Published: June 2008
Related Topics: People
It had seemed like a good idea to round up a who's who of saints scheduled for Sunday services for July and August, together with a few words about each of them. Not so simple.
It appears that clergy have some latitude in what they choose, proper to the day, to the congregation, and to the state of the world--all to be reflected in the theme, the collect, the sermon, the hymns, the prayers...following the lectionary, or fitting around it.
Just when one's mindset is prepared on August 3 for the Holy Day of good St. Stephen, stoned to martyrdom for speaking out, we learn that Stephen is booted up to August 4, unless he is the patron. Or that the Commemoration of St. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne, who travelled everywhere on foot, opened up monasteries, built churches and freed enslaved children "may be transferred to September 1," from August 31.
These dismal discoveries were not without some compensation, within the pages of their source, (McCausland's) Order of Divine Service, for the current year--just about the handiest place to go for useful information, and I suspect, frequently overlooked by clergy. Here, for example, are the intentions for the daily Anglican Cycle of Prayer, for, of all things, the Lambeth Conference, opening in Canterbury in July. By virtue of the universality of the world wide Anglican Communion, we shall all be praying, not only for the Conference itself, but for individual aspects of it, day by day, for twenty days, BAS and BCP. Not to chance are the organizers consigning any thorny petitions to God!
The opening day, prayers will be for the Archbishop of Canterbury, I believe I can remember searching the various news media for a glimpse of our own Bishop Victoria Matthews, a lone, small figure with a unique destiny, at the Lambeth of 1998. How 'lone' will Rowan Williams feel, first among equals, past and present, this year? The next day, the prayers are for the Primates of the Anglican Communion. At the same time, our ACP's add Rt. Rev. Victoria Matthews, here and in New Zealand.
The next day, the wording changes. We will pray for 'Our Communion of Churches'. The following days, it's Stewards and Volunteers, then Chaplains Caregivers... Communications Work... Spouses Programme. And yes, Musicians! Translators! It goes on; no two days alike; no one forgotten. There is one for the Conference Staff. And prayers for the Hospitality Committee (Take heart, Kim Johnson of our Cathedral). There are prayers for The Market Place. (Did I hear that Bishop Gene Robinson is to take up a position there?)
Meanwhile, here at home, the summer does have one or two treats in store for those of us who do not abandon the city for the cottage, and for the stray visitor happening upon our open doors--like the young Chinese visitor whose curiosity led her into the empty Cathedral one quiet morning; politely asking permission, she sat at the nine-foot grand piano and serenely played a Bach Partita.
On the 29th of June, the Holy Day of the Apostles St Peter and St Paul, the Rev. Bill Greenfield, great-grandson of the first Dean of the Cathedral, will fulfill his dream of being the "oldest clergyman to preach from that pulpit". Father Bill, visiting his sister, Katharine Greenfield, Archivist of Christ's Church Cathedral, lives at famed Gibson's, where the mountains meet the sea at Vancouver. He will have no problem making himself heard, with a voice to match the mountains.
Sunday, the sixth of July, parishioners will hear the passage, surely the loveliest, from the Song of Solomon--"The voice of my beloved" last read at the Cathedral by Steve Millar and Gwen Harwood (member of the choir, leaving soon for married life in New England). Anglican churches everywhere, if they follow the lectionary, will be reading it too, if it is chosen....
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