What a weekend. On Friday night we all had opportunity to say thank you to Margaret Clarke who has served St. Mark’s as parish secretary for 15 years. [You can see photos here or see more at www.stmarkschurch.net in the photo section.] About 100 people came out of the potluck supper and it was a great night by all accounts. Margaret was really happy and was delighted to receive a gift from the parish. She was given a framed print of all of the stained glass windows of St. Mark’s. Framed in with it washer door plaque which read; “General Office – Parish Secretary Margaret Clarke.”
Margaret has been a loyal dedicated employee of the church and as such has gained many friends. Their love and care for her were evidenced by not just their presence at the dinner but also by the love they showed while they were there. I have had the pleasure of working with Margaret for 8 of her 15 years. She is a sweetheart. Margret is a very kind and gentle person and has offered her best efforts for this congregation. In the interim periods (three of them) when we were without a rector, Margaret was very much the glue that held the parish together. I will really miss having Margaret in the office. Change is not always easy. In the meantime I am so grateful that Margret is going to be able to enjoy being a parishioner in this great parish. I am excited for her that Sunday Mornings can again be a time of worship and renewal rather than work and duty. The Wardens are in the midst of selecting a replacement who will work full time hours due to increased demands on administration in this parish. Margaret has been so highly supportive of this change in direction that it will make for smooth transition and for that too I am thankful.
Friday was replete with good food, good laughs and good friends. It was a chance to say thanks but it was also a great parish event. I am thankful for all who came out and all who participated and a special thank you to Janet Forster for her masterful organization of a great scoff!
Saturday was another day. We went with a small group from the parish to see The Nativity. It was a good film and had lots to offer. I was so impressed with the gentleness of Mary and her willingness to participate in God’s work. I think we all need to be reminded from time to time of gentleness and of our own call to be disciples and workers for the City of God. The best line goes to the shepherd who in talking to Mary and Joseph on their trip to Bethlehem says, “God gives each one of us a gift. For you Mary that gift is what is inside you.” That is a wonderful line and it is true for all of us. God has given us all a gift and that gift lies within each one of us. We need to identify those gifts and share them with the world. It is a good picture, if you get a chance go and see it!
Sunday was a big day as well as we were all at church in the morning and again in the evening. Catherinanne and I put up our Tree on Sunday with the assistance of our God Daughter Allanah. We had a good afternoon and the tree looks great. The evening service at the church was the Festival of Lessons and Carols. The choir in this parish is amazing and they displayed their talent on Sunday night and were thanked in the end with standing ovation. Andrea has done great work with the great people that we have and I have no reservation in saying that we have the best church choir in Essex County. [You can watch video clips of their anthems at www.stmarkschurch.net. Visit the Ministries section and click on Music Ministry.]All of the singing was great. We had an unexpected visitor in the addition. There was a bat that decided to stop by for a visit. Remember what we sing – “All are Welcome!” It caused a little excitement as Derek and Catherinanne worked hard to get that critter out of there. Thankfully they were eventually successful in their efforts. We concluded the Lessons and Carols by stepping outside and lighting the Christmas tree on the front of the hall. We sang O Christmas Tree and thanks to Bob Cooper and Jerry Pardy and also to the plug in skills of Conner Shields the tree came to life in full colour. From there we all went inside and enjoyed hot chocolate, and hot apple Cider thanks to the efforts of John and Janet Forster and Marion and Ray Hinton. We sang Christmas songs and all had a really good time.
We had a great weekend and look forward to the last dash to Christmas.