Address 256 Sheldon Ave, Etobicoke, ON, M8W 4X8
December 22, 2020
Message from Fr. Ron:
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I write to you just days before we celebrate the birth of the Christ child and I would like to put two questions to you. I ask that we don’t descend into theological debate over the birth narratives but, in the context of indigenous practice, reflect on how the image can speak to us and accept that it may speak differently to different people and ourselves in the various circumstances of our lives.
What images of the stories of Jesus’ birth pop into your mind?
2. Are any of these images different this year, possibly due to our experience with the pandemic?
This is certainly true for me. There are the traditional images of that placid, rustic scene in the manger with Mary and Joseph. The newborn Jesus, wrapped in some nice, white, clean swaddling clothes, laying in a nice, clean manger accompanied by several nice, clean sheep quietly sitting there with the calm donkey standing by. Oh, you might say. There are also the shepherds and later the wise men, as well as the angels appearing at different times in the birth narrative. For years these have been the images that pop into my mind reflecting the various nativity scenes and Christmas pageants in churches where I have worshipped and/or served over the past number of years.
This year I have struggled to deal with the way that the pandemic has impacted my life, the lives of family members, friends, and parishioners, as well as the general public. The nativity images that pop into my mind have been the not so obvious. The traditional are still there but the images have become much more inclusive of the human dynamic, especially as it applies to Mary and Joseph. We picture this scene of a demure Mary sitting there as the angel Gabriel gives her the news. How demure would you be if Gabriel suddenly popped in on you? Getting over her initial shock, Mary had a number of things to figure out. How do I tell my parents? How do I tell Joseph? How do we face the rest of the family and the larger community? The Magnificat gives us a powerful insight into Mary’s courage and faith and her understanding of God’s purpose for her life. How does it talk to you about what God would like to see as a mark of your life? How does it strike you if you read it through a political lens?
Imagine the dismay when Mary and Joseph find out they now have to make a 90-mile journey, uphill and downhill to Bethlehem. A reasonably fit person could walk 20 miles a day. Being in the last stages of her pregnancy, Mary could probably manage 10 miles a day at best. Imagine, if you can, how Mary would have felt putting one foot forward after another, finding relief riding on a donkey, and finally arriving in Bethlehem and finding no place to stay except a stable. How would you enjoy walking to Dorchester getting close to London? Try to picture this in your mind. While it has been an issue for awhile in our city and province, this pandemic has increased the number of people with no place to stay. As you reflect on how this impacted Mary, please join with me in discerning what Mary might tell us that her Son expects of us and how her experience challenges us to open our eyes to the reality of homelessness and inadequate housing. And then, another angel comes into the picture in Joseph’s dream. Imagine his reaction to that dream, and then Mary’s, when Joseph tells her they have to go to Egypt – some 4000 miles away.
My purpose in writing this is not to say Poor Mary! Poor Joseph! Poor Jesus! Rather, I hope that each of us will seek a richness and depth in the nativity images that drawing on our faith we will find courage to face these days with courage and compassion. Secondly, as Mary and Joseph had to face unanticipated challenges and rose to meet them may we through the gifts of the Holy Spirit rise to meet the challenges we face. And thirdly,
PLEASE TAKE OUT YOUR BIBLES AND READ
Matthew 1:18 – 2:23 Luke 1: 1 -2:20 Magnificat (Luke 1:46-53)
As a Parish we face a number of challenges due to restrictions placed upon public worship and the ability to gather. As a member of a larger community of faith we must comply with the protocols set down for us by the College of Bishops in our Diocese of Toronto. Sharing space with the Jubilee Centre and also recognizing the vulnerability of so many in our Parish we strive to remain faithful to Christ’s command to love our neighbour as ourselves by trying to keep ourselves and others safe. We also reach out to others and we hope to be able to continue our traditional financial support for the Jean Tweed Centre, Dorothy Ley Hospice and the Weston King Neighborhood, the latter being designated in memory of Chris Brownhill. Our own operational needs still continue and Faith Works support has become a critical need in the course of this pandemic. If you are not sure how to safely get your envelopes or donations in please call Edison Dore at 416-521-9297. Please remember that donations must be made by December 31st to be credited for 2020.
If you are struggling with the isolation and uncertainty of the times reach out for help. Please remember that I can be reached at 647-262-3958. My prayer for you as well as myself is that in this unique Christmas season may you be able to recognize ways in which you are blessed and find ways to be a blessing to others. We remember that Jesus came as the light of the world. May he lighten our paths through this darkness as we celebrate his birth.
Yours in Christ,
November 20, 2020 Update:
Today the Premier of Ontario announced further restrictions to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Our Sunday service and all other social activities programs will be suspended until further notice
Live stream of Weekly Sunday service available on https://www.facebook.com/torontoanglican/
Here is a link of City of Toronto COVID-19 for updates and all related information https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/
Welcome to Church of the Atonement (Anglican) & Jubilee Centre
Jubilee Centre in Alderwood, Etobicoke Serves the needs of the two communities who call it home. It provides apartment living with a difference for senior citizens. It also provides a spiritual home for the people of the Anglican Parish Church of the Atonement.
This website provide an introduction of our church and our senior apartment. Please follow us on our facebook page for all our news and upcoming activities!