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News of October 4th

Dear Friend of the Cathedral

I will be out of the office for a couple of weeks, starting tomorrow, so I’m sending an early letter this week.

Once again the cathedral community did itself proud this past weekend,  presenting a spectacular programme for Les journées de la culture from Friday to Sunday. Approximately 1200 people visited us on Friday, 1600 on Saturday. We didn’t count visitors on Sunday but there was a steady flow.

What were the highlights? For me personally and for many of our visitors it was the serenity of the beautiful cathedral space, warm, welcoming and joyful. People wandered around, looking at the architecture, the art exhibits, the vestments hung by the altar and perusing the display of documents from the Cathedral’s archives. Many wanted to talk to the stewards on duty, others just wanted to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment.

Then of course there was the music. On Friday, Patrick gave a bravura concert followed by his always popular demonstration of the organ. Later there were three very well-received concerts; first, a sing-along concert, led by Elizabeth Ekholm from our choir, accompanied by Patrick, followed by gorgeous Armenian music conducted by Sam and finally a concert given by a trio of talented young guitarists led by Jonathan Stuchbery. Jeremy Clark, the Montreal luthier who had made their instruments, was in the audience and composed one of the pieces they played. Saturday started quietly but the trickle of visitors soon became a flow. Natasha organised a novel opportunity to paint to the sound of Jazz. My sketchbook now has some very strange drawings in it trying to represent the pulsing ground bass and the soaring wind instruments and voices. The mood changed completely when Rosemary Cass Beggs and Stephanie Felkai presented a moving dance, a reflection on despair and loving acceptance, performed to music by Arvo Pärt. Those of us who saw it hope that they will present it again in the cathedral at an appropriate service.

The dance was followed by a mixture of words and music presented by members of the Cathedral. Patrick, the indefatigable, was once again participating along with Beth Adams, Ben and Jonathan Stuchbery, Catherine St-Arnaud, Joseph Avery, Sam Keuchguerian and Jeffrey Mackie all of whom performed pieces close to their heart. The audience and passers-by enjoyed punch and popcorn on the forecourt after the concert. The evening finished with two memorable concerts from the Choeur gai de Montréal and the Choeur intercultural de Montréal. The Gay Men’s Choir expressed for me the original meaning of gay – so joyful and vibrant. The same was true of the intercultural choir singing gospel songs. I left the cathedral on such a high that even a cancellation of service on the orange line when I was half way home couldn’t dampen my spirits.

The weekend finished with a quite well attended Evensong on Sunday evening and an English cream tea under our little white tent in front of the porch. It was raining, but that didn’t blight the offering, even if water did pour out of a gargoyle onto the roof of the tent. The scones baked by several volunteers were delicious, perfect with a nice hot cup of day on a grey afternoon and one more way of impressing passers-by with our openness and slight eccentricity.

The cathedral owes a huge thank you to the people who organised the weekend – Jocelin Andersen, John Sweet, Natasha Hendersen, Peggy Simpson, Mary Eileen Earl and Sam Keuchguerian – and to all the talented people who performed, particularly Patrick who was omni-present!

Now for two important reminders

  1. There will be a seminar offered by Elder Aide, a group of professionals experienced in all matters concerning retirement and end of life issues, legal, financial, social, housing and residences, and the new end of life legislation, on October 15 from 10 to 3 in Fulford Hall.  There is no charge for this event which is sponsored by the Social Service Society, but registration is required.  Call or email the Cathedral office by October  11.  For more information speak to Marjorie Sharp.

  2. Please come to the Special Vestry meeting called by the bishop on October 18 at 6:30 pm in the cathedral for the purpose of electing a search committee.

And thinking beyond ourselves to the wider church I highly recommend this link to the monthly newsletter put out by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. When on the site you can also sign up to receive email alerts

This month’s edition has an urgent plea for our prayers for Aleppo from the Primate, Fred Hiltz.

Amidst the chaos and destruction of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, hundreds of people in the city of Aleppo have been killed in the relentless bombing of public buildings, including hospitals and entire neighbourhoods. In an appeal to Anglicans, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, calls the church to prayer for “this ancient and once beautiful city, now besieged and lying in ruins.”

Here are some extracts from his letter, written on September 29, the feast day of St Michael and All Angels. He starts with lines from a letter he received from someone in Aleppo

“I am praying, in fact I am screaming at God to send his holy angels to protect the city. I rail at Him to please intervene”. So read an urgent appeal for prayer for the people of Aleppo, which I received yesterday. How timely as the Church keeps the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels this day.  On this day when we think of all those angels of whom we read in the Scriptures- all those who bow down before God in everlasting praise of his glory and then at his bidding come to the aid of those who call upon his mercy and justice, let us pray for the people of Aleppo.Pray that legions of angels come to their protection and aid. Pray for those struggling to provide relief- for they themselves are angels working in the midst of great danger. Pray for those responsible for the horrific crimes against humanity for which this awful war is known and condemned by the United Nations. Pray that by a visitation of angels their hearts be turned. Pray for those who struggle to negotiating peace for this land and its innocent peoples so traumatized by the horrors they have witnessed. Pray for that day when, as the prophet says, “Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, devastation within your borders. You shall call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise”.  (Isaiah 60:18) 

You can read the complete letter by going to the link above.  Let us join the Anglican community in prayers for peace.

Ann Elbourne

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