Category Archives: Reflections

Bear Fruit that Befits Repentance

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

Nothing 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 touch.

This 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 and bearing fruit.

Continue reading Bear Fruit that Befits Repentance

Are You Woke?

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.” 

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Abba, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Homily given by Sonya Dykstra on November 24, 2019

After 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.

One, 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.

Third, 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.

New Life

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

Financial update

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 greatly appreciated.

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 journey.

Marty Crowder