For the past six years diocesan communications has made an effort to visit parishes around the diocese in order to share the experience of how different Anglican faith communities celebrate festivals and feast days. For Advent I, December 2, 2018, the Parish of All Saints’, Burnaby located in Burnaby’s southern neighbourhood agreed to a visit. This was not only a special festival day it was also the Sunday when Sarah Andrusco, a member of the diocesan Parish Development Grants Committee would be worshipping with the congregation, and at the conclusion of worship present a certificate in recognition of the parish’s award of a $4,500 grant to produce seasonal music programming. The Parish of All Saints’ has been very involved in its ministry of engaging with the local music scene, producing concerts and welcoming choral and instrumental groups to their buildings for rehearsals and events.
It was also great to see the north side of the All Saints’ property being used to host the annual Aunt Leah’s Christmas Tree sales outlet. All Saints’ has been the Burnaby location for this worthy organization for many years.
Following the Opening Hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and the Greeting, the first candle on the Advent Wreath was lit by server/crucifer Leah Skuro, with the prayer offered by the vicar, the Reverend Justin Cheng who was celebrant/preacher for the Eucharist with assistance from sacristan, Ray Duff, ODNW.
“Today we light the first candle as we await the coming of our Saviour, we wait in hope for his promise.”
Rev. Cheng proclaimed the Gospel, Luke 21: 25-36 (as we enter a year of St. Luke) followed by a sermon. He began the sermon by saying, “I love Advent!” and repeated that phrase two more times. He went on to reference all that Advent brings, the waiting, the expectation, the lighting of candles, the music and much more. But the focus of his sermon was about bondage and yearning for freedom. A large number of the earth’s population lives in bondage, in slavery, and freedom eludes them. Rev. Cheng expanded the metaphor saying that we are in bondage as well, but the Advent, the opportunity to welcome the one who brings the light provides an opportunity for our freedom.
(Our anticipation of the arrival of Jesus) “causes a swelling of thankfulness and commitment to forward God’s cause of freedom… and it will awaken us, as we may actually be in bondage as well, and opens us up to accept the only one who can free us from that bondage, our Lord, Jesus Christ.”
The music in worship was led by Director of Music is Barry Waterlow supported by soprano, Nellie Porkert, ODNW and baritone, Ray Duff who as mentioned earlier was also sacristan for the Eucharist. Hales Jones, ODNW a lay leader at All Saints’ and a leader in our diocese was the intercessor. Following the Eucharist and before the Dismissal, Hales was asked to join Rev. Cheng and server, Leah at the chancel entrance for a blessing and prayers as Hales would leave the next day for Barbados where she will be spending the next few months.
The liturgy concluded with the presentation by Sarah Andrusco of the Parish Development Grant certificate followed by the Closing Hymn, “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending”.
Many thanks to the Parish of All Saints’ for their warm welcome, their commitment and their faithfulness.