A New Infection at St. Paul’s,
by Fr. Dean Mercer
As the doors of St. Paul’s re-open, there are two parts to the challenge we face.
The first is to welcome back friends. After more than two years of strict safety guidelines, the word is now getting out that we have re-opened for services on Sunday and Sunday School for the children. The lingering Covid cloud still glows like a giant yellow caution light in the sky. But the doors are open and there’s genuine excitement and momentum in the six congregations of the parish and the programs that have re-started. Notably, a great team is rallying around our new Director of Family Ministry, responsible for our children and youth programs and the support of our families. Next Sunday, November 20, we will pray for Sarah Mair and the Sunday School teachers in particular, inviting all our families, children and young people to be part of this day.
But the second part is the responsibility of evangelism.
Some forthrightness is in order.
All things being equal, parishes will grow and thrive where families are honored and supported in the faith, where children are welcomed joyfully as a precious gift of God, and where the faith is nurtured and practiced in the home. This is made harder in a time of widespread marital breakdown and when marriage and child-bearing are often scorned. Many in the mainline protestant churches are ignoring at their peril the cost of secular values: extreme individualism which plays fast and loose with family relations and obligations; rank materialism which callously measures life by inhuman standards of strength and appearance and wantonly discards unwanted lives.
But we live by a different creed according to which every life is treasured as a gift from God, following Jesus Christ who raises our lives, the One who scape-goats no one, especially in a time when marital failure has touched so many. At St. Paul’s we will do our best to welcome and support all who seek a Christian family and to honor Jesus Christ in their homes.
To be raised in the faith is the ordinary way in which the Gospel is passed along. To learn and receive its beliefs, habits and joys is a life-long calling.
However, in a time when many have been cut loose from both church and family and all the disarray this has caused, it has also created an opening among adults who find themselves lost and adrift. Patience is required. As John Bowen, retired professor of Evangelism from Wycliffe College, said to us in 2007, five years is the average length of time that it takes for most adults to come to the faith from the moment their inquiry begins. You simply cannot pick it up like a new coat, put it on and skip forward to a mature Christian faith.
This was not said to discourage us, but rather to teach patience and to remind us of what St. Paul himself said: ‘some sow, some tend the garden, some harvest.’ But here's the line from John Bowen that I remember. "Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is infectious. Once a parish takes this up seriously and tastes its joys, they will never want to go back."
Which is exactly what I saw and felt last Saturday night at the English parish mission.
Fr. Theadore Hunt, our guest speaker, spoke very well. He said that to enter the Christian faith and life is, if I may paraphrase, to accept and let loose three dynamics in our lives.
The first is the dynamic of a personal relationship with God known through a serious habit of prayer. It is like learning to play an instrument beautifully: regular practice rewarded by music that becomes better and richer each day. It is how friends make friends: being together, talking to each other, enjoying each other’s company more and more - which is exactly what Jesus taught when he insisted on calling the disciples his friends, when on the day of his resurrection he greeted Mary in the garden by name. The first witness of the resurrection recognized Jesus when he called her by name.
Fr. Theadore talked about how Covid had taught this lesson at St. Stephens (and similarly at St. Paul’s) as a dedicated group gathered on Zoom for Morning Prayer each day, the standard of daily prayer in the Anglican tradition. In so doing, one experiences the whole counsel of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. One joins prayers, ancient and modern, that help us express ourselves before God better than what we can do on our own. And one offers to God the simple, the personal and the obvious - my friend who is sick, my neighbor who is poor, my sibling I struggle to help.
Secondly, is the dynamic of forgiveness.
Fr. Theadore told us about a terrible quarrel between two people, one person deeply hurt by what another had said. And when he called them to meet and reconcile - which they did! - he quoted the words of Jesus. "When you are offering your gift . . . first be reconciled with your brother or sister" (Mt. 5.23-24).
At our Friday night Bible study, the same lesson was taught in a wonderful and practical way. Is a servant entitled to anything special after a long day of scrubbing the floors and cleaning the windows (Luke 17.7-10)? No. That’s what they are assigned to do.
Ever notice what Jesus is talking about when he tells that story? It is forgiveness! What is truly remarkable is that because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, forgiveness and reconciliation are no longer treated as extraordinary, like a meteor streaking across the sky once a decade. Now, the extraordinary has been poured into our ordinary lives, the life of Jesus enlivening us, making mercy part of a Christian’s day.
Let that sink in. Jesus compares forgiveness and reconciliation to the daily chores of scrubbing and cleaning. Not only is this what Jesus assigns us to do. Profoundly, this is what he has made it possible to do!
And thirdly, Fr. Theadore told us about a handful of dedicated volunteers who, throughout Covid, put up with all the rules and safety guidelines and kept a food distribution program active at St. Stephens so that hungry people would not go without. Enter the Christian life and the dynamic of service is unleashed.
Prayer, mercy and service. Within the reach of the simplest and humblest person. Rising from the talents God has given to each of us. Lighting up our corner of the world with the life of Jesus Christ.
Anything here to make us embarrassed? Anything here that degrades or diminishes? Anything here that won’t bind our lives to what is good and true - and beautiful beyond all we could ever imagine?
We’ve had enough of Covid. It’s time to move on to a new infection in the parish - sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Tamil Evangelical Festival Raises Now More than $5000 for Bridge of Hope
It was a wonderful evening on October 22 for the Tamil Mission with wonderful music, guest speakers, a video presentation about the Bridge of Hope Palliative Care program in northern Sri Lanka, and $4000 raised for its support. The Bridge of Hope is the only one of its kind in northern Sri Lanka, started by our Tamil congregation.
New Director of Family Ministry
With great pleasure we announce, the creation of the new position of Director of Family Ministry and our first director, Sarah Mair. In one respect, this is to merge the positions of youth and Sunday School directors, but done so in order to:
*Strengthen our ministry to families;
*Coordinate our service to children, youth and their families and;
*Enhance the recent success of our outreach to children and youth in the community. One or two assistants will be recruited especially for Sunday School as well as a parent’s Advisory Committee to support the Director. In all of this, we seek to do our best to serve our children, young people and families through the seasons of life. Watch and pray. We have only just begun. Join us next Sunday, November 20, as special prayers will be said for our Director and the Sunday School teachers.
Honoring Leila Knetsch
On Anniversary Sunday, November 27, we will honor and thank Leila Knetsch for her dedicated service directing our Sunday School through Covid. She leaves a strong program and team of teachers in place. It’s a great team and we are always recruiting new teachers. If you are interested, contact Sarah.
We are now in our Stewardship Emphasis. Its purpose is threefold:
1) To give an account of how the gifts received by the parish are applied.
2) To highlight the fundamental areas in the Christian mission of the parish.
3) And to emphasize the central place and grateful obligation of stewardship in the life of every Christian.
St. Paul’s has seven fundamental areas of ministry and service - Christian Worship, Outreach, Pastoral Care, Education, Evangelism, Fellowship and Administration - which our Christian giving makes possible.
Regular giving according to the standard of the Biblical tithe is one of the fundamental practices of a Christian. It is the offering to God of our first and best gift. It is the support of the body of which Christ has made us a part. For his sake, it is our hand extended in service to those in need and in invitation to those drawing near to Christ.
The ideal is and will remain the gift given on Sunday while attending Sunday services, another of our fundamental practices. But with Covid in the air and regular attendance often interrupted, we appeal to everyone to consider alternatives. Those recommended are Pre-Authorized Giving or E-transfers. Both are secure, the P.A.G. is regular, an E-transfer can easily be made regular, and both are cost efficient, in most cases less expensive than writing a cheque.
And thirdly, in our annual Stewardship Emphasis three requests are made:
1) To make a pledge for the coming year that helps us plan ahead.
2) To consider a pre-authorized gift (described above) that provides regular support for the regular expenses that the parish faces.
3) And thirdly, every member is challenged to give at least 2% on the way toward the Christian ideal of the 10% tithe.
Anniversary Food Drive - in thanksgiving and preparation for our anniversary celebrations on the 181st anniversary of the parish, Sunday, November 27, we are encouraging every member to make a monetary donation to the Agincourt Community Services Food Bank. St. Paul’s played a key role in the launch of ACSA, a proud part of our heritage. We recommend that this be done using a church envelope. Simply indicate "ACSA Food Bank" on your envelope.
Walk-a-Thon 2022 - a great day, great walks, and over $13,000 raised so far! Kindly hand in any outstanding pledge sheets and donations. Thanks again for your constant help and support of our many outreach projects. This is our main fundraiser.
SPLC Presentation to Seniors - Programs and Services - today, November 13, 12.30-1.30 pm - lunch provided. SPLC provides an array of services for seniors in the community. They are for any eligible senior in the community. Topics will include care management, caregiver support, friendly visiting services, assisted living services, meals on wheels, transportation services, and more. The speaker is Elsa Uy, SPLC Health Promotion Coordinator. Those interested are asked to sign up (or call the office). For more information, call Elsa at 416-493-3333, ext. 305, or email@example.com.
2023 Church Calendars
Now available for pickup in the office.
Adzua Fellowship: The Immigrant Support Program of St. Paul’s
The next Adzua Fellowship meeting is Saturday, November 19, from 6.30 - 8.30 p.m., featuring a presentation from M.P.P. Aris Babikian, originally a refugee from Lebanon who settled in Canada and now serves as Member of Provincial Parliament. He will talk about his experience and services available for new immigrants. The program begins at 6.30 p.m. which includes by the presentation, followed by hymn singing and final prayers. PLEASE NOTE: In place of a meal, a potluck reception will follow. Sign-up in the narthex.
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
*181st Parish Anniversary Sunday - NOTE Change of Date - Now Sunday, November 27, 10.00 a.m. (combined service), The Rev’d Dr. Ephraim Radner, guest preacher.
*The SPO Holiday Concert, featuring the St. Paul’s Youth String Players, Saturday, December 3, 7.00 p.m. at the Salvation Army Citadel (check here for directions and ticket information: www.spo.ca).
*Advent Lessons and Carols - Sunday, December 4, 6.00 p.m.
*Advent Memorial Service - Friday, December 16, 7.00 p.m..
*Christmas Steel Concert - Saturday, December 17, 7.00 p.m. (tickets - $20).
Christmas Eve: 6.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m.
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
Steel Pan Practice - Saturdays, 12.30 noon.
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.
Friday Night Bible - Fridays at 7.00 pm - at the church and online.
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/830877703
Telephone: 647-374 4685, or 647-558 0588; Meeting ID: 830 877 703
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, please join us for an information meeting where I will present the itinerary, budget and travel information for this trip. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Zoom Replay of the recording of the 8.00 a.m. Sunday service has restarted. The replay is at the usual time of 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: email@example.com.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Fr. Dean Mercer: email@example.com;
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352.