On September 11, 2022, the Parish of St. Philip, Dunbar celebrated "Welcome Sunday"---the first Sunday after Labour Day when folks whose attendance might have been a bit less in the summer months were welcomed back from summer holidays and breaks. And another cause for special celebration, the day was focused on offering a more formal welcome to new members. There was a full church--and an enthusiastic crowd--for this service.
Although the Feast of St. Philip is celebrated in the Anglican Church of Canada in tandem with the Apostle James, son of Alphaeus (aka James the Less) on May 1, the feast day was transferred because the readings for the day are particularly meaningful and missional. The specific focus was on the First Reading; Acts 8: 22-26, Philip heading out into strange and unfamiliar places, meeting interesting and unfamiliar people, teaching the Gospel and baptizing as Christ's missional means of growing the Body of Christ. The theme of the service was "Come and See!"
The Processional Hymn is a parish favourite---hymnals bouncing and strong, energetic singing.
During the procession, parishioners brought forward ribbon banners emblazoned with a ministry or group of the parish--these little banners were placed in a vessel before the altar as a way of offering our work and ministry to the community and, of course, offering ourselves and our work back to God in gratitude for the gifts God has poured (and continues to pour) into this congregation. These ministries and groups are listed in the graphic below.
During the Children's Chat, both familiar and new families came forward and, with the rector and parents and grandparents together, blessed the children's backpacks and prayed a blessing on their school year. A new Confirmation class approached the rector with a formal proclamation at the reception after the service, pledging their commitment, attention, and participation in classes as long as the rector promised to take them on a trip to Disneyland as a Confirmation retreat. The Jury is still out on that request.... ;)
We welcomed 18 new members on September 11, 2022, and in addition commissioned our refreshed and rebooted Altar Guild and Pastoral Care Guild. Both these groups have grown in size over the past year, are fully engaged in various sorts of formation and study, and have a renewed sense of purpose and mission.
Following worship, a whipped cream and chocolate mousse cake was cut in celebration of the Feast of St. Philip; the young adults of the parish cooked and served hot dogs and served ice cream and other goodies for all present. Lay leaders, the parish caretaker (Pat Brandon) and parish manager (Tiffany Ho) organized a Ministry and Volunteer Fair, during which, folks could circulate among tables laden with displays to become better informed of ministry, event, education, and service opportunities in the parish. A list of brand-new sidespersons was achieved but required the lead sidesperson to hold all the reception's donuts hostage, releasing them only in ransom for a named phone number on the sidesperson sign up sheet. A couple of five-year-olds signed up to be sidespersons, perhaps not realizing how much their donut actually cost them!
It was a very, very happy Sunday, and a great way to come back together, to gather around the Gospel, and to reconnect and be inspired for service, community, and ministry.
Photos: Derek Simpkins