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Week of February 22, 2018

Nuit blanche: concerts, displays and short movies by Indigenous filmmakers – Rising up blog video about Cathedral spire – Syrian family we are sponsoring, update – Forum budget deficit, some requests for help: coffee hour, Sunday School, Last Sunday Lunch, making a pledge – Lunch n’ Chat – “Teach us to Pray” Lent series – Music inspired by paintings at Oasis concert – Book Group reading The Essex Serpent – A special invitation to Induction and Installation of The Very Rev’d Bertrand Olivier, March 11

Dear Friend of the Cathedral

Last week’s letter emphasized Lent; this week’s letter will focus on the Cathedral’s programme for Nuit blanche (see the poster, right, for all the details).

You will see that the evening starts at 4:30 with Patrick’s recital of music for the organ by Bach, an exciting start to an evening of richly diverse music. The Choeur gai and Sympholies vocales will each perform 3 short choral concerts, Compline will be sung to plainsong at 9:15 and a jazz group will round off the evening. There will be displays from various Cathedral groups as well as from the diocese, and a small exhibit of pictures portraying the various Cathedral buildings where the community worshipped at different points in the history of Christ Church. The centrepiece of this display will be Remrov’s amazing pencil drawing of the current Cathedral accompanied by a time-lapse video showing him working on the drawing.

We are also excited to be showing an NFB compilation of 4 very short movies made by Aboriginal artists. Four leading figures in the Indigenous arts — Kent Monkman, Caroline Monnet, Jeff Barnaby and Michelle Latimer —each crafted a three-to-four-minute short movie, working with footage mined from the NFB archives and using recordings by cutting edge Aboriginal musicians. Their mandate was to explore and reframe cinematic stereotypes of Native peoples. Collectively titled “Souvenir”, the movies had their world premiere during the Pan-Am Games in Toronto in 2015. The mandate of the four artists was to fashion a short film, no longer than four minutes that reframed archival imagery, investigating and exploding cinematic stereotypes of Native people. The description on the NFB website for the films includes these details about two of them:

With Mobilize, the Algonquin filmmaker and visual artist Caroline Monnet juxtaposes sublime imagery of Mohawk construction workers, plying their trade high above busy city streets, with shots of traditional hunter/gathers, setting it all against a fierce and beautiful track by Tanya Tagaq – described recently in The Guardian as “the polar punk who makes Bjork sound tame.”

Sisters & Brothers, Kent Monkman’s contribution to the series, makes a trenchant reference to the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission – intercutting images of dwindling bison herds with footage of residential schools, a visually arresting montage propelled forward by the pow-wow step sound of A Tribe Called Red. Famous for his drag persona Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, Monkman is a multi-disciplinary artist who has won international acclaim for work that challenges received wisdom about Canadian history with an iconoclastic gaze.

The movies will be shown with sound between 6 and 6:45 and after that on a loop, but mute, all evening.

The image of the Mohawk construction worker from the film Mobilize might make you think of the workers on the scaffolding of our spire – though they are not so insouciantly balanced on the edge of a beam without a harness. The current blog “Rising Up” has a fascinating little video about the work in progress on the spire and includes some alarming shots of the damage which needs to be repaired. You might have noticed that the construction workers, architects and engineers are mentioned in our weekly intercession list. If you would like to receive an email copy of the intercession list, please email

We also pray each day for the Syrian family we are sponsoring. They particularly need our prayers during the next two weeks because their immigration interview in Beirut is scheduled for March 12. Gabrielle Boyd is collecting furniture and other articles. Please contact her to find out what she needs.

We had a good meeting of Forum on Tuesday, where members highlighted a number of areas which call for attention and response from the community:

  1. Treasurer Jane Aitkens presented our budget for 2018, and the predicted deficit is sobering. Donna Riley observed that some generous donors don’t understand the need to make an annual pledge (tell us how much they intend to give). While surprises are lovely, it is far less nerve-wracking for our treasurer—and for us all including our new Dean—to know in advance what funds to expect. It’s not too late to pledge for 2018—only the treasurer and bookkeeper will know what you intend to donate, and it’s understood that your pledge can be changed if your circumstances take a turn!
  2. A second urgent plea was for people to help prepare and serve at coffee hour Sundays. In the past, a team of two was assigned to each week, in rotation. At the moment, the same two people are on duty every Sunday. Please email the office or speak to George.
  3. And a third plea came from Jean-Daniel to help in the Sunday School, now in its airy and sunny new space in St Anselm’s chapel. As he said, if you like cuddling toddlers or teaching children, this is the job for you. It need not be an every Sunday commitment.
  4. A fourth plea was made by Adrian King-Edwards. The lunch this Sunday is being sponsored by Selwyn House School but Adrian needs 10 volunteers from the Cathedral community to help serve the meal. Dean Bertrand was the first to raise his hand to volunteer – so nine more people, please!

Patrick made the sad announcement at Forum that Dónal Ward died in Vermont on Monday. He had been too ill to come to church in the past year, but every week he faithfully produced his wonderful blog about the music in the Cathedral which was posted on our website. We will miss Dónal for many reasons and send our condolences to his partner Christopher.

March Lunch ‘n Chat will take place in the Bishop Hollis Lounge on Tuesday, March 6 at noon – potluck, fellowship; all welcome.

Lenten study, “Teach us to Pray” continues each Monday in Cathedral Place, with soup and cheese at 6:30 and the study at 7. Last Monday Amy led the group in exploring “lectio visio” including a guided meditation on this image, the Annunciation by Botticelli, plus other ways of praying with images we create or make ourselves. This Monday, Patrick Wedd will address music as a way of praying.

This Saturday at 4:30 you can listen to a concert of music inspired by paintings. The Hato piano duo Tomoko Inui and Haruyo Yoshino-Platt will perform music by Mussorgsky and Debussy directly inspired by paintings.

The Cathedral’s book group will meet on Sunday, March 4 to discuss The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and make plans for future books. All enthusiastic readers are welcome – even if you haven’t read this particular book! Speak to Diana or Helen

Finally, an invitation to a very special occasion: the Induction of the Very Reverend Bertrand Olivier as Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and his installation as the 23rd Dean of Montreal. The service at 4 pm will be followed by a reception in Fulford Hall. RSVP to the Cathedral office (  or 514 843 6577/236).

There is rather a lot of information in this week’s letter, but I hope it will be helpful as we reflect and pray in the coming week.

Ann Elbourne


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