Elvis For The Streets

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Last Fall The Deanery of London decided that coming together to support a Sacramental presence on the streets of our city is a priority. Currently, The Rev’d Matt Arguin is working on the streets of London. While he has other priestly responsibilities in his Parish Community of Bishop Cronyn, Matt is also engaged with the most vulnerable in our community as he makes his rounds in the East End and Downtown.  

The Rev’d Matt Arguin

 That ministry was in danger of having to be let go as funding became increasingly a challenge. The Deanery decided that we would budget $5000 toward that ministry this year. A part of the plan was to bring our deanery together for a fundraiser to raise $2100 toward that total.

Last night the Rev’s Matt Martin contributed his award winning talent as an Elvis impersonator to help us well exceed that goal. Along with the incomparable Stephen Holowitz, Matt had the sold out crowd of over 300 in the palm of his hands. It was incredible show. It was so wonderful to see the joy in the faces of all who came. All parts of this show were awesome – but the real highlights came when Stephen played the Hammond B3 and the Grand Piano. WOW! At one point the audience was convinced that Jerry Lee Lewis was in the house! Matt Martin has been doing concerts like these for many church causes. He is making a tremendous contribution. Thank you hardly seems adequate.

The Deanery extends its thanks to Dr Gary Nicolosi and the people of St James Westminster for being such wonderful hosts. Our Lay Co-Chair John Sizeland assembled a great team of volunteers – Including our own Archdeacon Sam Thomas who as taking tickets at the door. Thank you one and all.

Here are a few shots of the evening!

PS – Being a Roadie is really hard work!

 

  

   
                      

Family IS …

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I have tired of anemic and hackneyed sayings.  At least four or five times in the last week I have seen various iterations of this image circulating on social media. 

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I am trying to discern what the name of Joe Batts Arm it means! Every few weeks it resurrects itself, and it has become and increasing annoyance to me.  At the very best, it is a banal platitude attempting to say something ‘special’ about ones acquaintances or friends. At its worst it’s a repudiation of one’s kindred and an attempt to make some poisonous proclamation about one’s family. Either way – it seems either very trite and weak, or very insensitive and harsh.

Family are indeed the people in your life who ‘have you in theirs’ – like it or not. Family are those who may very well accept you for who you are but who care enough to not simply be concerned with seeing you smile. Family should love one another through thick and thin – no doubt. There are no replacements for my family. They are mine. No friend and no acquaintance can take on the role of family. Why you ask? Because we choose our friends – we do not choose our family.  As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said – “You don’t choose your family – They are God’s gift to you as you are to them.”

Family is not about what we want, or what we might like. It’s about what God gave us. It behoves us then to honour that gift by working through our crap. We are called to celebrate that which is good in family and reconciling that which is not. Rather than wishing for family that would simply ‘make us smile’ I pray that we all might learn to love the families we are given – a true gift, knowing full well that loving may be very difficult work. Loves risking vulnerability. It calls us to step in, to move toward another and that may mean taking on another’s hurt, pain, another’s suffering. Love also is difficult because we are all broken, or as author Anne Lamott reminds us –

 “Family business can be so stressful – difficult damaged people, showing up to spend time with other difficult damaged people.”  

 Stressful yes – and also a part of loving. Lamott’s also offers this –

 “One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. Another secret is that laughter is carbonated holiness.”

I know that in my own tribe – the laughter part has served us well. Families find themselves in deepest trouble when they forget to laugh and forget how we can all be a little nutty. Laughter is indeed good medicine when it comes to loving family. 

So having said of that – I offer my amended version of this social media meme…

Family is always blood. Family are the people we have in our tribe because God gave us to them and them to us. They are the ones who accept you for who you are, or perhaps not – but stick with you anyway. They are the ones who are happy to see you smile but also care enough to tell you the truth in love, even when it hurts. They are the ones who also don’t run when you are no longer smiling. They are those who step toward your collapsing life while others are running in the other direction because it is to hard for them. They love you no matter how difficult and nutty you may be.  

 It’s a little longer I admit, but these words, are authentic and honest reflect well how I see family. Here is my own meme of that catchy quote of mine…….. ;-)

Family Meme

Mother – the Beginning of Our Story

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“My name is Vivian”

It is hard for me to put into words how very grateful I am for my mother. Also hard to say how difficult it is that I cannot just pick up the phone and give her a call to try and express my feelings, because as hard as it would be for me to articulate my thoughts, it would be harder still for her to understand them. The fog of dementia has robbed my mother of most all ability to interact and converse.

That said, I am keenly aware that she is there and I daily offer prayers for her and wish to be able to see her – regardless of whether she is aware of my presence or not. As a storyteller, I am aware that my story is so intricately connected to my mother’s story. I am also aware of how much our collective story is woven tightly with God’s story. God gifted me and my six siblings with a hardworking and loving mother. She is a great sign to me of God’s generosity toward me and her many acts of generous love are a great example of how much God loves us.

In his novel For One More Day Mitch Albom writes:

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”

I was deeply moved when I read those words the first time. The stories my mother shared over the years about her childhood, her youth, her meeting dad, her hard working years of childrearing and homemaking, of grand-parenting, of care-giving, of ministering in her church, all of these stories are really the beginning of my story.

Over the years, there have been times I broke my mother’s heart, and there have been times I made her proud. There have been times I made mom weep and times I made her laugh. There have been times I made mom worry and times when I reassured her. My mother has lived many highs and lows in loving her children. She has celebrated all of our highs and has been a comfort to us in our lows. She has celebrated and she has grieved. Mom does not say much nowadays, but trapped in her mind are thousands of stories – most of which are about her children and their children and their children’s children. In that same novel, Albom writes  “I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” While I know this is not true for everyone –  I can say that I rings very true for me.

So If I could sit with her today, even if she were unable to say much to me, or even take in what I might say, I would offer a prayer of thanksgiving for that in her precious story is the beginning of my story – and six others stories.  I love you Mom – Thank you!

Genoristy – that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give

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Generosity_Header

Walter Brueggemann in his book Inscribing the Text  writes about Generosity

On Generosity

On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around

we are going to run short
of money
of love
of grades
of publications
of sex
of beer
of members
of years
of life

we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbours goods
because there is not enough to go around

and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.

Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give
so that the world may be made Easter new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder,
without coercive need but only love,
without destructive greed but only praise
without aggression and invasiveness….
all things Easter new…..
all around us, toward us and
by us

all things Easter new.

Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.” *

Time is so often wasted in worrying about ‘running short.’ In a general sense we hoard almost everything from teabags to tenderness. We are often so afraid that we will not again see, feel or experience something that we weigh ourselves down with seizing what we can – we seize, we claim, we own, we protect! And yet, as people of The Way we follow the One who taught those closest to him to release, to disavow, to become poor, to be free! This profound and precocious Prince of Peace invited followers to unbind, to set free, to lose, to lighten up! And yet, we still see deficit, and a dearth of ….. (fill in the blank)! This is exacerbated by the consumer culture in which we live, where the daily mantra seems to be more, more, more!

We are called to generosity which means that our focus is not on sacristy (or the perception of sacristy). This was a radical message when Jesus walked the earth and it is a radical message today. The freedom to be generous sets us free to be an Easter people. Our prayer indeed needs to be that God’s generosity might indeed ‘break our cycles of imagined scarcity override our presumed deficits, quiet our anxieties of lack.’ That God’s loving generosity with us would call us to response. ‘Sink your generosity deep into our lives that your muchness may expose our false lack, that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give…’

For it is when we embrace the generosity of God and respond to it with a giving spirit that we are made ‘Easter new!’ Regardless of what we own or do not own, regardless of what we have secured or what we have failed to secure, regardless of what we have gained or lost to this point on our journey, we are a people who know that God

comes giving bread in the wilderness…giving children at the 11th hour…giving homes to exiles…giving futures to the shut down…giving Easter joy to the dead…

We know that God comes fleshed in Jesus…and knowing as much, we pray for the willingness to respond to our endless receiving by endlessly giving ….. because indeed as God’s beloved – we have so very much to give.

*Inscribing the Text: Sermons and Prayers of Walter Brueggemann  p.3-4

Good Shepherd Sermon

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Today was Good Shepherd Sunday. It was a great celebration today. Thank you church for being who you are –

Here is my sermon from today –
I want to offer my thanks to Ron Warner singing along with me today. Well done.
It was a hymn unknown to Ron and he learned it for today. Thank you good sir.

PREACHING EASTER 3

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I have not posted for a few weeks. My apologies,

Here is Sunday’s Sermon.

It was a great day at St. Aidan’ – was feeling the love from the parish! Thank you al for the birthday wishes.

Grains of Wheat

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Sunday March 22- Lent 5
We are all grains that are gathered into the one bread…

My Sermon