Sunday, 14 August 2021

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry is from the main doors on King Street East. Weather-permitting, coffee hour follows the ten o’clock service out in the Nativity Gardens behind the church.

Service Guidelines are available here.

Masks are not required, but with the current surge in COVID cases we do strongly recommend that you wear a high-quality medical mask for in-person attendance.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10 am. You’ll be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link at any later time.

The order of service is available here. It includes the readings, the responses, and the hymns, so you can join in as fully as possible via the live-stream.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Ecce Ancilla Domine is a depiction of the Annunciation of our Lord to Saint Mary the Virgin. She cowers on her bed, eyes fixed on the lilies in the angel's hand as he floats above her bedroom floor with feet of fire as he informs her that she has been chosen to bring Jesus into the world.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s depiction of the Annunciation, Ecce Ancilla Domine

This Sunday the Nativity will keep the feast of Saint Mary the Virgin. It’s a Holy Day that has slightly different names and emphases in different traditions. Our Roman Catholic siblings celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; our Orthodox relations, the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (closest to our old name, ‘the Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary’); Lutherans, Mary the Mother of our Lord. We have many different ways of thinking about Mary, but all alike are drawn to her saying yes to God, to her praise of God’s actions of scattering the proud, lifting up the lowly, and feeding the hungry—as we are invited to say yes and join in God’s work in the world.

Sunday, August 7 – Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry is from the main doors on King Street East. Weather-permitting, coffee hour follows the ten o’clock service out in the Nativity Gardens behind the church.

Service Guidelines are available here.

Masks are not required, but with the current surge in COVID cases we do strongly recommend that you wear a high-quality medical mask for in-person attendance.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10 am. You’ll be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link at any later time.

You can find the order of service here. It includes the readings, the responses, and the hymns, so you can join in as fully as possible via the live-stream.

Monica preaching on Passion Sunday. (Photo credit: William Pleydon)

Sunday’s service will also honour Monica Romig Green, on her final Sunday with us. We’ve been blessed by her presence as our Theological Intern throughout this year. She’s formed strong bonds with many in the Nativity community; we’ve enjoyed her preaching and her liturgical leadership. The Wednesday Midweek Eucharistic community was deeply nourished by her leading them through a variety of different styles of prayer. Monica’s next placement during the week will include school chaplaincy, and she’ll be with another parish community on Sundays to give her more experience of the breadth of life in the Diocese of Niagara. We’ll take a moment to wish her well in her journey toward the end of the service.

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889)

The letter to the Hebrews reminds the listeners not just of what faith is, but of the new home we are given through it by God. (Hebrews 11.1–3, 8–16)

In the gospel, we’ll hear Jesus encouraging disciples to invest their hearts and live fully into God’s reign–and to be ready even in the middle of the night for God’s invitation. (Luke 12.32–40)

Sunday, July 31 2022 – Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry is from the main doors on King Street East. Weather-permitting, coffee hour follows the ten o’clock service out in the Nativity Gardens behind the church.

Service Guidelines are available here.

Masks are not required, but with the current surge in COVID cases we do strongly recommend that you wear a high-quality medical mask for in-person attendance.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10 am. You’ll be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link at any later time.

Keep this order of service handy! In it, you’ll find the readings, the responses, and the hymns–all so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

In the first reading, we’ll hear about how we have been clothed with Christ and gathered into God’s presence. (Colossians 3.1-11); in the gospel we’ll hear Jesus warning us to be rich toward God instead of storing up treasure for ourselves (Luke 12.13-21).

Sunday, July 24th – Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry is from the main doors on King Street East. Weather-permitting, coffee hour follows the ten o’clock service out in the Nativity Gardens behind the church.

Service Guidelines are available here.

Masks are not required, but with the current surge in COVID cases we do strongly recommend that you wear a high-quality medical mask for in-person attendance.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10 am. You’ll be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link at any later time.

Keep this order of service handy! In it, you’ll find the readings, the responses, and the hymns–all so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

The first reading this week is from the letter to the Colossians. Colossae was a city in the Roman province of Phrygia Pacatiana, and a significant city in Anatolia (modern Türkiye). The followers of Jesus in Colossae are encouraged to know that because they were buried with Christ in baptism, they are raised with him through faith. (Colossians 2.6–19)

The Courtyards of the Church of the Pater Noster, built on the location where Jesus is said to have taught the disciples the prayer we call “the Lord’s Prayer.”

This Sunday’s gospel passage begins with Jesus’s disciples asking him to teach them to pray–and him sharing the familiar words of what we now refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus goes on to reassure them that they will be heard as they continue to pray, and that God’s love will protect and care for them. (Luke 11.1–13)

Here are pictures of some of the plaques from around the Church of the Pater Noster, built on the Mount of Olives where Jesus is said to have taught the disciples to pray. They ones here–a small fraction of all the plaques at the church!–record the Lord’s Prayer in English, Greek, Latin, Cree, Ojibwe, Welsh, and German.

Sunday, July 17 — Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry to the building is solely from the main doors on King Street East. Weather permitting, coffee hour will follow the ten o’clock service in the Nativity Gardens. Masks are not required, but with the current surge in COVID cases we do highly recommend that you wear a high-quality medical-mask for services.

Service Guidelines have changed; learn more here.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10am. You’ll still be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link any time thereafter.

Keep this order of service handy! It has the readings, the responses, and hymn texts–so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

A photo of a basket filled with fruits and berries.
Photo courtesy Sarah Barker: “Fruit Basket” (used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The first reading this week is from the prophet Amos. It’s a great passage, showing him at his doom-iest and gloom-iest, while simultaneously showing him sharing God’s thirst for justice and care for those who are impoverished and oppressed–and all by describing a basket of summer fruit (Amos 8.1–12).

Mary sits listening to Jesus, while her sister Martha works away.
Martha and Mary – Luke 10:38-42

The gospel passage is a brief and powerful description of Martha being concerned that her sister isn’t helping her with her work–and Jesus helping her re-frame and re-direct her attention. (Luke 10.38–42).

Sunday, July 10 – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

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All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry to the building is solely from the main doors on King Street East. Weather permitting, coffee hour will follow the ten o’clock service in the Nativity Gardens.

Service Guidelines have changed; learn more here.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10am. You’ll still be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link any time thereafter.

Keep this order of service handy! It has the readings, the responses, and hymn texts–so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

The first reading this Sunday describes a vision of a plumb line judging the people. (Amos 7.7–17)

A merciful Samaritan assists a man who has been beaten and robbed, as a priest and a Levite pass by in the distance
The Merciful Samaritan – Luke 10:25-37

In the gospel reading, we hear a familiar and still challenging story Jesus tells when he’s asked, “And who is my neighbour?,”–the parable of the merciful Samaritan. (Luke 10.25–37)

Sunday, July 3 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost, with Prayers for Canada Day

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry to the building is solely from the main doors on King Street East. Weather permitting, coffee hour will follow the ten o’clock service in the Nativity Gardens.

Service Guidelines have changed; learn more here.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10am. You’ll still be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link any time thereafter.

Keep this order of service handy! It has the readings, the responses, and hymn texts–so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

The first reading describes the prophet Elisha giving God’s healing to a foreign leader–even if it’s not quite the way that Naaman was expecting help! (2 Kings 5.1–14).

Russian Icon of the Sending of the Seventy
Icon of the Synaxis of the Seventy

The gospel reading describes Jesus sending the seventy to share the good news about God’s reign coming near, and their experience of sharing God’s power with those they served (Luke 10.1–11, 16–20).

Sunday, June 26 – Third Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry to the building is solely from the main doors on King Street East. Weather permitting, coffee hour will follow the ten o’clock service in the Nativity Gardens.

Service Guidelines have changed; learn more here.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10am. You’ll still be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link any time thereafter.

Keep this order of service handy! It has the readings, the responses, and hymn texts–so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

The first reading this Sunday describes the departure of the prophet Elijah, and him being succeeded by his disciple, the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 2.1–2, 6–14)

In the gospel reading, we’ll hear about the challenges of discipleship and the focus God invites us to–and the freedom we can know in following. (Luke 9.51–62).

Sunday, June 19 – Second Sunday after Pentecost

All are welcome to attend in-person services. Entry to the building is solely from the main doors on King Street East. Weather permitting, coffee hour will follow the ten o’clock service in the Nativity Gardens.

Service Guidelines have changed; learn more here.

You can join the service, live or later, via YouTube. The live-stream will begin at 9:45 am, and the service itself will begin at 10am. You’ll still be able to watch or re-watch it on YouTube at the same link any time thereafter.

Keep this order of service handy! It has the readings, the responses, and hymn texts–so you can join in as fully as possible from afar.

This Sunday is the Second Sunday after Pentecost. In the first reading, we’ll hear about the prophet Elijah fearing for his life, and encountering God in an unexpected way (1 Kings 19.1-15a). In the gospel passage, we’ll hear about Jesus casting out demons possessing a man of the Gerasenes–a place on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee toward the Golan Heights (Luke 8.26–39).

What Do Worship Services Look Like Now?

Bishop Susan has issued new guidelines for our ministry and worship—the biggest shifts since we resumed worshipping in person! These guidelines are carefully based on the best science and public health evidence available, and both we as the Church of the Nativity and the whole Diocese of Niagara continue to have everyone’s safety as our first priority.

We wanted to make sure you’d know what to expect for services.


Mask Mandate Paused

The requirement to wear masks has been paused. (It may return if we see increased positivity with a new wave of the COVID virus or variants of concern.)

While you don’t have to wear a mask to come to church, we do encourage you to wear one if it’s right for you!

Masks will be worn by all communion ministers while communion is shared.


Communion: Common Cup Returns as an Option

The chalice is shared at communion, pre-pandemic

We’ll be removing the table in front of the steps where we’ve been sharing communion since the return to in-person worship. All will be welcome to come to the altar rails to receive the eucharist—and the clergy will still be delighted to bring the sacrament to anyone who isn’t able to come up!

Because masks are not required, we do ask that you leave more space between you and others at the altar rails than you may remember doing before the pandemic. Please remember to use hand sanitizer before coming forward.

You’ll also be able to receive the wine from the chalice if you so choose. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve reminded you of the Church’s long-held teaching that receiving in only one kind is full participation in the eucharist—that is, receiving the bread alone is receiving Christ’s body and blood. That hasn’t changed, and if you don’t feel comfortable receiving the wine at this time, then that’s the right call for you! Simply cross your arms over your chest, and the chalice bearer will hold the chalice in front of you, will say “the blood of Christ,” and then move to the next person.

If you’re finding yourself wondering—wait, why is the common cup considered safe?—know you’re not alone. We encourage you to read the Reverend Michael Garner (MSc, MDiv)’s paper “The Common Cup and SARS-CoV-2 Infection Risk.” Michael is a priest and a former long-serving infectious disease epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada. This paper offers a careful scientific overview of the studies that have been done on the common cup over many years, and why any risk of exposure to Covid is ‘extremely low.’


Exchanging the Peace

A peace sign made by fingers in front of tree branches.

We will be able to physically exchange the peace again.

Please remember that everyone will have different comfort levels when we come to the peace!

It will be important for us to see and assess other people’s body language and choices; it’ll be important for us to use our words to explain what we’re comfortable with. If you’re not ready for a handshake, making a peace sign (a ‘V’ with your first two fingers) or bowing are two ways to signal your preferred option to other people.

Make the choice that’s right for you; honour the choices made by other people. For the next while, the clergy will be reminding the congregation about this when we come to the peace.


Outdoor Coffee Hours (weather-permitting)

People gather in the Nativity Gardens at a recent outdoor coffee hour

Parish Council made the decision that we’ll have summer coffee hours in the Nativity Gardens! With juice and light snacks, we’ll have the chance to socialize and regather in this beautiful setting!


Live-Streamed Services Will Continue

The video control board for streaming, at the back of the church

We’re going to continue to broadcast the main service each Sunday to YouTube. You can find a link to the stream on our parish blog each week, along with a link to the order of service to make it easier to join in the hymns and prayers and readings. There are also special prayers you might wish to use to make an act of spiritual communion.


Get in touch!

Close-up of an old dial-pad on a touchtone phone.

Need to have a conversation with your priest? While Matthew will be taking his vacation at a couple of different points over the summer, nothing makes him happier than catching up or walking alongside you through a time when you need pastoral support. Just pick up the phone and call the church!

Image Credits:

“Green Light” by Dave Levy on flickr; used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.
“Communion” by William Pleydon; used with permission.
“Peace” by Cristina Souza on flickr; used under CC BY 2.0 license.
“Coffee Hour” by William Pleydon; used with permission.
“Telephone” by Indiana Public Media (WFIU) on flickr; used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.