Looking for Feedback on What to do Next

Hey Everyone,

So, you will have noticed that I haven’t made a video at all since my thing for 50 Days of Fabulous. There are a few reasons for this. When I created that video I had just started a four-month course in IT Security and thus it had priority. I finished that back in August. However, over this summer I had been bouncing around parishes as well trying to figure out if I should move and if so where: The answer ended up being yes and to St. Stephen’s Parish.

Earlier this week one of my many non-Christian friends whose daughter is in the same pre-school as my son remarked to my wife (Mrs. Maple) that he hadn’t seen me do any videos recently and was worried about me. When I heard that I realized that I might have been take astray a tad.

To sum this up I need some input: What do you want to see next in a video if I was doing one? I had prepped some scripts back in May on some Quirks and Quarks of Anglicanism. I use to have a tonne of ideas. But now I am looking for what you guys want.

If you give me ideas I won’t be putting things out too quickly. I am presently finishing up helping my new parish with one thing I do best: Evangelizing in the Social Media World. Please checked out their website, and twitter feed. We will be adding some other Social Media stuff soon for them. Once I have their ball rolling I would like to do some videos.

In Christ,

MA~

Nipping Something in the Bud

Okay, I would like to nip something in the Bud about my personal life.

Yes

As of this month (September 2014) I am no longer a member of the Parish of All Saints’ Cathedral, Edmonton.

No!

I did not leave due to a dispute with any of the clergy or any other Parishioner. I wish everyone at the Cathedral Parish well.

Yes

I have now moved to the Parish of St. Stephen the Martyr. St. Stephen’s is much closer to my current residence than the Cathedral, and I am on very good terms with it’s Rector whom Baptized both my children when he was the Vicar at the Cathedral.

However, I have come to a point in my own Faith journey that I need to explore. Some of it might spill into my videos. (Which reminds me; I need to make more videos.) So, I will be exploring at St. Stephen’s for a while.

St. Stephen’s is a Parish within the Anglo-Catholic tradition. It generally only uses the 1962 Canadian Book of Common Prayer with it’s Lectionary and Collects. It is also a struggling, Inner City Parish that was forced to abandon their previous Church building in 2009 due to problems with the foundation. As such they have been co-located with the Parish of St. Faith’s in their Church since then.

While I am doing a bit of exploring I hope to help build up St. Stephen’s (and St. Faith’s) online presence because I believe that it is important to the future of the Church as a whole and not just any one Parish.

So, to recap: I am leaving the Cathedral on very good terms with the people there. I will miss them but for myself, for my family and for my new Parish I need to move on.

Pax

MA~

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The Mother of the Lord

Today is the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin. It is sometimes called the Assumption (by Roman Catholics), the Dormition (By Orthodox Christians) or the Falling Asleep of the Virgin (by others). Regardless of what we call it we still recognize her as the Mother of the Lord.

With Mary we see the first witness to the Lord. With Mary we see a woman who when approached by the Angel of the Lord willingly accepted to bear the “Son of the Most High”.

Being the Mother of the Incarnate God probably wasn’t easy. You’d have to think raising him was unusual. God only knows what it must have been like seeing him start his ministry let alone see him suffer Death on the Cross and finally rise from the grave.

So today, think of the Mary, the Mother of the Lord.

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son. May we who have been redeemed by his blood, share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Collect for Saint Mary the Virgin
Book of Alternative Services (1985)

Random Thoughts on He-Man and the Sacraments

I am a child of the 1980s and 1990s. One particular cartoon I grew up with was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. For those of you unfamiliar this animated series deals with events surrounding the life of Prince Adam, the son of King Randor and Queen Marlena of the planet of Eternia. Prince Adam has been given a weapon called the Sword of Power that when he holds in his hand and says the phrase “By the Power of Greyskull” he will be transformed into He-Man: The most powerful man in the Universe. See below:

(Sidenote: His large, cowardly tiger Cringer will be transformed into Battle-cat by the Sword of Power).

However, in the all the episodes I ever saw not once did we see He-Man transform back into Prince Adam; Every episode Adam would have to take out the Sword of Power to become He-Man. Maybe this is always done off screen or maybe it goes slowly a few days later but we never see He-Man become Adam. We see it as a one way process. There is also the striking fact that in the Church we have processes that are one way.

Baptism takes someone and makes them a Christian, bringing them into the Body of Christ. We never re-baptize as Baptism leaves a Sacramental Character on them. We hold the same true for Confirmation and Ordination. (Possibly Marriage in some circles)

In a way we also hold this to be true for the Eucharist as we consider the Bread and Wine to have become the Body and Blood of Christ. The Church does not teach that the consecrated elements lose this over time or if something is done to them.

Unlike Prince Adam we don’t need to change ourselves every episode because we know that God has, through Christ, made permanent changes to ourselves in the material world.

Thanks be to God. Amen
MA~

Even More Ten Reasons for being an Anglican… in Canada

Recently my former temporary American Nemesis Father Tim Schenck noted the American Comedian Robin Williams had authored a list of Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian, and he decided to build on this. As part of my reconciliation with Father Tim after naming him my temporary Nemesis while Father Scott Gunn was in Canada I have decided to post the lists.

Robin William’s List:

  1. No snake handling.
  2. You can believe in dinosaurs.
  3. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
  4. You don’t have to check your brains at the door.
  5. Pew aerobics.
  6. Church year is colo[u]r-coded.
  7. Free wine on Sunday.
  8. All of the pageantry — none of the guilt.
  9. You don’t have to know how to swim to get baptized.
  10. No matter what you believe, there’s bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

Father Tim’s More Top Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian:

  1. The only thing we take literally is “Coffee Hour.”
  2. All of the sacraments — none of the indulgences.
  3. Gay and straight God created them; gay and straight we marry them.
  4. Bouncers don’t check your ID at communion.
  5. Fire and incense, not fire and brimstone.
  6. Guilt-free royal watching — because we’re Anglicans.
  7. Vestments cover a multitude of wardrobe malfunctions.
  8. No “second collection.”
  9. Washington National Cathedral? Yeah, that’s ours.
  10. We’re the only ones God trusts enough to take the summer off.

We here at Maple Anglican (okay, its just me) feel that Robin’s and Father Tim’s list needed to be expanded on especially because it is awesome to be a Canadian and an Anglican.

However, I felt like both lists don’t cover the awesomeness of being a Canadian Anglican. So, without further ado here is my Even More Ten Reasons for being an Anglican… in Canada.

  1. Don’t want to do Pew Aerobics? Then don’t.
  2. Think there are seven Sacraments? Two Sacraments? Hey, this place is still for you.
  3. We’ve agreed to have a mature and considerate discussion about changing our Canons on Gay Marriage. (Let’s hope that attitude lasts)
  4. Book of Common Prayer? Book of Alternative Services? Occasional Services? We got it all!
  5. Bishops? We have Archbishops. And Metropolitans Do you Episcopalians? I thought not.
  6. Ecclesiastical Provinces that actually do something!
  7. We can be proud in Archbishop Michael Peers apology that began reconciliation with the First Nations people of Canada.
  8. Excellent relations and cooperation with the Evangelical Lutherans.
  9. Women in Mitres way before the Church of England.
  10. The Queen is one of us! (Take that United Church of Canada and Episcopalians!)

Pax

Urgent Prayer Request

Back in the Summer of 2000 a good friend of mine (Pam) from the TUXIS Parliament of Alberta moved into the house myself, the future Mrs Maple, and another friend of ours were living in.

Since then Pam has been married to a man named Nick and had three children (Erica, Emily, and Donovan) with him. Their marriage broke down about six years ago and she has since had two more children with her fiancé Warren.

Yesterday, Sunday, 27 July, 2014, Nick was driving a vehicle with his mother (Linda) and the eldest Children (Erica, Emily, and Donovan) when he was involved in a collision with another car. He did not survive. His mother Linda did but was severely injured. All three children survived with minor injuries.

I would kindly ask you pray for Pam, her children, her ex-Mother-In-Law, her family and her ex-Husband’s family in their time of need.

MA~

Maple’s Mar Thoma Adventure

Today I had a unique opportunity to worship with the people of Trinity Mar Thoma Church, a Parish of the Malanaka Mar Thoma Syrian Church here in Edmonton. They use a variant of the West Antiochene Rite.

Now, of few of you might go “Maple, why the heck would you go do that?!” The answer is a simple “Because I could”

The Anglican Church of Canada is in Full Communion with groups like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the Old Catholics in the Union of Utrecht and the Malanaka Mar Thoma Syrian Church. This last Church, a group of Christians from the State of Karela in India, have been in full Communion with the Church of England since 1961, and while using Eastern liturgies, are still technically Protestant.

If you wanted any pictures I must then apologize to you because I didn’t take any. I thought it would be rude.

First of all, as some of you know I am what is called “White”, that is, I am of European descent. In fact, three of my eight grandparents were born or born to people from Scandinavia, two were of a particular Volksdeutsche known as Volga-Germans, and the remainder were from Northern Britain (none Anglican, by the way). So, yes I am “White”. With this much ancestry from Northern Europe I am fairly pale. So, when I went to Church this morning I stood out a bit. I really stood out.

However, I would like point out that the people at the Church were exceptionally friendly. They were really helpful so I knew what was going on, where to look in their Prayer Book (they have them, by the way!) and not to sit on the right had side because that is for the women. Also, when you basically say “I am an Anglican coming here to exercise Full Communion with you” the basic response was “Okay, sounds great. Many of us use to do it all the time because we didn’t have this Church.”

The service itself is a little odd. For example, we Anglicans begin the service with a Procession of the Priest and others to the Front of the Church. In this Church they pull back the Curtain to show the Priest partially vested to begin the service. They had a hymn, some prayers and then the Curtain closed.

Then there was a reading from the Old Testament, a Hymn based on a Psalm 42, and then a New Testament reading. Finally, I was told by the elderly gentleman in front of me that the service of Holy Qurbana was now beginning and where to go into the Prayer book.

Now, I mentioned earlier that they use the West Syrian Rite. I want to make it absolutely clear that I am not demeaning the service, however, to most Western Christians there is a lot of chanting, a lot of intercessions, and a lot of “Wow, we say a lot less in my Parish”. That is the way they do things. That is the way they have basically been doing things since well before the Reformation.

There is a particular way the Epistle and Gospel were introduced (which I can’t remember). There was also the Nicene Creed (slightly different from what I was use to) and prayers of thanksgiving for people celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries. That occurred before the Sermon… which oddly wasn’t on any of the readings. And, I’d rather not talk about what it was about. I will how ever point out the priest solicited Parishioners to look up biblical passages and read them out loud.

Oh, and Confession. Lovely confession prayer. Only those intending to communion had to stand up to say it. The Consecration prayers for the Eucharist were shorter than what we see in modern Anglicanism. However, there were a lot of prayers and intercessions after the consecration was complete. In fact, the Congregation was blessed not once, not twice, but three times before distribution began.

Next, there was taking Holy Communion. They knelt for it. Cool, I can kneel for Communion all the time. The host is placed on the Tongue. Okay, don’t see a lot of that in Anglicanism. I have done it a few times (in some cases to bug the Priest). However, the wine is served in not by having the chalice touch the lips of the communicant, but by using what I can best be described as a liturgical ladle scoping wine from the chalice and then the wine being placed into the mouth of the communicant. I found the experience to be quite different. Not wrong. Just different.

The Post-communion was really, really quick. Just a blessing from the Priest and then the Curtain closing. After that was announcements.

For me this was an important experience. In some ways it was very different; Different to the point of “Really? You do it that way?”. However, there is nothing wrong with the way they worship at all. It is the way they worship and I came to see how they worshiped. And I am glad I did.

Those of you who have meet me in person will know I am a big believer in a “Big Tent” Church. I want a Church with Liberal Evangelicals, and Traditionalist Anglo-Catholics. I want to have LGBTQ friendly parishes and retain parishes that might not be that friendly to LGBTQ Christians. I want to have Parishes with more than just a boring vanilla page 185 BAS services; I like the fact my Diocese has a Dinka-language Parish, a Cantonese-language congregation and a Liturgy for First Nations persons.

I also like the fact that while I might be a pasty white-guy I can walk into a friendly Mar Thoma Church like I did today, worship the Lord with them and partake of the Sacraments with them how they do it rather than how I am use to doing it.

In Christ,
MA~

PS – Lutherans, I might be showing up on your doorstep next month.

Maple is Going on a Small Adventure Tormorrow

Hey everyone,

So, all this month and possibly next month I planned on Parish hoping a bit to see how things are done differently. Tomorrow, 27 July 2014, is going to be incredibly different. Tomorrow I am not going to go to an Anglican Church, however, I do plan to take Holy Communion. It won’t be with a Parish of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, although they are on my list to try out. And it won’t be a Parish of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht because they don’t operate outside of Europe.

Tomorrow I am going to worship with a Parish of Trinity Mar Thoma, which is part of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, which contrary to the Syrian part of it’s name it’s Syrian at all but from the state of Kerala in India.

It just so happens the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church is in Full Communion with the Anglican Communion, including the Anglican Church of Canada, which means that I can partake of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist with them. And I have no idea what it is going to be like.

So, Adventure.

The Generational Disconnect of Social Media in the Church

Yesterday afternoon I was lucky enough to hear Pastor Erik Parker give a brief workshop on Social Media in the Church. Pastor Erik is a few years younger than me and arguably part of the Millennial Generation and he’s been a Pastor within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada for five years. And, he gets it.

Now, I am not exactly a millennial. I am either a very young member of Generation-X or one of the Pre-Millennial. Either way I don’t fall into the definition usually given. 1980 is a year that slips through the cracks. However, when it comes to Social Media and the Church I am pretty certain that I get it.

While Pastor Erik was giving his workshop myself and several other local Anglicans were live-tweeting. This included The Rev’ds Robyn Barnes, Stephen London and Scott Sharman, and the Ven. Christopher Pappas. It also included The Rev. Scott Gunn who was attending the conference as a representative of Forward Movement. Now, Robyn is a Millennial, while Chris and Scott are Gen-Xers and Scott is with me as being in the twilight zone between. They get it. They get it very well.

However, during the workshop it was apparent there were a lot of attendees who didn’t get it. And, not to beat around the bush the vast majority of those were in the generation called the Baby Boomers.

Now, you will have undoubtedly noticed until now that I have been taking about it without saying what it really is. It is very simple: For the Church to survive and grow in the modern, western world it needs to embrace using Social Media to spread the Gospel and to build up the Church, the Body of Christ.

And I love it when I see people get it. I love to see people like Pastor Erik who takes in on front and centre. I like to see people like Robyn Barnes who posts all her sermons online and loves to connect to others via Twitter. I love the fact that Scott Gunn, who runs a Church publishing company, got that company out of being print only and started focusing on online materials and other devotionals such as Lent Madness (Tim Schenck did come up with it though). And I am only naming some of the people who were in the auditorium.

However, the reaction I saw by the Boomers who chose to attend was worrisome; They are very skeptical of using Social Media. They are even more worried about using Social Media in the Church. Now, there were some Boomers who were not as skeptical at all and have embraced it. Sadly, they were not in the majority.

Now, many of the concerns of the Boomers are unwarranted. This includes concerns like offending people if a particular post/message was not worded correctly and misunderstood. This happens all the time. If you are using Social Media you are going to screw up on it from time to time. Guess what: You are going to do that in-person missionary work as well.

Without going into too much politics those of us in Generation X and younger have two courses of action: Convince the Boomers they are wrong and go full steam with using social media to make things for the better. Or, go full steam with using social media to make things for the better without convincing the boomers and say we were right all along. I sadly think after my experiences today that later option will be one taking shape. Which is really sad because as a Church we should be united in moving forward.

Anyhow, those are my raging thoughts.

On the Visitation

Today is a very unique festival that is also one that Anglicans (and many other Christians) pushed off to the side for a very long time. Today is the Feast of the Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, better known as the Visitation. It is, oddly, a way to celebrate Advent while we are still in Easter.

Icon of the Visitation

The story of the Visitation comes from the Gospel according to St. Luke. In it the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has just received the news that she is pregnant with Jesus, visits her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth is herself with child: the unborn St. John the Baptist. Something amazing happens when Mary comes into the home of Elizabeth: the unborn John leaps in her womb. He reacts to the very presence of both Mary and the yet embryonic Jesus. That to me is telling of the power of Christ.

Christ, the Word made flesh, is Lord even in the Womb. Mary didn’t yet understand the magnitude of what she was carrying in her. The unborn John and Elizabeth recognized this through the power of the Holy Spirit. After Elizabeth gives her “Blessed are you among women…” speech then Mary finally gets it. She then says the canticle we attribute to her: the Magnificat or the Song of Mary. If you are an Anglican doing Evening Prayer you will say this every evening.

I truly think that the Visitation is massively under-appreciated. Also, while I do admit to have a conservative bias on liturgical matters there is one thing I am liberal about with this feast: the (new) date. Until the 1960s this feast was celebrated on the 2 July. While that doesn’t seem like an issue that puts it after the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on 24 June (which happens to be the date of my Daughter’s baptism). It seems a bit odd to celebrate a feast where Elizabeth is pregnant after the birth of the child she was carrying. The new date of 31 May is therefore a much better fit.

31 May also happens to be another special date for me: It is my wife’s Birthday.

Almighty God, who looked with favour on your servant Mary, and called her to be the mother of your Son, nurture in us the humility and gentleness that found favour in your sight, that with her we may proclaim the greatness of your name and find the mercy you show to those who fear you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the The Visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth
Page 408, Book of Alternative Services (1985)