Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sermon for June 28th 2009: 2 Corinthians 8 and 9

God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Many years ago I heard the story of a young African woman who got very sick and was taken to a hospital run by a Christian Church. In that hospital her illness was treated and she recovered, and of course she was very thankful for this fact. So before she left she said to the people who ran the hospital “I make baskets for a living, and from now on, for every three pennies I earn from my baskets I’m going to give one to the work of Jesus in this hospital”. A few days later she returned to the hospital and presented the staff with one penny. The manager said “Surely you haven’t earned three pennies already, have you?” The woman was shocked, and she replied, “You don’t think I’d give Jesus the last penny, do you?”

When someone has been touched by the grace of God in Jesus Christ, one of the surest signs that the Holy Spirit is at work is that they are being transformed into a generous and giving person. It’s as if we know instinctively that a major way we can show our gratitude to Jesus Christ is to give to others who are in need. To me, that’s one of the most encouraging signs of the work of the Holy Spirit in our congregation here at St. Margaret’s: the amazing generosity you people show, without fail, every time you’re presented with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate than you are.

In our first reading for today the Apostle Paul makes this very connection between gratitude and generosity. The section that this reading is taken from is one of the major passages in the New Testament on the subject of Christian giving to the poor, Second Corinthians 8 and 9. At the time this letter was written, the Church in Jerusalem was going through a time of extreme poverty, and we know from the New Testament that Paul and his friends in the Gentile churches felt a great sense of responsibility for the well-being of their fellow-Christians in Jerusalem. So Paul started a huge collection project for their benefit among the Gentile churches, and it’s that project that he’s referring to in this passage.

There are five principles about Christian giving to the poor that I want to point out to you in Second Corinthians chapters eight and nine. The first is this: our giving to the poor is a way of following the example of Jesus. Look at 8:9:
For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
As sinful human beings, we tend to find it very easy to be selfish and greedy. If we were asked the question “Have you reached the point in your life where you think you have enough?” most of us, if we were honest, would probably reply “Not yet!” And because I am a selfish and greedy person, I want to insist on keeping control over my life, my wealth and my money.

But the scriptures give us a very different picture of Jesus. He was probably the one person in the world who had the right to say “mine!” about anything at all, and yet the Bible tells us he was willing to leave the glory of heaven and surrender his rights and powers as God the Son. He was willing to become a human being, to serve those in need, and to give himself to death, even death on a Cross, as a free gift for us. Jesus’ whole life was an act of generosity. And what does this tell us about the nature of our God? It tells us that God is a God who loves to give! He knows that selfishness destroys life, but generosity is what life is all about.

You and I are in this church today because we are followers of Jesus. A follower of Jesus is on a daily journey of learning to see life as Jesus sees it and learning to live life as Jesus taught it. And there are probably few areas in our lives that we need this more desperately than the area of money and possessions, because we Christians who live in the western world are very, very wealthy. Surely, as followers of Jesus, we ought to be listening to his warnings about the power of wealth to seduce our hearts from the one true God, and we ought to be following his example of generous living. So that’s the first principle we find in this passage: our giving to the poor is a way of following the example of Jesus.

The second principle is this: our giving to the poor is part of our commitment to Jesus and to his Church. In chapter eight, verse 5, Paul says they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us’. In other words, everyone who Paul asked for money for his appeal was a person who was already committed to following Jesus as a part of his Church.

Let’s be clear about this: the reason many churches are getting anxious about growing is because their revenues are shrinking. Their motivation for wanting more people to come to church is ‘Will you please help fill our pews and share our deficits!’ But the most important issue in the life of a new member of a church is not how quickly they become good givers! No, the most important issue is that every single person who comes through the doors of this church has a life-changing encounter with God. And that comes, as Paul says here, when we give ourselves ‘first to the Lord and then to our fellow-Christians’ – in other words, when we are committed in our relationships with Christ and with our fellow-Christians.

An American Episcopal priest called Terry Fulham was once preaching a sermon on his congregation’s annual gift day - the Sunday every year where people came and gave large cheques to support the work of the church for the rest of the year. During his sermon he shocked a lot of people by asking everyone to take out their cheques and then saying, “Now; if your cheque does not represent your commitment to follow Jesus every day and to join in the activities of this church - rip it up right now!” Terry Fulham understood what true Christian giving is all about; it’s part of a person’s commitment to Jesus and to his Church.

The third principle we find in these chapters is the principle of equality. Look at chapter eight verses 13-15:
I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written, ‘The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little’.
In other words, this passage tells us that it is God’s will that there be equality of wealth among his people.

In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”. What would be involved in God’s answer to that prayer? If Paul is right, part of the answer would be that there be financial equality among his people, and since the earth does not contain enough resources for everyone to live at the standard we in the west enjoy, what we are actually praying in this prayer is ‘Lord, will you please make us poorer than we are now, so that others may have the necessities of life’. Or, as we used to say when I was a new Christian, ‘Help us to live simply, so that others might simply live’.

Bono, the lead singer of U2, has an interesting take on this. He says, “Every week Christians get down on their knees and pray to God to help the poor. But I think that, in a sense, God is the one who is getting down on his knees and praying to us to help the poor!” After all, the Lord is not like Robin Hood; he doesn’t rob from the rich to give to the poor. He has bound himself to respect human free will. He is waiting for us to become a part of the answer to our prayers. He is waiting for our love to express itself in cheerful giving, and also in the adoption of a more responsible lifestyle. That’s the third principle, the principle of equality.

So we’ve learned that our giving to the poor is a way of following the example of Jesus, that it’s a part of our commitment to Jesus and his Church, and that it expresses the principle of financial equality which is God’s will for his people. The fourth principle that we find in this passage is this: Don’t wait until you think you can afford it. Look at chapter 8 verses 1-3:
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, about the grace of God that has been granted to the churches of Macedonia; for during a severe ordeal of affliction, their abundant joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For, as I can testify, they voluntarily gave according to their means, and even beyond their means.
So here we have a group of Christians living in the cities of Macedonia who were very poor, and yet their joy in Christ caused them to give generously, to the point that Paul held them up as an example to the Corinthian church. I find it very interesting that in this passage Paul says very clearly that the Macedonians could not afford to give, but they did so anyway, and God honoured them for it. And it’s been shown over and over again that the amount people give has very little to do with how rich they are; often it’s the poor who give most generously.

In actual fact, it’s a myth that we’ll start giving generously when we can afford it. When will that day come? What happens in practice is that the more my income increases, the more my lifestyle expands, and I still won’t have enough! I’ll need two cars and an RV and a newer computer and so on, and I’ll always be able to find a good reason for why I need them. If I wait until I can afford it, I’m never going to start. Because do you know what’s happening here? What’s happening is that the false god of wealth is quietly wrapping his chains around my heart, and the richer I get, the more surely I’m going to be hooked. The truth of the matter is that if I don’t give generously when I’m poor, I probably won’t give generously when I’m rich either.

The biblical principle is this: “Those who are faithful in small things will be faithful in big things”. The time to learn to give to the poor is now - no matter what my level of income may be. If I consider myself poor, then I should rejoice that I can learn the joy of Christian giving before the love of money has me hopelessly hooked. If rich - and remember, in terms of the whole world every one of us here is rich - then I need to get started as quickly as I can, before money chains my heart to the earth even more securely. It’s not a question of what I can afford. It’s a question of my priorities, of who comes first in my heart. If I wait until I can afford it, I’ll never start. Start now. That’s the fourth principle.

The fifth and final principle I find in this passage is what I call the principle of Selfish Generosity. Look at chapter nine verses 6-8:
The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your own mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

This passage promises us that if we are generous and put God’s kingdom first in our giving, then God in his turn will also be generous in supplying our needs. In other words, this scripture introduces us to a new philosophy of money. The world’s attitude is “If you want to get rich - hoard!” The Christian way is totally opposed to that idea. There is a circle of giving here - you give to God, then God provides for you, so that you can continue to give to God, so that God can continue to provide for you, and so on and so on. That’s why some old friends of ours in Saskatchewan used to say, “We can’t afford not to tithe!” They knew that God’s promise to provide for them if they honoured him with their giving was worth more than thousands of dollars in the bank.

The fact is that there is more than enough money in the world today to solve hunger problems, create an equitable economy, support healthy churches in every community, and finish the job of evangelising the world. The problem is that the money’s in our pockets, and so it’s subject to our selfish priorities – mine included! My selfish view of the world hasn’t yet been brought totally into line with God’s purposes; I’ve become a Christian, but my wallet doesn’t always agree with my decision!

This passage is challenging us to follow the example of Jesus and to learn to see life as he sees it and to live life as he taught it. It’s probably calling us to accept a lower standard of living – which, however, will still be higher than the world average - in order that God’s will can be done in the world. Christ is counting on us. Our growing generosity is a vital part of his plan to change the world, so it’s good for the world. But it’s also good for us, because Jesus shows us that true happiness doesn’t come from hoarding but from sharing. It’s often said, “Give until it hurts”, but I don’t believe that’s what God is saying to us today. Rather, he’s saying, “Give until it feels good!” In other words, as we follow Jesus together, we learn from him the way of true joy and contentment and generosity, and in the end we discover that’s the best and happiest and most fulfilling way to live. And that, I assure you, is gospel truth.

Friday, June 26, 2009

July 2009 Calendar

Regular Office Hours: Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - Noon

Wednesday, July 1st - CANADA Day
Office Closed

Thursday, July 2nd
7:00 am - Women’s Bible Studies @ Bogani Café

Saturday, July 14th
Office Closed
Wedding @ Church

July 5th - Pentecost 5
9:00 am - Eucharist
10:30 am - Eucharist

Monday, July 6th
Office Closed

Thursday, July 9th
7:00 am - Women’s Bible Studies @ Bogani Café

Saturday, July 11th
Office Closed

Sunday, July 12th - Pentecost 6
9:00 am - Eucharist
10:30 am - Eucharist

Monday, July 13th
Office Closed

Tuesday, July 14th
11:15 St. Joseph’s Eucharist

Wednesday, July 15th
3:30 p.m. - Corporation Meeting @ Bogani Café

Saturday, July 18th
Office Closed

Sunday, July 19th - Pentecost 7
9:00 am - Eucharist
10:30 am - Eucharist

Monday, July 20th
Office closed

Tuesday, July 21st
Building Maintenance Committee Meeting

Sunday, July 26th - Pentecost 8
9:00 am - Eucharist
10:30 am - Morning Prayer

Monday, July 27th
Office Closed

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sermon for June 21st: Mark 4:35-41

Jesus in the Storms of Life

I want you to imagine with me that you are a Christian living in Rome in the year 65 A.D. The previous year, a great fire destroyed two thirds of the city of Rome. A rumour quickly spread that the fire was started by the mad emperor, Nero, and because he needed a scapegoat to take the blame, he made an official proclamation that it was the Christians who had started it. And so began the most vicious persecution that the Christian church had yet experienced in its short history. Some of your friends have already been killed. A couple of them were tied up on poles along the route of one of Nero’s processions; they were then covered with pitch and set on fire as human torches to light his way. Another one was thrown into the arena to be mauled and eaten by lions while the citizens of Rome watched and laughed. Others were crucified along the public highways. Even the two great apostles Peter and Paul have been killed in this persecution: Peter by being crucified upside down, Paul by being beheaded. Those of you who are left huddle together in the sewers under the city, living in constant fear of betrayal. Evangelism? You must be joking! Survival’s the thing right now!

You and the church in Rome are going through the storm. But out of this storm is going to come something precious for the church, not just in Rome, but all over the world for the next two millennia. Because even though Peter is dead, his assistant Mark has started writing down the stories of Jesus that Peter used to tell you all. As he writes them down, he reads them to you at the secret meetings in the catacombs when you share the Eucharist together, with someone on watch at the entrance in case you’ve been betrayed. And in one such meeting, Mark reads you this story:
On that day, when evening had come, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go across to the other side”. And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
I think that if you had listened to that story in a damp, candle-lit catacomb while the storms of persecution raged outside against you and your church, you would have made the connections pretty quickly. And Christians since then have made the same connections.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a brilliant young theologian from Germany. He had taught in seminaries and published some widely acclaimed books. But it was 1934, and the storm was gathering in Europe. Because of his convictions, he put his signature to the Barmen Declaration, which condemned the growing Nazi movement in the name of Christ. In 1937 the Nazis closed the seminary at which Bonhoeffer taught, and began a vicious persecution of what had become known as the ‘Confessing Church’ - that is, the Christians who were against Hitler. At this point the storms began to rage in full force!

At the outbreak of World War Two Bonhoeffer was lecturing in the United States. His American friends urged him not to return to Germany, but he felt that as a Christian leader it was his duty to go back and to be a pastor to the opposition movement against Hitler. And so, inevitably, he was arrested in 1943 and imprisoned at a concentration camp. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged on April 5th 1945, at the age of 39. As he was being led away to his death, he said to his friends “Don’t be afraid. This is the end, but for me it is the beginning of life”. Somehow in all those storms he had been able to find the peace of Christ, and he died in that peace.

And what about you and I, in the storms we face? In his book Where is God When It Hurts? Philip Yancey tells the story of his friends John and Claudia Claxton, a pair of newlyweds serving God in Christian ministry together. After only one year of marriage Claudia was diagnosed with lymphoma. Radical surgery was followed by months of chemotherapy during which she experienced all the usual side effects: loss of hair, loss of weight, a dry, rasping throat, not to mention her sense of fear and helplessness. The storm was raging in full force in her life! Surprisingly, her Christian friends weren’t much help. Some of them told her that if she only had enough faith she would be healed. Some told her that she’d obviously done something wrong and God was trying to get her attention. Nothing they said was able to help her get through the storm she was experiencing.

Our Gospel reading today addresses two questions to us as we go through the storms of life. The first is this: who is Jesus? This is the major question that lies behind the first half of the Gospel of Mark. People ask it three or four times, but even when they aren’t asking it, it’s there in the background. Jesus himself doesn’t answer it; he just does his thing, and then invites people to draw their own conclusions!

What kind of person is it who announces that, just because he is here, God’s kingdom has arrived? He drives out evil spirits just by speaking a word; he heals the sick; he makes lepers clean again; and he even raises dead people to life. He says to a sinner, “Your sins are forgiven”, without even asking him to make a sacrifice at the Temple as the Law requires. He associates with low life, outcasts and tax collectors and prostitutes, but they don’t seem to contaminate him with their sin as the Pharisees were afraid of; rather, he contaminates them with his goodness and prompts them to turn back to God. He’s even bold enough to set aside some of the Old Testament laws which had been given to differentiate Israel from the world around them - laws about washing, and clean and unclean foods, and how you keep the sabbath day and so on. Not surprisingly, his enemies ask, “Who does he think he is?” And over and over again his disciples whisper to themselves “Who is this man?”

Think about how we treat Jesus today. We pray to him, and come together in church to worship him. We call him our Saviour and we ask for forgiveness of our sins through him. We call him our Good Shepherd, our Master, our friend, our Lord. We’re so used to thinking of him this way that we don’t realise how strange and radical these ideas are. We’re talking about a carpenter who lived in ancient Israel! But who is it that people normally worship, ask for help and forgiveness, call on to save them, and obey as Lord? The answer is - God! So in thinking about Jesus in this way, what are we saying about him?

This is the question that gripped the disciples in that boat on the Lake of Galilee, in the supernatural calm after Jesus had rebuked the storm. What kind of man has control over the weather? Who is it that we normally cry out to for help in stormy weather? “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

If God has walked the earth in Jesus, then Jesus is well able to handle any storm that we might go through in our life. He is the strong Son of God who speaks in the name of God in such a way that all the powers of evil have to listen and obey. And notice what this story tells us about where God is. He’s in the boat with his followers! And in the same way today Jesus, ‘God with us’, is not far away from us; if we are his followers, he lives in us by his Spirit.

And this leads us to the second question: will you trust him? He says to his disciples “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

In the Gospel of Mark Jesus is constantly calling people to trust him. If they will, then it seems to be so much easier for him to work in their lives. But when he goes to his hometown of Nazareth, and few people believe in him there, he can’t do much in the way of miracles. Jesus seems to be like a lifeguard trying to rescue a drowning person. Unless the drowning person trusts him enough to stop struggling and let him get a grip on them, he can’t help them. But if we once relax and entrust ourselves to him, then he can bring us safely to the shore.

However, we need to say one thing very clearly, and that is that faith will not always lead to miraculous deliverance for us. Sometimes it will. In today’s gospel reading the storm died down, but the storm in Rome - Nero’s persecution - didn’t die down until thousands of Christians had been tortured and murdered. Some Christians are healed when they pray to Jesus for help; others receive inner strength but still suffer and die.

Jesus did not take away the storm that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was going through in Nazi Germany, but somehow in the midst of it all, this young pastor was able to find a strength from outside himself, so that not only could he experience the peace of Christ himself but pass it on to others. His story shows us that some are delivered from their storms by faith, and others, by the same faith, find strength they never knew they had and are able to go through the storm with the peace of God in their hearts. In both of these situations, faith is called for. Sometimes it’s the faith that trusts God to heal us or deliver us in a miraculous way; at other times it’s the faith continues to cling to God through the raging of the storm.

So what is this story teaching us about riding out storms?

There’s a very ancient symbol of the church, which sometimes appears in the paintings on the walls of the catacombs; it’s a boat on a stormy sea, with the cross as its mast. Jesus is in the boat with his followers around him. Just as in the Old Testament Noah and his family were saved by riding in the Ark, so in the early Church people were called to get into the boat of the Church, the Christian community, to help them ride out the storm. And this tells us that one thing we mustn’t do when we go through personal storms is separate ourselves from our fellow-Christians. They are the boat that will help us get through this storm. And Jesus is in that boat; Jesus is among his people, because he said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).

In our church I think we particularly need to hear this, because we’re not always very good at telling each other when we need the prayers and love of our fellow-Christians. Some people are more open than others, of course, and are quite happy for their fellow-Christians to know what’s going on in their lives and to pray for them. But others seem to be really shy about that. Over and over again, I find out that someone in our congregation has gone through an illness or a bereavement or some other struggle in their lives and has not shared it with their fellow-Christians. This robs the church of the opportunity to offer its prayers and love, and it also robs the sufferer of the support they could have received from the Body of Christ. Paul commands us in Galatians 6:2, ‘Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ’. But we can’t do that unless our brothers and sisters are prepared to tell us about their burdens. How often do we cut ourselves off from the support God wants us to have, because we won’t tell our brothers and sisters in Christ about the storms we’re going through?

In our storms it’s natural to ask “Is there really a God? Does he have the answer to my problem? Does he even care about me?” We don’t have easy answers to these questions, but we do have the promise of Jesus that he will be with us always, to the end of the age. So we are invited to trust in God’s love for us and to turn to Jesus who is riding with us in the boat. He is not asleep; he is watching and waiting for us to turn to him. We are invited to listen to his word, to pray honestly to him, and to resolve to follow him no matter what happens. And we are also invited to turn to our fellow-Christians, who are our ‘boat’. We are the Body of Christ for each other; he works through our arms, our eyes, our ears. Sometimes when we turn to him, he stills the storm. At other times it’s the storm inside us that he stills, giving us the peace to be able to trust his word to us through Paul that “my grace is sufficient for you”.

In Philip Yancey’s book Where Is God When It Hurts? he tells the story of an old black friend, Mr. Buckley, who had been born one generation after the end of slavery. He lived through segregation and the fear-filled reign of the Ku Klux Klan, and at the age of seventy-five he became a leader in the civil rights movement. When he was in his eighties, his neighbours burned his house down. Members of his family were killed. But through it all his faith in Christ was the rock on which he could stand. Describing his experiences to Philip, he said, “The Lord says he won’t put more on us than we can stand. If we can’t take it, he’ll be right there beside us giving strength we didn’t know we had”. That is the testimony of a man who has gone through the storm and lived to tell the tale. And that’s what God wants for each one of us as well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22nd - 28th Calendar

Monday, June 22nd
Tim’s day off

Tuesday, June 23rd
1:30 pm Bible Study at Gladys Marshall’s

Wednesday, June 24th
7.15 pm Vestry Meeting

Thursday, June 25th
7:00 am Women’s & Men’s Bible studies at Bogani Café
3.00 pm Congregational Care Committee Meeting

Sunday, June 28th - Pentecost 4
9.00 am Eucharist
10.30 am Morning Prayer, Sunday School

Growing Prayer at St.Margaret’s

Each week we offer special prayers for two families in our congregation.

Church Families:
Nick & Christine & Alyssa Ingersol
William & Eileen Irons
Weekly Prayer Cycle: Intercessors


Sharing the Gospel . Going for Growth!

ICPM (Inner City Pastoral Ministry) March ’09 ministry fundraiser is our current project as a church until June ’09. Our goal is to raise $5,000 in this time. The current total for ICPM is $5,845.00. We reached our goal, but will continue to collect funds until the end of June!!

Gardening Volunteers: As we all know, the flower beds have been beautifully taken care of over the years. However, we are down to two talented gardeners - Julia Holmes and Doug Harris. One more volunteer who can handle the heavier work of turning hardened soil is needed. If you can spare your time and talents, please contact Tony Willacy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sermon for June 14th: 2 Corinthians 5:17

All Things New

As I mentioned in my sermon last week, a couple of years ago on one of our visits to Jasper National Park, Marci and I took the cable car up Whistler’s Mountain and then climbed from there to the summit. The view from up there is spectacular. You can see the various lakes and river valleys and how they are related to each other, and we were lucky enough to have such a clear day that we could even see as far as Mount Robson away to the west. We’d driven beside those rivers and hiked around some of the lakes, but the view from the top of Whistler’s gave us a whole new understanding of how each individual lake or river or road or mountain fits into the big picture that is Jasper National Park.

We need to do that sort of thing regularly, because, as you know, there’s an old saying that you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. In other words, you get so close up to the little details that you can’t see how they fit into the big picture. This is true of hiking, and it’s also true of our life in general and of our Christian discipleship. I can get caught up in the immediate issue – how do I relate to this difficult colleague at work? How do I learn more self-control? – without seeing how it fits into the big picture of what God is doing in my life and in the whole story of the world.

There’s a prayer in the Book of Alternative Services that gives us that big picture, and then it fits us into it. The traditional name we use for this sort of prayer is a ‘collect’, because it ‘collects’ scriptural themes together in a brief and memorable fashion. Here’s the Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, which you can find on page 352 of the BAS:
Living God, in Christ you make all things new. Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This prayer is based on a verse from our reading from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians; here is 2 Corinthians 5:17:
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

There’s actually quite a controversy about how this verse should be translated from Greek into English. Some versions of the Bible say ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation’, while others say, ‘If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation’. Which is right? Well, when I look back at my Greek New Testament, this is what it says: ‘If anyone is in Christ – new creation!’ There you have it – the text is ambiguous! That’s why there are these translation differences! So we have to think carefully about the text and ask ourselves what exactly it means.

Well, let’s start by stating the obvious: if God has brought about a new creation in Christ, then it must have been preceded by an old creation. This of course is what the text says: ‘Everything old has passed away’. What’s the character of this old creation?

I don’t know how many of you have seen the classic Robin Williams movie ‘Good Morning Vietnam’. There’s a really moving scene in it where the background track is Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a Wonderful World’, which is certainly one of my favourite songs. It paints a lovely picture of green trees and red roses, blue skies with white clouds, and friends shaking hands. But the problem is that in ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ the song says one thing and the pictures say another. They are pictures of war in Vietnam. As we hear Satchmo singing about roses blooming we see a child in the foreground and a bomb going off in the background. As we hear the words ‘the colours of the rainbow so pretty in the sky’, we see protesters being beaten up and a young man being shot. And when Satchmo sings ‘I say to myself, what a wonderful world’, we see the bloodied sandal of a little child.

This is the world as we know it today, the ‘old creation’. It’s a beautiful and wonderful place, created by a good and loving God, and it still contains many signs of God’s goodness and love – the beauty of the night sky, the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, the joy of human love and friendship and generosity, the gifts of music and art and laughter and fun, and so on. But we also know that this creation is infested with evil and sin. Part of this evil is stuff we human beings do to each other – war and injustice and oppression and poverty and violence and so on. But part of it seems to be built into the system – the natural disasters, the deadly diseases, the way that the whole food chain is built around more powerful forms of life killing and eating the less powerful kinds, and so on. And behind it all, for us human beings, is the chilling reality that one day we’re all going to die. This old world, in fact, looks very much like one of those ruined temples you can see if you go to visit Greece: you can see that once it was absolutely magnificent, but nowadays it’s more than a little frayed around the edges!

And that’s true of you and me as individuals as well. On the one hand, we are capable of acts of love and generosity, courage and creativity. On the other hand, we also know our own hearts, and we know some of the stuff that’s in there, perhaps stuff that no-one else knows about. People who know me well know that sometimes I can be kind and funny and easy to get along with, and at other times I can be negative and irritable and a real pain in the neck.

So, what is it that Christ is actually up to? What was the point of his coming to live among us as a human being, sharing our human nature, living and teaching and dying and rising again? The Collect sets it out very plainly: ‘Living God, in Christ you make all things new’. In other words, it’s the work of Christ to heal the brokenness of this world and the brokenness in individual lives, so that the whole creation shines again with the perfection it had in the mind of God the day he first thought of it.

How does Christ do that? Well, let’s think again of how we might describe this tired old creation that we know so well. Surely we would all agree that it’s a lovely world, but it’s shot through with death. Everything that lives dies one day, and many of those deaths seem wrong to us. People are murdered in senseless acts of violence; people are killed because they are standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. People are conscripted to fight wars based on racial hatred, religious prejudice, and the love of powerful people for more and more power. People contract deadly diseases in the prime of life. People get onto an airliner looking forward to meeting their loved ones at the other end of the journey, and then the airliner falls out of the sky and two hundred lives are ended in the blink of an eye.

Death has invaded God’s good creation, and, as the letter to the Hebrews says, many people live their lives in slavery to the fear of death. That fear is the tyrant’s strongest weapon; brutal dictators use the fear of violence and death to keep their subjects in submission to their unjust rule. Throughout human history, thousands and thousands of people who dedicated their lives to trying to end injustice and make a better world have ended up being executed by powerful people who were determined to keep things exactly the way they were – because it profited them to do so.

And Jesus seemed at first glance to be one of the victims. He was a popular preacher who went around announcing that the Kingdom of God was at hand – in other words, that God was at work setting his world to rights – and demonstrating the truth of this by the extraordinary miracles he was doing. Everywhere he went, Jesus reversed the course of disease and death. Lepers were cleansed, blind people could see again, the lame could walk, people afflicted by evil spirits were set free – and, on occasion, even the dead were raised. The notorious sinners were welcomed in and found forgiveness and new life. Outcasts like prostitutes and lepers and tax collectors found a welcome. The poor found new dignity and the rich were challenged to share with them. Jesus was turning the world upside down, or we might say, turning the world right side up!

But of course the principalities and powers didn’t like it. The Jewish authorities weren’t happy with his cavalier attitude to the traditions and customs of Judaism, and they were afraid that talk of a Messiah would lead to a rebellion against the Romans – and since they themselves profited enormously from the current arrangement with the Romans, they were definitely not in favour of such a thing! And so the rulers conspired together to do what rulers have always done when their power is threatened – get rid of the threat, take him out, liquidate him.

So Jesus was nailed to a cross, seemingly defeated by the powers of evil. And then along came the great reversal. ‘On the third day he rose again from the dead’, says the Apostles’ Creed, and St. Paul exclaims in 1 Corinthians 15: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O grave, is your sting?’ (vv.54-55). What does this mean? It means that the most potent weapon in the armoury of tyrants and oppressors all over the world and throughout time has lost its potency! We now know that death is not the end! The gospel promises us that, just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so one day we will also be raised from the dead, and we will live with him forever! So fear is at an end, too, because Jesus really is Lord of all, even of death itself, and with him on the throne of the universe, we know that all will be well.

And this really does transform the way we look at the world. Paul says, ‘If anyone is in Christ – new creation!’ Before we knew Christ the world had a bittersweet quality to it; it’s gorgeous, but everything we know ends in death sooner or later; that’s just the way the world is made. Not any more, says Paul! Because of the victory of Jesus on the Cross, we know that we’re going to live forever, and the world takes on a whole new quality of joy and gladness in the light of that fact. Yes, we will go through suffering in this life; we continue to see sickness and sorrow and death all around us, and they invade our lives as well, but they aren’t the whole story and they won’t have the final word. The final word will go to the world’s true King, Jesus Christ our Lord – and that is good news!

One day the whole world will be renewed by the power of God. We’ll see it the way God planned it in the beginning, before evil and death invaded it. I have absolutely no idea what that will look like; I have never known a world without evil and suffering and death, and my mind boggles at the thought of what it would look like, and how its ecology and biology would work. But God is good and Jesus is Lord, so I have to believe that what is coming will be good beyond anything we could ask or imagine.

This is the big picture, the big story, but the Collect I started with goes on to fit my life into that big story, and yours as well, because we pray, ‘Transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory’ The brokenness in the world has invaded my life as well, with the result that my human nature is poverty-stricken – in other words, I don’t have the resources in myself to be the kind of person God wants me to be, or even the kind of person I want to be. But the gospel tells me that as a Christian I’m no longer limited to my own poverty-stricken resources. I may be poor, but God is infinitely rich! And I don’t have to negotiate with him to get those resources, because they come to me by ‘the riches of his grace’. Remember that the Bible word ‘grace’ means ‘love that we don’t have to earn, love that comes to us as a free gift’. So the big picture is that God is making everything new in Christ, and the little picture is that I’m one of the things he’s making new, and so are you.

Of course, we know that work isn’t finished yet; there’s lots of the old creation still left in me, and lots of room for improvement. I used to have a button with the following letters on it: PBPGINFWMY. That’s a bit more complicated than What Would Jesus Do! – it stands for ‘Please be patient, God is not finished with me yet!’ But God is at work, even though sometimes we’re the last ones to notice it. I love what John Newton, the author of ‘Amazing Grace’ once said about this: he said ‘I am not what I could be, I am not what I should be, I am not what I want to be, but I thank God, I am not what I once was’.

So - we are in Christ, and therefore we live in a completely different world, a world in which Jesus is Lord, and all other powers are subject to him. We wait in faith for the day when his just and gentle rule will be made visible for all to see – the day when the world will finally be healed of sin and evil and death, and restored to wholeness and justice and peace and love. And because we know that day is coming, we can work for it now, pressing on toward holiness in our own lives and working for justice in the world. If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation, and because of that, if I am in Christ, I also am a new creation, and the Holy Spirit will help me to live that out day by day. Amen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 15 - 21, 2009

St. Margaret’s 2009
Sharing the Gospel . Going for Growth!

Monday, June 15th
Tim’s day off

Tuesday, June 16th
Tim at Clergy Conference
1:30 pm Bible Study at Gladys Marshall’s

Wednesday, June 17th
Tim at Clergy Conference

Thursday, June 18th
Tim at Clergy Conference
7:00 am Women’s Bible studies at Bogani Café

Friday, June 19th
Tim at Clergy Conference

Sunday, June 21st
9.00 am Eucharist
10.30 am Eucharist, Sunday School

Growing Prayer at St.Margaret’s
Each week we offer special prayers for two families in our congregation.

Church Families: Michelle, Brynlee & Shayden Horn
Gary, Kathy,Matthew & Laurel Hughes
Weekly Prayer Cycle: Lay Administrants

CONGRATULATIONS to Rev. Myron Penner as he presides at the Eucharist for the first time today !!

ICPM (Inner City Pastoral Ministry) March ’09 ministry fundraiser is our current project as a church until June ’09. Our goal is to raise $5,000 in this time. The current total for ICPM is $5,845.00. We reached our goal, but will continue to collect funds until the end of June!!

Gardening Volunteers: As we all know, the flower beds have been beautifully taken care of over the years. However, we are down to two talented gardeners - Julia Holmes and Doug Harris. One more volunteer who can handle the heavier work of turning hardened soil is needed. If you can spare your time and talents, please contact Tony Willacy.

Babysitting Opportunity: If you would like to earn some extra cash, have a valid driver’s license, and are available from 3:00-8:00 pm June 16-19 (Tuesday-Friday), please speak to Myron Penner. He needs someone to watch his children while he attends the Clergy Conference.

Clergy Conference: Tim will be attending Clergy Conference from Tuesday, June 16th to Friday, June 19th inclusive. The conference will be held at the Star of the North retreat centre in St. Albert. In an emergency, please leave a message for Tim at the Star of the North or email him at

Beryl will be away from Friday, June 12th and most of the following week. In her absence, Nicky Eames will be filling in; however, due to other commitments, Nicky’s hours will be irregular.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Myron's Ordination

Here are a couple of photographs from Myron's ordination service at All Saints' Cathedral tonight. The new ordinands are front and slightly to the left; we have (left to right) Christian Gordon (priest), Myron Penner (priest), and Jonathan Connell (deacon).

Myron and me after the service.

Myron will be presiding at the Eucharist for the first time at St. Margaret's next Sunday at 9.00 and 10.30 a.m.

Sermon for June 6th: Isaiah 6:1-8

An Awesome God

The word 'awe' is frequently used in our English language to describe our encounters with God's natural creation. I remember the first time I ever saw Niagara Falls, back in the 1970's. I'd seen photographs of it before, of course, and even watched movies, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer size of it, or the enormous quantity of water pouring over the edge of the falls every single second. In the truest sense of the word, it was an 'awesome' experience.

I felt the same way a couple of years ago when Marci and I took the tramway up Whistler's Mountain in Jasper and then climbed to the top. It was one of the few days in the year when the air is absolutely clear, and we were able to see all the way to Mount Robson. Mountain ranges were stretching away on either side of us into the distance, and far below us we could see the Jasper town site and the various lakes and rivers around it. Once again, I could only feel a sense of awe at what I could see all around me.

The words 'awe' and 'fear' are sometimes used in the New Testament to describe people's reactions to Jesus. Frequently, in response to a miracle or a healing, we read about people having a sense of awe at the mighty acts of God. What they were seeing was way outside of their previous experience and certainly outside their control, and it shook them up; that's what the New Testament means when it says that they were 'afraid'.

But I suspect that most of us today would not use words like 'fear' and 'awe' to describe our relationship with God. Many of us have succeeded in taming God down, in restricting him to the pages of a liturgy and the walls of a church building and the hours of a Sunday worship service. And so when we read about an experience of God such as the one Isaiah recounts in our first lesson for today, we find it hard to relate to what is said there. Also we've been told many times that it's wrong for us to fear the Lord; Jesus had apparently done away with that, and all we should feel nowadays is a warm fuzzy feeling of being unconditionally accepted. The God who many people believe in today is more like a teddy bear than the awesome creator and Lord we read about in the pages of scripture, so it's probably a healthy corrective for us this morning to focus on Isaiah's story for a few minutes and think about what it has to say to us about the nature of the God we are worshipping today, on Trinity Sunday.

First, a few words of introduction to the passage. Isaiah has this transformational encounter with God 'in the year that King Uzziah died' (v.1). Uzziah is also called Azariah in the Old Testament and he died in approximately 740 B.C. after an exceptionally long reign of fifty-two years. His reign had coincided with a time of relative peace and independence for the little kingdom of Judah, but it was not to last. At about the same time as his death, Tiglath-Pileser III became the King of the mighty Assyrian empire, and he began a period of aggressive expansion in which he sought to absorb all the little independent states in Syria and Palestine. From then on, in Isaiah's lifetime, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah lived under the threat of Assyrian domination.

So Isaiah is living in a period of change; it's the end of a golden age and the beginning of a time of instability and fear. Israel and Judah feel small and vulnerable against the might of Assyria and its king. And in this context, God gives Isaiah a vision of who the true king really is, a vision that emphasises his power and majesty and holiness – exactly the message that Isaiah and his countrymen needed to hear.

Isaiah seems to have had this vision of the glory of God in the temple; perhaps he had gone there to pray or to take part in a sacrifice – we're not told. He doesn't seem to have taken any initiative in this; he doesn't tell us that his vision came as a result of prayer in which he pleaded that God would let him see his face, or anything like that. Rather, it's the Lord who takes the initiative in revealing himself to the prophet who was going to speak to God's people in God's name. What does the vision tell us about the Lord, the God of Israel?

First, the God who Isaiah encounters is a holy God, one who is high and lifted up, one who cannot be described, one in whose presence awe and even fear is an appropriate response. Look at verses 1-4:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance around him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory'.
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.
I find it interesting that Isaiah does not attempt to describe the Lord's appearance. This is a common feature of biblical accounts of appearances of God; they seem to describe the edge of the field of vision, and the 'court personalities' around God, but not God himself. We see the same thing happening in the Book of Revelation, which describes the throne that God sits on, but not the God who sits on it. It seems as if the authors have accepted the fact that there is no human language available for them to describe the awesome God who they have seen. The most that Isaiah can bring himself to say is that the Lord was 'high and lofty', and that 'the hem of his robe filled the temple'. I don't know if any of you have seen the coronation photographs of Queen Elizabeth from 1953; she is a fairly small figure but is wearing an absolutely enormous cloak which stretches all around the platform on which she is standing. And so Isaiah sees God as the high king of all kings, with a massive cloak that stretches around him, so huge that it fills the entire temple building.

And what about the 'court personalities' around the king? The Hebrew word 'seraph' means 'fiery one'. Each of the seraphs have six wings, but they only use two for flying. With two they cover their eyes, because the Bible says you can't see the face of God and live. With two more they cover their feet, which is a polite Hebrew euphemism for the private parts, because the Old Testament cautions priests against appearing naked before the Lord. They are calling out to each other in a song of worship that we will use in a few minutes, as we do at every Eucharist: 'Holy holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory'. And this is not a quiet song; Isaiah says that the threshold of the temple shook at the sound of their voices, and the whole house was filled with the smoke from the incense and the sacrifices.

Well, this is truly an awesome God! Earthly kings like Uzziah or Tiglath-Pileser may be impressive, but they pale into insignificance beside this holy God. And this is something the church needs to hear again, because in some ways today we've domesticated the Lord, the God of Israel; we've made him into an indulgent grandfather in the sky who gives candies to the grandkids and pats them on the head and says 'well done'. But when the disciples saw Jesus transfigured before them on the mountain they were awestruck, and in the Book of Revelation when John saw the risen and ascended Jesus he says 'I fell at his feet as though dead' (Revelation 1:17). This is our God; loving and merciful and tender to all, yes indeed, but also awesome and holy, the Creator of the farthest galaxies, the one who is completely untouched by evil and is determine to drive it out of his creation.

And this leads us to the second thing we learn from Isaiah's vision: the God Isaiah sees is a forgiving God. When Isaiah sees God in all his majesty and awe and holiness, the effect on him is dramatic. He has seen God with his own naked eye, and he is well aware that the Bible says that no one can see God and live. It isn't just his own creatureliness that he's aware of; it’s his sinfulness as well. And so we read in verse 5 that he cries out, 'Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!' Notice that there's no more thought of King Uzziah or King Tiglath-Pileser; they fade into insignificance beside the absolute majesty and holiness of the King of all kings, God almighty.

So Isaiah stands before this holy God and he is keenly aware of his own sinfulness. But in the Old Testament there is a way of dealing with sin, and it took place in the very temple where Isaiah was standing; animals were offered to God in sacrifice on the altar, and as their blood was shed, forgiveness was poured out upon God's people. These sacrifices are alluded to in the next part of the reading, verses 6-7:
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said, 'Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out'.
The animal sacrifices were burned before the Lord, and this is the significance of the burning coal that the angel takes from the altar and applies to Isaiah's lips; it's the power of the sacrifice bringing forgiveness to Isaiah. The coal is a sort of sacramental sign of this, bringing it home and making it real for him.

We've said that the animal sacrifices were the way the Old Testament people handed the problem of sin, but we must also remember that the New Testament letter to the Hebrews says that in fact the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sin. Rather, they were like a signpost pointing to the perfect sacrifice that Jesus would offer, once for all, when he gave himself freely on the cross for the sins of the whole world. That sacrifice touches each of us when we turn to Jesus in faith and cry out to God for forgiveness, as Isaiah cried out for it here. And in our New Testament era God uses sacramental signs to help us, too, just as the coal was used to help Isaiah: the signs of baptism and the Eucharist. Today as we come to the Lord's table in faith and receive the bread and wine, it's as if the angel says to us as well, “See, this has touched your lips, and so your sin is forgiven and your guilt is wiped away”.

So Isaiah has this transformational encounter with the living and holy God; he sees that earthly kings are puny in comparison with the Lord of all. But in the light of God's holiness he's also keenly aware of his own sinfulness, and cries out in desperation – a cry that God hears and answers as the angel applies the coal from the sacrificial altar to his lips to bring him cleansing from his sins.

Our encounter with God will probably not be as dramatic as Isaiah's, but I think it will still be very real and meaningful for us. We also have come to the true and living God, and we know that beside him all the rulers of the earth are small and helpless. We also are aware of our own sin and thankful that Jesus has given himself on the cross for us so that we can be forgiven and cleansed, and we express that thankfulness and that faith every time we celebrate the Eucharist together; the bread and wine touches our lips, a sign to help our faith which often seems so weak to us, and we also are cleansed and forgiven.

But there's one more element to Isaiah's experience that we need to notice: Thirdly, the God Isaiah encounters is a missionary God. He has a message he wants to send out to people everywhere, and he is looking for messengers to take it, because he chooses to work in this way rather than giving everyone the sort of overwhelming experience Isaiah has just had. And so in verse 8 we read, 'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

So Isaiah accepts the call of God to be a messenger. He has seen the awesome God of Israel; he has experienced the forgiveness and cleansing from his sins; now he must take the message of God to others. But God does not promise that his messenger will have an easy life; far from it. Our reading stopped at verse 8, but if we continue to read we see that God gives Isaiah a very discouraging prediction: he's going to speak and speak, but the people aren't going to listen, to the point that Isaiah will be saying to himself, 'It seems as if the more I speak, the less they want to listen – it's almost as if my words are turning them away from God, not toward him'. When God's message goes out people do not always turn to him with joy, and if we're not having much success – if people are not responding and our church is not growing - this doesn't necessarily mean we're doing anything wrong. It may be that we're speaking the truth, and people are finding that truth too tough to stomach!

God is still looking for messengers today, as he did in the time of Isaiah. The good news of Jesus needs to be announced to everyone, and God has chosen to speak it through human mouthpieces. If you have experienced the wonder and joy of forgiveness and new life, as Isaiah did, then you too are called by God to share that news with others.

'Whom shall I send?' Where might he be sending us? To most of us it will be to our families and friends, our work colleagues and neighbours. You may be the only Bible those folks will read; when the Lord wants a word spoken to them, are you willing to be the one who speaks it?

In 1981 the words of this text inspired a Jesuit priest, Father Dan Schutte, to write a song that has become a classic. I'm going to suggest that we respond to this text today by singing together the first verse and chorus of his song; you'll find it in your orange hymn books at number 332.
I the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry,
All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save.
I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Myron's ordination

Tomorrow night (Sunday June 7th) at 7.00 p.m., our honorary assistant at St. Margaret's, Myron Penner, will be ordained as a priest at All Saints' Anglican Cathedral here in Edmonton. At the same service Christian Gordon will be ordained priest and Jonathan Connell will be ordained deacon.

Myron is currently working for the Water School and you can find out a lot about what he believes in by perusing the website of this fine Christian organisation. He was formerly professor of philosophy and theology at Prairie Bible Institute - in other words, he can run rings around me (Tim) when it comes to theological conversation! Our parish has really been blessed to have Myron and Jodi and their daughters Sophia, Abigail and Isabella as members since last Fall, and it has been wonderful for me, for the first time in thirty years of ministry, to have an honorary assistant - and one who really wants to 'assist', as well. I'm looking forward to seeing where God is going to lead Myron as he takes on 'non-stipendiary' priestly ministry in our parish; I know he has some exciting ideas about how we might be able to reach out to new demographic groups in our area. And I'm really looking forward to his ordination service tomorrow night!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Roster Duties for June 2009

June 7-Trinity Sunday - Eucharist- COMBINED COFFEE
Greeter/Sidespeople: S. & E. Gerber
Counter: E.Gerber & T. Laffin
Reader: M. Rys
Readings: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17
Lay Administrants: D.MacNeill, M.Rys
Intercessor: T.Chesterton
Lay Reader: D.MacNeill John 3:1-17
Altar Guild (White): 9:00 M.Woytkiwl/10:30 D.Mitty
Prayer Team during Communion: E.Gerber, L.Sanderson
Nursery Supervisor: G.Hughes
Sunday School: C.Ripley
Kitchen: D. & A. Wilson

June 14 - Pentecost 2 - Eucharist
Greeter/Sidespeople: C. & M. Aasen
Counter: C.Aasen & T.Willacy
Reader: G. Hughes
Readings: 1 Samuel 15:34 -16:13, Psalm 20
2 Corinthians 5:6-17
Lay Administrants: L.Thompson & D. Schindel
Intercessor: C.Aasen
Lay Reader: L. Thompson Mark 4:26-34
Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 J.Milll/10:30 L.Schindel
Prayer Team during Communion: K.Hughes, M.Rys
Nursery Supervisor: M.Aasen
Sunday School: S. Chesterton
Kitchen: V. Haase

June 21- Pentecost 3 - Eucharist
Greeter/Sidespeople: D. & L. Schindel
Counter: D.Schindel & G. Hughes
Reader: C. Ripley
Readings: 1 Samuel 17:32-39, Psalm 9:9-20,
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Lay Administrants: V.Haase & E. Gerber
Intercessor: L.Thompson
Lay Reader: L.Thompson Mark 4:35-41
Altar Guild (Green): 9:00 M Woytkiw/10:30 K.Hughes
Prayer Team during Communion: E.Gerber, M.Chesterton
Nursery: T.Laffin
Sunday School: P.Rayment
Kitchen: S.Gerber

June 28 - 9:00 am Morning Prayer; 10:30 am Eucharist Pentecost 4
Greeter/Sidespeople: E. & D. Mitty
Counter: E. Mitty & B.Rice
Reader: R. Betty
Readings: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27, Psalm 130,
2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Lay Administrants: C.Aasen & E. Gerber
Intercessor: D.MacNeill
Lay Reader: D. MacNeill Mark 5:21-43
Altar Guild (Green): 10:30 am P.Major
Prayer Team during Communion: K.Hughes, L.Sanderson
Nursery Supervisor: G.Hughes
Sunday School: M.Cromarty
Kitchen: D. Molloy

June 8 - 14, 2009


Sharing the Gospel . Going for Growth!

Monday, June 8th
Tim’s day off

Tuesday, June 9th
11:15 am St. Joseph’s Eucharist

Thursday, June 11th
7:00 am Women’s Bible studies at Bogani Café
11:15 am Seniors’ Lunch Out at Sorrentino’s

Saturday, June 13th
6:30 pm Barbeque at the Gerber acreage

Sunday, June 14th
9.00 am Eucharist
10.30 am Eucharist, Sunday School

Growing Prayer at St.Margaret’s
Each week we offer special prayers for two families in our congregation.

Church Families: Michelle Horn
Gary, Kathy,Matthew & Laurel Hughes
Weekly Prayer Cycle: Lay Administrants

Seniors’ Luncheon: Thursday, June 11th. The senior's group will be winding up the season with a “lunch out” at Sorrentino's . We invite all who have joined us for fellowship over the past year as well as anyone who would enjoy sharing lunch with us to attend. If you plan to attend or have any questions, please call Pat Leney. You will be notified re time and rides for those needing them.

Annual Barbeque - June 13th: Held at the Gerber’s acreage. This is a potluck supper. A sign-up sheet is on the table in the Foyer as well as directions to get there. Please bring your own meat and refreshments.

The Rev. Myron Penner will be presiding at his first Eucharist on June 14th here at St. Margaret’s.

ICPM (Inner City Pastoral Ministry) March ’09 ministry fundraiser is our current project as a church until June ’09. Our goal is to raise $5,000 in this time. The current total for ICPM is $5,820.00. We reached our goal, but will continue to collect funds until the end of June!!

Rev. Myron Penner’s Ordination Gift: Our goal of $1,050.00 to cover the cost of Myron’s stoles for his Ordination Gift has been surpassed - thanks to all !!

Gardening Volunteers: As we all know, the flower beds have been beautifully taken care of over the years. However, we are down to two talented gardeners - Julia Holmes and Doug Harris. One more volunteer who can handle the heavier work of turning hardened soil is needed. If you can spare your time and talents, please contact Tony Willacy.

Vacation Bible Day Camp Training Day: Even though we are not doing a camp this year, there will be a Day Camp training day on June 13th from 9:45 am - 2:15 pm at St. Paul’s for anyone interested in checking this out for future. Details have been posted on the Bulletin Board downstairs.

Babysitting Opportunity: If you would like to earn some extra cash, have a valid driver’s license, and are available from 3:00-8:00 pm June 16-19 (Tuesday-Friday), please speak to Myron Penner. He needs someone to watch his children while he attends the Clergy Conference.