A good number of parishes around the Diocese of New Westminster added to the Celebration of the Eucharist September 10, the 14th Sunday after Pentecost by observing the return to the busyness of the fall after the long, hot summer of 2017. The Parish of St. Andrew’s, Langley: priest-in-charge, the Reverend Helen Tervo; deacon, the Reverend Helen Lingham; wardens and parishioners got their fall schedule off to a good start with a liturgy that offered a number of new additions and a post worship BBQ.
The 10am principal Celebration of the Eucharist began with announcements and a welcome from greeting team member, Donalda Whaites and then there was a theatrical announcement of the upcoming “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” parish fundraiser and community building social evening planned for September 30.
The Opening Hymn was the always appropriate “All Are Welcome” which was followed by the Grace, the Collect for Purity and the Gloria sung to the plainsong style tune in the Anglican Church of Canada’s hymn book, Common Praise #686. Prior to the Collect for the Day, the Reverend Helen Tervo welcomed the congregation and pointed out that the new tune used for the Gloria was not to be the only change in the service that morning. Among other innovations and in preparation for the development of their Parish Profile that will be a vital piece in the Canonical Committee’s search for a new ½ time Vicar the sermon would be interactive, the congregation would be asked to contribute by offering their thanks and gratitude for the community of St. Andrew’s, Langley.
Following the Gospel for the day, Matthew 18:15-20, the Reverends Tervo and Lingham stood together in front of the altar and began a conversation with the parish. Rev. Tervo made reference to the Old Testament reading heard earlier, Exodus 12:1-14 saying that “we may also be on a ‘passover’ journey…we are certainly in the process of change.” God has an invested “interest in our transformation” but don’t be distracted for there are always rules and regulations when setting out to seek new priestly leadership, but she reminded the community of the words of St. Paul “Love trumps all.”
Deacon Helen Lingham spoke about her work in organizational development and how it had been up until recently standard practice to ask people whose organizations were being analyzed to respond to the question, “what isn’t working?” But now the current thinking is that they are asked “What works well here?” and “what are you thankful for in this place?”
For the next 10-15 minutes people in the pews raised their hands and stood or sat and reflected on what St. Andrew’s means to them. The responses ranged from appreciation that worship and community at St. Andrew’ s is a reliable constant in a world of uncertainty and change, to the privilege that one is given by the opportunity to serve not just within the doors of the church but in the greater community, to great appreciation that change is welcomed but that the changes work effectively within the constructs of Anglican traditions. At the conclusion of the sermon section of the liturgy, Reverend Tervo asked the congregation to continue this discussion and next week to bring an object to share, an object that has a significant connection between them personally and St. Andrew’s.
Holy Eucharist was celebrated and worship concluded with the Closing Hymn, “Draw the Circle Wide”. Then the large majority of the 60+ present gathered in the hall where dozens of freshly grilled hamburger patties and wieners awaited, arranged on serving trays, accompanied by plates of buns, veggies and all of the standard condiments. The Reverend Tervo offered a blessing and the faith community of St. Andrew’s, Langley shared a meal together.
Please keep the Parish of St. Andrew in your prayers as they move forward in their search for a new vicar this coming fall and winter.