August 21st, 2019

Dear St. Stephen’s church family,

Love and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ, who was and is and is to come.

I hope that everybody is having a good summer, with whatever it brings for you. We just returned from our annual family visit to BC where we saw nieces and nephews, grandparents and friends. Thank you to the whole parish for your prayers and support as we took time to recharge and enjoy the blessings of rest and a change of pace. God created the world in 6 days?? Or is it 7?? My brother in law, who teaches Middle English and Medieval studies, tells me that medieval wisdom says God created in 6 days, which is, strictly speaking, true…but what about the 7th day, upon which God rested? Is not rest part of the creative process? I tend to believe it is. In fact, our current culture of busyness and constant connection may lead us to even less creativity and originality of thinking. Rest is key to being fruitful and to our being made in the image of God. Is this a long justification for holidays!? Perhaps. But it’s also an important thing for Christians to consider as we relate to the world and our neighbours, our own lives and our relationship to work and rest. Wow. It doesn’t take me long to get right back into sermonising!  

On that note, thank you to the Rev. Dr. Jan, Canon Wayne and The Rev. Dr. Iain Luke for leading services  (including preaching sermons! 😊) in my absence.

 A few other notes as we near the end of August:

  1. Vestry meeting  Tuesday, August 27th. This meeting will begin with an introduction to using the AED. START TIME 7 pm.
  2. Garage Sale for Okema and St. Stephen’s. Saturday, September 14th. If you (or your friends or neighbours) have items in good condition to donate to this fundraising garage sale, please bring them to the church on Friday, September 13th from 10 am onwards, so we can price and organize for Saturday. This will be our first youth event of the fall, with an opportunity for youth to serve and support camp and church. Camp Okema operates on a shoe string budget, and always needs help keeping up with maintenance and purchasing needed items. 75% of the proceeds will go to Camp Okema, and 25% will go to support St. Stephen’s.
  3. Church school resumes on Sunday, September 8th. All children are invited to bring backpacks or school supplies to be blessed as they begin a new school year and we pray for the children and youth in our parish. We will also officially welcome the Rev. John Chuol as he begins his internship in our parish on September 8th. This is a 8-10 hour a week position that is supervised by the College of Emmanuel and St. Chad, myself (Amy) and a lay training committee from our parish. Thank you in advance for your support of John as he comes among us as a Christian leader, learning and growing in his ministry. We look forward to the gifts that he will bring and share with us in this journey.
  4. Welcome back to Church Sunday! September 29th. Mark your calendars and pray about inviting a friend or neighbour. Simply invite them to “come and see” -John 1:39
  5. Marriage course coming soon: Getting the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, by Gary Chapman. 6 study sessions starting in October. More info and sign up sheet to come. Couples of all ages and stages are encouraged to consider being a part of this series, spending some intentional time in nurturing your marriage relationship.

Feeling lonely or misunderstood this summer? This is a reality for many of us at different times for various reasons. Here’s some food for thought:

When people feel lonely and unsure of themselves, it is often because they do not believe deeply enough that God fully understands them. Paul writes that if we love fully, we will understand as we are fully understood. John’s words are very important, too: God loved us before we were ever able to love him. This is what must enter our small hearts, and what we must hold on to: the love of the great Heart which understands us fully. -J Heinrich Arnold

Peace in Christ,

Amy <><