Monthly Archives: July 2011

I’m just One Person…

(This could become a rant…)
Have you ever said, or heard another person say, “I’m just one person – what can I do?”
And, if you’re trying to live a just and good life, but find yourself unable to keep up with all the work that that entails – caring fir environment, buying ethically, giving to organizations that do justice work on behalf of all of us, and so on – the temptation can be to throw one’s arms in the air and say “why bother at all?” …especially when one’s own needs are already met!
In addition to this, some may become critical: “you say you are a good person because you make a point of buying local produce, and yet I saw you just the other day buying an orange at Safeway – there’s no way that’s local! You’re a hypocrite!”
The thing is, none of us can do everything. At the same time, we can’t do anything big without all of us contributing as we can.
When asked the question, “there are over six hundred laws in the Torah, how can I possibly be a good Jew?” a rabbi replied, “choose one and start.”


Til Debt Do US Part

I justify all kinds of unnecessary purchases. I have things I really don’t need.
Does our culture help us justify what we don’t need? Have we all fallen victim to marketers whose existence depends on our consuming things?
Our neighbours to the south are fast approaching a date where debts are coming due. With the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the USA has enjoyed significant power over other countries in the world (often holding the option of veto).
Our economic system is, in effect, based on trust. What happens when we can not make good on what we’ve said we would repay? What has happened when other countries have not been able to repay? (In many cases, they have had to agree to repayment plans that have bound countries to the point of being unable to provide for their people.)
We, as consumers, can change this type of system. We can “choose otherwise” – that is, not the system we’ve operated by which depends on great consuming and producing.
And perhaps by changing the way we do things (eg. buy local, fair trade, less…), we can re-establish trust with and care for each other.

Proud to be Lutheran in Canada!

Our National Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, has recently completed it’s Thirteenth Bienniel National Convention – this year in Saskatoon.
It was a milestone convention: celebrating 25 years as a church (having merged two previous Lutheran bodies, the LCA and ELCC, into one) and 10 years in Full Communion with the Anglican Church of Canada.  But perhaps even more significantly, the church in convention moved to be more invitational, more inclusive, more welcoming – passing resolutions that open the doors to same-sex marriage and ordination of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender pastors.
As a congregation that has been “Reconciling In Christ” for over two years, All Saints has endeavoured to be welcoming in this way already – we have a statement of welcome that is clear in its welcome of all people, including those of various sexual orientations and gender identities.
Some may say, “how weren’t you welcoming before?”  And I would say that – as a national church – it’s not that we weren’t.  However, it wasn’t clear that we were.  And, we had policies that dated back decades that prevented us from living out the kind of welcome many of us envisioned for our faith communities.  We now have a Social Statement that acknowledges where scholarship and society has been for many years, now: affirming people of sexual orientations other than heterosexual, and genders other than male or female.
It’s necessary to be clear in our welcome because the under-tones of our faith – especially if one might be led towards a literal interpretation of the Bible – have been explicitly negative towards LGBTQ people for a long time.  We welcome because we strive for justice.  We want to show the grace of God to all as we have experienced in the generous and hospitable living of Jesus.
I know this move in our church could signal a break for some, and that possibility grieves me.  My sincere hope is that those who struggle with this will still find a place – and a welcome, of course – in the ELCIC.  I look forward to welcoming back those who have not felt welcome, and welcoming new people who did not previously see our Lutheran congregations as ones that might welcome them, now that we have opened our doors in this new way.
As the chorus of one of my favourite hymns goes: “All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place!”

July-August Paradox newsletter

From the Pastor…

But if, forgetful, we should find your yoke is hard to bear; if worldly pressures fray the mind and love itself cannot unwind its tangled skein of care: our inward life repair (Worship hymnal #580)

  “If worldly pressures fray the mind and love itself cannot unwind its tangled skein of care” – what an image!  Do worldly pressures fray your mind?  The words come from a hymn called “How clear is our vocation” – a question we might ask ourselves regularly.

We might ask: what are we, as Christians, called to be and do?  Our church – synodically, and nationally – is looking for ways to survive.  We are a church populated with people who have, for the most part, always done things a certain way.  We’ve gathered Sunday mornings; we’ve followed a liturgy that uses Greek and Latin words; we’ve given offerings to pay for remodeling of the church building, and so on.

We must engage new ways of being and doing faith community.  While we do this, we – as the ones with some memory of church life, and a desire to see it go on – must be willing to commit to and support new ventures.  We’re charting new territory, but we do it together!Pastor Tyler Gingrich

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I have completed the books up to April 30, 2011 and it appears that we are on track to meet our budget for 2011 less $3000 funding from the Synod as they are dropping from $1500 to $1000 effective July 1, 2011.  We should end the year with about $6000 in the bank.  -Jack Denney, treasurer

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For a laugh… “God loves you! And I’m really trying.”

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… Clarence Noren died on June 23, 2011.
Our condolences to his wife, June, and family.  Keep the Noren family in your prayers.

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-to Sid and Shawn for the sound system for the house concert!

– to Karen, Jesse, Shawn, Sid, and Dave for their music on Ascension Day!

– to Miriam, Ken, Heidi, and Dwight for their help with hosting our music festival!

– to Delores and Karen for the soup!

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Christian and Faith Coalitions

[It] is vital that Christian consciousness-raising groups intensify their own internal growth through a combination of spiritual nurturing along liberationist lines and mutual reflection upon the militant actions of members in their wider communities. Part of such self-reflection includes helping each other discover elements of the corporate agenda that live within us. After all, no matter how much we repudiate and challenge corporate values, they reside within us as well. That is the nature of ideological hegemony.  Deeper than intellectual awareness, consciousness-raising must probe the subterranean. More visceral presence of the oppressive agenda that dwells within. […]

In his book Behind the Mitre, Tony Clarke advocates for a broader coalition of the prophetic elements with the Christian ecumenical movement. He is convinced that the corporate agenda reflects a corresponding “moral crisis” that is sowing “the seeds of a prophetic revival” within the ranks of faith communities.  …progressive Christians of all stripes are challenged to commit themselves to the liberationist cause by setting a course as radical as their Master, in going “to the backwaters, the homeland of the poor and marginalized,” there to forge an alliance cemented by justice and shalôm. […] Given the middle-class nature of our religious bodies, given the large middle class reality within our society, and given the corporate assault on the middle class as well as the poor, it is both wise and just to solidify and expand such an alliance.

(Oscar Cole-Arnal, To Set The Captives Free: Liberation Theology in Canada, pp.189-190)

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Worship Leaders in July and August (Wednesday evenings)…

July 6: lector – Jesse; host – Denney; liturgist – Darlene

July 13: lector – Melissa; host – Sundmark; liturgist – Myrle

July 17 (Souper Sunday): host – _________, _________

July 20: lector – _______; host – ________; liturgist – _______

July 27: lector – _______; host – Denney; liturgist – Darlene

August 3: lector – _______; host – Sundmark; liturgist – Myrle

August 10: lector – Ken; host – Denney; liturgist – Darlene

August 17: lector – _______; host – Sundmark; liturgist – Myrle

August 21 (Souper Sunday): host – Sundmark, __________

August 24: lector – ________; host – Gingrich; liturgist – _________

August 31: lector – _______; host – ________; liturgist – _______

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Our calendar of events is online.