I don’t know about you, but I have been more aware than ever this year of the dark mornings and early sunsets.  Although the   shortest day was actually December 21st, the winter nights till seem very long.  This is why I am looking forward to Lent!  The word “lent” comes from an Old English version of the verb “to lengthen.”  It reminds us of the approach of springtime and celebrates the fact that as Easter gets nearer, we finally experience lighter and longer days.

Lent begins liturgically on Ash Wednesday, when we begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes.  They speak of the frailty and uncertainty of human life.  They are also an ancient expression of penitence.  I encourage you to be at Mass on that important day.

Our Lent course this year focuses on four questions, all looking at aspects of the Christian faith from the point of view of truth.  We begin with scripture itself and then move on to the divinity of Christ and the nature of the Resurrection.  Our final session will consider the Second Coming.  We will learn about the nature of metaphor. We will see what we can learn from a study of poetry, imagery and myth. We will come to understand that something may not be historically accurate but is still profoundly and deeply true.

Details of the four sessions are given in this bulletin, along with dates, times, and location.  Please join us – bringing your bibles, questions and thoughts.

Father Neil Gray



Presenting blankets to individuals or organisations is an important First Nations’ ceremonial tradition. At High Mass today, in place of the sermon, Kelvin Bee, who is an Elder of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation and a Trustee of St. James’ Parish, will present to the church a ceremonial blanket that he has made with the help of family and parishioners. First Nations Elders from Vancouver Island will also be present. By presenting this blanket Kelvin and his colleagues wish to recognize the role that St. James’ Church has played in the process of reconciliation and the help that it has given to survivors of the residential schools – of which Kelvin is one.

The recommendations of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission set a framework for the process of reconciliation, in which the feast that St. James’ hosted in 2017 was a major milestone.

The blanket is made of Melton cloth, which is traditionally made of wool and woven in a twill form. It is thick, with a felt-like smooth surface. Green is a favourite colour of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation and the red edging represents the cedar door posts of the houses. Some 500 buttons, sewn on by Kelvin with the help of the clergy and parishioners, are a “new” aspect of the blanket tradition (only 250 years old). The abalone shells are from Bella Bella and the panel of patterned fabric recalls the dresses worn by the older generation. Symbols sewn onto the blanket include First Nations imagery from Saskatchewan to northern Vancouver Island. The corners of the blanket include patterns of trees (or arrows) pointing outwards to symbolise the progress of reconciliation. In the centre of the blanket is the scallop shell of St. James’.

John Daniel