Reflections

Reflections From The Priest on Staff, August 2020

I write this at the beginning of August, 2020. I’m more than six weeks into my appointment as interim priest on staff at Holy Trinity.

I arrived in the midst of the Covid 19 shutdown to find the worship community meeting on Zoom every Sunday. Sadness at not being able to meet in person was being balanced with delight at being joined by HT diaspora in far flung places.

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“Stay Home”

We were weeks into the Covid-19 pandemic as I headed north from my home on Gloucester Street and approached the Sanctuary. I passed neatly aligned tents, a few with people relaxing on lawn chairs at the front. A dog was resting its head, open-mouthed and panting, on a human knee. A couple of younger guys were playing with a Frisbee.

The place had a bit of a campground vibe but this was not a weekend getaway. These were not city condo dwellers choosing to live rough for a night or two. These people were here because they had nowhere else to go.

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Last Words

Final homily by Sherman Hesselgrave, Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020

Readings: Deuteronomy 34:1-4     Psalm 8      2 Corinthians 13:11-13     Matthew 28:16-20

At the other end of my ministry, when I was a curate at a parish in Portland, Oregon, I preached a sermon entitled, “Famous Last Words.” I don’t remember what the scriptural text was that day, but it might well have been Jesus telling his flock that he was leaving, but not to worry, because the Holy Spirit would be sent to accompany them on their journey ahead and lead them into all truth. What I do remember is a parishioner telling me afterwards that she would always remember her 18-year-old son’s last words to her as he headed out for a Friday evening with his friends: “See you later, Mom!” That night, he was killed in a motorcycle accident. 

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#MMIW #Black Lives Matter #IdleNoMore

I am writing as a member of Holy Trinity. Though I am a member of the vestry executive, we have not yet met this month to discuss a formal response–these words are my own.

We are a small, urban community that cares deeply about justice and about the lives of those who are marginalized by the broader society. In recent years we have been most visible in the struggle for housing and an end to homelessness. But our members been active in LGBTQ+, indigenous rights, disability rights and many other places as well.

We are not always very good at communicating. We are often, collectively or as individuals, up to our necks in actions and and activity related to justice issues of many kinds to greater or lesser degrees. But that sometimes means we don’t speak collectively and clearly into spaces we should very much be speaking into. We are often right there, but organizationally we sometimes forget that we have a responsibility not just to show up, but to speak publicly in formal ways. We are here and we are listening and acting.

Nothing I can say will make the dreadfulness of these losses better. We are very upset by the recent deaths of Chantel Moore and Regis Korchinski-Paquet and so many before them here and around the world. We are painfully aware that there is systemic anti-black and anti-indigenous racism in this country and these incidents bring it to light. It is high time that we seriously tackle these problems.

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