My Thoughts on Synod 2019

Here is my attempt to summarize the events and decisions at our General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada which is held every three years.

The first decision is, I think it would be fair to say, monumental. That is that Indigenous Anglicans now have formed their own Province within the Canadian Church. Until now there have been 4 (I hope I have that right) such Provinces each with their own Archbishop/Metropolitan with a great deal of authority. There are many Indigenous Anglicans in Canada and (I think the number is right) 11 Indigenous bishops. This is somewhat reminiscent of when the British bishops left places like Nigeria and Uganda after independence. Those churches exploded with energy and power (from 2 million to 22 million Anglicans in Nigeria for example) under their own bishops. This is the result of years of work and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Indigenous Anglicans are for the most part highly evangelical and their place in our discussions is quite powerful.


This Sacred Thing: Marriage

We all know the plot of the romantic comedy

  • Boy meets girl
  • Boy loses girl
  • Boy finds girl

And usually (if they are doing it right) there is some kind of party at the end. A wedding banquet or something like it.

Even Aristotle writes about this back in the day.

The Wedding is “not just a piece of paper” it is deep within our minds and hearts.


Revelation and Euthanasia


A bit of a long read. The paper that I recently prepared on the insights of the final book of the Bible (Revelation or the Apocalypse) applied to the matter of euthanasia. I have been encouraged to share this by my instructor. There are some technical parts here as it is an academic paper but I hope the main insights come through.

— Fr. Greg


Selected excerpts:

Two years ago Canada legalized “medically assisted death”. This is properly “active euthanasia” at the request and consent of a person who is faced with the inevitability of death “in the foreseeable” future. This legislation explicitly sees persons in post-Enlightenment terms, that is, as autonomous and rational individuals whose freedom choice must be respected. The state is obliged to respond by this person’s request by providing this person with a lethal injection.

The legislation and its application guidelines do not reference mediating institutions. The State’s view of humanity is efficient, technical, without compassion or understanding. It has claimed authority over the liminality of death.

This [State] complex itself is collective and more than collective. It cloaks itself in the “ideological superstructure” of modernity. But the apocalyptic imagination allows this to be seen through for what it is, the state killing its citizens.

What is the hope here? The hope is in the act of unveiling. It is rooted in the Truth which is true telos of humanity found in the Lamb who was slain and who (and not the State) reigns even in and over death itself.
Read the entire paper in this PDF file.

Your Life is Sacred! Treat it with Reverence.

Our original font has 8 sides to show that at our baptism we entered into the “8th day of the week”.
God’s sacred day. 
Come and join us on Sunday morning as we learn how Jesus  makes our life sacred and what that means.

Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?

Incumbent’s Report for the AGM February 2019
“Is nothing sacred?” I can’t remember the last time that I heard this question. Throughout history (until now) human beings have marked the course of life with sacred events. As Christians these sacred events have been: baptism, confirmation, marriage, sacraments for the sick and dying and burial of the dead. This is all within the context of our weekly Eucharist. In our culture, these things have faded; and, as we can also see, if we deny the sacredness of things (and of human life itself) we begin to treat life carelessly.


Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Unwrapping the Gift

An audio mediation by the Anglican Brothers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist.

The Twelve Days of Christmas follow from December 25 until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the traditional date when the Magi arrived to present gifts to infant Jesus. For many, the meaning of these days is lost. By Christmas night we are saturated with the holiday hype, overfed by music and food, and may already be disappointed that the presents received are not enough.

This audio book is not a bah humbug about Christmas customs and presents. This is simply an invitation to go deeper than the tinsel and wrappings, beyond the presents given and received, to the source of all the good gifts in life. Readers are invited to unwrap gifts that will last, praying the twelve days of Christmas.

Click here for a link to the SSJE website.

October 2018

Brothers and Sisters,  
As you can see, we are devoting this year to the theme of “Building the Body of Christ”. We believe that these words from St Paul describe where we are being led during the upcoming year.    
By building the body of Christ, we mean strengthening the bonds


Welcome Back 2018

As the dog days of summer close, we look towards the Fall and our mission as a parish.

This last year at the annual meeting we outlined some of the ways we might put our mission into action. Here is the main part of that report so that we can by the grace of God be re-inspired to have the rubber hit the road in the next few weeks.


A Most Important Week 2018

Dear Friends

Holy Week is fast approaching. Some of you have may have not grown up with the celebration of holy week. So I’m here to tell you why these services are so important to you as a Christian person.  The Church is very passionate about Holy Week and has been since the start. I am personally very passionate about it; it is where Jesus first clearly and personally chose to reveal himself to me. It’s a reality that has sustained me for almost 4 decades and is constantly renewed.


Reason 1. Come and follow Jesus.

The services will walk you through the last week of Jesus’ life one day at a time. This is the most important week in human history. You will want to be there.  In this week we start on Palm Sunday with the Parade of the Palms and the story from the Passion. On Maundy Thursdays we recall and re-enact the Last Supper the night before Jesus died and enact what he did there; through Good Friday when we see and touch his cross; to Easter Vigil when Light bursts forth in the new fire that we light outside of the church as night comes on. 


Reason 2. They are, in their own way, very intergenerational.

These liturgies impact the imaginations of young children in a way that a thousand VegiTale videos can’t (as great as Bob the Tomato is!) Water, light, darkness – these are things everybody understands deep in their souls. Having your feet washed by the priest or processing the body and blood of Christ to the side altar to be with Christ for a few moments as the disciples were (asked to be) at Gethsemane say it all, in a deeply memorable way.


Reason 3. We been doing it for centuries.

These are most ancient liturgies of the Church. We worship using the forms that the earliest Christians used because we are connected in this week across 2000 years.


Reason 4. Easter is out of context without Holy Week.

We are deeply into a mystery this week which makes Easter make a lot more sense and even more joyful. When we have held the palms leaves, waited with him in the garden, touched his cross and seen the first light of Easter in the darkness, Easter is much clearer. Yes we want the joy of Easter. The way of the Cross comes first.


Reason 5. Come and follow Jesus.

This is reason 1 again. You will though this week, by the grace of God, learn to know Christ better, love him more deeply and follow him more closely.
— Father Greg
Are you interested what happens at the various services this week? Read on…

What Are the Services of Holy Week?


Palm/Passion Sunday

We gather at our usual time. We remember today Jesus’ great entry into Jerusalem when he was hailed as King. And so we all receive palm branches and process around the Church. We also remember how we soon turned against him. And so we read the story of Jesus’ death from the gospel of Mark. It will not be the only time we read about his death this week.


Maundy Thursday

“Maundy” comes from a Latin word which means “commandment”.  We recall and re-enact Jesus’ Last Supper with his friends “a new commandment I give you” he said, “that you love one another as I have loved you.” Maundy. His love for his disciples was shown in two ways. He washed their feet. This was the work of a very lowly servant. It was shocking to the disciples. God, in the flesh, acting as a slave, washing the feet of these men, some of whom were about to desert, deny and even betray him. The priest will take of his vestments and you are invited to come forward and allow him to wash your feet so that you can be served in humility (it is your choice if you come forward). We also, in the Eucharist, remember that he instituted the Eucharist, another way he would give himself away to us — “Take, eat, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood”. Again to these same men. To us.

We then take the consecrated bread and wine (the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood) and we all join together to process it to the side altar (the “altar of repose”). We sing briefly and wait for a few moments with Jesus – as he asked his friends to wait and pray for him the night before his death.


Good Friday

This day has a deep quietness over it. The clergy enter and kneel before the altar in silence. Today we hear the Story of the Passion from John’s gospel. This gospel speaks of the profound love of God for us in the death of God the Son. The cross will be brought forward and we will have the chance to come forward ourselves, place our hands on it and offer our deepest prayer to him. Today the Eucharist cannot be celebrated; we receive from that same sacrament which was consecrated on Maundy Thursday. “No greater love…than that a man should lay down his life for his friends”, Jesus says in John. We leave in silence.

That afternoon the clergy will be available to hear the confessions of those who wish to celebrate this sacrament.


Holy Saturday

As the night begins to fall we light the first great light of Easter in a fire outside of the Church. The light has conquered. Christ is Risen!  We process into the church ,each with our own small Easter candle around the Great Easter Candle. We remember that God freed the slaves from Egypt and he frees us now. We renew and reclaim our baptism. From darkness to light. Easter has begun. This is the most ancient of our liturgies and very beautiful!



This is My Body

This is My Body
During the next number of weeks we are going to be talking about this theme.

Why this is my body? What comes to mind when you think of this? If you go to church regularly probably the first thing that you will think of is the Eucharist.That is, where the priest, taking the bread in hand repeats Jesus words, “take eat, this is my body”.  And when the people are receiving communion are told as the consecrated host is given to them, “the body of Christ”.

No doubt many of you have a similar experience to mine. When I first began to receive communion (as an adult) my understanding of what the eucharist is was just a little shaky. Despite my poor theology I began to notice that each time I received communion the Lord’s light entered in, changing me, melting away my inner defences and (like God seemed to say to C.S. Lewis) saying within “put down your gun” (so to speak) and welcome me.

The Anglican reformers never wanted to talk much about how exactly Jesus was present in bread and wine of the eucharist. They just wanted to emphasize that he is there personally. And that in the eucharist he meets us and joins himself to us-personally. Very personally. They mostly wanted to talk about what happens to us when that meeting occurs.

The Book of Common Prayer tells us that Jesus is received in the bread and wine in a “spiritual manner”. When we think of the word “spiritual” we may think of something kind of vague and unearthly. Back in the day (when the prayer book was written) “spiritual” did not mean anything like that. It meant “by the action of God the Holy Spirit”. The Anglican reformers believed that when Christians receive holy communion they are, by God the Holy Spirit, lifted to heaven, to the presence of Christ, at the right hand of the Father-receiving into themselves his divine and human self, his body and blood. The way they put it is almost startling. “The body (or blood) of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life” said the priest when giving communion. Through this eating and drinking not only is Christ’s soul joined to our soul, but his body is joined to ours. Completely united.

This is my body. So this is his body in the eucharist and this becomes our bodies in the eucharist. We can imagine Jesus looking with delight and love at us, his people, and saying “this is my body”. And we, his people, are together the Body of Christ.

My thoughts on Synod 2019

Here is my attempt to summarize the events and decisions at our General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada which is held every three years.

The first decision is, I think it would be fair to say, monumental. That is that Indigenous Anglicans now have formed their own Province within the Canadian Church. Until now there have been 4 (I hope I have that right) such Provinces each with their own Archbishop/Metropolitan with a great deal of authority. There are many Indigenous Anglicans in Canada and (I think the number is right) 11 Indigenous bishops. This is somewhat reminiscent of when the British bishops left places like Nigeria and Uganda after independence. Those churches exploded with energy and power (from 2 million to 22 million Anglicans in Nigeria for example) under their own bishops. This is the result of years of work and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Indigenous Anglicans are for the most part highly evangelical and their place in our discussions is quite powerful.

The second item was the motion to change the  marriage canon (church law) to state that anyone who can be legally married by the state in Canada can be married by the Church. Because this is a change in canon law it requires that two successive General Synods approve it. Also it must receive a 2/3 majority in the 3 houses (laity, clergy and bishops). At the first reading in 2016, this motion passed in the first 2 houses and passed by 1 vote in the house of bishops.

On second reading (this General Synod) the motion passed in the first 2 houses again (laity and clergy) but failed to achieve the 2/3 majority in the house of bishops.

What this means is that the Church’s, until now constant teaching on marriage (that is a life long union between one man and one woman) remains unchanged.

We might ask 2 things. First, why do we place so much importance on what the bishops think? Bishops are, in a sense, not just one more section of the church. Anglicans along with Roman and Eastern Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and others view bishops as the successors to the apostles. When we say we believe in the “apostolic church” in the creed, this is a part of what we mean. Bishops carry the “deposit of faith” the teaching of apostles in direct line (we can pretty much trace this) from the apostles. Bishops ordaining other bishops in a line reaching back almost 2000 years.

Second, we might ask. Why do they tend to be somewhat more conservative? This is for a couple of reasons. First, as you can see, it is their job to conserve. It is their job to make sure that the church is not losing its teaching by responding to what seems to be the “burning issue the day” whatever that happens to be. Secondly, bishops are in direct contact with the universal church. In our case, this means the other thousand or more Anglican bishops in the world. So no national group of bishops moves on their own. As as we well know the Anglican Communion exists 165 countries speaking 2000 languages and is composed of 85 million people. The majority of Anglicans and their bishops were in the majority world (Africa, Asia, the South Pacific especially and also increasingly in South America). (I also might note the enlarged presence of Indigenous bishops in our church was a major factor in traditional teaching on marriage being upheld).

The world’s bishops meet every 10 or so years (Lambeth Conference) and its Primates (chief Archbishops) meet regularly. All under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. So to change doctrine is not just a local matter and bishops exist to ensure we remain walking together. Lambeth, the Primates and the Archbishop of Canterbury have consistently said 2 things about marriage. First that it is, as stated a life long union between and man and a woman (as revealed in scripture and in natural law). And also that gay and lesbian people are to be welcomed, listened to and treated with the utmost hospitality and grace. That we must hold these two together, as difficult as that may seem.

The final matter is the election of our new Primate. This is Bishop Linda Nicholls of the diocese of Huron. She is our first female Primate. I know little about her except that she seems extremely thoughtful and is well respected by the rest of the house of bishops. We have been secretly hoping that our own Archbishop Greg would not be elected Primate as that would mean he would move to Toronto. He certainly made a good showing but we are very happy that he was not elected so he can remain with us.



Sunday School collects warm coats for The Mustard Seed

December 2017
Sunday School deliver donations to The Mustard Seed

Sunday School deliver coats and mitts to The Mustard Seed


It was exciting to see the youth be involved in getting the message out to the congregation about the Mustard Seed organization. The youth helped collect donations, pack the donations and deliver our donations to the Mustard Seed. It was a lot of fun listening to the youth sing the “Twelve Days of Giving to The Mustard Seed”.  A big thanks go out to Tara Courte for her help and enthusiasm. I would like to thank the volunteers who make the Sunday School program so successful. Without them we wouldn’t be able to provide a wonderful program. More volunteers are always welcome! -Rose McRae



Holy Week 2017

Holy Week Teaching

During Holy Week we are encouraged to read and reflect on the section of the Catechism (the basic teaching of the Church) on God the Son (pages 850-851 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer).

 We can note a few things in this. First of all that Jesus is God. We, of course, speak of him as the Son 0f God, and rightly so. But we do not mean by that this human being was somehow adopted to be God’s Son or that he became God’s Son though the virginal conception (in which the Church devoutly believes as a sign of the Incarnation). God the Son was from eternity the Son of Father, proceeding from him. This outpouring of the Father’s love in the Son, created the cosmos and entered into our lives in the incarnation.

 Jesus is human. God the Son becomes a human being. Like us in every way but without sin. He offered the Father the obedience and love that we cannot because of being bound by Sin. Through union with him, his will becomes our will.

 So. God did not find some poor guy to injure for our sins. God himself, united with human nature, offered himself up on our behalf. The judge made himself the judged. He became the answer to his own question. Jesus is God.  It’s all “amazing grace”.

 Here it is:

 God the Son


What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the only

Son of God?


We mean that Jesus is the only perfect image of the

Father, and shows us the nature of God.



What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?


God is love.



What do we mean when we say that Jesus was

conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became

incarnate from the Virgin Mary?


We mean that by God’s own act, his divine Son received

our human nature from the Virgin Mary, his mother.


Why did he take our human nature?


The divine Son became human, so that in him human

beings might be adopted as children of God, and be

made heirs of God’s kingdom. 



What is the great importance of Jesus’ suffering and



By his obedience, even to suffering and death, Jesus

made the offering which we could not make; in him we

are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God.



What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?


By his resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened

for us the way of eternal life.



What do we mean when we say that he descended to the



We mean that he went to the departed and offered them

also the benefits of redemption. 



What do we mean when we say that he ascended into

heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?


We mean that Jesus took our human nature into

heaven where he now reigns with the Father and

intercedes for us.



How can we share in his victory over sin, suffering, and



We share in his victory when we are baptized into the

New Covenant and become living members of Christ.

Palm Sunday 2017



What is Reconciliation of a Penitent?


Reconciliation of a Penitent, or Penance, is the rite in

which those who repent of their sins may confess them

to God in the presence of a priest, and receive the

assurance of pardon and the grace of absolution.


Occasionally I have heard someone say something like “I wish we had confession in our church”. The answer is, that if you look in our Prayer Books you will see that we do. The Anglican Reformers, although they wanted to do away with the idea that people

had to make private confession to  a priest, were very insistent that this needed to be an option.  They, of course, believed that the absolution that we receive after the congregation makes a general confession is completely valid when received in faith. At the same time they outlined a couple of reasons why individual sacramental confession continued to be important. First of all because it was a way that a Christian could speak about their spiritual life with a priest.  Secondly because, even when we have received the general absolution, there still might be cases in which our consciences remain troubled and we need to say some things out loud and be forgiven



The 1962 Book of Common Prayer says that the priest should read the


to the Congregation at least four times a year. This exhortation is on pages 90-91 of the 1962 Canadian BCP. It includes the following “And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God’s mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet Minister of God’s Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God’s holy Word, he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with spiritual counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and the avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.”


C.S. Lewis describes how the characters in the Narnia books sometimes simply find themselves in the presence of Aslan the Lion (who is Christ in these stories) simply being truly known and speaking the truth about themselves. Here they know that they are known. Aslan often says little but that experience of being known itself is enough. They are forgiven.


Certainly it may be intimidating to think about this. But it can be profoundly healing. It helps us to overcome shame and regret, receive forgiveness and move on with Christ. Jesus has given us this sacrament as one of his primary ways of grace. In fact, in the Book of Common Prayer, it seems that it is


primary ministry of a priest, in that the bishop lays his hands on the priest to be and says “those whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven…”  The church teaches and has taught, since the beginning, that Christ has given his priests the authority to forgive sins by his power. It’s his gift to us.


If you feel yourself moved to make your confession, what should you confess? Following the Anglican Reformers, for those who are undertaking this as a regular spiritual practice, the Ten Commandments are one good place to start. Remembering that Jesus tell us that we are to observe these


not just outwardly. So, for example. “have no other gods before me” means the various things that we put at the centre of our lives instead of God.


In some cases, again, following the Anglican Reformers (and the above exhortation) we might want to confess those things which are troubling our consciences.


The forms for making ones’s confession are on the bottom of page 581-582 in the 1962 Book of Common Prayer (the little maroon prayer book), on page 447 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (the Blue paper back) or page 171 of the Book of Alternative Services (Green prayer book). They are all pretty much the same.


The Anglican Church is

extremely strict that nothing that is said in a confession can ever be spoken of or alluded to under any circumstances by the priest. The priest would not even suggest that someone had made their confession.  Everything that a priest hears is “under the seal” of the sacrament of confession. The only

exception is if a child is suffering significant abuse that must legally be reported. And even then one could expect the priest would offer real support and guidance to the person making their confession.


What is the point of this Sacrament? The point is to know Christ’s forgiveness. It’s that simple.


The Rev Faith Brace and I will both be available to hear confessions on Good Friday between 2-3pm. Faith will be in the library area of the church. I will be in my office.


God’s blessings on you during the upcoming Holy Week.