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News from the Cathedral December 1, 2016

Dear Friend of the Cathedral,

I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful season of Advent which is leading us into celebrations for Christmas. Watch the crèche in front of the nave altar change each week as Mary and Joseph make their way to Bethlehem.
I would like to draw your attention to three Oasis Christmas concerts coming up in the next three weeks at 4:30, starting this Saturday with “Music for the Season” featuring members and friends of the cathedral community including Elizabeth Ekholm, mezzo-soprano, Les flûtistes de Montréal, pianist Olivia Musat, and renowned organist Patrick Wedd. You will also have the chance to participate in the sing-along of traditional Christmas carols.
The following Saturday, December 10, take part in the Cathedral’s famous Sing-Along Messiah by joining your voices to the chorus. The concert starts with a dress rehearsal of the chorus parts, which will be followed by a shortened execution of the Messiah, including professional soloists as well as an orchestra of students from the Schulich Music School of McGill University, all under the direction of Patrick Wedd.
The third concert is an organ recital given by Patrick: La Nativité du Seigneur, neuf meditations, by Olivier Messaien. This is beautiful, serene music which will refresh your soul in the middle of the Christmas rush.

Other events include

  • Tuesday, Dec.6 Eucharist at 12:15 honouring the Day of Remembrance of Violence Against Women
    The Lunch ‘n Chat meeting, moved to Tuesday, December 13 at noon, because of this service. Potluck lunch and fellowship in the Hollis Lounge (on the second floor at 1444 Union Avenue). The theme will be expectations while waiting. Everyone welcome. RSVP to the Cathedral office by December 12th.
  • The social justice action group (SJAG) will meet on Sunday December 4th from 11:30-12.30. Everyone is welcome.
  • Amnesty letter writing: Sign a post card or write a letter to speak out against injustice, Sunday December 11 after the 10am Eucharist.
  • The Cathedral Reading Group will meet on December 11 at 7pm for eggnog, a movie, and to discuss The Course of Love by Alain de Botton. All are welcome. Speak to Jane or Diana.
  • Cathedral Forum will meet this month on the second Tuesday in December (December 13). It was felt that the normal third Tuesday was rather too close to Christmas! The agenda will be sent with the news letter next week, but we already know that two important items will be included – The Parish Search Committee and an update from the refugee Sponsorship group.

On the topic of the search committee, here is an important message from Donna Riley, its secretary:
The Parish Search Committee invites parishioners to attend the December 13th meeting of Forum to learn about the search process and to give input regarding what we are looking for in a new dean and rector. Parishioners are also reminded that they can write directly to Donna Riley, rector’s warden and the committee’s secretary, if they are unable to attend that meeting or prefer to communicate in writing. If possible, please write before the end of the year. The committee will also be consulting the congregation after a Sunday morning service (date to be determined) and by other means; stay tuned for details. For those who might prefer to communicate anonymously, letters can be sent to the Cathedral office – again, if possible, before the end of this calendar year, so that all input is considered in drafting the parish profile document.

Our spiritual practice this week touches on a sensitive and controversial topic, the anti-pipeline protests at Standing Rock, South Dakota, currently much reported in the various forms of media.
The planned pipeline is a $3.7 billion project that would cross four states and potentially destroy a Native American reserve’s historical artifacts, burial and prayer sites. It could also pollute the Missouri river. Once completed, it would carry 470,000 barrels of crude oil per day through both Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois. Legal disputes have slowed the process down, but the pipeline is almost complete. Law enforcement has been widely criticised for its treatment of the protesters. You can look at a map and read neutral background information here: access-pipeline/3563592.html
The protests at Standing Rock have reached a critical point since early November, when Canadian Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald joined some 500 clergy from across North America in North Dakota to support those who are attempting to block construction of the oil pipeline across the Missouri River and across tribal lands and sacred sites.
This is a controversial and complicated issue and we might not agree with the calls to active engagement, or even with the opposition to laying a pipeline, but this short article written by Vivian is inviting us into prayer and that seems the right Christian response to a very nasty situation. At the end of her article Vivian writes “You might wonder whether this level of active engagement is prayer. I’m sure it is.
“Maybe forty years ago I was talking to a friend my own age about prayer. I was a church goer, she had become a journalist after studying international relations. She said, “I don’t know about the God part, but I believe that when we pay attention to what is happening somewhere in the world and really care about it, that can change things.” She continued faithful to her passion, bringing insight and clear reporting to audiences around the world. Her “beat” included Africa and Asia and she focuses on what is happening beyond the headlines. It is a ministry of care, and she now runs training seminars for young international journalists.
“Or, as this saying attributed to Saint Francis has it: “Preach the gospel at all times, and, if necessary, use words.”
Thank you, Vivian, for encouraging our understanding and compassion.

As a community we are passionate about social justice. The SJAG meeting on Sunday will be discussing which native support groups in Montreal most deserve a share of the Cathedral’s outreach funds. Meanwhile, in New Zealand Bridie Boyd, daughter of Cathedral members Gabriel and Michael Boyd, has written a submission to the Anglican archbishops on same sex blessings, asking for them to be allowed. You can read her submission here: Submission from Bridie Boyd

Finally, please consider sponsoring flowers to beautify the Cathedral in thanksgiving, in memory of a loved one, or for the joy of offering flowers to the glory of God! The cost of the flowers is approximately $60.00. Buying flowers to decorate the church at Christmas is a particularly lovely way to remember beloved friends and family with whom we used to share Christmas, or simply to express our joy during this season.
Wishing you Advent blessings as we anticipate Christmas.

Ann Elbourne

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