Get your calendars out! Sat. Jan. 27, 10:00 am-2:00 pm is Parish Council and we’re going to be covering a lot of ground. We’ll gather for discussion and presentations, have lunch and celebrate Mass together. It’s important to get together and discuss where we’ve been this past year and where we are headed. So be there or be square!

This past week, Fr. Kevin, Deacon Joyce, Fr. Matthew and I gathered together for a retreat on Mayne Island, where we spent time sharing in discussions about our life and ministry together here at St. James’. There were times of reflection and thanksgiving for events in the past year, buoyant discussions about future plans and prayers for guidance as to where we as a community may be being called.

We are very blessed to be in team ministry which is seen less frequently in parishes than it once was. St. James’ certainly has a history of having multiple clergy on site, if we look back at the days when the clergy house was occupied by several priests. We are now in a time when that space will be reformed for the needs of our parish and our ministry today and in the future.

For myself, I have found that being part of a team ministry is a wonderful gift, in that we have ongoing support from each other, a sharing of gifts and resources, and in our particular case a good sense of humour, all of which carries us forward in our shared ministry here with you.

Being on retreat together gave us time to share, rest, eat, laugh and re-energize. I am looking forward to sharing with you at Parish Council some of what our clergy team is working on and hoping for in our 2018 ministry as God’s people at St. James’. Let us forge ahead together, deepening our faith in the risen Lord and welcoming new comers into our community. We have a strong history and legacy to live up to and to carry forward. I’m excited. Are you?

See you soon, Mother Lucy

Canon Douglas Williams, a faithful priest who in retirement ministered regularly at St James’ for many years, for the last time preaching on 19 March last year, and celebrating Mass the following day, died the week before Christmas. His funeral takes place at Christ Church Cathedral this weekend. Fr Douglas had a great love for St James’ and its tradition: his service at the altar and his thoughtful preaching have been much appreciated here. Quiet and reserved, with learning and wisdom of great breadth and depth, always keen to discover new things, he had a gift for wide-ranging conversation. I know that I am not alone in having enjoyed his company and learned much from him. Here is an extract from his Funeral and Related Considerations (written in 1998), which I find insightful, and which I hope may offer helpful food for thought:

“I have never lived in fear of a vengeful God. I know that I am held firmly by the infinitely loving God. I do not believe that we face a “great courtroom in the sky” beyond death. But I do believe in the Last Judgment.

In the end, there is nothing but the love of God. But forgiveness does not mean that we can avoid seeing and coming to terms with what we have done. This is the insight behind the creation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. [And might he have later added “in Canada”?] There need not always be punishment (and, with God, I suspect, there is never punishment), but there must always be admission and recognition of what has been done, for good and for ill.

The symbol of the Last Judgment points to the opening of our eyes to the fullness of what we have done and what we have become. Otherwise, death (and resurrection) allows us –, as my son Zephyr once put it – simply to continue the process of denial which so much of our life has always been.

In the resurrection, all wounds are healed, as were the wounds in the hands of the risen Christ. But many of the healed wounds that we shall see in the resurrection will be those we have inflicted on others. The glory of the resurrection will move us on, so that our wounds shall be healed, together with the wounds which we have inflicted on others; but not before we have seen, clearly and completely, both the good and the ill that we have done.

Surely, in this sense, there is a Last Judgment. And surely we need the prayers of the Church to support us in that Judgment.”

So with this confidence let us surround Fr Douglas, Helen and all the family, with our prayers, that he may rest in peace and rise in glory.

Fr Kevin