We just returned from 8 AM church at St. Francis Church here in Petoskey. That’s right! Church at 8 AM! And it was really good. We wanted to go to church with Grandpa and he was going at 8 AM, so 8 AM it was. It was a lovely celebration of Eucharist with a great reminder of our abundance and our need to respond from that abundance. I left thinking about how we have so much and asking myself how I might find more ways to share the abundance that we enjoy with those who are impoverished in any way.
Yesterday was the family reunion and it was a good celebration of family and fun. Many Thanks to Tom and Sue Foltz for working so hard and planning such a wonderful day. It was great. It was, as always, very heartening to spend time with Grandpa Foltz and with all of his family immediate and extended. We did it all yesterday, from eating to three legged races, to swimming, to eating, to sack races, to eating, to tug o’ war, to eating…you get the idea. We finished the day around a campfire at campground where some of Catherinanne’s siblings were camping. It was all a lot of fun.
When I think of abundance and the need to find ways to share it, I think that we sure enjoyed a lot of abundance yesterday, not just food and stuff, but an abundance of fun, fellowship, love and joy. We should have the courage as people to find ways to bring that same sense of love and joy to all.
I give thanks to God this Sunday for all the love and Joy I know in my life, from my wife, my wife’s family, from my family, from my parish family, from my friends and from the wider church. I pray that I might find ways to reach out of that love to respond to those in the world, who are hungry, lonely, rejected, sick, naked, hurting, and broken. How about we look to find ways to do that together.
Happy Birthday Mom. Today my mother is 74. She is such a caring and sweet woman and she really has been a terrific mom. While I am sad not be there with her on her birthday, I am excited that I will be there in a few days to say Happy Birthday in person.
Mom is a great gift and has given me so much of my faith and my strength. She is a strong and quite woman. Mom worked hard raising seven children and being grandmother to 12 and great grandmother to 14. Mom you deserve the best on your birthday. All of your family loves you and is proud of you. You have always given us the best of yourself and have put our needs before your own. It is a blessing to have such a wonderful mother. I pray you every blessing for yourself and all whom you love today and every day. I love you – thank you for being so wonderful!
Well, Seven more sleeps and I’ll be able to get up in the morning peek out the window and see the Shag Rock Pictured below. Seven more sleeps and I will enjoy tea with Mom and Dad. Seven more sleeps and I will enjoy the clean soft salt air. Seven more sleeps and I can joke and carry on with brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. Seven more sleeps to being able to wish Mom and dad happy birthdays. Seven more sleeps till there are kisses and hugs from all of the children. Seven more sleeps to have some more time with the twins. Seven more sleeps to hearing Mom tut, tut and what I might be saying or doing. Seven more sleeps to being able to talk the lingo and have all around me understand. Seven more sleeps till I am resting free in Newfoundland culture. I must say I am getting anxious to get there now. Just seven more sleeps!
The news from the Middle-East is devastating. The need for diplomacy and peaceful discourse is tremendous in the face of escalating violence and aggression from all sides. In reading the news or watching the coverage one feels so much despair. I was reading some selected quotes of Elie Wiesel this morning and I cam across this one: “Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” We need to look to people in our past and in the present who are strong agents for peace and who have a hopeful resolve. I pray, as the Christian Community is called to do, that there might be more hope, less fear and despair from the mid-east. I also read those words of Wiesel and I feel compelled to be more hope than despair in life. I think we can all fall into despair … many times we are led to it. I think we all need to work to focus on those who lead with light and hope to something more powerful and more profound.
We had a meeting last night of our Markus Group at the church. Great to have conversations on growth take place even during the summer months at the church. The energy in this place is good. So many other parishes are closing up shop for summer so to speak in scaling things back. We, on the other hand, have continued with church as usual. It is only appropriate given that God is not on vacation during the summer months.
It is great having Catherinanne home. This is the first bit of summer we have been able to enjoy together. It has felt pretty good the last couple of night barbequing and having dinner together. Feels almost normal to me. Last night we sat and watched a movie when I got home. We rented Dreamer – Kurt Russell and Dakota Fanning. It is a Seabiscuit kind of story. We both enjoyed it. Dakota Fanning is a great young actress and makes good of all roles she plays. This is a good family story and really tells a story about the importance of being attentive t o family relationships. Watch it some time if you get a chance!
Today is Annette’s birthday. Annette is my Nephew Gary’s wife and mother to three beautiful girls, Leah, Andrea and Becky. From our home to yours happy birthday. You are in our thoughts and prayers today! We look forward to being with you next week.
Eric Jollimore is a great young man at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake who served as an Altar Server for the first time today. It was very much last minute or at least 3 minutes as we were at 10:27 AM when I asked him if he would serve. Without hesitation, without any training he jumped right in with both feet – And he did a marvellous job, dare I say it – he was awesome!
Eric took direction from myself, and Geoff and Christian Paulton very well and ne brought a great deal of dignity to our celebration this morning. Many thanks Eric for stepping up to the plate with such eager anticipation.
We had great services today. There was a healthy summer crowd of 132 at 10:30 AM and I think about 30 at 8 AM. Meghan Byrne filled in for her sister Andrea who is honeymooning at the moment with her husband Phil. She did an excellent job as well and we look forward to her return in a couple of weeks for another go around with us.
Sarah Small was here today as well and it gave us opportunity to congratulate her and her family on the $100 000 they raise for the Neonatal Intensive Care unit. The Julian Small Golf tournament is named for their young son who spent some time in NICU himself. Julian is such a wonderful boy and a great namesake for a fantastic event. We are so proud of you for what you are doing with this fundraiser and we offer you our congratulations and our best wishes and the event moves toward its fourth year next year. We are thrilled to have you in this parish.
Today is another good day to give thanks for belonging to such a great group of people.
God Bless St. Mark’s by-the-lake!
We all had a great time last night at Bob’s retirement party. There was plenty of good food, cheer and humour to go around. There was a great turn out and we all were pleased to celebrate with Bob his retirement from his custodial duties at the parish. Bob was so pleased with his print of St. Mark and his gift card for Rona. He will no doubt find a use for it as Rona is one of his favourite stores. I understand that he is also a fan of Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Home Hardware. Bob loves to build things and this should be a help with whatever project he has going.
Above all last night was another good opportunity for people to be together and together we were. Many thanks to Janet Forster for making Bob’s Cake and to all who came out to give Bob a special night.
Just a reminder one and all that tomorrow evening at Johnny Shotz - http://www.johnnyshotz.com - there will be a social to give thanks to Bob Cooper for his service to St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. We will be there from 7 PM onward to celebrate his retirement. Join us to honour him and to have a great time.
The Body of Community
St. Mark’s by-the-Lake has a newly minted Outreach for Justice Team. Kathy Wight, Bob Hubbard, and Mary Beland have gathered a couple of times now to discuss outreach and justice and how we participate in those ministries. I was thrilled to hear of the conversation of their last meeting which embraces a conversation about doing more for those in the world we called to minister to. It is a conversation about how we can become the body of Christ. Henri Nouwen writes;
“When we gather around the table and break the bread together, we are transformed not only individually but also as community. We, people from different ages and races, with different backgrounds and histories, become one body. As Paul says: "As there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf" (1 Corinthians 10:17).
Not only as individuals but also as community we become the living Christ, taken, blessed, broken, and given to the world. As one body, we become a living witness of God’s immense desire to bring all peoples and nations together as the one family of God.”
I am so pleased with the dialogue thus far as it is really rooted in the theology of the body of Christ. When one part of the body suffers we all suffer as a result. Jesus reminded us that we are to cloth the naked, feed the sick and visit the lonely. In this parish we have done much in the past seven years to move along our ministry outside our doors and we are doing much nowadays. We do have the capacity to be more focused on what we do and that is what this group can give us. We can begin to have some direction in discovering how we fit into the Body of Christ. We could use some help become more aware of how we can help all nations and peoples come together as a family of God. We could use some education and awareness about the things that we are involved in and the projects that we might want to be involved in.
My thanks to those involved for giving putting a container around the many projects we call outreach at St. Mark’s by-the-Lake. We look forward to hearing more about Amnesty, The Food Bank, Doctors without Borders, Downtown Missions, and the host of other ideas that are out there. “We are one body, for we all share in the one loaf.”
Mark Hipkins and Deb McMahon had a wonderful wedding here on Friday – albeit hot! These two are such wonderful and fun people and they deserve all the happiness in the world. Congratulations guys on a wonderful day and thank you for including me and the parish in your plans.
Saturday saw a convoy of vocalist, musicians, preachers and friends from St. Mark’s by-the-Lake travel to Burlington, ON for a big event. Andrea Byrne married Phil Morosin. Our church music director had a brilliant wedding. The music was excellent. I could not have been prouder of our choir who showed with great class their giftedness and their skill. The music was played by Angus Sinclair – as far as I am concerned the Best in the Diocese of Huron and beyond. Angus shared with me his delight at being a part of such a great musical celebration. He was so impressed with the choir and their knowledge and remarked that it is a real testimony to Andrea and what she has been able to do with them since coming to St. Mark’s in 1999.
Andrea was radiant. None of us were surprised that she made a beautiful bride – she after all a beautiful person. All of us from the church were so proud of her and so happy to be involved in her special day. I was honoured to preach at the wedding which was held at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Phil was, as well, dapper and handsome and was full of love for, and pride in his bride. They were the perfect hosts and made certain to be present to each and every person at the wedding.
The dinner cannot be described in words alone. It was a feast of great proportions. It included two different pastas, a wonderful salad, Chicken Florentine, wild rice, Prime Rib, roasted potatoes, wonderful vegetables, a to die for chocolate waffle desert bowl, and…oh… did I mention that before dinner there was a antipasto bar with mussels marinara, smoked salmon, roasted peppers, and on and on. There was a lot of food. In fact on the way into the wedding we walked through a load of people in the lobby – they were serving sushi – Catherinanne and I enjoyed it very much. Trouble was – it was another wedding. I am not sure which of us was starring in the role of Owen Wilson and which was Vince Vaughn – but we discovered that we were crashing a Portuguese wedding. I almost went back at midnight when they were serving late night lobster. I did hear that Andrea’s brother and a friend ending up in a wedding photo with the bride at that wedding! I’m not sure if they got lobster or not!
It was a great night and we all offer our congratulations and best wishes to Andrea and Phil as well as our thanks for a great time and a wonderful evening. Many thanks as well to the Portuguese family for the fine sushi.
The best part of all was having Saturday and Sunday with Catherinanne who as been away for over two weeks. We met there for the wedding and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. The Hornby’s and the George’s were among those who closed out the wedding on Saturday evening and man can Dave Hornby do the twist! We were treated to our first IKEA experience on Sunday with our tour guides, Dave, Lynne, and Allyson Hornby! It is quite the spot. The tour was supposed to be free but somehow or another it ended up costing us. We went to the 5 PM Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King (The big Church you wee when you enter Hamilton from the West) It is a gorgeous church. And – Air condition. The priest began his homily by saying how great it was to have air conditioning. It remarked that it is possible “because of modern technology and a generous benefactor.” I was able to visit with Catherinanne on Sunday and we parted ways again for one more week. As my Nan used to say “Meeting is pleasure but parting is sorrow!” Many thanks to Geoff for taking both Sunday morning Masses yesterday – It was a great gift to Catherinanne and I.
Well – I think I’ll go out and see how hot it is! Summer in south western Ontario has arrived – It is going to hit the high 30s.
What a beautiful and hot day it was yesterday. Today is looking likewise. I am looking forward to this weekend. Tonight I have a wedding in the parish. Deb McMahon and Mark Hipkins are fairly new parishioners and are wonderful people. This parish becomes stronger with the addition of such fine people. The wedding will be wonderful. They were so happy last night at the rehearsal and I wish them both all the happiness in the world as they enter into this wonderful sacrament with each other.
Saturday brings another wedding. Our Church musician Andrea Byrne will be married on Saturday to Phil Morrisin. We are all excited for her as we have watched her these past seven years come to this place on her journey. The wedding is in Burlington, ON and I will be honoured to be the guest preacher. The choir from St. Mark’s will be making the journey and the whole parish will be with her in thought and prayer. It will be a special day and we wish her and Phil a lifetime of happiness.
Speaking of marriage. I have a wife who I have not seen in two weeks. She will be meeting me in Burlington on Saturday for Andrea’s wedding – All the more reason to be excited about this weekend. Sunday I shall return to the parish and move back into solitude for one more week while Catherinanne returns to CFB Borden. After all of that is said and done we plan some time away together in August.
So it will be hectic – but I am looking forward to the weekend. Check in for pictures of Andrea and Phil’s wedding!