Rector's Blog

Vestry 2015 Greeting

Posted by Canon Linda Nixon on February 1, 2015 at 11:30 PM


Greetings on this, my fourth Vestry at St. James’!

It is hard to believe that the year has gone by this quickly. So much has happened over 2014. I need to break things down so that I can reflect thoroughly so please forgive the length of this epistle and doubly forgive me please if I forget anyone or anything!

In the past year together and most recently I want to thank you for making Christmas so special here at St. James’. I especially thank the children for their wonderful presentation! Thank you to the teachers and creators of this retelling of the Christmas story. I especially love that there was a character with such a skeptical personality. She made me laugh, after all don’t we all have thoughts like that from time to time? Bill and I also want to thank all of you for your generous outpouring of gifts, cards and support this past year and at Christmas. Your thoughtful and kind gestures are humbling and greatly appreciated!

As every year passes there are meetings and partings. We are delighted to welcome many new people who have joined our community here at St. James’ over this past year. Please be looking for info about our second new-comers welcoming service. It was a wonderful time last year and will be where we officially welcome you as a community.

We’ve also had to say goodbye to some of our loved ones. We miss them so much. I know that grief has many ways of sweeping through our lives. The loss of close loved ones is particularly difficult. But even when we’re not related our close friends and co-workers are loved and missed, as well.

This year the Blue Christmas tree especially touched my heart as I read all of your loved ones’ names. I hold you and your love for your loved ones in prayer. Be gentle with yourselves in the losses we’ve shared. And to the best of our ability let us always give thanks for the cherished memories we hold.

Again this year join with me in offering a shout out to Wendy Muir in our office. She keeps many balls in the air for us! Wendy’s second year anniversary was Hallowe’en. I’m thankful for an auspicious date so I never forget to be appreciative!

As much as the office keeps us on an even keel, I must thank the Parish Council of 2014 for their diligence, honesty and openness as we made decisions over the past year. Our meetings of Parish Council discuss the life and health of St. James’ spiritually, as well as financially. Their collective wisdom and experience continues to be a blessing to me as we minister in this place.

This year we will be sending Ian Robertson off to new ministries among us as he steps down from being our treasurer. A huge thank you, Ian, for such complete and faithful service on our council. We welcome now Christine Peynado as our new treasurer and thank her for taking this important role on our behalf. Blessings on you both as you continue to use your gifts and skills.

A very special thanks to the many hours your wardens have given above and beyond Parish Council. Their counsel and commitment to St. James’ has been invaluable.

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There are so many people who keep St. James’ running I want to thank each of you for all you provide by the way of either leadership and or hard work. We are very blessed to have these strong teams in a variety of leadership roles here at St. James’.

Every week there are between 35-50 people who keep St. James’ vibrant. From greeters and sides-people, readers and intercessors, lay-administrants and servers, Chancel, choir and children’s ministries leaders, to coffee hour and nursery, bulletin folders and everything else that goes into making each week great…Thank you! We simply couldn’t function without you!!

Thank you to all who provide our musical ministry; the Choir and all facsimiles (maybe the word is ensembles?)…Annetta and Bill, occasional musicians Yvonne Birtch, Sandi Sherk and Diane O’Krafka, and our young people who offer their talents as well! (I’d name you all but I am terrified of leaving someone out, please forgive me.) Your gift of musical talent enhances our worship so much!

Thank you to the team who cares for our finances. Sometime we forget all the hours and faithful service to keep our records and receipts in order. Therefore, a huge thank you is in order to our counters and Envelope Secretaries. Margaret Robertson and Tom Sloane, who have been here every week for years, now have help from Jean Kent and Billie Hall-Francis to help keep everything running smooth for our Envelope Secretaries Clairene Bazilio and Mike Johnson.

This past year our Butterfly Garden was an incredible success and we won first prize for our design, educational components and contribution to helping the pollinators in our area. Thank you to this team for all their hard work and creative planning! As it was dedicated in memory of Bev Lovell we gave thanks to all our gardeners, past and present, for caring for our little portion of creation.

Thank you to the men of the parish for your hard work and dedication to our building and our social gatherings for St. James’ and the community as a whole! We all truly appreciate your wisdom and leadership, abilities to fix and repair, lug and lift, organize and plan, and all the other things that you do to bless this parish family!

A special thanks for the Christmas Trees Sales project! Poles, banners and lights highlight our presence in this community during our successful campaign. We thank Hans Nieuwenhuis for his leadership this year as well as all those who volunteered (Steve Tuck gets a shout out too) to make this a successful fundraiser for the Church again this year. We need and appreciate everyone who comes out to help. Please be looking for ways that you can consider being involved next year.

Thank you to all the women of the parish for all the hard work and dedication that you bring to the life of St. James’! From the weekly commitments of Chancel and ACW to the special events and fundraisers, the extra hours you generously give St. James’ with your gifts and talents truly bless this parish family!

A special thanks for the Bazaar in October, a busy project! We welcome the community into our midst for a time of pre-Christmas shopping, with crafts and treasures, food and fellowship! Thanks to all the volunteers who make this happen!

To all of you for your support of outreach projects, thank you. You have provided cards, food, gifts and monies to those who need to know that someone, and God cares. It is very important that we care for one another and also most important that we care for those outside of our four walls. Thank you for doing that.

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We had our third annual New Year’s family video dance to mark the arrival of 2015. A big thank you to Bill Nixon and Rod and Stella for their help, and all those who saved bubble wrap! You made an evening of fun, food, fellowship and dance!!! It truly was a fantastic night and we look forward to next year!

Thank you to Mike Savoy and Bill Nixon for building, launching and updating our web page! I still have to get in the habit of updating it more regularly but please check it out.

Thank you, as well, to Mike and Bill for the computer support in our offices. Just a reminder that we have our own radio station! Well not really a station but now you can tune into the service on 88.1 FM as long as you are close to the building! (But wouldn’t it be cool if it reached the arena?!! )

Thank you to Carina Hackett for helping out with the nursery co-ordination and all those who care for our little ones. Thank you, as well, to all those who have contributed to the updates in our room for our little ones.

Finally, I want to thank you, the members of our St. James’ family, for your on-going faith and the stewardship support of your Church through your giving of time, talent and financial means.

As 2015 begins, let us renew our commitment to our faith in Christ, in ourselves and in each other. Your frequent attendance at worship, as well as your support of our Church activities; contributing to our mission to our neighbouring community, as well as around the world, are ways to exercise our faith and discipleship.

As we “reflect backward” over the past year it is amazing how many people are involved on a regular basis to keep the life of St. James’ rich and fruitful! But as we are the living body of the living Christ it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Each of us has our gifts and skills, our talents and resources and when pooled together amazing things can happen, as our doxology says “whose power working in us can do more than we can ask or imagine”!

This past year our capital campaign was a huge success and we are on the brink of seeing the fruits of our labour. Thank you all so much for your generosity! The remodeling is coming together nicely and we thank you for your comments, questions and concerns. Through everyone’s incite, plans have been revised, tweaked and I believe the project will be completed with the best of ideas as part of the design. Thank you!

The wardens have listed this past year’s accomplishments and I am hesitant to repeat them, but please take note of all you have accomplished. You are a wonderful congregation and I am blessed to be with you.

As we “journey forward” we also find ourselves blessed by those who have decided to join us here at St. James’. Welcome to all of you, thank you for choosing to walk in faith with us!

We have much to look forward to and there are ideas out there we haven’t heard yet I’m sure!.

I really would like to see a renewal of our “thespians”, those who would like to participate in liturgy in a fun and informative way through acting out our stories.

It is my plan to continue to focus on the 5 Marks of Mission. Our involvement with the pollination garden is directly connected with the 5th Mark. As a reminder the Marks are:

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To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom To teach, baptise and nurture new believers To respond to human need by loving service To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

This year it would be wonderful to see our community involvement grow again and address the other four head on. It would be good to discover where and what needs are really out there. How can we be Christ to others, our neighbours, our world?

There will be opportunity to learn more about our faith, our scriptures, our personal and shared journeys with Christ. Please, as you see evenings or other opportunity for workshops, conversations, readings, take advantage as best you can. We are called to grow in wisdom and stature just as Christ did.

If you are interested in being involved in any of the above ways or have other ideas, please speak to me, write an email or note. If you would like to try your hand at any of the ministries we have listed, do be in touch. I know God has blessed you all with amazing gifts and skills and creativity, you just may not have realized it yet!

Let’s, in the coming years, take the bushel basket off and let our lights shine here in Hespeler and Cambridge and beyond!

I have risked missing something or someone, and for that I truly apologize. The editor of this missal needs my report, so I truly seek forgiveness if I have been remiss. We have so much to be proud of and thankful for!

As in all parishes and families, the past year has brought joy and sorrow. May we continue to lift all of the concerns of our parish family members up in our hearts and prayers. Pray we continue to be a blessing to each other as we walk in faith together.

As I continue in my ministry journey with you, I also must thank my family for all their love and support.

God’s blessings and peace be with you all in 2015!

Yours in Christ, Canon Linda

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