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Newsletter, March 9, 2017

Final notes and thank yous re Nuit blanche – plan for Leonard Cohen evening – Cathedral events: LGBTQ+, PPP, Hungry minds, Young Adult  supper and service March 18 – Little Bee – Amnesty – Sugaring Off invitation from St George’s – LENT : study, Quiet Day, Spiritual exercise, Lent Madness, MUSIC: Guardian article about Cathedral choirs, Oasis concert, Orbium concert

Dear Friend of the Cathedral,

There is good reason to rejoice and huge thanks to be given this week. Our third participation in Nuit blanche was a success – in many ways the best yet. We welcomed 4,321 people, served 1,800 cups of hot chocolate and almost (but not quite) broke even as a result of donations from a couple of Cathedral members and from coins and a few bills tossed in our baskets during the night. Our visitors seemed very happy to linger on this bitterly cold night, enjoying our welcome, the free fair trade hot chocolate, the Leonard Cohen movie and our two exhibitions as well as the concerts from two visiting choirs, a jazz ensemble from McGill and our own Cathedral organists. I’m sure we were the only venue in the city where you could hear Messiaen and Bach, not to mention compline in plain song. Thank you to George who stood guard on the exhibitions for most of the evening, to Tyson who set everything up so efficiently, to Jeffrey who was on duty from 8 pm until he closed the cathedral at 3:30 am. Thank you to the valiant clickers and greeters who shivered at the entrance and to the sweating hot chocolate makers down below. Thank you Peggy and Sandra who put together a fascinating little display about the cathedral and the diocese during Expo year, 1967 and thank you to Malcolm for the great pictures in the bicycle exhibition.

A very special thank you goes to all our clergy, including Bishop Mary, who greeted our visitors and helped in many other ways. Amy’s technical expertise was invaluable, Jean-Jacques was a lively MC, Jean-Daniel left a conference early to join us, Jen stayed late to help out with compline, which was beautifully sung by a small pick-up choir led by Anna Lewton.

This is beginning to sound like Oscar night so I’ll hastily stop expressing gratitude. There were over 50 wonderful volunteers who made the evening possible.

If you missed seeing the Leonard Cohen movie, here’s a heads-up. I’m planning a Leonard Cohen evening some time after Easter when we’ll repeat the movie from the sixties, add some other shorts featuring Leonard Cohen which James has kindly offered to lend us, play some music and raise a glass of wine. We’ll also take a second look at Peggy’s exhibit during the same evening.

Meanwhile, there are other Cathedral events taking place:

  1. Jean-Jacques will host a Pot-luck supper for the . LGBTQ+ community on Sunday March 26th 2017 at 5pm. RSVP. Questions? See Jean-Jacques.
  1. Then on April 22 the LGBTQ+ group is inviting its members and itsallies to a communal visit of the exhibition Chagal : Colours and Music at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, followed by a coffee somewhere close by.Please join them in the Museum lobby at 3pm. Questions? See Jean-Jacques or Louis.
  1. Pain, partage et prière : The French sharing and bible study group will meet on March 12 at 2:00 p.m. in the Hollis Lounge.
  1. Hungry Minds: Bible study and supper for students and young adults
    Wednesdays at 6pm. in the Undercroft.
  1. Saturday March 18th there is an ecumenical, bilingual young adult supper and communion service at 6 pm in Fulford Hall
  1. The Cathedral Reading Group will meet at 7 pm on March 26 todiscuss Little Bee by Chris Cleave. If you like reading and talking about books, please join us. Ann has two books available for borrowing.
  1. Amnesty letter writing for the love of justice and human rights: next sunday  after the 10am Eucharist, write letters or sign postcards to speak out against injustice. This might resonate particularly if you are reading Little Bee.

St George’s Church has invited cathedral members to join them in a visit to the sugar bush on Saturday, April 8th leaving St. George’s about 11h00.

Sylvia White says “The food is excellent out there and you can walk in the woods, shop in their quaint store and enjoy the smells of bread baking in their bakery. They also have entertainment and music.” Cost for an all you can eat dinner is $34.00 per person plus tax. The location is Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud. Transportation is by carpooling. RSVP to Sylvia White – leave her a message at St. George’s Church 514-866-7113.

Keeping Lent

The Lenten book study Dethroning Mammon by Justin Welby begins this Sunday in the Bishop’s Boardroom on the third floor of Cathedral Place, and continues under the leadership of Gideon Strauss  on March 19, 26 and April 2 from 12:30 to 2pm. We are asked to read the foreword, introduction and chapter 1 in preparation for this week’s discussion.

With all the many activities taking place, the Quiet Day on March 25, 9:30am – 4 pm will be very welcome. “holy longing” a mid-Lent Saturday refreshment with simple liturgies and meditations, some in both English and French, will be led by members of our own pastoral team.  Please register at    A flier about the quiet day is attached and there are registration forms at the back of the church which you can put in the collection plate.

Vivian has sent an excellent suggestion for a spiritual practice during Lent

If you are just edging into your own Lenten practice or want a different source of inspiration, why not take a look at Here you can join 100,000 people all around the world who receive a daily suggested act…each with three levels of engagement. Whether greater awareness, personal action, or community engagement are calling you, here are plenty of options.

Another informative and entertaining Lent exercise enjoyed by the bishop and some of her Facebook friends can be found at this site Each day two “saints”, some well-known, some quite obscure, are presented, and the reader is asked to vote for the saint they would like to see go forward to the final. I’ve learnt a lot about some remarkable people. Yesterday Florence Nightingale soundly defeated St Anselm.

And you can also pick up a Lent devotional card from the back of the cathedral.

I will finish this letter with three items about music.

We are very proud of the beautiful music produced by our choirs and organists under the direction of  Patrick Wedd, so I think you will appreciate an article about cathedral music written by Giles Fraser for the Guardian in 2014 “Cathedral Choirs are the church at its most compelling” says the article and continues “As the voices of the choir bounce around the pillars of the cathedral, they carry with them the various petitions and often inchoate yearnings of those gathered in the pews: a death, a broken love affair, a new child, a desire for the world to be a different place.

Tallis, Bach, Handel, Mozart, even contemporary musicians like the recently deceased John Tavener, they have the capacity take our patchy, confused and half-worked-through feelings and translate them aesthetically into something approaching coherence and worthy of wonder”. The writer draws the strong conclusion that “Even those who don’t do God should be alarmed that they (church choirs) are being cut out.” He is writing about England, but his points are equally valid in Canada. It’s a great article about Cathedral music. Do read it! Guardian article link

The Saturday Oasis concerts continue to be well attended under the care of Catherine St Arnaud. This Saturday Rashan Allwood will give an organ recital titled Bach in Italy, described as a foray into the Italian influence on Bach -from the trios of Corelli to the toccatas of Frescobaldi.

Birds and Bees ; Musica Orbium, Patrick’s other choir, celebrates Spring with Brahms’ elegant Liebeslieder Walzer, Hindemith’s charming Six Chansons, Rutter’s jazzy Birthday Madrigals on texts by Shakespeare, along with such songbook standards as A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square. Orbium singers let their hair down with an evening of charisma and amour. April 2, Oscar Peterson Hall, 7141 Sherbrooke West. Rob will be selling tickets regular $30, concessions $25

Wishing you Lenten peace

Ann Elbourne

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