Monthly Archives: April 2011

Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of…Cambridge

Prince William and Kate Middleton were married today – 3am in my time-zone.  I didn’t stay up to watch, but have been catching news clips since I got up this morning.
It’s exciting news!  It captures peoples’ imagination.  There were hundreds of thousands of people gathered in London to catch a glimpse of the royals in-person.  There were supposed to be two billion people who tuned in to watch the ceremony on TV and on the internet.  (This is a fair jump from the 750 million who were supposed to have watched William’s parents, Diana and Charles, wed some thirty years ago.)
I would imagine that people pay attention for a variety of reasons.  Many may scoff at tradition, when it comes to things like religion, or the monarchy, or parliamentary procedure, and yet it’s something of a ‘glue’ in our culture that can’t be denied.  I liked Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams’ reflections on the wedding in the lead-up to the great event.  He comments that, in the wedding of William and Kate, they represent something that we all long for, and perhaps even invite something of each of us that we hold as ideals: commitment, generosity, faithfulness.
And as I looked over the order-of-service for the ceremony, I could find elements that were familiar to me and my tradition – hymns, prayers, words that conveyed commitment and intention, and affirmed a set of beliefs which would be lived out.
In the messy-ness of election time, here in Canada, where words are spoken, but not always with sincerity, or jabs are made in order to put down another’s character in the race to gain a position of influence, this ceremony was a breather and moment of celebration and happiness in which many around the world came together to share.
The Royal Wedding was a moment of union between a couple, and perhaps also a moment that drew many others – of different backgrounds and views – together in ways that aren’t often possible.  …perhaps a moment of clarity and hope we can all work towards in more of our living.
And, by the way, the royal couple are now to be known as “Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”

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Good Friday – “Called to minister at the margins”

The annual Way of the Cross social justice walk is organized by Kelowna KAIROS.  Here is the reflection from the stop outside “The Centre” on Water St.

Jesus’ ministry took him outside of the circles of power and privilege.  He did not live lavishly; in fact, he lived off the welfare of women.  His ministry began as he connected himself to John the Baptist’s movement – a movement that drew people outside the safe confines of the city walls, a movement that called people to question status quo living.  And the ministry that Jesus undertook always questioned the idea of being at the centre of power and what that meant.

Even as we, today, may be quick to pat ourselves on the back for advances made in civil rights.  Even as we, today, may say that all people in our culture have a place and have opportunity.  Even as we may say that all have access and privilege like others, the fact remains that not all have the same status and not all are allowed the same choices.

This area – the Okanagan, and even more particularly, Kelowna – has enjoyed a long history of white, Christian, and wealthy living. Diversity is a challenge, but there are signs of change.  A new mosque, a new temple; a new university, a new rainbow mural… all of these recent additions to this city draw us out of ourselves and invite us to open ourselves.

We can be thankful for those who are not like us because they help us to learn about us.  And we can be mindful of the needs of those whose voices may not always be heard – and it is our responsibility to help their needs get met.

Let us pray…

God of the outcasts, you know we create societal structures where some are in and some are out.  We confess that we do not invite or welcome as we ought; we know we have made invisible barriers by discriminating against people who are different than us.  But you, God, are gracious, and we are grateful that you show mercy and continue to welcome us – inviting us to show welcome as you do.  We pray for grace in our living, conscious this day that we are joined in the death of one who went to the margins in his living as a model for us, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Paradox newsletter – April, 2011

From the Pastor…

Where homes are torn by bitter strife,and love dissolves in blame; where walls you meant for shelt’ring care hide deeds of hurt and shame: O God of mercy, hear our prayer: bring peace to earth again! (Worship hymnal #725)

How might peace be achieved in our world?

Do we have anything to say about it?

It seems to me that we throw our hands in the air too quickly about whether we have a role to play in the proceedings of our local region, country, or even the world.  On the news, recently, I saw images of people living in the Middle East who had their homes burned or bombed, and had absolutely nothing.  Children were held in the arms of their parents, the ground was dry and dusty.  How can one conceive of a future in that reality?  What hope is there?  And yet I notice that people will gather in those times of desperation; people will not sit idly by.  Instead, they work hard to rebuild, or rally to protest their oppression.  Such anxious times, while never desired by any people, motivate people into action, and there is passion for engagement in life.

Are things too comfortable around here?  With a federal election now coming up, I hear lines like “stay the course” being tossed around, and yet there is a widening gap between rich and poor in our country.  I hear accusations of “undemocratic” activity by some, and yet we allow trade agreements and shady business deals to be done on our behalf behind closed doors.

The hymnist writes of peace on earth again. “Peace,” as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice.”  Justice – where all have enough, and no one is denied access – requires the engagement of us all, and the freedom for all of us to join in the decisions that are made. For such prayers to be answered, we must live what we believe and desire for the world.

-Pastor Tyler Gingrich

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THANK YOU…

– to the Tozer, Mcintosh, Whiteman, Skutshek, Wilkison, Denney, Weger, and Czeto families for their part in our dessert night on March 18th!

– to Cathryn, Karen, Paul, and Jesse for their faithful service on Advisory!

– to Sid and Shawn for their gift of music, and for providing some amplification!

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Prophetic Words For Our Day

There is, I am completely convinced, a reality that we call God, but none of can finally capture that reality in our words, whether they be the words of scripture, creeds, doctrines or dogmas. The great pain of organized religion is that many people see religion not as the description of a journey into an ultimate mystery, but as a formula designed to keep human anxiety in check. That use of religion continues to repel me.

Last week, for example, I received a complimentary copy of a right-wing, Midwestern Episcopal publication. […] It carried an article by two African Anglican bishops who complained that the American Church paid no attention to the well-being of the Anglican Communion by ordaining Mary Glasspool, an open lesbian priest who has lived with her partner for many years, to be a bishop in Los Angeles. I wanted to inform these two prelates that we in America also did not pay attention to our racist members when we, a number of years ago, chose great people like John Walker and John Burgess, both African-Americans, to be our bishops in Washington, D.C. and in Massachusetts respectively. We in America also did not pay attention to our sexist members when we chose Barbara Harris to be or first female bishop in Massachusetts; Mary Adelia McLeod to be our first female diocesan bishop in Vermont and Katharine Jefferts-Schori to be our first female Presiding Bishop and Primate. If we were not willing to be bound by racism or sexism in those days, I wonder why these African bishops think we will be or should be bound today by their rampant homophobia.

This publication also told of an American bishop who declined to participate in Mary Glasspool’s ordination so that she “could keep her relationship with some African bishops intact.” It is hard for me to see such an abdication of leadership, which compromises principle in order to reduce conflict with those who wish to demonize homosexual people, as a quality deserving of anything but disgust. Yet this bishop was actually offering this behavior as virtuous. She was clearly worshiping at the altar of institutional unity on which the humanity of many has been sacrificed to gain institutional well-being as if that were a noble reason. […]

These are just examples of the religious attitudes that have caused people like your husband to think he is an atheist. If this is Christianity, I don’t know why any thinking person would be attracted to it.

If I lit a candle in the religious darkness that enveloped your husband, I am profoundly grateful and I thank you for writing.

(Bp John Shelby Spong, in a reply to a question submitted by a reader)

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“Treat others as they would want to be treated”

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At our Congregational Meeting on March 6th, we began a visioning process called “Dotmocracy.”  Make sure to pick up one of the blank sheets and fill in your ideas and hopes for our community’s future by the end of the month!

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Worship Leaders in April

DATE LECTOR HOST LITURGIST
April 03 Lynette S Denney Darlene
April 10 Jesse W Gingrich Myrle
April 17 

(Soup & Spirituality)

 

x x x x x

Weger, 

Aune

 

x x x x x

April 21 

(Maundy Thursday)

 

x x x x x

Karen
April 24 Karen M Potluck breakfast Myrle
Calendar