Light Shines in the Darkness
by Fr. Dean Mercer
Wednesday night at Parish Council, Sarah reported on the children and youth ministry. It is very encouraging:
*a great basketball tournament last week for our youth;
*with more room now needed for the children's basketball;
*a growing Friday night youth group where young people get the chance to reflect on their lives before God;
*a bunch of them off to Wonderland last night (Friday) for a year end party;
*with kids in our pan program preparing for this evening's concert;
*with plans falling into place for a great Christmas Eve pageant led by our youth and children;
*and with two great recent performances by our string ensemble at the Anniversary service and at the Scarborough Philharmonic holiday concert. Our kids played with the SPO. And when you listen to the recording, they didn't just play - they kept up with musicians who frequently perform with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra!
The doors are reopening and people are walking through.
And this, from this morning’s reading.
A report has just been released on the effect of Covid in The Episcopal Church, the American equivalent to the Anglican Church of Canada. It is honest and even-handed and avoids the hysteria, as author David Goodhew puts it, of those "addicted to bad news and panic". (https://covenant.livingchurch.org/2022/12/16/facing-episcopal-church-decline-after-covid/). My sense is that the situation is roughly in line with our situation in Canada.
But one point within the study, and his concluding four recommendations, are what caught my attention.
According to the Pew Institute Research, 55% of parishes made no provision for children and youth education during Covid - and my thoughts went immediately to Leila, Sarah and our great team of teachers and youth leaders who hung in there during a very hard time.
Which led to his four recommendations.
First, "those who intend to grow will tend to grow". Hard as the pandemic was, for the sake of the Gospel, we never gave up. And to rebuild and grow after the pandemic was our motivation, even when only a few people were allowed into the building. We had no intention of surrendering. We did our best. We could hardly wait until the doors reopened.
Furthermore, he made the point made by Ephraim Radner, our preacher on Anniversary Sunday - the lesson for from Covid is not to start from scratch. The point is to rebuild on the foundation of parish ministry: prayer, the sacraments, trustworthy preaching and teaching, care of each other, and reaching out with the Good News of the Gospel and with hands open and willing to serve. What you see is what you get here, but parishes like St. Paul’s are real and living outposts of the Kingdom. Which is why, as David Goodhew noted, St. Paul cared equally about the great matters of theology and settling the quarrel of two humble members.
Secondly, Covid highlights the "fuel" for recovering: hope from the resurrected One reaching across the empty tomb. Never has the Gospel been more important for a battered people.
Thirdly, post-pandemic planning is crucial for the first year, the third year and the fifth. But can you guess what he recommends: "I'd put work with children and families at the top of the list."
Finally, there will be closures. But as he sees it, this "should not distract us from the urgent need for church planting — notably in areas of expanding population, new housing, and ethnic diversification" - which we remain ready to do at the drop of a hat!
I think David Goodhew is thinking about Scarborough. I think he's been making secret visits to St. Paul's. Because here, we remain convinced that it is for others to be discouraged. For the sake of Jesus Christ, and for the sake of the tired and battered world God loves, we've no time for it. The Lord has given us too much to do!
It’s been another remarkable year as the people of St. Paul’s have faithfully supported their parish through an extraordinary time. Through the end of November, we have been in a strong position, now seeking your help through the year’s end. A reminder that December 31 is the the deadline for gifts given in 2022, noting that because Christmas and New Year’s falls on a Sunday, there is one less Sunday collection. Alternatively, because of Covid we have made available a number of electronic means of giving - Pre-authorized giving and E-transfers being the ones we recommend. We say our prayers and do our best - to the glory of God.
Steel Pan Christmas Concert -7.00 p.m., Saturday, December 17. Featuring: Gemini Pan Groove & St. Paul's Steel Orchestra. Tickets: $20 - contact the office or band members. Doors open at 5.45 pm. Light refeshments
The Angel Tree Program, run by Prison Fellowship Canada, aims to establish and maintain healthy relationships between incarcerated parents and their children, and also between these children, their caregivers, and a church community within their neighbourhood. Volunteers shop, wrap and deliver gifts to families. Monetary donations are also needed, visit the church website for information on how to give. The sign-up sheet for Angel Tree is in the church entrance or you can sign-up online:
We need more shoppers to be able to effectively run the program this year. Thank you. Jacqueline.
Thank you Matthew Waterman
After three years of service as Church Secretary - he arrived just in time for Covid! - Matthew W. will be ending his service at the end of December. We pray for him in his postulancy. We will find an occasion to express our thanks. We hope to make an announcement about his successor soon.
The Christmas Tree Mitten Outreach Program - donations of knitted mittens and scarves now being received - in support of ACSA and the Dr. Roz Healing Centre.
2023 Vestry - Sunday, January 22, 12.30 noon
Vestry Reports Due - Sunday, January 8 - all officers, please note.
2022 Expense Reports - due December 31.
Adzua Fellowship: The Immigrant Support Program of St. Paul’s - next meeting: Saturday, January 21 - meal, program, singing and prayers. Topic - Volunteering: Opportunities & Importance.
Friday Night Bible Study of the Gospel of Luke continues this Friday in person and on Zoom, but will take a break until Friday, January 13. The next study will be on the Acts of the Apostles, the 2nd half of Luke’s Gospel, using the study guide by N. T. Wright. Copies are available from Fr. Dean for $13.
Regular Sunday Hours:
8.00 a.m. - Holy Eucharist
9.15 a.m. - Holy Eucharist & Sunday School
11.00 a.m. - replay on Zoom of 8.00 a.m. service
11.15 a.m. - Holy Eucharist & Sunday School
1.00 p.m. - Chinese service
3.00 p.m. - Tamil service
6.00 p.m. - Evening Prayer (in person and online)
Tuesday - 10.00 am to 12.30 noon
Wednesday to Friday - 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 noon
Christmas Eve: 6.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. (11 pm is on Zoom and in-person)
10.00 a.m. (English)
11.30 a.m. Christmas Brunch (sponsored by the English & Chinese congregations)
1.00 p.m. - Chinese Christmas Service
3.00 p.m. - Tamil Christmas Service
*Watchnight Service - New Year’s Eve - 11.00 p.m.
*New Year’s Day - Feast of the Epiphany
8.00 a.m. (English)
10.00 a.m. (English)
1.00 p.m. - (Chinese)
3.00 p.m. - (Tamil)
6.00 p.m. - Evening Prayer
Steel Pan Practice - Saturdays, 12.30 noon.
The Christmas Tree Mitten Program - in support of ACSA and the Dr. Roz Healing Centre. See Jennifer B. for more information.
St. Paul’s Teen Basketball Clinic - Mondays, 6.00 p.m., L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute - as of October 18, back in the double gym
St. Paul’s Children’s Basketball Clinic - as of October 17, Tuesdays, 6.00 p.m., L’Amoreaux Collegiate Institute
SPARC - Thursdays, 4.00 - 5.45 pm.
After School Tutoring Program, in Math and English, at 4 pm on Thursdays for children ages 6-12. Registration is at the Thursday classes. For more information, contact Kathy B.
Adult Choir - occasional practices, Saturdays, 4.00 p.m.
Youth Music Program Resumes:
African Dance Program - Saturdays at 10.30 a.m..
Pan practices - Saturdays at 12.30 noon.
A new youth voices program (ages 12+) practice on Saturdays at 4.00 pm.
The string program - Saturdays, at 4.30 pm.
For more information, contact Sarah M., Sylbert G., or David Mc.
Adult ESL - Thursday and Saturday at 4.30 pm.
Altar Guild Members who attend the 11:15am service and are interested in joining the Altar Guild, please contact Valerie W.
St. Paul’s Ladies Group - Attention all members - there will be a very important meeting on November 22, 2022, at 7 pm at the church. Please make an effort to attend. Thank you. Venetta S.
Mission Trip & Safari to Tanzania: July 2023 - Fr. Kim Beard, leader.
For anyone interested (including families) in joining a group traveling to Tanzania from July 4-22nd, 2023. The Tanzania experience will include five days visiting and connecting with Anglicans in Tarime and Zanzibar, the chance to see and participate in a variety of development projects, safaris to the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro National Park, and a week exploring Zanzibar island. If you would like more information please contact: the Reverend Canon Kim Beard at email@example.com.
The Zoom Replay of the recording of the 8.00 a.m. Sunday service is at 11.00 a.m., Sundays, using the "Church Service" Zoom link.
A Single "Church Service" Zoom Link for all church services
This new link applies to all English church services which are streamed on Zoom, for the replay of the Sunday recording, and including Evening Prayer on Sundays at 6.00 p.m. and Morning Prayer, Monday through Saturday:
Meeting ID: 865 6634 7435
Refugee Couple - Sanaz and Alireza
More good news. This past we learned that the refugee couple St. Paul’s is co-sponsoring have received their VISA and are waiting on their air tickets.
War in Ukraine
For those wishing to contribute to refugee relief, The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund is now accepting donations to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine, here:
www.toronto.anglican.ca/news/pwrdf-accepts-donations-for-ukrainian-refugees/. Our Outreach Committee donated $2000 to refugee relief program.
The full schedule of in-person and online services and programs can be found on the online church calendar - www.stpl.ca/calendar.html - or here: www.stpl.ca/services.html.
S.P.Y. - St. Paul’s Youth - Friday nights at 7 pm. Contact Sarah for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your Faithful Gifts and Offerings - St. Paul’s is a strong parish and remains strong due to everyone’s faithful support at a time when never has it been more important. Gifts can be dropped off at the church or sent by mail. Kindly ensure that your name and envelope number is included. Or, members may wish to sign up for the Pre-Authorized Giving Program (contact the office). Members who use online banking can now make E-transfers (instructions here: www.stpl.ca/give.html). Gifts can also be made at our website through CanadaHelps: www.stpl.ca/give.html.
NOTE: Of the various means for online giving, we recommend The Pre-Authorized Giving Program. It is regular, matching the regular responsibilities of the parish, and once initiated all it takes is a phone call or quick e-mail note to increase, decrease, or cancel the donation. The monthly amount is withdrawn on the 20th of each month, and the cost to the church is 50 cents per transaction, irrespective of the amount of the gift. This makes the PAG the most economical of all methods of giving.
Contact - The clergy of St. Paul’s are permitted once again to visit in homes. Don’t hesitate to call or write.
Website: www.stpl.ca; Church phone: 416-499-1545; Email: email@example.com;
Fr. Dean Mercer: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352.
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