Summer and warm weather...that phenomenon that all Canadians seems to wait anxiously for, or at least talk about, seems to have all but passed! And now we find ourselves in that in-between period after summer with cooler weather and the occasional hot spell. Are we waiting for the weather to simply make up its mind and be one season or another?
Do you find your life mirrors the seasons? Hot spells, cold spells, periods of coolness sporadically? Seems like that is humanity with all its goodness and innovation and mercy interspersed with difficulty and cruelty. On July 30th a number of St. Anne's parishioners made their way to an ONRoute centre to be a voice for those trapped in human trafficking. A good turnout at the Woodstock Centre made a splash in the media and turned the spotlight on this most dark and evil practice of some for their own financial gain. An exercise in power over others that must, in some way, feed an appetite contrary to God's desire for goodness and mercy for all his people. Thank God there were and are people who care enough to give of their time, energy and finances to help combat this practice. For those who did not make it to the September 13th Huron College presentation of Matt Freidman on the private sector and human modern slavery, you can catch his talk on the internet. Just search for him and the name of his talk and you will see an hour long presentation. Then, being informed, think of how you might contribute in your own way to the 5th Mark of Mission to transform unjust elements of society.
As we approach our own national day of Thanksgiving, we have much to thank God for. We can thank God for people who take an active role in fighting the blight of human trafficking. We can thank God for the goodness we see in everyday acts of kindness such as a smile or opening a door for someone. We can thank God for our community and the ministry of St. Anne's. We can thank God we have freedom in our country to worship without persecution. But let us not take these freedoms too lightly, else they disappear. As Rev. Canon Christopher Pratt wrote in the September 2019 issue of the Huron Church News, "Now it would appear that there is a concerted effort being made in many quarters to turn away from and disavow any connection between faith and action which may have an impact on our community life." While his comments were made in a particular context of removing a crucifix from the wall of the Quebec National Assembly, we need to pay attention to secular intrusions upon our faith and never forget that we must hold on to our beliefs. What does it mean to each one of us and our day-to-day decisions and actions for us to keep God in the driver's seat?
We need to take an active role in our faith community, family life and, wherever we find ourselves, to acknowledge that we are followers of God and that our actions and words are based on following Jesus, not on current cultural whims. You could think of this also in the same vein as that question your mother might have posed to you in response to a request to engage in some activity she wasn't in favour of: "Well, if everyone jumped off the bridge, would you??" So, swimming upstream may not be comfortable at times, but that may be what we are called to do. We can also thank God it is not typically a daily requirement for us to do so, unlike some of our brothers and sisters in faith around the world.
Here at St. Anne's we are faced with questions and decisions about how to carry out our mission and ministry to those around us and make sure we are not lukewarm when it comes to our relationship with God. Not as dramatic in nature as those noted above yet they are still important questions about how we represent our faith to each other and to those we meet each day. We thank God for all of you and the support you give to ministries essential to our core beliefs, from worship services to pastoral care to prayers and hosting community groups. From marking the parking lot or making pies to cutting grass or singing, all are important parts of our parish life. And it is up to each of us to make the most of the gifts that God has given us.
Speaking of gifts, we want to again acknowledge the generous $141,000 bequest from Anne Keam. Parish Council will be considering how best to use this gift to further God's ministry here at St. Anne's. While there are capital projects that could be funded with the money, we need to strike a balance between renovating buildings that support ministry and how some of the money might fund active ministry opportunities. As previously reported, the committee charged with putting together a submission for diocesan approval of our capital projects has had difficulty in obtaining quotes for that work. Updates will be provided as we make progress.Again, thank you to Keisha G. for her gift of time and talent as our Treasurer. We have now hired Michele M. as our bookkeeper who will take on the accounting tasks performed by Keisha. Michele has experience working with our accounting software and currently performs such work for another London parish. Wardens are accountable for all parish financial matters so will be reporting to Council and the parish as required. If you have any questions, please contact one of the wardens.
And finally, will you sit for a moment or two and ponder how you can make the most of your gifts?
Wardens serving you in Christ
Keith B., Ric M, Sophie S., Marg W.