On Friday, June 16, the Anglican Parish of St. Laurence partnered with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church to host the Folk Fiesta, an evening of Latin American food, folk music, and fundraising to support our shared youth ministry in a trip to CLAY (Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth) this August. It was a wonderful evening and a beautiful weaving-together of several threads from the last year.
The first thread has been the blessing of some recent immigrants from El Salvador who connected to St Laurence. Since last spring, they have become an important part of our community, worshipping with us, practicing their English, and occasionally sharing their cuisine. For the Folk Fiesta, we partnered with them and a Mexican family at the parish to serve a dinner of chips, guacamole, refried beans, and ceviche. Together with the salads, rice dishes, and desserts the members of Good Shepherd brought, we truly enjoyed a feast.
Another thread has been a personal project. Over the last year, I have been writing and recording music as “The Forest Archive” for a new album called Night Prayers. These 7 songs, “for the night of creation and the night of the soul - which are sometimes the same thing”, emerge from a season of intense anxiety and insomnia I suffered amid COVID, after moving, starting a new job, and celebrating the birth of our daughter. They have become an important part of my healing, and I’ve worked hard in the cracks of my busy life to bring them to a place where I can share them. Finally, at the Folk Fiesta, I was delighted to be able to play these songs, collaborating with an incredible violinist and several members of the St. Laurence choir for their first live performance. If you’re interested in hearing the music, you can find it at here.
Some other friends from around the diocese - Lauren Pinkney, the Reverends Jonathan Pinkney and Cameron Gutjahr – joined me for a couple of the songs; maybe you’ll recognize their voices!
The final thread that came together is the trip to CLAY gathering itself. Three years ago, St. Laurence began to merge its youth ministry with Good Shepherd to create ignYte. But since that happened in the midst of COVID, and CLAY has been postponed and online since then, we haven’t yet been able to bring our shared youth ministry to an in-person national youth gathering. Thanks be to God! - we’re excited to finally be able to do that this year. We’ll be bringing our team of 5 youth and 3 leaders to Waterloo, ON, for a time of worship, learning, and community with hundreds of kids from across the country.
It’s been so encouraging to see how supportive members of both our congregations have been so far. We couldn’t take a trip like this without a whole community (in our case, two!) behind us. Thanks to everyone who’s supported, us, and we’re looking forward to having stories to share when we return!