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Sunday Prayers – 30 May 2021 – Trinity Sunday

Join the Church of the Nativity for Sunday Prayers on May 30th! Our new streaming solution has now been set-up, so we will now be streaming to YouTube. Peter will offer music for a few minutes beforehand, and the service will begin at 9:30. It will be visible on YouTube afterwards as well, so if you’re joining in later, that will work just fine. (It may take YouTube a little while to have the video recording of the service listed for later viewing. Just check back on our channel to look for it.)

The order of service is available here.

This Sunday is one of the seven principal feasts of the Church’s year: Trinity Sunday! Our honorary assistant, the Reverend Canon David Linn, will be preaching. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about this week’s readings.

When we say God is the triune God, we are saying something about who God is beyond, before, and after the universe: that there is community within God. Our experience of this is reflected in Paul’s words today [Note that we won’t be using this reading at the Nativity; you can find it here.] . When we pray to God as Jesus prayed to his Abba (an everyday, intimate parental address), the Spirit prays within us, creating between us and God the same relationship Jesus has with the one who sent him.

Pentecost Prayers – Sunday, May 23, 2021

Our service for the Feast of Pentecost–the sending of God’s Holy Spirit–will be live-streamed to the parish Facebook page on Sunday, May 23rd. The service will begin at 9:30 am EDT, with a few minutes of music beforehand to help us prepare to enter into prayer. (You do not need to have a Facebook account to watch the live-stream.)

The order of service is available here.

An Image of the Day of Pentecost from the Jesus MAFA project.
Pentecost – Acts 2:1-4

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons writes about this feast:
Fifty days after Easter, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. Crossing all boundaries that would separate us, the Spirit brings the wideness of God’s mercy to places we least expect it—to a crowd of strangers of different lands and tongues, to dry bones, to our weak hearts. Jesus promises his disciples that they will be accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and that this Spirit reveals the truth. We celebrate that we too have been visited with this same Spirit. Guided by the truth, we join together in worship, and then disperse to share the fullness of Christ’s love with the world.

A Coptic icon of the day of Pentecost, showing a dove descending upon the apostles--each with a tongue of flame upon their heads.

Alleluia, alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, come!

The JESUS MAFA image of Pentecost is used under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License:
JESUS MAFA. Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48388 [retrieved May 21, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).

Sunday Prayers – May 16, 2021

This week we will keep the Feast of the Ascension. Our Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to the parish Facebook page. Our director of music will play from about 9:15, and the service will begin at 9:30.

The order of service is available here.

The Chapel of the Ascension, in Jerusalem.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the readings for this week:
In today’s readings the risen Christ ascends into heaven and his followers are assured that the Spirit will empower them to be witnesses throughout the earth. The disciples are told to not gaze up into heaven to look for Jesus (Acts 1:11); we find his presence among us as we proclaim the word and share the Easter feast. We too long for the Spirit to enliven our faith and invigorate our mission.

This rock, inside the Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem, is said to bear the imprint of the final footstep of Jesus as he ascended.

Sunday Prayers – May 2, 2021

Join Canon Matthew, Peter, Arlene, and folk connecting online for our Sunday Prayers, live-streamed on the parish Facebook page at 9:30 on May 2nd! (You do not need to have a Facebook page to stream the video live or at a later time.)

While the service begins at 9:30, our director of music will be playing for ten to fifteen minutes beforehand to help us prepare to enter into prayer. The order of service to help you participate fully can be found here on our website.

Here’s how Sundays and Seasons describes the readings for this week:

Jesus speaks with two people in front of grape vines in fruit
from Sundays and Seasons

This Sunday’s image of how the risen Christ shares his life with us is the image of the vine. Christ the vine and we the branches are alive in each other, in the mystery of mutual abiding described in the gospel and the first letter of John. Baptism makes us a part of Christ’s living and life-giving self and makes us alive with Christ’s life. As the vine brings food to the branches, Christ feeds us at his table. We are sent out to bear fruit for the life of the world.

Sunday Prayers – 25 April 2021

A painting from the Mafa Community - Jesus leads sheep, carrying one on his shoulders.

Good Shepherd Sunday!

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. It’s often called Good Shepherd Sunday, because the gospel which is proclaimed always comes from the tenth chapter of John’s gospel–Jesus talking about how he is the Good Shepherd.

Our Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to our Facebook page, beginning at 9:30 am. (There will be a few minutes of music beforehand, to help us prepare for prayer.) You don’t need to have a Facebook account to watch the service.

Join in from home or wherever life finds you! The order of service is available here, to enable everyone to participate.

The image of the good shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love.

Sundays and Seasons

[Information for the image used above. JESUS MAFA. The good shepherd, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48288 [retrieved April 20, 2021]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact). Used under Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.]

Second Sunday of Easter – 11 April 2021

Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to Facebook. The service will begin at 9:30, after some music from our organist, Peter. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to see the live-stream–just click on the link!

The order of service is available here, allowing you to follow along from home.

Easter II has sometimes been called “Low Sunday”–a time when many relax after the busy-ness of Holy Week, and when some folk attend the Church of the Holy Mattress. The truth is, it’s a pretty fabulous Sunday! It marks the end of the Easter Octave (the eight days comprising the first week of Easter, and a celebration of God’s re-creating work in the resurrection). On this Sunday we always hear about Jesus appearing to the disciples, re-gathered in the upper room on the evening of the Day of Resurrection, about the gift of the Holy Spirit, and of Thomas both doubting and believing.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the Second Sunday of Easter.

The apostle Thomas sees the wounds in Jesus's hands.The Easter season is a week of weeks, seven Sundays when we play in the mystery of Christ’s presence, mostly through the glorious Gospel of John. Today we gather with the disciples on the first Easter, and Jesus breathes the Spirit on us. With Thomas we ask for a sign, and Jesus offers us his wounded self in the broken bread. From frightened individuals we are transformed into a community of open doors, peace, forgiveness, and material sharing such that no one among us is in need.

Easter Day Prayers

Sunday Prayers on Easter Day, April 4th, will be live-streamed to Facebook. After some music, the service will begin at 9:30 am.

The order of service to help you participate can be found here. You may wish to have a small dish of water with you for the service.

The Aedicule (the tomb of Christ) at the Church of teh Holy Sepulchre, JerusalemThe Great Three Days come to their conclusion: we ring bells and sing alleluias as we listen to the women coming to the tomb and finding it empty. Alleluia, alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia!

Sunday of the Palms and the Passion – 28 March 2021

Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to our Facebook page. The service will begin at 9:30, with music played beforehand.

The order of service is available here.

If you received an Easter letter in the mail this week, you’ll have received a palm cross; we invite you to have it with you during the service.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about this day that begins Holy Week.

This week, the centre of the church’s year, is one of striking contrasts: Jesus rides into Jerusalem surrounded by shouts of glory, only to be left alone to die on the cross, abandoned by even his closest friends. Mark’s gospel presents Jesus in his complete human vulnerability: agitated, grieved, scared, forsaken. Though we lament Christ’s suffering and all human suffering, we also expect God’s salvation: in the wine and bread, Jesus promises that his death will mark a new covenant with all people. We enter this holy week thirsty for the completion of God’s astonishing work.

An empty cross is in front of four palm branches.Holy Week is the centre of the Christian year. It’s deeply moving to participate not just in Passion Sunday and Easter Day, but in the whole rhythm of the week. This year, participating is easier than ever! Join Bishop Susan on the evening of Maundy Thursday (6 pm live-stream to Facebook, and posted slightly later to YouTube) and the morning of Good Friday (10 am live-stream to Facebook, and posted slightly later to YouTube) to make this Easter experience even more meaningful.

Sunday Prayers -21 March 2021

Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to our parish Facebook page beginning at 9:30am on Sunday, 21 March 2021. Music will be offered for a time of quiet preparation for a few minutes beforehand. You don’t need to be a member of Facebook to watch the service!

The order of service so that you can fully participate is available here.

Here’s what Sundays and Seasons has to say about the fifth Sunday in Lent this year:

God promises Jeremiah that a “new covenant” will be made in the future: a covenant that will allow all the people to know God by heart. The church sees this promise fulfilled in Christ, who draws all people to himself when he is lifted up on the cross. Our baptismal covenant draws us to God’s heart through Christ and draws God’s love and truth into our hearts. We join together in worship, sharing in word, song, and meal, and leave strengthened to share God’s love with all the world.

A bible sits on the altar in the Nativity's Chapel of the Holy Family; its middle pages are turned inward to look like a heart.

Sunday Prayers – 14 March – Mothering Sunday

Our weekly service of Sunday Prayers will be live-streamed to Facebook at 9:30. You don’t need to have a Facebook account to watch and pray along!

Our Director of Music will offer music for individual prayer and preparation, and the service will begin at 9:30. You can find the order of service here to participate fully.

a field of pink roses

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Lent. It’s the midway point, and has a couple of different names. One of the oldest is Laetare Sunday. The Eucharist began each week with an introit–a couple of verses from scripture. Laetare is the Latin word for “rejoice” that was the beginning of the introit for this Sunday, and so it came to be seen as a day off from the Lenten fast. In some places, the clergy would wear rose-coloured vestments, so it’s also sometimes called Rose Sunday.

The words "Mothering Sunday" in pink script to the left of pink-purple tulips.

Another name for this day is Mothering Sunday. In the 1600s and following, people would go “mothering” on the fourth Sunday in Lent: they’d make a special trip to services at the parish where they were baptized, or to the Cathedral as the mother-church of the diocese they lived in. Later, it became a day off for all servants to go to church with their mothers.

Mothering Sunday grew in popularity in the twentieth century, probably due in large part to a reaction against the new-fangled American “Mothers’ Day” in May. Constance Adelaide Smith worked tirelessly to encourage Mothering Sunday. In 1913, she published a play called In Praise of Mother: A story of Mothering Sunday. Her 1915 book A Short History of Mothering Sunday was published with multiple editions!

Smith’s most influential work was a booklet called The Revival of Mothering Sunday, published in 1921. She was a high-church Anglican, perhaps from her early days; her father was a priest, and all four of her brothers became priests! That Anglo-Catholic viewpoint shows through her writing. Mothering Sunday was a day to honour:

  • Mother Church
  • ‘mothers of earthly homes’
  • Mary, mother of Jesus
  • Mother Nature

It’s a day meant to be about more than child-rearing. By the time Smith died in 1938, Mothering Sunday was observed in every parish in Britain and in every country of the Commonwealth.

Canadian Mothers' Union logo: Mothers' Union (with the /o/ in Union a globe), with the words "Christian care for families" beneath.


There’s a natural alignment with this day and the Mothers’ Union, an international charity founded in 1876 by Mary Sumner. When her first grandchild was born, she remembered the difficulties she’d had when her first child was born. She founded the Mothers’ Union as an organization where mothers of all socio-economic statuses could provide support for one another and be ‘trained in motherhood’–which Sumner saw as a true and important vocation.

The Mothers’ Union has grown in its focus and membership over the years! No longer limited to mothers, it includes people of all genders who share a vision of “a world where everyone prospers. We actively pursue this vision through prayer and action, helping to build confident people and resilient communities. Our movement seeks to bring about justice, challenge prejudice and advocate change.”

You can learn more about the Mothers’ Union on their website.

A simnel cake, cut in half.

There are lots of traditions associated with Mothering Sunday. One is the tasty sharing of Simnel Cake, a traditional light fruit cake (quite different from the Christmas version!). If you want to try making it, here’s Nigella Lawson’s recipe.

A holy card image of St. Anselm

The best reason for continuing to keep Mothering Sunday, though, isn’t about food or flowers. Rather, it’s a celebration of the loving care God has for us in Jesus. There’s a lovely prayer from St. Anselm (the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109) that reminds us that God–and God in Jesus Christ!–is like a mother:

Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you; ♦
you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.
Often you weep over our sins and our pride, ♦
tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.
You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds, ♦
in sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us.
Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life; ♦
by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.
Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness; ♦
through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.
Your warmth gives life to the dead, ♦
your touch makes sinners righteous.
Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us; ♦
in your love and tenderness remake us.
In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness, ♦
for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

A Song of Anselm

Every blessing on Mothering Sunday!

Moses lifts a staff with a serpent on it, that the Israelites might live. (Numbers 21)

Here at the Nativity, the readings we will hear remind us of these truths in a slightly different way. Here’s what Sundays and Seasons says about the passages we’ll proclaim.

The fourth of the Old Testament promises providing a baptismal lens this Lent is the promise God makes to Moses: those who look on the bronze serpent will live. In today’s gospel Jesus says he will be lifted up on the cross like the serpent, so that those who look to him in faith will live. When we receive the sign of the cross in baptism, that cross becomes the sign we can look to in faith for healing, for restored relationship to God, for hope when we are dying.