Author Archives: nativityniagara

Holy Conversations, Part 1

Our first session of the Holy Conversations process happened on March 26th. Canon Christyn Perkons was with us for both Sunday services, and preached a fine sermon explaining the process and sharing with us some of its fruits in other communities.

During coffee hour, we explored two big questions as we began. What follows are the notes from that session. A reminder that everyone connected with the Church of the Nativity is invited to participate in any and all of the sessions: the wider our communal discernment, the better! Our next time will be April 30th, at about 11:15.


Church of the Nativity, Hamilton

Holy Conversations #1

March 26, 2017


What brings us joy; nourishes us?

  • Services
    • Seasonal variety
    • Homilies
    • Involvement
  • Music
    • Language – Choir
    • Tunes
  • Warm Welcome
    • Friendships – talk about feelings/spirituality
    • Less judgement
    • Intimacy
  • Forgiveness – from God
  • Pastoral Care
    • Rector
    • Parishioners
    • “Caring Community”
    • Inclusive
  • Wednesday Services
    • Intimacy – informal
    • Interactive
  • Outreach
  • Love of God
  • Children
  • Sense of community
  • Coffee Hour
    • Food
    • Camaraderie
  • Music
    • Peter – Brings out best in choir; knows us, integral part of the community
    • Anthems work for our strengths
    • Right music for services
  • Ministry Team
  • Way building is used
    • By us
    • By other groups
  • Opportunity for personal reflection
  • Interaction with kids
  • Surroundings
    • Ambiance and sense of holiness
  • Matthew is a special gift to us
    • Listen, love, authentic, person
    • Lack of judgement
    • Sermons talk about and touch our lives
    • 6th sense about when people need him
    • Creates a sense of intimacy and inclusiveness
    • L & O each bring their own gifts and the family relationship is significant to us
  • Choir
    • Spirituality
    • Sense of family – extended
  • Spiritual nourishment
    • Well filled up
    • Food for week ahead
  • Belonging
  • Being active participant in something bigger than self
  • Diverse involvement


What would be missing if Nativity wasn’t here?

  • User groups as an avenue to Faith Community
  • Community wouldn’t feel like community
  • A gathering place for seniors
  • A place where people can find help
  • Events in which the community engages
  • Ecumenical services
  • The spiritual presence
  • Our regular upholding in prayer of our neighbourhood
  • Sign of God’s presence and peace for our neighbours and those who drive by
  • Place in which the neighbourhood can gather as a community
  • Cross – generational time
  • Children
    • Witnesses to Faith community
    • Carrying the Christian way out into their schools, their recreational activities and their friendships
  • Supportive/caring community
  • Outreach
    • Support, e.g., Matthew’s House
  • Sign
    • Reflection, witness
  • Historic presence in Hamilton (1881)
  • Resurrection symbols
  • Faith on exterior





Palm Project Excitement!

While these photos are from last year, as is the text below, you’ll see most of the same faces if you pop in and see the hardworking crew making Palm Crosses and Strips. Here’s a sense of what happens in the Palm Project.

Each year as Lent deepens at the Nativity, a crew of parishioners and friends come out to join in the annual Palm Project. This year was the twenty-fourth year in which the parish has organized and prepared palm fronds, palm strips, and palm crosses for parishes throughout Hamilton and even as far away as Alberta!

Gathering around 9am and working until 2pm over five days, a gallant crew carefully trimmed more than 5000 strips for distribution, and made more to prepare the more than 5000 crosses they folded!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what’s involved in a project of this scale.

IMG_0132 Here’s where things start: Blanche and Martha are hard at work breaking apart the palms from the tight-knit, folded-up way they come to us, just off the tree. It’s a good work-out, as each bundle needs to be whacked against the floor to loosen things up before they start to be separated!
 Next up, Yvonne is hard at work trimming the now split apart fronds and starting to prepare some of the strips that will go out to parishes.  IMG_0133
 IMG_0136 John is hard at work trimming both the length and the width of the strips, so that crosses can be made from them.
 IMG_0137 You can see Brian’s focus as he begins to form the loop that will be the arm of a palm cross.
 Susan pauses to smile indulgently at the photographer, having formed both arms of the cross she’s folding.  IMG_0135
 IMG_0138  Jim trims up the edges of the cross he’s just finished folding. Sadly, this shot doesn’t show his dog Koko, who doesn’t fold any crosses but does offer moral support with the project!
 Here’s the very last of the packages ready for pick-up–after a busy week of many being delivered, and many being collected.

The great thing about the week before Holy Week is time visiting with fellow Anglicans, and with people from a multitude of other denominations. On Sunday, we’ll all remember Jesus entering Jerusalem — and all that lies in store in the week ahead.


A final panorama shot of one day with folk hard at work.

May your celebrations this Holy Week and through the Great Three Days draw you closer to the unfolding mystery of God’s love!

God’s Love Made Visible: Happy Epiphany!

When I was a small boy, my school choir joined many others and sang a concert Hamilton Place. Everything about it was exciting: the dress rehearsal, and then the performance itself, with lights blinding us but still certain that more people were watching us than ever had before!

The part I still remember and still find myself humming is the song that came alive. We had been practising it for weeks and weeks, but when we came together to sing it with all the other choirs, all those voices together made it sound astonishing and new. So powerful that more than thirty years later, it still pops into my head, an earworm that just won’t leave! Here’s a link to a different group singing Dave Brubeck’s “God’s Love Made Visible”.

God’s love made visible! Incomprehensible!
Christ is invincible! His love shall reign!
From love so bountiful, blessings uncountable,
make death surmountable! His love shall reign!

I always think about it now, deep into Christmas, with Epiphany just around the corner. The song’s lyrics sum up the good news of great joy we’re celebrating. And the way song is so irrepressible makes me think of all the ways the story can’t be contained. The shepherds have to come see, and go away talking incessantly about the Saviour come into the world. The wise ones from the East bring their gifts and pay homage. When Jesus is taken to be presented in the temple, Simeon and Anna marvel and sing and delight at God’s visible love being shared with the world. And then, as Jesus is baptized–we celebrate the ministry he gives to the world as he travels and teaches, heals and restores community, always inviting us to lean into God’s better ways of living for our common good.

At the Church of the Nativity, we’re packing a lot into this coming Sunday: we’ll celebrate the Epiphany, and the Presentation, and the Baptism, all in one action-packed service. Customs and traditions of each of those feasts will be a part of what we’re up to. We’ll bless chalk, a gift that we’ll take home with us to bless our homes. We’ll bless and hold candles, rejoicing in the Light that comes into the world for all people in Jesus. We’ll touch and feel the water from the font, reminding us of our baptisms–and how Jesus invites us to live.

A picture of a pair of Three Kings Cake, resting after baking with icing and tri-coloured sprinkles.

Three Kings Cake, fresh from the oven and with icing and sprinkles! Who will find the prize inside?

And at coffee hour afterward, we will share in the Three Kings’ Cake in honour of the three visitors–maybe you’ll be the one to find the gold hidden inside your slice!

God’s love is made visible in Jesus, our God-with-us. And God’s love shines forth for all, transforming us and sending us to serve. May you know and trust God’s blessing in the year ahead!

Advent and Christmas at the Nativity

Happy Christmas!

As we celebrate the good news of God coming into our midst in Jesus Christ, we marvel at how God shares our life and invites us to share in God’s life. We have many different traditions about how we celebrate. Here are some wonderful photographs from our own Mr. William Pleydon of some of our festivities.

From our Carols & Lessons service of December 18th:


From Christmas Eve at 8pm:

Advent Reflections

One candle lit in Nativity's Advent wreathThe website Thinking Anglicans often publishes interesting reflections on Scriptural passages, particularly in Advent and Lent.

I was deeply moved by this year’s piece written by David Walker (the bishop of Manchester), called “An Angelic Salutation“—it’s beautiful and thought-provoking as we wait and act in this season of Advent.

Rosemary Hannah’s “Meeting the Judge” is a challenging and thought-provoking imagining of Luke 18.1-8.

As the site posts more, we’ll link to them here. May you know God’s blessings as we prepare our hearts to welcome the Christ!

The Reverend Matthew Griffin will be on sabbatical leave from October 1st through November 11thA picture of the Rev. Matthew Griffin

The bishop has appointed our honorary assistant, Canon Linn, as priest-in-charge during Matthew’s sabbatical. We’re very glad to have someone we know and trust to support us during this time, and are grateful to him for agreeing to be with us!davidlinn

Photo Directory

It’s time for a new photo directory! There have been so many changes in the last five years, that our ten (+th!) anniversary presents a great opportunity to refresh and renew our photo directory.

We’re working with IPC again to produce our new directory. There is absolutely no financial cost to parishioners to participate. We need as many people as possible to come in for their fifteen-minute sitting. A professional photographer from IPC will take the portrait, and every one who participates will get a free copy of the directory. You will also be able to order copies of the portrait shot from IPC directly if you wish. Sittings are available from 2:30 – 8:30 on September 26, 27, and 28.

We hope that this directory will be as full and complete as possible, and a great snapshot of our community as the Church of the Nativity turns 10.

You can book your appointment here.

More information about the project can be found here.