Sherman Hesselgrave’s homily for Advent 2, December 8, 2019
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10 Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19 Matthew 3:1-12
will spike blood pressure quite like hypocrisy. “You brood of
vipers!,” John the Baptist says to the Pharisees and Sadducees who
have come to the Jordan River for baptism. Later in Matthew’s
gospel, Jesus will liken Pharisees and teachers of the law to
“whitewashed tombs.” The veneer and the interior life lack
integrity. My liturgics professor in seminary was a Jesuit who
described a well-integrated person as someone, who no matter how or
where you engage with them, you have a sense of the whole person.
There is a consistency, an integrity, no matter where your lives
is a theme that flows through Jesus’ public life and teaching, and
he uses the metaphor of bearing fruit regularly. Trees are known by
the fruit they produce, and whether that fruit is any good. We have
all had the experience of sinking our teeth into a gorgeous-looking
peach, apple, or plum, only to be disappointed by its mealy texture
or bland flavour. On this Second Sunday of Advent, when John the
Baptist is always the focus, we are confronted today by his
imperative to “bear fruit that befits repentance.” I would like
us to take a moment to unpack John’s statement, by taking a closer
look at repentance
Continue reading Bear Fruit that Befits Repentance
It is now the hour to wake from your sleep!
That’s the summons from the readings at the beginning of this Advent,
as we embark once again on a new cycle of the church’s year.
But this year I’d like to pose that question in a slightly different way. Are you “woke?” Being ‘Woke’ is connected with the word ‘awake’ but it means more than just being awake…
To “stay woke” is a phrase borrowed from African American Vernacular English. To be ‘woke’ means to be ever vigilant: and to live in a way that is not anaesthetized by, or subservient to the culture we live in, which for people of colour, means being particularly alert to its systemic racism. The first use of the woke appears in the song a 2008 album New Amerykah by soul singer Erykah Badu where she repeats the phrase: “I stay woke.”
Continue reading Are You Woke?
Homily given by Sonya Dykstra on November 24, 2019
my second homily this summer, I felt I was done giving them. In
fact, when I agreed to coordinate this service, I did so under the
assumption that I’d find an individual willing to give a reflection
instead of standing here myself. So why is it that I’m attempting
another homily? I’d like to share three beliefs I hold that work
together and contributed to this homily.
I believe in God the creator. I’m sure it’s a belief many of you
share, so much so, we say it together in the Apostle’s Creed and
the Nicene Creed: I believe in God, the creator of heaven and earth.
Two, I believe God continues to create, the easiest example to cite are the newborns who enter the world each day: tiny creatures that I believe God had a hand in.
I believe God invites us to be co-creators. I love this idea – that
you and I can accept God’s invitation to participate intentionally
in what God is doing in the here and now. God’s story in humanity
isn’t finished. The bible ended in Revelation, but God’s story
is still unfolding. When we align ourselves with being attentive to
God’s will rather than our own often uncertain, often selfish
wills, there is joy, there is purpose, there is life-giving energy.
How to be attentive to God’s will is a harder question to answer
and I want to use my standing here to serve as a small example.
Continue reading Abba, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.
Dear Members of Holy Trinity,
We are now well into the transformation that was struck by
your 2017 strategic planning process. You brought forth the initiative for a
new way of being as a community, as a church, and as a presence to all whom you
serve. It is a very exciting time and I know that many of you can feel a
different type of energy swirling at Holy Trinity. You have opened your doors
to what is possible, and that is a wonderful moment to join you in. I am
grateful for this openness as I begin my time with you, looking at what we can
do together to be more of who we truly are, together.
Continue reading New Life
Dear members of Holy Trinity,
Here is the annual letter and attached is a statement of
your givings. Please check it and make
sure it balances with what you think you gave.
Now is the time for corrections to be made. You will notice that we are trying to reduce
the amount of paper the church uses as well as streamline the process. You should have received both this letter and
your statement via email. As with all
new initiatives there is room for error.
Please check your statements carefully.
You may also have received several statement for various family
members. We have tried to not duplicate
but we are depending on you to confirm that.
It has been an eventful year as most of you already
know. In April or May our long time
bookkeeper Alejandra took a medical leave of absence and we were not able to
replace her before she left. When we
hired a new bookkeeper she had to figure things out on her own, with much help
from Margot. But it meant that I was
unable to get financial statements over the summer. This seems to be under control now and we do
have statements to the end of September.
We are also trying to improve and simplify the bookkeeping system. Wish us luck on that front.
The Church also hired a new community Director. This was budgeted for and talked about at the
annual vestry. We have been greatly
blessed with an extremely competent new staff person Zachary Grant. I hope you all got to meet him during the
cottage meetings. Zachary and Sherman have
been working well together and managing the transfer of tasks from the
incumbant’s job descripition to the Community Directors agenda. The Vestry Executive’s load has been somewhat
lightened as well. I am saying this just
in case any of you are thinking about joining the VE TEAM.
The upcoming year of 2020 will see more big changes
happening. There will be more new hires
and changes in staffing structures. And
there will more expenses as we transition towards our shared vision of a
rebirthed Holy Trinity community. We are
also looking for new funding sources for our additional programing. But as usual any additional givings will be
I will continue on as the Treasurer for yet another year and
look forward to an exciting and rewarding and forward moving 2020. I am pleased to have you all with me on this