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Sunday Service – September 19th, 2021

This week’s Sunday services will be held in-person at 8:00 am and 10:00 am. Please contact the office to register if you would like to attend in person.

The 10:00 am service will also be simultaneously live-streamed to YouTube.

and you can find the Order of Service here.

Jesus welcomes the children – Mark 10:13-16

This Sunday is the 17th Sunday after Pentecost. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons says about the readings that we’ll hear:

Today we hear James warn against selfish ambition, while the disciples quarrel over which one of them is the greatest. Jesus tells them the way to be great is to serve. Then, to make it concrete, he puts in front of them a flesh-and-blood child. We are called to welcome the children God puts in front of us, to make room for them in daily interaction, and to give them a place of honour in the assembly.

The image from the Jesus MAFA project is used with permission.
JESUS MAFA. Jesus welcomes the children, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved September 17, 2021]. Original source: (contact page:

Sunday Service – September 12

We are resuming in-person services this Sunday! We’re tremendously excited for that, and are committed to doing so safely. All who wish to attend will need to register with the parish office to come to the 8:00 am service or the 10:00 am service. We continue to mask, maintain physical distance, and refrain from singing and other activities that would increase potential risk of spread of the COVID-19 vaccine. We also strongly encourage everyone to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and our leadership is required to do so by the diocese.

We’ll also continue to stream a service to YouTube each week! Please note that the time of the Sunday service that is streamed has moved to 10:00 am. If you’re unable to be present with us in person, and/or don’t feel comfortable being in groups at this time, please know you continue to be welcomed and valued: our investment in our sound and streaming system is designed to make it easier for all to worship together from anywhere!

This week’s order of service can be found here.

It’s the sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost this week, and our parish’s fifteenth birthday! Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about this week’s readings:

Three weeks ago we heard Peter’s confession of faith as told in John’s gospel. This week we hear Mark’s version, when Peter says, “You are the Messiah.” In John, the stumbling block is Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh, given for the life of the world. In Mark too the scandal has to do with Jesus’ words about his own coming death, and here Peter himself stumbles over Jesus’ words. But Jesus is anointed (the meaning of messiah) in Mark only on the way to the cross (14:3); so we are anointed in baptism with the sign of the cross.

Sunday Prayers – August 15th – St. Mary the Virgin

Our Sunday Prayers service will be live-streamed to YouTube on August 15th, and you’ll be able to join in live or later at your convenience. After some music to help us prepare, the service will begin at 9:30 am. The link to this Sunday’s service is here.

Here’s a link to the order of service, to help you join in with the prayers.

This Sunday is a Holy Day–one of a very small number that take precedence over a Sunday. The name varies among the different expressions of Christianity; we keep the Holy Day of St. Mary the Virgin. Our Lutheran siblings style it Mary, Mother of Our Lord, while our Roman Catholic siblings name it The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our Orthodox siblings call it the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God–which is closest to what we Anglicans called it in the Book of Common Prayer: The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

You might wonder there are so many different names for a day we all celebrate. Did you notice, too, all the different ways of referring to Mary? St. Mary the Virgin, Mary the Mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the theotokos (God-bearer), … and that’s just the top of the list!

We honour Mary who chooses to say yes to God. We honour Mary who participates in God’s remaking of the world in Jesus Christ. And yet, the bible doesn’t tell us all that much about her. The evangelist Luke describes her as a virgin living in Nazareth, in Galilee. In both Matthew and Luke, Mary conceives a child and gives birth to him. We also hear that her husband/fiancé (Matthew and Luke don’t quite agree) is named Joseph. After that introduction, we hear scattered bits and pieces. The bible is silent about Mary’s death–or her falling asleep, or dormition. Long-standing tradition holds that she died without suffering, in a state of spiritual peace. In keeping with centuries of tradition, the Roman Catholic Church dogmatically defined in 1950 that Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Sundays and Seasons makes an important point about what we do hear about Mary in the bible:

Mary’s role is not limited to giving birth to Jesus and mothering him in his childhood. In John’s gospel, she is among the women standing near the cross; in Acts, she is among the disciples awaiting the gift of the Spirit. Through all that happened she continued to see how God was at work through her son, keeping the ancient promises to her ancestors, brushing aside the rich and powerful, and focusing on those as poor and powerless as Mary herself.

This Sunday, we’ll hear Mary’s song of praise to God, and rejoice in God’s hopes for each and all of us.

Sunday Prayers – 8 August, 2021

Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to YouTube. The service will begin at 9:30 am, following about ten minutes of prelude music. It will be available at the same link to watch later, as well.

The order of service is available here.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about this week’s readings.

Jesus says that the bread he gives for the life of the world is his flesh, and whoever eats this bread has eternal life now and will be raised on the last day. In Ephesians Paul tells us what this life Jesus gives us looks like, this life we live as those marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit in baptism. We live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. The whole purpose of life is giving yourself for the other.

The image above is a picture of the Artoklasia–the breaking of bread service–from the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto. It is used under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.
Artoklasia, or Breaking of Bread service, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved August 5, 2021]. Original source:–Artoklasia_during_Feast_of_the_Dormition_of_the_Virgin_Mary.JPG.

Halliday Room Refresh – Pictures!

With only a few small details remaining, our refresh of the Halliday Room is nearly complete! This project was financed by a grant from the Federal Government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

A picture of the refreshed Halliday Room.
A look at the refreshed Halliday Room, looking from its entry door toward the back gardens.

High-efficiency windows, adjustable new blinds, and the air conditioner will make the room much more comfortable year round. The old table wasn’t large enough for meetings, and the old seats… rather sagged, as you sat down in them. The larger new table will help everything from the Wednesday midweek studies to Parish Council to SAM’s Aphasia program to other meetings and even Community Lunch prep, and the new seats are supportive and easy to stand up from. A donated large-screen television will make it easier to share media or documents at meetings.

Parking-lot side of the Halliday Room.
A view of the Halliday Room upon entering.

The old sofa and love seat left along with the old carpeting. A new, durable and easy-to-clean carpet spans the room. New single armchairs are comfortable and firm; some are equipped with removable swinging mini-tables, so you can rest your cup of tea or notepad.

Many thanks are due to the team that made all of this possible! Jan and Blanche spear-headed much of the work; Doug was invaluable in securing the air-conditioning last summer; our former caretaker, Trish, did a fabulous and meticulous job, both of painting and mounting the screen. We’ve been so successful with New Horizons grants (New Horizons also funded the parking lot renewal, and the kitchen renovation) because of a dedicated and skillful team of folk working to craft our applications, and our thanks go out to each of them. Support from the SAM Program has helped us to show why these projects will benefit not just the parish, but seniors in the wider community. Deep thanks to everyone who played a role or several in making the Halliday Room meet our needs for the future!

Sunday, August 1 – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Our service of Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to YouTube! The service will begin at 9:30, after some music from our organist to help us prepare to worship together. You’re also able to watch it at a later time.

The order of service is available here.

Five barley loaves and two small fish

We’re in the middle of a multiple-Sunday stretch where the gospel comes from a portion of John’s gospel in which Jesus explains that he is the bread of life. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings for this week.

Apparently not satisfied by Jesus’ feeding of thousands, some who were there press him for a sign of his power; perhaps it is daily manna they want. As always in John’s gospel when people want a sign, Jesus offers himself. He is the bread come from heaven to give life to the world. He calls us to come to him and believe in him, and through that relationship to know the one who sent him.

Sunday, July 25th

We are not live-streaming a service from the Nativity on the 25th. Please join Bishop Susan for the diocesan service at 10 am on Facebook, and available a bit later on YouTube. The preacher is the Reverend Garfield Wu, who serves as the Rector of St. Luke’s in Palermo, and as the Chinese Anglican Missioner for the Diocese of Niagara.

Sunday Prayers – 18 July, 2021

Coptic Icon of Christ the Good Shepherd.

This Sunday is the eighth Sunday after Pentecost. The Nativity will live-stream Sunday Prayers to our YouTube channel. Our Director of Music will play for about ten minutes before the service begins at 9:30 a.m.

You’ll be able to participate in the service live, or watch it at any later time.

The order of service can be found here.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings we’ll hear:
Mark’s gospel makes clear how great is the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ need. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.

Sunday Prayers – 11 July, 2021

Our weekly service of Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to YouTube. The service will begin at 9:30, following some music to help us prepare to enter into worship. It will also be available afterwards for viewing at the same link.

The order of service is available here.

Image of a stained glass window showing a stylized Benedict in his abbot's habit, tended to by a raven.
Saint Benedict window in the rectory of St. Benedict’s parish in Baltimore, MD.

This Sunday we’re stepping outside of the numbered Sundays after Pentecost to keep the feast of Saint Benedict. Born at Norica just after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, he studied in Rome before retreating to Affile with a group of priests. Saint Gregory the Great tells us in his Dialogues that it was here that St. Benedict worked his first miracle, which brought notoriety. Seeking quiet and peace, he took shelter in a cave near Subiaco, and lived as a hermit.

Some years later, Benedict was invited to be the Abbot of the community of Vicovaro, where one or more of the monks hated Benedict’s way of life for the community, and decided to kill him. The story in Gregory’s Dialogues tells us that when Benedict blessed the poisoned glass of wine he had been given, making the sign of the cross over it, it shattered, spilling the wine. He returned to his cave immediately!

A statue of Benedict in the gardens of the Abbey of Montecassino.
Statue of Benedict in the gardens of the Abbey of Montecassino. Photo used under CC-BY-SA 2.0, from flickr user altotemi.

The story goes that Benedict founded twelve monasteries before leaving the region for Cassino. Somewhere between 525 and 529, he founded the Abbey of Montecassino, where he is said to have written the Rule – a guidebook of how the monks should live, explaining how these beginning steps will help them open themselves to God’s movement in their lives. Likely due to its balance, moderation, and reasonableness, The Rule was the foundation for thousands of religious communities in the middle ages, and remains the most commonly used and influential rule used by religious communities today.

The Abbey Church at St. Gregory's Abbey in Three Rivers, MI.
The abbot’s stall, the ambo, and the altar, in the Abbey Church at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, MI. Photo by our rector.

Benedict is the patron saint of Europe. Historians point to the work of the Benedictine order over the centuries after the fall of Rome in helping to bring stability to many areas, and to the work of their libraries and schools as a vital source of knowledge and study in turbulent and uncertain times.

Sunday, July 4th

Coat of Arms of the Diocese of Niagara

There’s no service from the Nativity this morning, but we’ll be back next week (July 11th) streaming our service of Sunday Prayers at 9:30am.

This week, we invite you to join Bishop Susan and the diocesan Migrant Farmworkers Missioner, the Rev’d Antonio Illas, at ten am for the diocesan-wide service at their Facebook page.

You can learn more about the Migrant Farmworkers Project at the diocesan website.