Friday, June 27, 2014

Roster for July 2014

July 6th, 2014  4th Sunday after Pentecost
Coffee between services
Greeter/Sidespeople:  The Aasens           
Counter: C. Aasen/ D. Sanderson                                   
Reader: T. Cromarty                                   
(Genesis 24: 34-38, 42-49, 58-67,Psalm 45: 11-18,
 Romans 7: 15-25a)
Lay Administrants: E. Gerber/L. Thompson                       
Intercessor: D. MacNeill                                   
Lay Reader: D. MacNeill            (Matthew 11: 16-30)           
Altar Guild (green)M. Woytkiw/L. Pyra                                   
Kitchen: - 9:45 am  J. Johnston           
Music:  M. Chesterton

July 13th, 2014  5th Sunday after Pentecost
Greeter/Sidespeople: T. Willacy/B. Cavey           
Counter: T. Willacy/B. Cavey                                   
Reader: M. Rys                                   
(Genesis 25: 19-34, Psalm 119: 105-112, Romans 8: 1-11)
Lay Administrants:  M. Rys/T. Wittkopf                                               
Intercessor: C. Aasen                                   
Lay Reader:  L. Thompson            (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)           
Altar Guild: (green)M. Lobreau/T. Wittkopf                       
Kitchen: M. Chesterton
Music:  E. Thompson           

July 20th, 2014  6th Sunday after Pentecost
Greeter/Sidespeople: T. Wittkopf/ T. Cromarty           
Counter: T. Wittkopf/D. Sanderson                                   
Reader: S. Watson                       
(Genesis 28: 10-19a, Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23, Romans 8:12-25)
Lay Administrants: C. Aasen/D. MacNeill                       
Intercessor: L. Thompson                                   
Lay Reader:  B. Popp            (Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43)           
Altar Guild (green)P. Major/A. Shutt                                      
Kitchen: M&A Rys                       

July 27th, 2014  7th Sunday after Pentecost (M. Oliver) HC
Greeter/Sidespeople: The Schindels           
Counter: D. Schindel/S. Jayakaran                                   
Reader: D. MacNeill                                               
(Genesis 29: 15-28, Psalm 128, Romans 8: 26-39)
Lay Administrants: M. Rys/D. MacNeill
Intercessor: E. Gerber                       
Lay Reader:  E. Gerber            (Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52)           
Altar Guild (green): M. Woytkiw/L. Schindel
Kitchen: B. Cavey
Music: S&A Jayakaran                       

June 30th - July 6th

Events This Week

June 30th, 2014
Office is closed.
July 1, 2014
Office is closed for Canada Day
The office will be open Wednesday July 2nd and Friday, July 4th.
July 6th, 2014   4th Sunday after Pentecost
9:00 am Holy Communion
9:45 am Coffee between Services
10:30 am Holy Communion

Jen will be on holidays from June 28th – July 16th, 2014. The office will be open Tues/Wed/Fridays, 9 – noon. Brenda Schimke will be covering the office 1 day a week, either Wednesday or Fridays. Please keep this in mind when phoning the office. Thanks.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Don't Be Afraid to Spread the Gospel: A sermon for June 22nd on Matthew 10:24-39

This week a number of us at St. Margaret’s attended an event called ‘Launch Pad’, at which Michael Harvey spoke about our call as Christians to be an invitational church. Michael, as you may know, is the founder of the ‘Back to Church Sunday’ movement, which has taken root in churches all over the world. The basic idea of ‘Back to Church Sunday’ is very simple; on a Sunday in September, churches will hold a service to which members will invite friends and family who do not normally attend church. So the heart of ‘Back to Church Sunday’ is the simple act of invitation: one Christian going up to a non-churchgoing friend and saying, “Would you like to come to church with me?”

This is nothing new, of course! Christian churches have been doing this for years; when I was a teenager, in St. Leonard’s Church, Southminster in southeast England, we used to hold regular guest services, and we were encouraged to invite friends to join us on those days. Over and over again, it has been shown that this is by far the most effective way to reach people with the Christian message. I know a number of people who are Christians today, whose Christian journey began when a friend invited them to come to church with them. Michael Peers, who used to be the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, often told the story of how, when he was a university student in Ottawa, a friend invited him to church. Up until that point Michael had not been a churchgoer or a practicing Christian, but that day he began a journey that led him to faith in Christ, and eventually to offer himself for ordination as a priest.

Of course, the thing that holds us back most often is fear of rejection. At the launch pad events, Michael Harvey told the story of how, every day, he makes ten phone calls to church leaders and bishops around the world, asking if they would allow him to come to their diocese or region and talk with people about being an invitational church. Nine times out of ten, the answer is ‘no’. Michael says that he now knows that he has to get through nine ‘no’s before he will get to a ‘yes’. But most of us are terrified of that ‘no’ – so terrified that we won’t even try one invitation, let alone ten. We let fear paralyze us, instead of remembering the command from God that appears most often in the Bible: “Don’t be afraid”. Yes, that is the command from God that is repeated most often in the entire Bible.

So I find it interesting that our gospel reading for today picks up this theme! In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus warns his disciples that they will certainly face opposition, and then he says, “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known” (Matthew 10:26). A bit later on he says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” (v.28). And then, talking about how not even a sparrow can fall to the ground without our Father in heaven noticing, he says, “So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (v.31).

I think in order to understand what Jesus is saying to us here, we need to take a step back for a minute and look at the big picture of this chapter of Matthew. In fact, we need to go even further back. Look with me at the last few verses of Matthew chapter 9, verses 35-38:
Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest”.

So the foundation of all this is the compassion of Christ. In his view, people who have not yet heard his gospel message are ‘harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd’. This is a reference to several Old Testament texts that talk about the people of Israel being scattered on the mountains ‘like sheep without a shepherd’. What it usually means is that they have no leader, no king, or that the leader they have is not caring for them properly. Jesus, we know, saw himself as sent by God to be the Good Shepherd who would lay down his life for the sheep; he would draw God’s people together as one flock under his authority as God’s anointed King, and he would provide the tender care that they needed.

This, of course, is a challenge to us: do we see people in this way? If we do, then sharing the gospel with others is not an act of conquest, and if it comes across as an act of conquest, then something has gone badly wrong! Sharing the Gospel is meant to be an act of compassion; it’s meant to be an invitation to come to the Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to experience his tender care for us. To Jesus, this is an urgent issue, and he encourages us to pray that God will send out more labourers into his harvest field: in other words, more witnesses who will share their faith with others and invite others to come to the Good Shepherd.

But what’s the next thing Jesus does? At the beginning of chapter ten we read of how he calls his disciples to him and gives them authority over the power of evil. He then sends them out as travelling evangelists – in other words, ‘sharers of the good news’. Their basic task is given in 10:7-8:
“As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘the kingdom of heaven has come near’. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment”.

So the message is about the kingdom or rule of God: God is acting in power to heal the hurts of the world and restore it to his original intention when he created it. Jesus believed that God was doing this through his own ministry: he is the Messiah (that’s what ‘Christ’ means), God’s anointed king, and God is working through him to defeat the power of evil and establish the rule of love. That’s what the healings are all about: they are demonstrations that God is healing the hurts of the world and restoring it to the wholeness that is his will for it.

Some of the instructions in Matthew 10 are obviously related to the specific time and situation: the sending out of the Twelve at that time without any money or food or spare clothes or even shoes for their feet. Jesus does not repeat those specific instructions at any other time, but there are several other times in the gospels and Acts, as we’ve seen, where he sends his followers out to spread his message. At the end of all four gospels we get some sort of command from Jesus to go out and proclaim the good news, to make new disciples, to baptize them, to teach them to follow Jesus. And we know that when the early Christians did this, they didn’t go out in wealth and power, but in weakness and humility, armed with nothing but the power of the Holy Spirit and the command to love everyone they met.

And this command still applies to us today. That’s what being an invitational church is all about. It’s not just about getting more people to come to church; that might be gratifying to our egos, but by itself it’s just a step on the way. What Jesus wants is to spread the Kingdom of God by making more disciples, who will commit themselves to following him and learning to put his teaching into practice. And Jesus calls every one of us to participate in this; if the Holy Spirit fills us, then we too can be witnesses for Jesus.

But then Jesus goes on to confront the spectre of fear. He’s quite clear that his followers should expect bad things to happen to them if they are faithful to this command. What? We’re afraid that our friends might say ‘no’ to our invitation to come to church with us? That they might even ‘unfriend’ us on Facebook? That’s small beans compared to what Jesus warned his disciples about:
“Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in the synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me…Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name” (10:17-18, 21-22a).
And later on, in today’s passage, we’re told,
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother in law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household” (10:34-36).

So Jesus is quite clear about this: being a witness for him will get us into trouble. Not everyone will be jumping for joy because we are sharing the good news of the kingdom of God! Some people will ask us to shut up about it. Some people will reject it. Some people will do bad things to us because of it – much worse things than refusing our invitation to Back to Church Sunday! And we’re to expect this. Jesus tells us that if we care for the good opinion of father or mother or son or daughter more than him, then we aren’t worthy of him. He is God’s anointed King; we are called to follow him.

“So have no fear of them”, Jesus says in verse 26. I don’t think he literally means ‘feel no fear’. Fear is a natural bodily reaction to danger, and all of us feel it from time to time. What I think Jesus is calling us to do is not to allow fear to determine what we’re going to do.

Leonard Cheshire, who was a British bomber pilot during World War Two, once talked about what ‘courage’ actually is. He said that there are some people who genuinely feel no fear; they are a small group, and they are actually a little bit crazy. But there is a much larger group who feel fear to the full, but do their duty nonetheless. That, he said, is what courage is. Courage isn’t feeling no fear; brave people actually feel fear just as much as anyone else. But brave people have made the decision that they are not going to let their fear decide what they are going to do. They’ve made the decision that they are going to do their duty, whatever happens.

So Jesus is calling us to do the work that he wanted his church to do from the very beginning: spread the gospel, invite people to become disciples of the Good Shepherd, teach those new disciples how to follow him in their daily lives. This is not an act of conquest; it’s an act of compassion, because people are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. It’s our job to help them find their way home to the Good Shepherd.

So let me finish with four instructions from Jesus for each of us.
First, trust in God. Look at what Jesus says in verses 29-31:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father. And even the hairs on your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows”.
Jesus is talking to disciples who are about to go through great suffering for him, and in verse 28 he says something that we might not find very encouraging: ‘Don’t worry, boys, the worst they can do is kill you!’ But his point is that we are totally secure in the love of the Father; even death can’t separate us from God. Each one of us is infinitely valuable to the Father, and he will keep us in his care. So the safest place for us, in the long run, is right at the centre of his will. Trust in God.

Second, take up the cross. Look at verse 38:
“Whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me”.
In the time of Jesus, if you were carrying a cross it meant that the state was about to execute you as a traitor and a rebel. So Jesus is saying, ‘Stand by to accept suffering for your loyalty to me’. That’s what the cross is: it’s the suffering that we go through because of our loyalty to Jesus, whatever that suffering might be. Don’t run away from it; take it up and carry it willingly because of your love for Christ. Take up the cross.

Third, stand up and be counted. Look at verses 32-33:
“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven”.
In other words, don’t hide the fact that you are a Christian; be open about it. I spend a lot of time with people who are outside of organized religion, and I notice that people don’t respect you more if you’re so afraid of offending people that you never say anything. Rather, they respect you if you have the courage of your convictions, and they respect you even more if they can see that your life matches your words. So don’t hide your light under a bushel: stand up and be counted.

Fourth and last, proclaim the message. Look at verse 27:
“What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops”.
Or, as the New Living Translation puts it:
“What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”
This, of course, is the simple promise that we make every time we participate in a baptism service: ‘Will you proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ?’ To which we all reply, “I will, with God’s help”. That promise doesn’t allow us to take refuge in that pious-sounding phrase: ‘Some people talk about their faith; I just live it”. The promise doesn’t just say ‘by example’, but ‘by word’ too. Yes, we put our faith in Christ into practice, but we also use words, whatever words we can find to tell people why we love Jesus and how they can find their way to him as well.

So here are the words from our Lord to us: trust in God, take up your cross, stand up and be counted, proclaim the message. And, of course, don’t be afraid. May God the Holy Spirit give us courage and strength to put these things into practice. And in case you’re wondering how you can put them into practice, we’ll be doing Back to Church Sunday at the end of September. Who might God be leading you to invite to join us on that day?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Experiencing God the Trinity (a sermon for June 15th, Trinity Sunday)

Today in the church year is Trinity Sunday, and preachers all around the world – those who follow the lectionary, that is – will be scrambling to try to explain the unexplainable to their congregations. Some people will bring out St. Patrick’s shamrock with its three leaves; some people will point out that H2O can be ice, water, and steam, all of which are still H2O. Some people will refer to the ancient Christian creed called the ‘Creed of St. Athanasius’, which tries to explain the doctrine of the Trinity. At one point it uses the phrase ‘The Father incomprehensible; the Son incomprehensible; the Holy Spirit incomprehensible’. Many Christians have been tempted to add ‘The whole thing incomprehensible!’

I believe in the Trinity, and it’s part of the official doctrine of the Anglican Church. To me, it’s an attempt to make sense of what the Bible teaches us about God, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit. But I also believe that when we’re talking about God, we need a large dose of humility. We’re tiny human beings living on a tiny planet in God’s enormous creation; it’s not surprising if the Creator of the universe sometimes seems a little hard to understand! The Bible talks about the glory of God, and glory is often illustrated by light. To me, contemplating the glory of God is a little like trying to look at the sun with the naked eye. And that’s why I think we should be wary of attempts to define the Trinity too precisely; after all, we’re screwing up our eyes to avoid being blinded by the light of God’s glory, so it’s not surprising if we can’t always see too well.

With that in mind, let’s turn to the last verse of our epistle for today, from 2 Corinthians. This is the closing greeting of the letter. Listen to what Paul says:

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all’ (2 Corinthians 13:13).

Paul is describing the Trinity here in terms of our experience of God. He’s not giving us an intellectual exercise; he’s inviting us into a deeper daily walk with God. For each of the three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – he’s identifying what you might call a defining characteristic of the way we experience them. The three characteristics are ‘grace’, ‘love’, and ‘koinonia’, a Greek word that’s hard to put into English; we might try ‘communion’ or ‘fellowship’ or ‘participation’ or ‘sharing together’. Let’s think of these three defining characteristics, and our experience of them.

First, Paul talks about ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’. I once read that at a British conference on comparative religions, experts were debating what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. The conversation went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s all the fuss about?” he asked. When he heard that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution to world religion, he replied, “That’s easy – grace”.

What is ‘grace’? Nowadays we tend to use it in the sense of ‘gracefulness’ – we might say that a dancer moves gracefully, or that a person has a very graceful way of speaking. But in the Bible it has a different meaning: it means unconditional love, love that you don’t have to earn; it comes to you as a gift, because God is love. It’s called ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’, because the life of Jesus illustrates it so powerfully.

You may remember that one day some Jewish leaders brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery. They pointed out to Jesus that the law required that someone caught in the act of adultery be stoned to death, and asked him what they ought to do. Jesus simply replied, “Let the one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”. One by one they slipped away, the oldest first. When they were all gone, Jesus looked at her and asked, “Where are your accusers? Is no one left to condemn you?” She replied “No-one”. He said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go – and sin no more” (see John 8:1-11). That’s grace, you see, and that was the sort of thing Jesus did all the time; it was a defining characteristic of his life.

We see the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ most powerfully in the story of the cross. We think of the pain of betrayal, the injustice of an unfair trial, the agony of crucifixion. We can imagine how easy it would be in a situation like that to scream with rage against your torturers. But Jesus doesn’t; he prays “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). The one who taught his disciples to love their enemies and pray for those who hated them actually put his own teaching into practice. That’s what grace looks like.

Grace means that instead of waiting for us to shape up, God takes the initiative, loves us as we are, and walks beside us to help us change. As Philip Yancey expresses it, grace means that there is nothing you can do to make God love you more, and nothing you can do to make God love you less. God already loves you infinitely, and he always will. That’s what God is like.

Secondly, Paul talks about ‘the love of God’. I find it interesting that Paul doesn’t follow the order we might expect: the love of God, the grace of Christ, the communion of the Holy Spirit. He puts the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ first. Why? I think it’s because we Christians come to experience God as Father through Jesus. It’s Jesus who brings us into a living relationship with the Father. ‘Father’ was the distinctive name that Jesus used for God, and the name he invited us to use as well.

Interestingly enough, when Jesus talks to his disciples in the Gospels about ‘your heavenly Father’, it’s often in the context of God providing for their needs. For instance, in Matthew 6:6-7 he says,
“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him”.

The idea is that God is a good Father who knows the needs of his children and will provide for them. He provides for them by setting the world up in such a way that, if we use its resources wisely and justly, it will give us the necessities of life. And he also promises to hear the prayers of his children and give them their legitimate needs.

The problem, of course, is that God and I are not always agreed on what constitutes a legitimate need! I suspect that when God balances the need to bring an end to child poverty around the world against my perceived need for a vacation in Florida, child poverty might be slightly higher on his priority list! And of course no good father gives his children everything they ask for! What if your twelve year old comes asking for the keys to your car? But try explaining to them that your refusal is for their own good!

So our wise and loving God has promised to provide for our legitimate needs. How do we tap into this resource? Jesus gives us the answer in Matthew 6:33:
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

Paradoxically, our needs are met when we focus our life on something higher than our own needs – on God and his kingdom. We’re told to make God’s kingdom the core value of our lives, which means working to implement his will in our personal lives, in our homes and families, in our communities, our country and the world. When we lay down our worries and put God’s concerns first in this way, he promises to look after us.

Let me tell you a story about this. Andrew van der Bijl was a Dutchman who travelled to Scotland to go to Bible College in the 1950’s. He had almost no money and had many experiences of God providing for him when he was at the end of his resources. One day when he had no money left at all, a beggar knocked on his door and asked for help. The beggar was not a stranger to him; he was someone Andrew had helped in the past. As they were talking at his doorstep, Andrew looked down and saw a coin on the ground at his feet. Then began the struggle; he wanted that coin for his own needs! But eventually the voice of conscience won out; he stooped down, picked up the coin, gave it to the beggar and sent him away. Later that morning the mail came, and in it there was a cheque from a friend, which was more than enough to cover Andrew’s needs for the next few weeks! You can read this story and many others like it in Brother Andrew’s book God’s Smuggler.

So this is what God is like, and this is how we experience God. We come to God as broken people, as sinners needing forgiveness. We might expect a holy God to turn us away, but he doesn’t; he forgives us and accepts us and pours out his grace on us. This is what we mean by ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, the friend of sinners. And then there is the love of God, the good father who provides for the legitimate needs of his children and challenges us to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. Mind you, I sometimes think most of us in Canada are too well off to be able to experience that part of God’s character! Those who hardly have a penny to call their own, like Brother Andrew in the story I told you, have no option but to trust in God, and they tend to be the ones who tell the amazing stories of God’s provision for them.

The third thing Paul talks about is ‘the communion of the Holy Spirit’, or, in the more familiar translation, ‘the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’. What’s this all about?

The Greek word ‘koinonia’ means ‘sharing together in something’ or ‘having something in common’. I belong to the folk music community in Edmonton, which is made up of many different kinds of people – rich and poor, young and old, liberal and conservative, people born in Canada and immigrants like me. We’re a very diverse group, but we have ‘koinonia’ with one another because we all love folk music. The thing that we have in common is so important to us that it can help us get past our diversity and shape us into a real community.

So what is the ‘communion’ of ‘fellowship’ or ‘sharing together in’ the Holy Spirit. I think there are two things here we might like to think about.

First, the gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to share in the life of God. In John’s Gospel Jesus often uses the language of being ‘in’ someone; he talks about the Father being in the Son, and the Son being in the Father, and he also talks about the Holy Spirit being ‘in’ us. This is obviously describing a deep sense of connection that we have with God. The Holy Spirit is God, and the Holy Spirit makes his home in us and in all who believe in Jesus. And so, in a sense, we are caught up in the life of God; the Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father, the Holy Spirit is the love they share together, and God puts that love in us so that we too experience the love of God by the Holy Spirit.

As we saw last week on the Day of Pentecost, the New Testament believers experienced a ‘baptism’ in the Holy Spirit – not a water baptism, but an immersion in the power and love of the Holy Spirit, something that transformed them and gave them the power to be witnesses for Christ. This isn’t just a one-off thing; it’s something we’re called to grow in every day. “Go on and on being filled with the Holy Spirit”, says Paul in Ephesians 5:18. And so we pray each day that he will fill us, and then we walk through our day intentionally trying to keep in step with him.

So the Spirit lives in us and fills us and helps us to share in the life and love of God. But the Holy Spirit also creates a human fellowship, a community of people who all share in the gift of the Spirit. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:
‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit’.

This is the thing we have in common, you see – that deep down in our hearts, God is alive in us by his Holy Spirit. So when I look at you, I don’t only see a human being: I see a human being who is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We may have different jobs and different backgrounds and different opinions, but at the deepest level of our lives, we’re one with each other, because the one Spirit lives in all of us and draws us together.

And of course, that can’t be just a nice idea or a feeling; it has to be earthed in real practice as well. How do we preserve the unity of the Holy Spirit? The book of Acts tells stories of how the early Christians did it. Those who were well off sold their excess houses and lands and brought them to the apostles, and the apostles distributed them to the poor and needy.

What would that look like for us today? Imagine if the world saw a Christian church where those who were better off sold their vacation properties or their huge houses, embraced a simpler lifestyle, and gave the money to the church – not to build a bigger building or hire more staff, but to share with members of the congregation who were poor? That’s what the early Christians did, and that’s why so many people were attracted to their community. They saw that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just an idea; it was a concrete reality and it led to practical actions of love and care for one another. All of which, of course, shows the world what God is like.

Let’s go round this one last time. Trinity Sunday is reminding us of what the Gospel is, and what the Gospel calls us to. The Gospel is all about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ: God loves us infinitely and unconditionally, forgiving us and restoring us to fellowship with him. The Gospel is all about the love of God, the one Jesus called ‘Father’, the one who provides for his children, the one who assures us that if we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, the things we need will be provided for us. And the Gospel is all about sharing in the Holy Spirit, so that God himself comes and lives in us and draws us into a real community of love – love that isn’t just an idea, but a practical reality, shown by the way we care for one another, and share with each other, and provide for each other’s needs.

This is what God is like. This is what the Gospel is all about, and so, brothers and sisters, may ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all’! Amen.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 16th - 22nd, 2014

Events This Week

June 16th, 2014
Office is closed.
June 17th, 2014
6:30 pm  Launch Pad at Good Shepherd
June 18th, 2014
7:15 pm  Vestry Meeting
June 19th, 2014
7:00 am Men’s & Women’s Bible Studies at the Bogani CafĂ©
June 20th, 2014
11:30 am  Habitat for Humanity BBQ for their Volunteers
7:00 pm  Rev. S. Ormsbee Induction at St. Paul’s, Leduc
June 21st, 2014
3:00ish   BBQ at the Rice Ranch (directions on foyer table)
7:00 pm  Malankara Rental
June 22nd, 2014  2nd Sunday after Pentecost
9:00 am Holy Communion
10:30 am Holy Communion and Sunday School Wrap Up Sunday School Weiner Roast 

On Friday June 20th, St. Margaret's are preparing and serving lunch for the Habitat for Humanity building crew at the Neufeld Landing site in Rutherford.  Drop off prepared food items by 10:30 am at the church and if you are serving please arrive by 11:30 am. Thank you!

Winnifred Stewart: Empties to Winn Project
Please feel free to bring some or all of your empty bottles (juice, milk, cans, and other beverage containers) and drop them in our bag. We have special bags to take home if you wish or you can bring your empties in plastic bags! Please support this project supporting Winnifred Stewart! Next pick up is June 27th, 2014

Don't miss the early bird deadline THIS SUNDAY, June 15! Register today:
 Whether clergy or lay, we’d love for you to join us at the National Worship Conference, July 20-23, at Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton, AB. Offering an exceptional selection of over 20 workshops and high caliber presenters, this conference is an opportunity to explore transformative and meaningful worship.
Among the presenters are Anglican Church of Canada Primate Fred Hiltz, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Bishop Susan Johnson,  as well as conductor/composer David Cherwien, liturgist Ruth Meyers, iconographer and multimedia artist Paul Fromberg, author Roger Ferlo, Worship magazine editor Bernadette Gasslein and musician Linnea Good.

Workshop topics include:

·        Worship as transformational
·        What God do I really live by?
·        Liturgy: the first social media
·        Spiritual direction: listening a soul into fullness of life
·        Celebrating for the sake of the world (How can we design liturgy that makes a difference in people’s             lives?)
·        Messy Church: for those who love a good mash-up
·        A FREE OPTIONAL WORKSHOP will be offered immediately following the Conference on Wed, July 23, from 12-4 pm, at Providence - Exploring the New Rites: Roundtable with Faith, Worship & Ministry and the Liturgy Task Force is an opportunity to hear firsthand about the exciting new liturgies being released for trial use in the Anglican Church of Canada later this year. All are welcome! Visit  for a complete list and description of workshops.
·        Dr. Joy Berg and the Rev. Canon Dr. Graham Cotter will be presented the Companion of the Worship Arts (CWA) Award at the National Worship Conference banquet:
Several events open to the general public will be offered in conjunction with the conference:
Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19: Concordia University College is hosting the worship and music symposium "Come to Us, Creative Spirit" to be led by David Cherwien. Musicians will be able to play for Cherwien and receive practical feedback. The symposium will also include an organ crawl through Anglican and Lutheran parishes to hear some of the best pipes in Edmonton.
Saturday, July 19: Linnea Good will present the workshop "Worship Music, with Families" at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Old Strathcona.
Sunday, July 20: A preaching festival, featuring Paul Fromberg at Holy Trinity Old Strathcona and Ruth Meyers at All Saints' Cathedral will be offered
Wed, July 23, 12-4 pm: FREE OPTIONAL WORKSHOP will be offered immediately following the Conference. Exploring the New Rites: Roundtable with Faith, Worship & Ministry and the Liturgy Task Force: An opportunity to hear firsthand about the exciting new liturgies being released for trial use in the Anglican Church of Canada later this year. All are welcome!
Dates to Remember   June
17th   -  Michael Harvey’s “Launch Pad”
20th  - Habitat for Humanity BBQ for Volunteers at Neufeld Landing (Rutherford)  11:30 am
           - Rev. Susan Ormsbee’s Induction to St. Pauls, Leduc  7:00 pm
21st    -  BBQ at the Rice Ranch  late afternoon
22nd   -  Last day of Sunday School and Weiner Roast