“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
John 1: 5
The above scripture, taken from St. John’s Gospel, is a short and simple sentence that is appropriate to turn to as Advent begins. In the shorter days of the year, amidst a time in history when the world seems to be filled with unknowns, our Christian tradition encourages us to slow down and wait for the light of Christ to once again overcome any darkness in our midst.
Advent is in important devotional season for Christians like you and I. It is at this time that we are tasked with creating intentional time, whether it be five minutes or an hour, each day to consider the gospel stories and the mission of Christ. In a world filled with the ‘busy’ of Christmas our tradition asks us to go against the grain and ‘slow down’ and reflect. The purpose of this season is to consider what does it really mean to live in a world that God loves and a world that God seeks to be in (even at times when we feel God is nowhere in sight). What does it mean for you and I? What does it mean for our parish? How does God want to break in to the world through us and our actions?
Over the past few weeks materials have been made available that illustrate how the Anglican Parish of Huntley is witnessing the continual in-breaking of God in our midst to our community; seven days a week. The Mission & Stewardship update document highlights the work of the parish and the financial support required to sustain our work. Our unending mission, through commitment of our time, talent and treasure, is to worship, care for seniors, engage with new families, reach out to the world God loves, pray, work for justice, build relationships with youth and children and much more. I am thankful for everyone who feels connected to this Christian community; whether I see them each week, once a year, or only via an occasional phone call. All of us are part of an active and vibrant group of Christians of all ages involved in a vast diversity of mission.
The 2017 schedule has also been released, reflecting a rotation of services amidst our three worship spaces. Over the past four years our parish has courageously sought to be one community with three different church buildings. We recognize our heritage as a parish that built three buildings for the purpose of ensuring that attendees from across our area would be able to get to a church within a 20-minute horse and buggy ride. We also recognize that in today’s society a 20-minute car ride could take any of us to over thirty different Anglican churches. And so we seek to strike a balance between a commitment to be one parish community and to also be stewards of three historical church buildings; any of which provide at least twenty Sunday worship services (with over 125 worship services per year). We are not a parish that simply offers church services on Sunday; we are a community that comes together to worship in any one of three churches because we have been serving God all week. It is this commitment that makes us the Anglican Christian community in Carp.
Finally, we have an ADVENT PAGE outlining resources and a list of opportunities to participate in our parish through worship and service during the season (I have also listed many of these activities below). Whether you have observed Advent each year for several decades or if this will be your first time celebrating and you’re completely new to this community and the Anglican tradition, you are encouraged to take some time out each day to reflect on your faith journey, the mission of Christ, and the mission of our parish.
As always I invite you to reach out and connect with me personally if you would like get together to talk about your journey, pray together, or share some fellowship. Do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office to book an appointment (613-839-3195).
I look forward to being with you during this blessed time and I leave you with the following prayer; Good and Gracious God, you know how harried and hectic these days can be. Help us to pay attention to your presence in our lives. Help us to look for and find opportunities this Advent to become more aware of how you touch our lives each day and inspire us to commit to the work of your mission through us and our parish. May the gift of Jesus be uncontainable in us as we become ever more signs of your love in the world. Amen
Yours in Christ,
The Reverend Monique Stone
Volunteer opportunities throughout December:
* Pick up an Angel and purchase a gift for a young girl or boy (Angel Trees at each church and throughout Carp)
* Provide financial support for the 80 Christmas Dinner Food Baskets we will hand out on December 22nd (cheques made payable to West Carleton Food Access Centre, dropped off at the Parish Hall)
* Volunteer for Christmas Basket assembly and delivery (call the office to volunteer 613-839-3195)
* Join the parish team to hand out candy and Christmas Service invitations at the Santa Clause December 10th @ Noon
* Help out at any of the worship services by contacting Pastor Monique at the parish office
Slow Down in the Sanctuary Drop-In’s: December 1st, 8th, and 15th ~ Thursdays from 6pm – 8pmFor three evenings throughout Advent Pastor Monique will be available in the sanctuary for an opportunity to chat, share fellowship and enjoy some hot cider with whoever happens to show up. There will be no set agenda and any topic is on the table for discussion. The only guarantee is that you will not be able to shop, clean, or stress while you are there. Give yourself a moment in your week to slow down and chat.