At the June Council meeting, Barbara Faught announced her intention to retire from her role of Minister of Pastoral Care at the end of 2012. This will mark the end of 10 years of ministry in this official role at Parkdale. However, Barbara’s work with our congregation dates back much farther; she was an active volunteer in pastoral care before she took on the (paid) staff role.
Barbara is a true renaissance woman who has blessed Parkdale with her considerable talents over the years: in the visitation of our members requiring pastoral care, through her wonderful pastoral prayers, in her preaching skills, as well as in the ability to feed the multitudes with her cooking, or to transform a room in the church with a discerning eye and flick of a paintbrush.
We have been extravagantly blessed also in that Barbara has been a “package” deal – her husband, Arnold, their children and spouses, as well as their grandchildren, continue to enrich most aspects of our church’s life and ministry.
With her wisdom and foresight, Barbara has given us the benefit of a long good-bye as she prepares to change roles in this congregation. The preliminary steps of the replacement process have begun; Ottawa Presbytery has been formally advised of Barbara’s retirement plans, and we await the appointment of two Presbytery members to a Joint Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC). The other members of the JNAC will come from our own congregation.
This group will be tasked with carefully examining Parkdale’s needs, and making suggestions about what direction further staffing should take. When this work has been completed and the committee’s report has been approved by the congregation, a formal search process for a new staff member will begin. There are many factors that influence the timeline for hiring, but historically these processes tend to be lengthy.
What are you being asked to do at this point?
Firstly, continue to uphold Barbara in your prayers as she completes the last year of her staff ministry.
Secondly, give support and consideration to the JNAC process. Be prepared to share your thoughts about Parkdale’s future needs. You may even be asked to join the JNAC group – or better still, why not volunteer!
Thirdly, start thinking ahead to how we can celebrate Barbara’s ministry amongst us. We love parties, and Barbara’s ministry has so much to celebrate.
And, finally, let us all consider some good advice from the Good Book: (from Hebrews 13:17, The Message)
“Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the JOY of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?”
MISSION, OUTREACH AND JUSTICE
“Stories and Images”
On the last Friday of every month (except December), the Mission, Outreach and Justice Committee (MO&J) presents two hours of entertainment and fellowship called “Stories and Images”. The series is intended to help build a sense of community as participants come together as family to share in the spiritual growth engendered by sharing our diversity, and to foster learning and comradeship that comes from travel such as the ‘pilgrimages’ to Israel, Turkey, and Germany, in recent years, that involved some members of Parkdale United Church.
The first of the new series was held in the Ladies Parlour and started with a sumptuous dinner prepared and served by MOJ Committee members (Daunett Tucker, Faye Beaufort, Carolynn Trites and Janet Taylor) served at 6:00 pm, in the parlour rearranged with a café like setting with ‘card tables’ and soft lighting to add an ambiance of relaxation and some expectation of a show with desert and coffee to follow. (Gloria remarked that she was not intimidated because the environment was friendly and made her feel relaxed.)
And then the show; at 7:00 PM. Janet Taylor – the organizer of the series - introduced Gloria Goodine, the presenter for the evening. In doing so Janet said, ‘I really do not know much about your background’ and that was a good way to start the program
because it illustrated how the series was conceived in the first place—to help people who may go to church regularly to get to know each other and help each other to grow in faith in whatever way we can.
Gloria’s title was “A Pilgrim’s Journey” and it soon became clear why she chose that title. She used photos for a slide show and also used artifacts and books to illustrate some of the key points in her personal journey. She started by saying that her presentation would touch only very briefly on some of the key points in her 57 years of travel that have taken her around the world and that she would stop only at the key life-changing points in her journey. She began by reciting a poem by Enya, called the “Pilgrim”.
To start at the beginning, she showed her baby picture. She was born in Shanghai, grandmothers Chinese, grandfathers English, and then moved with her parents and siblings to Hong Kong as a baby. With a series of slides she introduced her Baby-Amah who was like a second mother, taught her Chinese and was most loving to her. A photo introduced her family and she mentioned that her Dad was a Deacon, her Mom. the Church Secretary and the three girls sang in the choir at the Kowloon Baptist Church. As a teenager Gloria was inducted into a special training program for girls that focused on missionary work and religious teaching. This up-bringing and grounding in the Christian Faith laid the groundwork that has endured to this day, she says. That is also why she readily accepted an invitation to travel to Honk Kong almost immediately after her presentation to attend ceremonies celebrating the expansion of the church in which she grew up.
The next point in her story was King George the Fifth School (KG5) in Hong Kong, hence her British accent, and sound grounding in English. She showed photos of her first journey on her own, to Nepal, and described the feeling of elation she experienced when she took the picture while flying over the world’s highest mountain in a small aeroplane. Then she ‘fast forwarded’ her presentation to a wedding in the Isle of Mann, where she was Maid of Honour for a school-mate from KG5, Irene. Next she showed photos of a visit to Irene and Peter in Papua, New Guinea, and she will visit Irene and Peter in Sydney, Australia, on her way back from Hong Kong.
While working in England she saw an advertisement for a job at the World Bank in Washington D. C. Sounded good she thought. Get away from the rain in London. As always, she said she prayed about it and seemed to be ‘good-to-go’, if only she could pass some skills tests. However, the watch she got from her parents on her 21st Birthday, and wears to this day, stopped; she was late arriving and wondered why this could happen. Were the prayers wasted, she wondered. First she turned away from the closed doors—then she tried the door and it was not locked. She was allowed to take the test but failed and was about to leave when one of the recruiters stopped her and gave her a different test, more advanced, and she passed.
She then went off to the World Bank and eventually another wedding picture. This one of Gloria and Ike—Gloria claims that it was really only at that stage that she fully understood that this was part of God’s plan for her. She and Ike were soon off to Kenya, where she says she enjoyed life for some time until culture shock set in. Ike had a job; but not Gloria. Gloria says this was one of the few times she experienced being cut out of meaningful interaction that seemed important. Is this really what I prayed for, she asked herself. Then it dawned on her again. “Our gifts are all from God.” To make a long story short, she showed a picture of their beautiful daughter, Claudia, born in the Nairobi Hospital and shown with her Baby-Yaya (Nanny) who went with them to Washington and who taught Claudia Swahili.
Fast forward to the Philippines; more culture shock. This time using God’s gift of singing helped to make new connections as shown in the photo of a group singing at a Canada Day celebration. But there were other shocks as well, including the “Coup” and takeover of their area of Greater Manila where they lived, and the eruption of Mount Pintoubo. Ever resourceful, the Filipinos even turned the ash to good use as shown by the statues of Mary and the baby Jesus, part of their Christmas manger scene, which she showed us. Other photos show ash in Manila, and the Goodines, standing on the roof of a Church buried by the lahars that flowed from the mountain.
Next they were sent off to Barbados, the beautiful Island where they set up home once again. “God is a Bajan”, they were told, by way of explaining that the Hurricanes pass by but do not make land fall there. By now, they know something about culture shock and also know that God gives them gifts that they should use. So she started singing, this time with the Hilton Choir, mostly specializing in ‘Bajan’ folk songs. It also helped to learn the local version of the English Language. When her Choir mates spoke to her they used her form of British English, but when chatting among themselves, she could scarcely understand them. She travelled to Barbados recently and acquired some books which are based on Bajan English, which preserves much of the language that goes back to the early 1600s.
Gloria says that she was happy in Barbados but she was still not yet at “home”. Her next stop was Ottawa, and with a little encouragement from Ike, she joined Parkdale United Church. About five years ago Gloria became a Canadian Citizen and is learning to enjoy walking in the snow, just not quite as much as on the sand of a tropical beach—yet.
Gloria feels blessed that she was able to join in the trip to Israel, and yet again to go to Oberammergau, Germany, with friends from Parkdale.
Gloria’s presentation was informal and sincere and it is clear that she speaks from the heart. She knows she has had a blessed life but showed that it has not always been a bed-of-roses. She has no hesitation in saying that her Christian faith has been her anchor in the past and continues to sustain her. She showed her energetic nature and sense of humour during her presentation. Everyone was fascinated as we journeyed along with Gloria and, it is fair to say that she made an excellent start to the series. Many commented that they had seen Gloria in church over the years, but now they feel they know her.
Editor’s note: the November evening in the series will be held on November 25
Thoughts on the Economy and Riding Camels to the Vineyard
By Julee Pauling
When Jesus spoke about calling workers to the vineyard, it wasn't customary for them to ride camels to get there.
Outlining a meaningful lifestyle is no easy task in the face of so much economic strife and uncertainty. What choices we make, thinking we are acquiring and spending the essentials for good living, when really we are buying into a loaded economic myth, may put both our overall well-being and spiritual goals a distant second to unnecessary standards of living. These are frequently neither healthy for our communities nor for us.
For various reasons, high lifestyle choices increase our dis-ease within the world. Consumerist values encourage us to accept lifestyles of high consumer debt and a rigid dependency on monthly incomes. However, if we took a hard look at it, we could view this as enslaving ourselves to non-essential to-do lists, bills, belongings, errands, and expectations that sooner or later we take for normal.
What should we hold up as a reasonable standard? The promising appeal of the two-income household is currently being debunked as merely keeping up with the incomes of our parents’ generation. Meanwhile, the new suburban starter plan includes two vehicles, daycare, creeping communications bills, industrial kitchens, iPads on top of computers, and annual trips to the Caribbean. Yet we so easily believe it is normal to buy whatever we want whenever we want it, to have the homes we see in the magazines, the vacations we view on the billboards – and all this while carrying the load on credit.
Jesus didn’t intend us to be dependent on the fruits of the material world for a full and meaningful life. Rather, leaving behind worldly treasures for the treasures of God’s kingdom were the hopes Jesus had for us. Through apostleship, community, hospitality, holding up the poor, sick, and oppressed, and generally using our limited energies for the righteous exercise of any talents we possess, we can apply our economic means in pursuit of equity and justice. We can love the Lord our God with all our hearts and minds, and our neighbours as ourselves, better … with fewer iPhones and industrial hood vents.
May a return to more constrained standards and lifestyle expectations be an opportunity to redefine normal and seek Jesus’ way in our daily lives.
Parkdale United Church’s vision statement reads: To form followers of Jesus in such a way as to transform our community and our world. What a challenging mandate we’ve been called to follow. How can we possibly form followers and transform?
Part of the answer certainly lies in one of our ministries: faith formation and Christian education. We know certain things to be true: We live in a secular age. Children learn about God, Jesus and the stories of our faith in very few places. Sunday School and youth programming is the primary one for most of the young people who come through our doors.
We also know that growing, vibrant, successful, forward thinking churches place tremendous value on their young people. In a truly God-inspired “least shall be first”, children, and particularly teenagers, are seen as a congregation’s wealth. None of this nonsense about children being the future: they are the present and they are actively nurtured by their community.
Parkdale has been generous in some aspects of our commitment to children’s ministry; our offerings have funded a full-time staff position for several years. And yet, despite the very healthy number of young people in our congregation, we struggle to commit enough time and volunteers to that which should be our primary ministry: faith formation.
For instance, this year, through a variety of circumstances, we have lost our youth volunteers and they remain un-replaced. We also have ongoing vacancies in our teacher roster. The reasons for these labour shortages are myriad. We are pulled in many directions in our personal lives but also in our church life. With so much going on, our focus on our teaching ministries has wavered.
However, we are blessed with a core of leaders who feel pretty joyful and passionate and optimistic and spirit lead. How can we expand this ministry? How do we build a congregation that puts faith formation at the top of its agenda? How do we help busy families make a meaningful commitment to faith formation? Perhaps a little prodding from our wonderful kids would do the trick. Perhaps finding a mentor or a buddy to take to share leadership would make teaching feel more manageable. Perhaps just being asked is what it would take.
Parkdale is a congregation which has always invested passionately in outreach: the Queensway Preschool, Ottawa West Community Services, In From the Cold, mission trips, refugee sponsorship, advocacy initiatives. However, as society has changed, “in-reach” is rapidly becoming just as necessary as a focus for ministry. Those who need to be supported in their lives, and as they find God, are right in our midst. Let’s reach and teach together.
Chair of Council
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO PARKDALE?
Adeline Colley, since 1970
Once upon a time, a long time ago (early 1970), I was a member of Parkdale and a Sunday School teacher. We had moved here from Sault Ste Marie and lived in a part of Ottawa where all of my children’s friends had everything that money could buy. We wanted our children to meet other children who did not have everything. The mixed community at Parkdale met our needs perfectly. At that time, Jim Lawson was the Minister.
We left Parkdale for personal reasons in the late 1970’s, and I left Canada in 1986. Soon after my return from the US in 2003, I had to admit my husband to the Peter D. Clark Long Term Care Home. There I met Shirley Colley and her family. After my husband passed away, I felt that I would like to join a church, and Shirley’s daughter, Anne-Marie, suggested that I return to Parkdale where I was already a member. Her father, Geof, whom I also knew, was an active member and introduced me to Parkdale members and to Anthony and Barbara. I also helped Geof with ushering duties, got involved with the “In from the Cold” program, renewed my church membership and recently married Geof. The rest is history.
Mina and Stan King, since 1993
What brought us to Parkdale was at a time of great need and grief in our lives. Stan and I were trying to recover from a very recent family tragedy-accident. Trying to cope with the whys and what ifs, and with pain itself. When one's child of any age suffers, the anguish in a parent's heart is almost unbearable. We were at this stage 18 years ago. in 1993.
We began going to one church after another to try to find the faith and help we badly needed at that point. Parkdale was the sixth and final church for it was here we found what we were looking for. Dr. Andrew Stirling was preaching that Sunday, and his words went straight from the pulpit into our hearts. He spoke of God's intervention at a time of deep suffering in his own life, of healing, hope, and new meaning that changed his whole life and direction. We were given that day the faith that God uses the deepest things in our lives to help others, and in so doing, find greater strength ourselves. The congregation as well were so warm and caring to two complete strangers, that we felt we had come home to the right place.
Since that time, Anthony has continued the same path of giving hope to the hopeless, deeper faith, and a vision for the whole world. Barbara has as well with her powerful prayers.
I have enjoyed over the years giving in music(piano) at Parkdale services and at Retirement homes with Anthony and Barbara. Now we have reached our 80th year and have slowed down but not out. We will be forever grateful to Parkdale for turning our lives around and helping us think for a whole world in need.
DISPATCHES FROM BRAZIL
Spring to Life Campaign 2011
Every year in September, CESE (Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço) launches an annual campaign to raise CESE`s profile in churches throughout Brazil and to increase their support for CESE`s work. CESE`s Campanha Primavera Para a Vida means Spring to Life.
CPPV 2011 is CESE`s 11th Spring to Life campaign. (In September, as you are slowly getting accustomed to cooler and cooler temperatures, it is spring in Salvador, Brazil. That means our temperatures will be soaring from 24-25C to 28-29C or higher!)
Sunday 19 September was the launch of the Campaign here in Salvador. About 100 people representing at least 10 different churches or religions participated in an ecumenical church service held in a Presbyterian church. The pastors, ministers and padres who provided leadership during the service included Baptist, Anglican, Russian Orthodox, Lutheran and two different Presbyterians. As well, a group of Roman Catholic girls danced the Bible into the sanctuary during the service.
The theme of the campaign this year is Environmental Justice. Hymns, prayers and lectionary scripture (Matthew 20: 1-16) all addressed the theme.
The service was followed by a traditional meal called a feijoada: rice and a rich stew cooked for a long time with the beans that are a daily staple. Accompaniments include steamed kale, flour of manioc or cassava, very hot sauce and salad. (Perhaps in 2012, we can launch an Ottawa Spring to Life Campaign: an ecumenical gathering with a mid-day feijoada to follow.)
A Bit of CESE History
CESE was founded in 1973 during the military dictatorship (1964-1985) by 6 mainstream Christian churches: the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, the United and Independent Presbyterian churches and the Roman Catholic National Council of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB). There are several Baptist churches that are also closely associated with CESE but since there is no national church, under the constitution they cannot be full members. The churches came together to defend and promote human rights and they founded CESE to be their instrument.
At that time, human rights were being trampled. The risk of persecution including imprisonment, torture and even assassination meant that efforts to defend and promote human rights needed to be undertaken quietly. “Shyly” is how some of my colleagues describe it. While CESE’s low profile was important in those early days, it is now a hindrance and one goal of the Spring campaign is to change that and build support including financial support for CESE`s work.
Christian Churches in Brazil Today
There are almost 90,000 churches and religious communities in Brazil of which some 80,000 are Roman Catholic, but the Protestant churches are more active in CESE. The table shows some statistics to round out the picture.
My Anglican church has about 30 people who attend services and other events. Only rarely are there more than 10. Those rare occasions include the first Sunday of each month, when we have a bilingual service and a shared communal meal after the service. It is a splendid social event and very well-attended. I am including a photo of the whole congregation taken when the Bishop visited in July. Bishop Sebastião preached an eloquent and very direct message about the essential work of Christian churches even tiny congregations like our Paróquia do Bom Pastor in Salvador!
Congregations and Parishes
Apostolic Roman Catholic Church
8,977 parishes 85,000 ecclesiastic communities
Evangelical Anglican Church of Brazil
Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
My Baptist church, Igreja Batista Nazareth, is bigger than the Anglican and holds three weekly services. There is a regular attendance of at least 30 and often more at the Sunday evening service when the choir sings. Joel, the Baptist pastor and Anglican Bruno are very close friends. The Baptist church has a fine choir and for a time I sang with them. I would happily continue except that the practices are held following the Thursday evening prayer service and do not finish until at least 10 pm. I have quite a trek to get home and, unfortunately, it seems just too late to be out and about.
Linking these Threads in Spring
During the Spring campaign, CESE hopes to connect with as many of its founding churches as possible... as you can see from the table, there are lots of them. Our opening launch here in Salvador got us off to a great start.
I will tell you about some of the projects CESE is currently supporting to address environmental concerns in a later issue. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving – lots and lots to giving thanks for, isn`t there?
We have added many books to the shelves of our Parkdale library this fall. Do come in and browse.
I begin with a few titles on the contentious topic of Israel, its recent history and its relationship to the Palestinians. Judaism Does Not Equal Israel is by a leading American Jewish thinker, Marc H. Ellis, who makes the case that questioning current Israeli policies is fully consonant with being a faithful Jew. Ellis does not believe a two state solution has a future.
The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering by Norman Finkelstein is now eleven years old but no less controversial than when it first appeared.
Once Upon A Country: a Palestinian Life by Sari Nusseibeh is a wonderful personal account of the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict by a fine thinker, an Arab philosophy professor who lives and works in Jerusalem, an eyewitness to history.
For a change of pace, there are two new additions on the topic of the relationship of Science and Faith. The Language of Science and Faith is co-authored by Francis S. Collins, who spearheaded the Human Genome Project. The book’s subtitle is Straight Answers to Genuine Questions.
The second book is Faith@ Science: Why Science Needs Faith in the Twenty-first Century. This is a collection of essays by Canadian journalist, Denyse O’Leary.
We recently offered a Faith Formation series covering some of the basics of Christian Faith. Topics included the nature of Faith itself, the Bible, the Trinity, Jesus, the Christ, his person and work and a look at some of the so called practices which keep faith alive in our hearts and lives. The following titles relate to that series.
The Persistence of Faith by England’s Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sachs; Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg which asks the question whether it is possible to be free of doubt; Scripture and the Authority of God by N.T.Wright; The Bible Makes Sense by Walter Brueggemann; Reading the Bible for the Love of God by Alan Reynolds.
There are a number of books on prayer which you will find in the section labeled simply “Prayer”, including Philip Yancey’s book which covers the kinds of questions we all ask about prayer.
The Christian Meditation Group has added reading and listening resources also.
The library already had many books on the God of Christian understanding and on Jesus, the Christ.
Parkdale’s Book Club began meeting in March of this year. There is a copy of each of the books we have studied in the library. You are more than welcome to come and try us out. We meet once a month after Sunday Morning Worship, the next meeting is November 20. Watch the bulletin for our current book choice. We are in the process of putting synopses of the books we have read on the church website.
On the evening of September 24, 2011, Parkdale United Church hosted the Ottawa signing of a compelling book entitled As Long as the Rivers Flow, by the Honourable James Bartleman. The event, which was co-organized by the Mission, Outreach and Justice Committee and the 80th Anniversary Planning Group, was a fundraiser for Club Amick, a book club for children in Ontario’s remote First Nation communities.
Mr. Bartleman, a member of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, rose from very humble circumstances in Port Carling, Ontario. His distinguished career spanned more than three and a half decades, during which he occupied a variety of diplomatic positions. In 1994, he became Foreign Policy Advisor to the then Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien. Then, in 2002, he became Ontario’s first “Native” (Aboriginal) Lieutenant Governor. He is an accomplished writer who is well known for his philanthropic efforts to increase literacy in the North.
The evening opened with a traditional Aboriginal prayer offered by local Algonquin Elder Annie Smith St. George. Elder Smith thanked the Creator for the beautiful autumn day and the squawking Canada geese that were flying overhead at that very moment. Mr. Bartleman then delivered a powerful, reflective presentation entitled “Canada’s Invisible Generation of Native Children.” He is a dynamic speaker and it was hard not to be moved when he read an emotional excerpt from the above-mentioned book.
Following the presentation, the Reverend Dr. Anthony Bailey facilitated a question and answer period. Mr. Bartleman spoke of his deep pain regarding the absence of outrage in Canada over the epidemic of teenage suicides in Aboriginal communities.
When asked how we as a faith community can help, Mr. Bartleman encouraged us to bring the matter to the attention of our political representatives and I was pleased to note that Mr. Yasir Naqvi, Ottawa Centre candidate for provincial parliament, was in attendance to hear our profound concern and earnest prayers for a solution. When asked about a possible solution, Mr. Bartleman emphasized the necessity of equal education for Canada’s Aboriginal children and admitted that it is going to be a long-term solution.
Later, at the book signing segment, there was a chance to meet and greet the esteemed speaker.
As Long as the Rivers Flow is a concise, compassionately rendered story that tells of the long-lasting, insidious damage of the Indian residential school system in Canada. It is a sad tale, but somehow it remains inspiring with lessons and reflections for all readers.
From the very beginning, the sobering theme of the novel is apparent. The prologue, which is nothing short of intense, describes an Aboriginal woman named Martha as she wakens from a nightmare about the residential priest who summoned her to his office 30 years earlier for some “special spiritual instruction” (read: so that he could violate her). While Mr. Bartleman has wisely spared us the details of that appalling abuse, the inferences are no less impactful. The author’s vocabulary is rich with emotion and imagery, and his documentary writing style is so skilful that one easily forgets that this is indeed a novel.
Referring to her earlier employment, author Anne Laurel Carter reviews the book by saying, “If only I’d had this novel to read then. It let me walk a mile in Martha’s moccasins, and her tracks remain on my heart. If you’re only going to read one book to have some understanding of an Aboriginal child’s life, this novel should be the one.”
Mr. Bartleman’s goal was to honour and remember his fellow Aboriginal brothers and sisters through his writing. Sadly, his flowing prose is more than just a story. For many Aboriginal children, this was reality. Thanks to his excellent writing style, this engaging and dramatic depiction of residential school history is laid out in this extraordinary book for all to read and reflect upon.
In closing, Mr. Bartleman, please accept Parkdale’s heartfelt congratulations on your well-written book. How valuable it is that you have preserved the lessons of this tragic chapter of history!