Making All Things New

Classes started up again last week. I think. But I’m all done school [for]now.

Three years ago I was back to school for a new degree. I was meeting new friends for the very first time and getting settled in a new city in a province I hadn’t lived in for nearly 20 years. And now I’ve been seeing pictures from friends gathered around in fellowship together and it feels strange not being there.

Instead, I’m across the country sitting in the office I’ve been sitting in since June. At work.

Three years ago, I was not thrilled to leave Victoria to return to Ontario. Yes, I was anticipating seminary and all that might bring, and I was looking forward to living closer to family members I’d never lived closer to than a 4-6 hour drive. But I didn’t really want to leave the life I’d made on the Island.

And now I’m back in Victoria. It is a completely different life than I left and than I thought I would come home to. I find myself missing London! (I’ll change my tune when winter hits.) I miss the family there. I miss the friends at school. I miss some of the places.

It really hit home a week an a half ago when one of my former coworkers in London suddenly and unexpectedly died. Friends gathered at the home of another coworker to tell stories and I felt pretty isolated on the other coast. Yet amidst that, I had some amazing conversations with former coworkers that I hadn’t spoken with since we moved.

And in the middle of it all, all things are being made new. We have a new home in a new city with new jobs doing new things that we hadn’t imagined three years ago. We’re making new memories together and exploring new places. And that is pretty great.

Sermon for April 10, 2016

A sermon preached at Grace United Church, Sarnia, Ontario

Text: John 21:1-19 

 

 

 

Two weeks later, here we are, back at the seashore… Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others have returned to the Sea. Here they are, all together sitting around a fire on the seaside. They’re just hanging out. Ever the impetuous one of the group, Peter suddenly looks up: “Guys, I’m going fishing.” One by one they join him and soon all of the boats are back out on the water.

Follow me, said Jesus, and I will make you fish for people. But now our fishermen have returned to their fish.

***

Easter. Two weeks ago we celebrated Jesus’ resurrection from the dead with what was likely a lot more faith and hope than did Mary, Simon Peter, and the other disciple when they encountered the empty tomb early that morning. It was empty of Jesus’ body and, in the words of Mary when she unknowingly encountered Jesus in the garden, “they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.”

The inclination that something had happened doesn’t seem to have fully sunk in, however. The evening of the day Jesus rose, the disciples were hiding away behind a locked door. A locked door?! So much for believing in the power of the resurrection!

To their surprise, and very likely ours had we been in their shoes, Jesus appeared among them, speaking to them before breathing his spirit upon them as he sent them out.

But… one week later, there we are, still in the same room with the same locked door, clearly not entirely sure of what has happened. Jesus appears again in our midst and we are able to see and touch him.

Another week passes and the disciples are no longer locked up in the room. Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanial, James, John, and two others have walked some 170 kilometres north of Jerusalem to the Sea of Tiberias – the Sea of Galilee. That’s not too far off the distance between here and, say, Kitchener. First century roads, however, are far cry from our highways and it took them a little longer to plod the dusty tracks of Israel than the couple of hours it might take us to drive that distance today.

It is a familiar road.

I wonder if they were recalling the last time they had all walked it: on the way to Jerusalem and the way to Jesus’ death on the cross, though they did not know it at the time.

This time, though, we’re headed north instead of south. Perhaps they feel as we sometimes do when travelling: the return road seems to pass by faster than the leaving did. Despite the hills and the dust as we walk along, maybe our pace begins to pick up as we get closer to the Sea.

They’re going home.

Did the painful and confusing memories of the previous few weeks in Jerusalem begin to fade as they put some distance between themselves and the city? Were they talking about what had happened? Were they trying to forget? Or were they still struggling to make sense of what had happened?

Despite having seen Jesus, seen him twice for some of those in our travelling group, there seems to be some confusion about what to do now. Jesus sent them out, but maybe they don’t know what that means.

So we are gathered together beside the Sea, their familiar place, the place where they had fished every day up until Jesus called each one, one-by-one.

Two weeks after the resurrection and that first Easter morning, two weeks after Jesus’ appearance to the disciples and his sending them out… Three years of hearing Jesus’ teachings day-in-day-out and seeing his miraculous actions, and we are back where we started: at the sea, fishing.

I don’t know about you, but Easter Sunday wasn’t even over before I was back to my regular routine: papers to write, textbooks to read…

We have work to do. Activities to plan. People to see. Daily life catches up with us and it is easy to forget.

 

The writer of the gospel of John doesn’t tell us the motives behind Peter’s return to fishing fish, so we are left to fill in some of those blanks. Thinking about human nature, though, I think that I get it: Life has been pretty uncertain for awhile. They haven’t had a stable place to stay for anything more than a few nights at a time. Their leader has just died and then strangely reappeared.

 

The economy is uncertain. Unemployment has been dragging on and on. Too many good people have died for what seems like no reason. Food prices keep fluctuating.

It is pretty natural to want to stay in the security and certainty of things that are known, even if it does mean going back.

 

But can we go back? Can we remain unchanged?

 

Easter has happened and is happening whether we feel certain about it or not.

Today we call the third Sunday of Easter – so our feet are still firmly planted in the season of Easter.

With the cross and resurrection, time shifted and what was then is now. Rather than Easter being that day we look forward to once a year, it is every single day.

The sun rises every morning and we are reminded that early in the morning today, yesterday, and tomorrow, Jesus rose.

 

So it is for the disciples, whether they knew it or not: the things they witnessed and participated in over the previous three years have changed them irrevocably. There really is no going back for any of us.

 

As if as a reminder of that, Jesus suddenly appears to us for the third time since he rose.

But, we don’t know it is him at first. We’re still out fishing – well, trying to fish. It has been a bad night and we have caught nothing.

Maybe they had been about to give up anyway. Thomas, leaning over to Peter, reminding him that he had thought this was a bad idea in the first place: they hadn’t fished in three years! What made us think we could just pick it back up?

And a figure appears on the beach, shouting out: Have you caught anything?

I’m not much of a fisherman. Two summers on the lake with my husband and his family haven’t increased my skill at all, so I have some understanding of what it feels like to have to respond to that question with a sigh and a Nope. Still haven’t even caught one fish

But I have enough of an understanding of how fishing works to realize that when you’re out in the middle of the sea, throwing your net or your rod over the other side of a small boat isn’t going to make a huge difference.

Believe me, I’ve tried everything.

 

But that is what Jesus tells them to do: Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.

So they do it and have an epic haul of fish. The gospel writer tells us that there were so many fish that they were not able to haul in the net, fearful that it might break.

 

Such abundance.

Such abundant grace from Jesus: these people he had invested so much time and energy into over the last three years seem to have abandoned everything to go back to how life was before they met him. Rather than pout or get angry, Jesus extends so much grace that it strains our capacity.

It overflows.

Because that is what grace does.

When you least expect it. When all hope is gone. When you wonder what you are doing. When there are no fish. When you think there is no future.

There is overflowing abundant grace.

Not blame for having failed. Not guilt for feeling like there is no hope. Not shame for feeling lost.

Only overflowing abundant grace.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness, in your doubt, in your confusion…

 

And then, as if to settle it, Jesus invites them to share a meal.

They came, Jesus took bread, broke it, and passed it to his disciples.

Then he did the same thing with the fish.

Eat with me, he said.

Remember what happens when we eat?

Where two or three are gathered,

Whenever you break bread and eat, you do this in memory of me.

Food.

It is so simple, isn’t it?

In the midst of our doubts, in the midst of our uncertainties, Jesus shows up on the shore and invites them to share a meal once again. We sit down together and eat: whether it be around the Table of the Lord on a Sunday morning as the church community breaks bread together, around the kitchen table at home with the familiar laughter of family or friends, or around tables in a church hall smelling and tasting rich and fragrant soup prepared by your church family, Jesus is with us on the shore this morning, inviting us to share life and eat with him.

The Last Supper and resurrection meals fold into one with the changing of time and we find community and fellowship with each other.

Not only that, but we remember that today is Easter. And tomorrow when we wake up and eat breakfast, it is still Easter. And the next day, and the day after that.

Shortly after Jesus rose, two disciples, in their fear and uncertainty, went for a walk and found themselves at the table, eating with Jesus.

As the bread was broken and shared, their eyes were opened and they realized that Jesus had been amongst them the entire time, overflowing with such grace that their hearts had been burning with the joy of his presence.

May it be for us as it was for them: as we eat, as we drink, may we find and know the abundance of God’s grace in our lives and in our lives together.

Amen.

diakonos – Some Huron University College History

Sometimes in my role as Co-President and Secretary for the Bishop Hallam Theological Society Council at Huron I get to do some really neat things.

envelopeOne of my tasks is checking the Society’s mail. I usually check every few days, more or less frequently if there are things I am expecting or if school is not in session. Last week, a small envelope appeared in our mailbox. The address was written with shaky-looking writing and there was no street address or postal code: just “The Bishop Hallam Theological Society, Huron College, London Ontario. The postmark suggested that it had been mailed in December meaning it took two months to find us – but that Canada Post still managed to get it to the right building! (Small miracles!)

Two small pieces of paper torn from a spiral ring notebook were inside, with a return address from a retirement home in Owen Sound, Ontario. It read:

To the Bishop Hallam Theological Society Huron College London Ontario.

Is it possible to obtain copies of diakonos, the theological journal of Huron College London Ontario published by the Bishop Hallam Theological Society Huron College London 1965? My husband was the editor of this journal and we lived in a cottage next door to Huron College.

Would it be possible to obtain copies of this Journal? as I would very much like to be able to give a copy to each of my 3 children.

Your sincerely,

———-

I had no idea what she was talking about. The BHTS no longer publishes a journal – in fact I hadn’t even known we had in the past! Fortunately I happened to be near the Dean’s office when I opened and read the envelope and he and the Assistant to the Dean, both of whom have a long memory of things at the school, were in their offices. When I inquired about the journal, they both knew exactly what our letter writer was talking about!

It turns out that the BHTS did publish a journal, roughly from 1964 to 1967 or 68 from diakonoswhat I can tell. Copies are hard to come by now, for obvious reasons. There is a copy of each issue in the archives and the Dean has a copy of each issue in his office. Coincidentally, fortuitously, or providentially, he had a second copy of the 1965 edition which he was happy to give me. Yes, the surname of the editor is the same as the surname of our letter-writer.

Happily, I have been able to respond to our letter-writer with a note, thanking her for writing and for allowing us to reconnect with a piece of our history and to reconnect with the hundreds of faithful people educated at this seminary before us. I was sorry that I did not have three to send to her, one for each of her children, but so thankful that there “just happened” to be an extra copy of the one her husband was the editor of. I hope that she enjoys reading it as much as we have enjoyed being reconnected with a piece of our history that we had lost.

 

Sermon for the Reign of Christ, November 22, 2015

Preached at St Mark’s by-the-Lake, Tecumseh Ontario, November 22, 2015.

Text: [Revelation 1:4b-8], John 18:33-37

I was invited to preach at St Mark’s because I was awarded the St Mark’s by-the-Lake award for Christian Leadership last year and they have a tradition of inviting those who receive the award to preach in the church and meet the community. I had a wonderful morning with St Mark’s and was able to speak with many people in the community over coffee (post-8am) and soup (post-10:30). They are a warm and welcoming community just outside of Windsor. Many thanks to Rev. Robert Lemon and his congregation for the invitation.

I would like to invite you to take a walk with me if you will.

It might not be an easy walk. The streets are crowded. Its that Holiday rush – the tight pack of people all headed in the same direction with far too little space to accommodate them all. And yet the crowd is growing – where they are all coming from and how many more will fit is anyone’s guess.

The air is full of voices – but there are so many voices that it is hard to pick out what anyone is saying. From the tone, there are some who are overcome with excitement for the Holiday. And there are others who are muttering about this inconvenience or that annoyance.

The sounds and smells of animals – horses, donkeys, sheep – provide that smellscape that you sometimes get when the petting zoo or live nativity scene sets up in the town centre. But that isn’t too surprising: we are headed towards the Temple. It is Passover. We are in Jerusalem.

You look around, taking in the sights, and start to notice that there are soldiers strategically placed along the roadside and even more around the Roman government building up ahead. An extra show of force – and security? – at Holiday time. They are instructed to keep the peace at all costs.

The crowd begins to shift, bunching in closer together and you start to hear the clinking of armour. Looking back, you can just see through the mass of people a group of fully armed soldiers pushing through the crowd. You can tell they are soldiers because of the sun glinting off of their drawn weapons. No wonder the crowd is surging away to give them space. And the soldiers have with them a group of men wearing the long robes of religious leaders and a man who looks like he is their prisoner.

They are heading towards the headquarters of the Roman Governor in Jerusalem, a brutal man who would have only have come to the city if he anticipated civil unrest and the need for soldiers to squash it.

The Roman Empire. A vast empire won and held by force.

There is no way that anyone can take over most of the known world without some sort of violence: violence of the sword, of executing political prisoners by crucifixion, of brutal suppression of dissent.

Or, perhaps there are other ways of taking over or spreading dis-ease that are more familiar to us sitting here in our pews today: The violence of systems that enslave people and keep them in poverty. The violence that strips culture by stifling the speaking of native languages or religious expression. The violence of having to work long hours in a sweatshop for only pennies a day to produce clothing you can’t afford to wear. The violence when children are removed from loving families. The violence that forces families to flee from their homes and risk everything in small boats on an open sea to get to safety. The violence of intolerance and hate.

If the Reign of Christ, Jesus’ kingdom, if Jesus and his followers – if he and they were of this world, then they and we would use the primary tool of this world for establishing and keeping power: violence.

Pilate turns to Jesus and asks him, Are you the King?

My kingdom is not from this world. Responds Jesus. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to you … But my kingdom is not from here …

Imagine an alternate reality with me, and let us think back to last night, when we were gathered with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying. Suddenly soldiers appeared with lanterns and weapons – maybe even the same soldiers we saw earlier today pushing him through the crowd.

These soldiers want to arrest Jesus and take him away! But Peter, that faithful follower, will have none of that. Before anyone else can even wrap their head around what is going on, Peter has pulled his sword out and cut off someone’s ear. The next thing we know, everyone is pulling out swords and fighting the soldiers off. Then it is a run down the hill into the city to catch them unawares – fighting into the palace and installing Jesus as King.

For the next few decades, people like Paul will sail around the Mediterranean spreading the good news of a kingdom of violence to the world.

While we know this is not what actually happened with Jesus and his followers, it is what eventually happened with the Crusades, with the colonization of North America, Africa, and many other parts of the world, and is what happens today when good people spread of messages of hate and intolerance in places like Facebook…

This is what happens when kingdoms are spread through the ways this world knows.

But My kingdom is not from this world. Said Jesus.

My kingdom is not a kingdom of violence. Put your sword back into its place, Peter. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

We can imagine Jesus saying, Those who live for violence – for hate, intolerance, distrust – will only bring more of the same into their lives.

Jesus is not of this world and so Jesus will not defend himself by violence, nor will he establish his claim by violence. Jesus doesn’t usher in God’s kingdom using violence. And Jesus will not make any followers by violence.

Nevertheless, Pilate asks, So you are a king?

Jesus answers; You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.

Instead of coming to establish his reign through violence, Jesus has come to witness to the truth. The truth that God is love and that God so loved the world that God sent God’s only son to the world. The truth of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling amongst us so that we might see his glory, his glory full of grace and truth.

But, as the writer of the gospel of John reminds us, the world did not recognize him. Because no one has ever seen God. (John 1)

Because we have not seen God, we have a hard time imagining God. And when we try to imagine things we have not seen or known, our imagination becomes dominated by our experience. Rather than imagining a God of love, often we imagine God to be angry or violent because we live in a world of violence. The headlines we read, the images we see, and the sounds we hear daily on the news and in social media are frequently ones of violence.

Rather than recognizing the cross as a symbol of sacrificial love, we assume that it is the legal ways of punishing Jesus in our place – because we have way too much experience with punitive relationships.

Rather than believing that God’s grace and acceptance and love are entirely unconditional, we assume that God offers love, power, and status only on the condition that we fear, obey, and praise God – and despise those who do not – because so much of our life is about “tit for tat.”

But Jesus is not of this world. And so his followers do not fight to bring about his reign because to use violence is to violate the very principles of his kingdom and will only cause its destruction.

No, the way to bring about the Reign of Christ is through love.

That radical love that, in the words of our baptismal covenant, calls us to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbours as ourselves.

Because while the Reign of Christ on one hand reveals Christ in his glory, coming in with the clouds so that every eye might see him, the Reign of Christ is also about the glory of Christ hidden beneath rags so that when we see him, we might love him by giving him clothing,

or find Christ thirsty that we might lovingly hand him something to drink,

or discover Christ the stranger or refugee who we might welcome into our homes or communities.

The Reign of Christ – the reign of the Christ who is calling us to transform the unjust structures of society that cause people to have to flee from their homes,

or that force people to work in dehumanizing conditions for insufficient funds,

or that calls us as a national Anglican church to grapple with a legacy of violence stemming from systematic abuse in Residential Schools –

The Reign of Christ is here on earth so that we might challenge violence of every kind to pursue peace and reconciliation.

Because here is another difference between the kingdom that Pilate was looking for and Jesus’ kingdom that is not from here: Jesus’ kingdom is not limited to a particular place or time like the Roman empire was or like the empires of today are.

Jesus’ kingdom is a state of being. A way of life. A commitment to view the world through Jesus’ eyes of love and to love fiercely even in the face of these violences in the world we see all around us every day.

In a few moments we will gather together around a table. A table where we proclaim the power of the sacrificial love of Christ. And then together we will pray, praying with believers all around the world, “Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

Today we proclaim that the Reign of Christ is here on earth. That Christ is among us, enthroned in glory and leading a kingdom not spread through the means of this world, but spread through love.

Welcome to the Reign of Christ, to the Reign of God’s love.

Amen.

Countdown

The countdown is on. In 16 days, I’m getting married!

KAM_3897

(Our engagement photos and wedding photos by Blue Iris Photography: http://www.blueirisphoto.com)

We are getting married Thanksgiving weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving) in our adopted home of London, Ontario with our families, friends, and classmates around us. While stressful at times, it has been a lot of fun to plan out our liturgy and ask friends and classmates to play meaningful roles in the ceremony. Now, a little over 2 weeks out, all of the details are nearly sorted out and we’re just waiting to have fun celebrating with everyone.

While Thanksgiving weekend is smack in the middle of our penultimate term of seminary, having our celebration on a weekend in Autumn (my favourite season) where our classmates could be with us made a lot of sense. We met here at seminary at Huron and our classmates and professors have played a big part in our lives together thus far.

The last 21 months with Matthew have been amazing. I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Sermon for June 28, 2015 (Feast of St Peter & St Paul)

Speaking about the work of the Primate’s World Relief & Development Fund at St Paul’s Cathedral, London ON.

Text: John 21:15-19

*Listen to the audio recording from St Paul’s Cathedral here*

After worshipping with this community of St Paul’s Cathedral with some regularity over the last few months it is an honour to be invited to share with you this morning as we break open the Bread of Life together both through the Holy Scriptures and, a little later, at the Table.

A couple of weekends ago, Matthew and I were at a gathering in Ottawa and, when we were just sitting down to dinner, one member of the group was asked to offer a word of thanks for the meal. I was both surprised and touched to hear him pray with words that are likely familiar to many of you since I believe they were penned here in this diocese in support of the Huron Hunger Fund: “For FOOD in a world where many walk in hunger, for FAITH in a world where many walk in fear, for FRIENDS in a world where many walk alone, we give you humble thanks, O Lord.

I should not have been surprised to hear them: I have heard these words prayed from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island at church gatherings in support of the Huron Hunger Fund’s national body: the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, or PWRDF.

These words capture what is at the heart of all that PWRDF is about: Food, Faith, and Friendship.

It seems appropriate, then, for our gospel this morning as we commemorate the feast of St Peter and St Paul, that we hear this exchange between Jesus and Peter.

Picture it with me, if you will.

Just before our gospel reading picks up this morning, Peter and some of the other disciples have been up all night fishing. Its been somewhat of a return to how life was before Jesus came and called them a few years ago – they’re up in the northern region of Galilee, on the lake, fishing. Except this night, its been bad fishing and they’ve caught nothing. Apparently fishing isn’t like riding a bike: they’ve lost their touch!

Then, just as they’ve given up for the night and the sun is beginning to rise, a figure appears on the beach. Just as he has many times since his resurrection, Jesus suddenly appears amongst his disciples and this time he tells Peter and the disciples to try fishing again. So they do and have an epic haul of fish. They bring the fish ashore, and have a fish-fry with Jesus on the beach. It is a communion meal of sorts, breaking fish instead of bread, drinking water instead of wine, but Eucharistic feast with the risen Jesus nonetheless.

Immediately following the meal is where the reading picked up this morning.

In a series of repetitive questions, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him.

Yes Lord, you know that I love you.

Feed my sheep. Is Jesus’ response.

Almost echoes of James: Show me your faith without doing anything, says James, and I, through what I do, will show you my faith.

Feed my sheep. It means so much more than just giving people food. And, indeed, there is much that is broken with a charity model of simply handing out food. On one level, though, Jesus’ command to feed his sheep IS about food – about food security and justice: about ensuring that all people, everywhere, have access to enough nutritious food to eat.

***

For FOOD in a world where many walk in hunger…

Walking in hunger is, unfortunately, a daily reality for far too many people in this world. You know this, and you live the reality of this out in London each and every week. Some of you have been busy planting a pollination garden to provide for the bees that allow for us to grow food. Still others of you grow food that you bring here to the Daily Bread Food Bank and Fellowship Centre. Others again serve in the Fellowship Centre on a weekly basis.

Food is vital. We cannot live without it, yet sometimes it is hard to come by both here in London and around our world. That is why one of the main priorities of PWRDF is Food Security. The World Health Organization defines food security as “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.”

In a world where many walk in hunger, this is a tall order. We cannot do it on our own. God has called us into partnership as we also partner with each other and bring food to the world.

***

Southern coastal Tanzania is a long way from Southwestern Ontario. But here, in the Anglican Diocese of Masasi is one of PWRDF’s longest-standing partnerships. This region is largely rural with dirt tracks being the best roads on offer. Most people subsist through agriculture, however they have not been able to grow food for more than four to eight months of the year, leaving the remaining months as months of hunger. PWRDF has been working with the Diocese and farmers to provide them with seeds, train them in agricultural practices, and increase the capacity of the land to produce food for ten to twelve months instead. To date, over 2100 farmers have been helped and food production has increased dramatically. Farmers tithe their harvest by returning 20% of their harvested seeds to local seed banks at the end of the season and the cycle begins again, helping even more farmers. Seed by seed, row by row, PWRDF is working to increase food capacity and reduce hunger. Feed my sheep.

***

A refugee camp in southern India inhabited by Tamil refugees who have escaped the long conflict on their home island of Sri Lanka may seem an unlikely place to have a community that is a world leader in anything. Here, however, is OfERR, a PWRDF partner organization started by refugees for refugees. They are a world leader in cultivating a green algae called spirulina. Unless you frequent health food stores, you can be forgiven for never having heard of spirulina before. Spirulina is grown in large tanks, dried and powdered and then used as a nutritional supplement. Some of what is produced by this refugee community is given to children and nursing mothers in their midst in order to promote their health. The rest is sold to make an income to further support themselves, their community, and their dream of one day returning home to Sri Lanka. Feed my sheep.

***

Facing epidemic-levels of HIV/AIDS in their community, the people of the Keiskamma Trust, PWRDF partners who I had an opportunity to visit in the Eastern Cape of South Africa a few years ago, began an organic garden. Working alongside villagers in the garden high up on the windswept grassy hills overlooking the Indian Ocean, not only were members of the Keiskamma Trust able to teach sustainable gardening practices to members of the community, but it has ensured a steady supply of nutritious food for those taking medications to counter HIV/AIDS. For those seeking to live a normal, healthy life and fight HIV/AIDS, food alongside their medications is a must – the medications are not effective without food. Because of the education around gardening and the bounty of the ensuing harvest, I saw, first hand, the life that is given back to people who thought they had a death sentence. Feed my sheep.

These stories are just a small sampling of the more than fifty projects we have been involved in just in the last year both in Canada and around the world.

***

For FOOD in a world where many walk in hunger, for FAITH in a world where many walk in fear…

Why does PWRDF do what we do?

Our mission statement begins with, As an instrument of faith, PWRDF connects Anglicans in Canada to communities around the world.

An instrument of faith: this is part of the response of Canadian Anglicans – of me and of you – in faith, to Jesus’ words, Feed my sheep.

Jesus’ words to Peter are Peter’s renewal. Remember, after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter returned to Galilee and took up fishing all over again, without much luck, and then he has this encounter on the beach. This is Peter’s re-commissioning by Jesus: Peter, I know you’ve messed up in the past, I know you haven’t always gotten it right, but I love you and I trust you: give it another go and partner with me to feed my sheep. Church, I know you haven’t always gotten missions right. I know you haven’t always gotten food relief right or development right. But I love you and you are still my hands and my feet in this world. Give it another go and partner with me on my mission. Feed my sheep.

Then Jesus sends Peter out much like we are sent out from church each week: Go forth to love and serve the Lord. Jesus’ words here are slightly different but their meaning similar: Peter, in faith, partner with me to go feed my sheep and love my people.

***

For FOOD in a world where many walk in hunger, for FAITH in a world where many walk in fear, for FRIENDS in a world where many walk alone…

Friendship is probably the most unique part of how PWRDF operates. We call it partnership; perhaps you are familiar with this model through this church’s partnership with PWRDF and the Cristosal Foundation in El Salvador.

Friendship and partnership. Our work is not a dictatorial charity model. We don’t send people around the world to tell locals how to best work in their communities. We partner with exceptional organizations to support them in doing what they do best the way that they have identified they need help or support. That takes so many different forms – something different in each community. And through these partnerships we form friendships where we learn as much from our partners as they might learn from us. Some of these partnerships are longstanding, with as much as 15 or 20 years of history between us.

Do you love me? asks Jesus to us. Feed my sheep. Love my people.

Food. Faith. Friendship.

For FOOD in a world where many walk in hunger, for FAITH in a world where many walk in fear, for FRIENDS in a world where many walk alone, we give you humble thanks, O Lord.

Amen.

Month in Review

I’m still here!

It has been a slow start to writing in 2015, mostly because I broke my hand just before Christmas and am only a few days back into having two hands available for typing. It is a wonderful feeling to have all ten fingers working[mostly] properly again! It was a freak finger jam of the finger I dislocated as a kid and I spent the second half of December in a bright blue cast from finger-tip nearly to elbow, then the last two and a half weeks in a removable splint. Thursday I was set free to “take it easy” which, obviously, I have been doing…

The last month in review:

IMG_1827We had a lovely Christmas week at Matthew’s family’s home outside of Ottawa, then down to Montreal for a few days with some of both sides of my family before heading to Sarnia for New Year’s Eve with that fantastic gang.

School has begun again, rather uneventfully. Some good courses this term, with a nice balance of practical and academic. I remain in placement at St Andrew Memorial Church and have been refining learning goals for a new term of new learning.

Matthew and I continue to plan our wedding – we’ve met with one caterer and will meet another next week. The date (October), venue, and priest to do the ceremony have all been settled. Fitting for two priests-to-be, the things we have been deliberating on most have included liturgy and who will read what for the service!