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My most beloved family in Christ,

The very last leaves are spinning down from Heart and Soul, our courtyard cherry trees. All the golden leaves on the ground are doing their next job: making little hiding places for the smallest of critters to get through the wet and cold days to come. I hope your hearts are finding quiet places of rest these days as well. No lying – these have been a couple of VERY challenging years. As your priest I have spent my days wondering, how can I keep us all connected? How can we continue to reach out to one another with hope and promise? Some of us have lost dear loved ones in these past few years. Some of us are facing challenges we never imagined would be ours to bear. I remember then, my only job is to point again and again to the Light of the World, a Light which no darkness can ever extinguish.

My friend, the late Rev. Vivian Seegers, used to say those words as she lit a candle to open a time of prayer. I miss her so much. Yesterday a woman named Camille phoned here, wanting to get a message to Vivian. Here’s the story: nine years ago there was a terrible fire in New Westminster. Burned an entire apartment building to the ground. We put out a call and our hall filled with clothes and furniture, everything you can imagine. We organized a give-away. We collected money as well, and organized a way to distribute that too. One young woman, Camille, came to me in tears. She had lost her sacred eagle feathers. So we called Vivian. And Vivian came. She carried out a ceremony in a good way, and was able to secure some new feathers for Camille. Now Camille is in a good place, in school, and wanted to organize a program to help folks in the same way she had been helped. Could she come and meet with Vivian, and with me. Sadly, I shared the news of Vivian’s passing. But I told her she would be welcome to come and be with us at St. Barnabas. Anytime.

As I write to you, all is quiet outside – but inside. Surprise! A young man just came in and asked if he could play our piano. For the past hour I have been serenaded with the most delightful tunes, both old and new, invented and as ancient as the trees outside. I wish you could hear him! Joy and sorrow, love and anguish, are coming from his gifted hands. Next an older man came in to use the washroom. Now he is sitting in the hall listening. Then I snuck into the kitchen to see if there was any gingerbread left over from our Study Group last night. Yep! I cut three slices, warmed them in the oven, scooped on some whipped cream. I think that gingerbread made their day, as their music and presence made mine. The happiness on those two strangers’ faces reminds me of why we are here, doing the work of being community.

My heart warms when I think of you all -- you who have come here almost every Sunday, or during the week, and you who come whenever you are able. The beloved community IS already here, and we are them. So much happens here, day in and day out, to show us the way… trees and rain, music and gingerbread, kindness and generosity.

With a mountain of gratitude,

Your Emilie 


The Reverend Vivian Seegers prepares for the Four Directions Prayer, September 2020.