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Week of January 18, 2018

Prayer for Christian Unity (theme chosen by Caribbean churches; our clergy) – SJAG meeting with lawyer Catherine Fagan as speaker on Aboriginal issues Feb 4 – Welcoming Bertrand Olivier as Dean – Pancake Supper – Ash Wednesday – Collecting socks – Helping in Sunday School – Making a pledge – Annual reports due – Book Group – Oasis concert – Rob Hamilton at the Oratory – Parking passes – How to have a welcoming web site

Dear Friend of the Cathedral,

There are a lot of important announcements about events in the next four weeks, so have your calendars handy!


The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity traditionally falls between January 18th (Feast of the Confession of St Peter) and January 25th (Feast of the Conversion of St Paul). There will be a special service hosted by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism this Sunday, January 21st at 3 pm at Union United Church (3007 Rue Delisle) on Atwater.

As an interesting side-note, our four Cathedral clergy are a great example of Christian unity, consisting of a cradle Anglican, a former Roman Catholic, a former Mormon, and a former Mennonite. I suspect our congregation is equally diverse.

If you go to the web site you will see that the theme for the 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to us from the Caribbean region. According to the site,

The contemporary Caribbean is deeply marked by the dehumanizing project of colonial exploitation. In their aggressive pursuit of mercantile gains, the colonisers codified brutal systems which traded human beings and their forced labour.

Today Caribbean Christians of many different traditions see the hand of God active in the ending of enslavement. It is a uniting experience of God’s saving action which brings freedom. The Caribbean ecumenical team chose the song of Moses and Miriam (Ex 15:1-21) – a song of triumph over oppression – as the motif of this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. “Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power” (Exodus 15:6).”


In Canada, the Aboriginal people feel that they too have been exploited by the colonisers. During the past two years SJAG, the Cathedral’s Social Justice Action Group, has been exploring the problems faced by Aboriginal communities and has studied the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a follow-up, SJAG has invited lawyer Catherine Fagan to speak to us during coffee hour on February 4. She practices in the areas of Aboriginal, constitutional and environmental law, working with Aboriginal clients. She negotiates with governments and resource companies, helping her clients to secure deals which preserve their governance and protect their environment. She also works with her clients to develop community laws and set up local projects. Take a look at Catherine’s website to learn more about the kind of work she will be describing on February 4.


February will be an exciting month. We are looking forward to welcoming Bertrand Olivier into our community on Sunday, February 11. He will be present at the special combined 10 and 12:45 service which will be followed by a reception in Fulford Hall. Natasha Henderson is organizing a sandwich-making party on Saturday, February 10 at 2-4 pm and would love to hear from some volunteer sandwichtières. (Trust the French to have an appropriate word!)


We enjoy parties at the Cathedral, so come back to Fulford Hall on Tuesday, February 13 for the annual pancake party organized by George Deare. The pancakes are large and delicious, the syrup flows generously and the sausages are cooked to crisp perfection. There will be a cash bar. A great way to celebrate Mardi Gras with family and friends!

Shrove Tuesday is of course followed by Ash Wednesday – on February 14 – yes, Valentine’s Day – the day we are given delicious chocolates coinciding with the day we give up chocolate for Lent. That will be a crisis of conscience for some of us! There will be the usual three Eucharists with the imposition of ashes; an early observance at 7:30 am, a midday service at 12:15 pm, and a choral Eucharist 7:30 in the evening. Bertrand will preach at 12:15 and preside at 7:30 pm.

Details will come later, but there will be a Bible study during Lent. People who participated in the Advent Bible studies are looking forward to renewing their discussions.


Three urgent calls for help have gone out recently.

  1. The Social Service Society is collecting socks for the end of the Month Lunch on Jan 28, the goal is 200 socks; donations to purchase socks are also welcome.  Please see Marjorie Sharp or Adrian King-Edwards before Jan. 26.
  2. Jean-Daniel is looking for helpers in the Sunday School to replace some of his stalwarts who are moving out of town. This is a flexible commitment of whatever time people can spare – eg one Sunday a month. He is looking for people who would enjoy teaching and people who would like to look after the smallest children.
  3. Jane Aitkens, our treasurer, is waiting to receive your pledges of support. As of January 14, forty-one pledges had been received totalling $77 840, an average weekly pledge of $37.42. Last year at this time the treasurer had received 61 pledges. It would be really great if we reached 70 pledges by the time Bertrand joins us – evidence that we are a thriving, generous community. Pledges are important because they allow Corporation to make realistic plans—i.e., with a reasonable expectation that there will be enough money in the budget. I attached [to my email Newsletter only] the year-end preliminary financial statement presented at Tuesday’s Forum. It shows us in the black, thanks to strong giving by the parish and in spite of our having brought down a deficit budget last year. You can see various ways of donating at

Here is a simplified version of this year’s pledge form.


The other fundraising campaign going on is the Capital Campaign to rescue our spire and do other restoration. Even a modest gift to this campaign is important because the larger donors in the community look for a show of commitment (in the number of donors) from the whole parish when they consider whether and how much to give.

This week’s campaign newsletter “The Surprising Faces of Church Safekeeping” features our vergers; John Cavacece gave a great interview about their work.


Ø  Annual Reports (by the groups and committees of the parish) are due Friday, January 26

Ø  The Cathedral book group will meet January 28 at 7 pm.

Ø  At the Oasis Musicale concert this Saturday (January 20) Nadia Koudasheva will give a piano recital featuring virtuoso masterpieces by Rachmaninov and Ravel, alongside rarely-heard Russian Bach transcription treasures.

Ø  On Sunday afternoon (January 21) Rob Hamilton, the Cathedral organ scholar is playing in the regular Sunday afternoon concert series at St Joseph’s Oratory, 3:30 pm

Ø  You are invited to purchase your 2018 parking pass. Cost is $130. Please note there are restrictions during the week due to construction and passes can only be used when on Cathedral business.  Please speak to the vergers.


Does the Cathedral present a welcoming face to visitors and potential new parishioners? Are we a friendly presence on the internet? Let me know if you would like to answer this question from your experience. Meanwhile, take a look at an interesting article by Christy Thomas which was posted on Facebook by Bishop Dennis Drainville, a former associate priest at the Cathedral and Anglican chaplain at McGill. It gives good tips for creating a welcoming website, important because “Today, your electronic presence is the front door to your church.”

Ann Elbourne

PS Ash Wednesday may be Valentine’s Day but Easter is All Fools Day. Religious and secular practices align in the stars.


To receive this Newsletter earlier by email, and with it, additions like the Forum agenda, financial updates, minutes and reports, posters, photos, etc., simply send your coordinates to the Cathedral office…  the failsafe method is to email both Newsletter author and parish volunteer Ann Elbourne  and Parish Administrator Elizabeth Shama  .

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