Recently, folks across the region of the denomination that I will be ordained into in a couple of months were asked the question:  “What do you understand your parish’s  goals/priorities to be at this time?”

If you scan their responses (I’ve pasted them to the end of this post), you’ll notice that almost all of the answers are about 1) buildings 2) fiscal debt or 3) scarcity of people.

At a recent gathering of the same denomination, the numbers person reported on the numerical health of those same parishes.  I can summarize her report by two words: decline and deficit  (you can watch the report here starting at about the 4 hour 26 minute mark until 4: 32 if you don’t believe me).

On the surface, this is not good news. Read the rest of this entry »

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My own faith in Christ has been shaped over the years by some key events that have happened in my lifetime.

In 1985 I was a paperboy for the Hamilton Spectator.  Delivering papers on Cumberland Ave. I read about the fall of Jim Baker, Pentecostal televangelist due to adultery and extreme financial shadiness.  Each day, I read front-page news about the subsequent fights between Baker and other Christian-right leaders in the USA such as Jerry Falwell, Sr.

My evangelical rose-coloured glasses were fogged up, to say the least.

At that time, my own Pentecostal faith – so deeply rooted in a revivalist, altar-call experience began to slowly dissolve.   Read the rest of this entry »

It is mid-September 2001.

I am in Togo, West Africa for the first pan-African student Christian consultation on human sexuality (including same-gender relationships), HIV and AIDS and sex education.

I am one of 3 or 4 ‘Westerners’. The rest gathered are young Africans.   It is good, though difficult to be in the minority.

There is a deep grace in the conversation.  Over 50 student leaders from across Africa have come to discuss difficult topics. Read the rest of this entry »

On Friday mornings, after receiving a food voucher after Mass at the church across the street, an amazing and diverse group of folks come over to our Emmaus Community chapel for some conversation, coffee, tea and home-baked goods.

Depending on various factors there can be between 3 and 20 who show up. This morning, there were about a dozen.  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s summer – and I’ve more time than usual to listen to music.

I thought I’d share a few songs of praise that have been moving me lately.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wow, it’s been almost a year and 9 months since I last posted here.

To be honest, I’ve been internally debating the value of blogging – and also wrestling-with / praying-through what  of value I might have to say in a public blog format at this point in my life.

First an update: In the last year – as the kids have been growing in so many amazing ways – we bought a house with our friend Margot (Belmont House here in Fernwood – I’m sitting in the front yard as I write this) and started discerning our neo-monastic vocation; praying as Novices (officially 6 of us – and others too) most weekdays with Emmaus Community in our front-room chapel, as well as experimenting in how we might connect with the neighborhood through acts of being sent out and living hospitably.   Read the rest of this entry »

I’m always on the search for interesting worship music.
Recently, I stumbled on some songs from Church of The Beloved, a Lutheran Church plant across the pond in Edmonds, Washington. Beloved is on my bucket list of nearby Churches to visit in the next couple years. (Beloved is also sister parish to Church of the Apostles – also on the list – and, at least from what I’ve heard, the two represent some of the more interesting younger church plants in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions – and both compose a lot of their own worship music – but I digress.)
One of the songs from Beloved that I downloaded to my iPod a while back is based on the words of Martin Luther and is called “Come Holy Ghost”.
 
One day, it randomly started to play while the kids and I were driving in the car.  The words, backed by a haunting tune went like this:

At a recent church meeting, a colleague noted that in Europe the Churches are empty, but the pilgrimage sites are filled to overflowing.

I’ve just come off of the West Coast Trail – 75km of God’s best hiking – an epic, remote, rugged coastline walk that runs from Bamfield to Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The trip was a pilgrimage of sorts for me – in part to mark the start of my 40th year on this planet. Nine of us brave souls spent six days walking and building community together.

As I think back to my last week, there were many kinds of markers along the way.

Read the rest of this entry »

… I guess when it rains it pours (at least here in Victoria).  Here’s another one I wrote for the Spiritually Speaking Blog. The more I wrote on this one, I realized I have about three of four postings along this line – so stay tuned for more ‘localism’ posts!  r

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“In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.”   —Abba Anthony, 3rd century AD

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We live in an age characterized by increased mobility.  It is more and more common for us North Americans to live in many places, have several careers, and to travel often.  With this backdrop to our lives, the idea to settle down into a single place for the long haul… well, that seems kind of quaint, doesn’t it?

In spite of the odds, the notion of ‘rooting in place’ is becoming increasingly popular with some folks.  Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to post.   I started working full-time in mid-March – and Meagan started another job too – and then Holy Week/Easter happened.  

Just coming up for air now.

Here’s a piece I wrote for yesterday’s spiritually speaking blog for the Times-Colonist newpaper here in Victoria:

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Yesterday morning I received a text from my wife asking whether I’d heard whether Gipp Forster had died.

I never got to meet Gipp.  Until recently, I’d never heard his name. Read the rest of this entry »

I waited patiently for the Lord. - Psalm 40

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