving terrible losses. We are saddened to hear of 40 deaths at Orchard Villa in Pickering and 14 at Ballycliffe in Ajax among residents and staff. I ask you to remember these families and all care homes in your prayers. Our evening service today will be devoted to praying for care homes, their residents, staff and families. Go to facebook.com/StGeorgesAnglicanChurch/ at 8:30 pm to join the service.
The discipline of joy
In today’s coffee gathering, people were talking about the need to hold onto joy in the midst of all of the tragedy of this week. How do we do that when we cannot mourn as we are used to do, by gathering together and sharing our sorrow?
The preacher Samuel Wells has called this the discipline of joy. It means that our Easter faith has two dimensions. “On the one hand Easter means joy, meeting Jesus face to face, knowing the risen Lord, enjoying all the glorious possibilities opened up by his resurection. On the other hand, Easter means discipline, holding tight to our Easter faith even when… life doesn’t look or feel very resurrected. The discipline of joy says, “it’s not about euphoria that blows all your worries away. It’s the discipline that says, in the end, God. My life is hid with Christ in God. I never walk alone. Be not afraid.” If you would like to read the sermon from The Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells, you can find it here.
The coffee group agreed we need laughter too. Some of us loved the report on the CBC of a young boy who set up a joke stand in his driveway, to share a funny moment with passersby because people need cheering up in this time. For others a great movie, The Princess Bride for example, can get us laughing. And then there’s this, a family who designated their sidewalk as falling under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks. So here’s challenge: How can you bring joy and laughter to someone this week?
This week we also marked Earth Day. Perhaps you have marvelled at the reports of forest animals in city streets, rebounding fish stocks and clearer skies as the world has gone quiet. It has been observed that in the current crisis, we have shown that the human community can be galvanized to take radical action; I hope and pray that as we emerge from isolation we can bring the same determination to the climate crisis. This can be for us a source of hope and a call to action.
Celebrating St. George
April 23rd was the feast of George, our patron saint, and we remembered him in our daily prayers that day. In the front window of historic St. George’s, he is depicted in full armour with a white shield emblazoned with a red cross. The real George was born in Greece and became a soldier in the Roman army. He was martyred in Palestine for refusing to recant his Christian faith during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. He has become the stuff of myth and legend as the dragon slayer who defeats tyranny, which made him a favourite with English kings. There are lots of articles and videos about St. George online to explore by a simple Google search.
Tents, sleeping bags and masks for vulnerable people
If you have tents in good repair, or well laundered sleeping bags, there are folks at All Saints Community Drop-In who could really use them as the shelters where outbreaks and overcrowding are a reality as so many homeless shelters are shutting down. Speak to Rev. Susan to arrange pick-up.
Thanks to Beverley Trull, Brenda Horsford, Evelyn Samuels and Debbie Wright who have been sewing masks, which are appreciated by a local hospital. We have also had a request for them from Toronto Urban Native Ministries, so there is a great demand for them. Would you like to sew? Let us know. If you happen to have some narrow elastic, it is very much in demand and would be appreciated by the mask makers.
Reboot your faith! Online programs during Covid
What’s a reboot class you ask? This is an opportunity to revisit and reconnect to the basics of Christian faith, learn about the anglican tradition and reflect on the baptismal covenant. This will be an interactive zoom class for all. When we are back in church, we’ll have a special celebration to reaffirm our faith alongside those who are preparing for baptism. Won’t that be a glorious celebration!
Rev. Marilyn has meditation up and running on Tuesday. If you would like to attend, let her know and she will send the invitation.
What became of doubting Thomas?
We’re starting up bible study again. This Thursday, we’ll be taking a look into the life, witness and writings of the doubting disciple, Thomas. Did you know that he is credited with founding the church in India? Purabi Das will be along to tell us that story and how he has influenced Christianity in India. We’ll look at the biblical stories of Thomas, and his gospel. (Did you know there is a gospel of Thomas?) Come and learn more about this man of passionate Christian faith.
That’s all for now. Take good care, keep praying, and we’ll see you soon!