On June 26, 2016, for the third consecutive year, Bishop Skelton was the preacher and presider at the Surrey Tri-Parish Eucharist and Picnic held at Bear Creek Park in Surrey. It was a beautiful early summer day that saw 280+ members of: The Anglican Church of the Epiphany (‘Epiphany’), St. Michael's and St. Helen's gather for worship and a sumptuous buffet lunch. Much of the food provided for the luncheon was donated by the St. Mary's Chaldean congregation that worships at 'Epiphany'. There were, of course a good number of folks from St. Mary's present.
By 9:30am the portable covered pavilions were assembled to offer protection from the sun for the Sanctuary Party and for the equipment and operators of the audio gear. Bishop Skelton arrived from Seattle between 9 and 9:30 with her best friend Teddy the West Highland Terrier. At 10am many lawn chairs had been assembled in the area directly in front of the worship area and the three parish banners were put in place behind the altar. By the beginning of worship at 10:30am, the central area had filled up and numerous shaded areas within easy listening distance of the audio gear had groups of people gathered together to keep out of the mid-morning sunshine.
All three parishes were active in organizing the event. The three rectors: the Venerable Stephen Rowe of ‘Epiphany’; the Reverend Louis Engnan, St. Michaels; the Reverend Stephen Laskey, St. Helen’s all had worked together with lay volunteers, Christa Groves of ‘Epiphany’, and Natasha Kaweski, Jeddy James and Ed Pilarski of St. Michael’s to put on the event. The three readers were each from one of the Surrey parishes. The Deacon of the Word and Table was the retired deacon from ‘Epiphany’, the Reverend Len Dyer. The Prayers of the People were led by three younger members of the three parishes and the music in worship for the 2016 Tri-Parish Eucharist was led by folks from St. Helen’s; accompanist, Chris Rychert and choir leader Lynn Turner supported by members of the choirs from each of the three parishes. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the Reverend Stephen Laskey led the congregation with a call and response sung version of the Lord’s Prayer. The eight eucharistic administrators were also sourced from each of the three parishes.
The liturgy began with Bishop Skelton commissioning the Reverend Laurel Dykstra, priest-in-charge of Salal and Cedar Watershed Discipleship and Krista Fry of St. Michael’s who would be participating in the Surrey Pride Day parade and activities later that afternoon. See the short video below.
Bishop Skelton took the Epistle reading for her sermon text, Galatians 5:1, 13-25. During the children’s talk she asked the younger members of the diocese what they would do if “they could do anything” they wanted to do. There were a variety of answers ranging from “I would play with my cars” to “read my books” to “jumping on a trampoline” and then Bishop Skelton offered a suggestion that was met with much enthusiasm, “eat all the ice cream you want.” Bishop Skelton was introducing to the youngsters the concept of freedom and the responsibility of freedom. Bishop Skelton paraphrased for the children (and for everyone else gathered) what St. Paul says in the reading selected for the day, “Jesus wants us to take our freedom, and to use it to love other people.”
A video of Bishop Skelton’s sermon is available here.
There were a number of Communion stations set up around the worshipping area for the Eucharist and things went very smoothly.
After worship, Bishop Skelton offered “Grace” before the meal and the lunch line organically formed north to south from where the buffet tables were set up.
When everyone had eaten their fill of food largely donated by the Chaldean community which included pizzas and a variety of savoury middle eastern specialities, the Chaldean congregation organized a line dance in the former worship area and invited people to participate.
For more photos and captions visit Anglican Conversation - the Diocese of New Westminster's Facebook page.