Algoma Deanery Week of August 15

Good day 🙂

Our annual Lay Readers’ Conference is quickly approaching. Please stay tuned for a posting on the diocesan website for details.  “Lay Readers” Conference is a bit of a misnomer – this really is open to any and all leaders of the church, including clergy. 😉

While you wait for that posting, here are a few details.  The conference takes place on Saturday, October 1st, beginning at 9am and running until about 4pm.  Why not begin on the Friday evening like we usually do? Well, we sort of are except that the Friday evening is dedicated to the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. We will have a worship service at 7pm which will include an address by Archbishop Anne, and possibly another guest, as well as a breakout session for discussion.  Everyone is invited to this worship service and you will register for the Zoom link to this worship service through your incumbent.  (This info will be in the posting…please do not contact your incumbent yet).  Those who live in the Sault Ste Marie area – or who are traveling here for the conference anyway – can attend in person at Emmaus (but it will be a Zoom service projected on the wall) and then enjoy fellowship in the hall afterward.

Saturday’s agenda will be in the posting but, loosely speaking, Archbishop Anne will begin our day with sharing her recent experience at Lambeth or anything else she wants to address. We will have worship together followed by a discussion facilitated by The Rev. Dr. Juan Oliver (Zooming from New Mexico).  Mid-afternoon is given to Bishop Todd Townshend of Huron who will be sharing his thoughts on the transformational power of our Holy Eucharist. More detail will be posted.  You will register for Saturday’s Zoom link by sending me an email request for it. (susan.montague2@gmail.com)

Why Anglicans Do Not Pray to the Saints:  Today is the Holy Day of St. Mary the Virgin which brings up an interesting difference between prevalent Anglican and Roman Catholic thinking on the issue of praying to saints.  The issue is actually more nuanced than my title would suggest.  Roman Catholics do not pray to the saints either – in the sense that they are worshipping them. Worship belongs solely to God. They pray to the saints to ask them to intercede on their behalf with God.  Roman Catholics do have prayers that are addressed specifically to certain people – such as St. Anthony who is the patron saint of lost things. This is the prayer to him: O great St Anthony, who has received from God a special power to recover lost things, help me that I may find that which I am now seeking. Amen.

I bring up this topic today since it is the Holy Day of Saint Mary and, arguably, the most famous prayer to a saint is to Mary – i.e. the prayers of the rosary.  This is actually a common misconception. The rosary prayers begin with the Apostles’ Creed, followed by the Lord’s Prayer – not with “Hail Mary” as you would hear in popular media (but, yes, the “Hail Mary” is in there).  

Anyway, most Roman Catholics do pray to saints as intercessors whereas most Anglicans do not (There are no prayers in the BCP nor in the BAS that directly address a saint).  We believe that, when we pray, we do not need any mediator on our behalf other than Jesus Christ who reconciled us to God through his death.  This doesn’t mean that Anglicans do not have intercessors. We frequently ask people to pray on our behalf or for our loved ones. The intercessor we’ve asked to pray for us then prays directly to God.  The difference lies in who we are asking to be our intercessor.  You’ll notice I’ve said “most” Anglicans. You may encounter Anglicans who do pray to saints to intercede on their behalf but, as I mentioned, the prevalent Anglican thinking is that we do not do this.

Anglicans certainly acknowledge the importance of many people throughout our salvation history. In our prayers, we note the significant contribution of the person(s) and ask God that we may continue their work and share in their particular gifts of ministry. The prayers for today focus on sharing God’s love and the joy of God’s eternal kingdom as Mary did. Here is the Collect:

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son. May we who have been redeemed by his blood, share with her the glory of our eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For Your Devotions:

Monday, August 15th is the Holy Day of St. Mary the Virgin. The Eastern Orthodox Church believes Mary was taken up to heaven after death. Most Roman Catholics believe Mary did not experience death. Where do we as Anglicans fall on this issue? Find out here (along with a beautiful legend surrounding Mary’s final days):  https://interruptingthesilence.com/2011/08/15/the-feast-of-st-mary-the-virgin-dormition-and-assumption/

Tuesday, August 16th is the memorial of the Holy Women of the Old Testament. Our Story of Salvation was shaped by some pretty feisty and creative (i.e. tricky) women. Sometimes barren, sometimes of “ill repute” but always interesting…For a sample, check out the four Old Testament women Matthew lists in Jesus’ family tree: http://faithlifewomen.com/2012/12/4-unlikely-grandmothers-in-jesus-family-tree/

Wednesday, August 17th is the commemoration of John Stuart, Missionary among the Mohawks until his death in 1811. As a loyalist, Stuart’s life was made unpleasant (and sometimes dangerous) in New York and so he travelled first to Quebec and then to Ontario. He arrived in Cataraqui (Kingston) in 1785 and was, apparently, the first resident Anglican clergyman in Ontario. For more info:  http://www.ontarioplaques.com/Plaques/Plaque_Frontenac13.html    This site has a link to even more information if you’re interested.

Saturday, August 20th is the memorial of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux who died in 1153. Bernard is very well known for his mystical writings on the love of God but also was a strong supporter of the Crusades. This support is not looked upon favourably now by many but it is easy to judge in hindsight. He founded the Cistercian abbey at Clairvaux and then 70 more during his lifetime.  He was austere to the extreme, causing himself health issues with his excessive fasting and sleep deprivation but he was arguably the most influential Christian of his era. Here is one of his most famous quotes…“You wish me to tell you why and how God should be loved. My answer is that God himself is the reason he is to be loved”…  and here is where you can find more information on this colourful monk:  https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/moversandshakers/bernard-of-clairvaux.html

I think that’s it for now but, as mentioned above, you will shortly be hearing more about the Lay Readers’ Conference.

In the joy of Christ,

Susan

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