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MESSENGER - Curb Appeal _ the Boken Report by dfsdf224s


									                    THE CHURCH OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST

      MESSENGER                                                                                                             February 2010

                                                                                                     A religious man is a per-
                                                                                                     son who holds God and
                                                                                                     man in one thought at one
                                                                                                     time, at all times, who suf-
                                                                                                     fers harm done to others,
                                                                                                     whose greatest passion is
                                                                                                     compassion, whose great-
                                                                                                     est strength is love and
                                                                                                     defiance of despair.
                                                                                                                       Abraham J. Heschel

Curb Appeal & the Boken Report
or The Saga of the Store Front Church
Curb appeal may be defined as the at-          planning and land acquisition. At the
tractiveness of a ‘shop front’, or in this     ecclesiastical level, her work has been
case, a church, to those who may pass          found to be extremely helpful for plan-
it by. It is what there is about the look of   ning to meet the ministry opportunities
the place which could entice someone to        and challenges locally, based as it is on
cross the threshold, sample the goods on       analyses of particular parish communi-
display and, with a bit of luck, become        ties (read Saint John the Baptist), their
a regular customer. It is a quality sorely     demography and potential population
lacking at the Church of Saint John the        growth. In addition, Ms. Boken, looked
Baptist, at least in the eyes of the author    at individual parish statistics, including
of the Boken report who describes St. J.       age breakdown of its members. As the
the B. as being “buried in a residential       heading to this article suggests, specific
neighbourhood.” There are other equally        attention was paid to the location of the
contentious descriptive items about            church building and its surrounds.

which the best that can said is that they        n general, the study looks at location in
will ultimately be considered in the spirit      two broad categories – urban and rural.
                                                                                                  From the Parish
with which they were intended!                 Within these two, parishes have been               At the Parish Council meeting of January

M     yrlene Boken, of AMB Researchers,        categorized as strategic, second level or          25th, those present endorsed a proposal
      was commissioned by the Diocese          tertiary level. A fourth category is classi-       asking the Corporation to approve a gift
of Montreal to conduct a “comprehensive        fied as final generation, a designation for        of $10,000.00 from church reserves, to
study of every congregation throughout         rural congregations akin to the kiss of            be sent to an organization active ‘on the
the diocese.” The intention of the study is    death since it is felt that “many of these         ground’ in Haiti. This is to be done in a
to help the diocese look ahead and make        churches, because of the inadequacies of           way that will ensure that matching funds
informed decisions regarding the future of     their location, have aged and declined in          from the government will be added.
parishes and the deployment of clergy.         numbers to the point that it will be impos-        Well-earned congratulations are due
The underlying incentive is to promote,        sible to develop the critical mass to turn         to the children of the Church School who
and plan for, growth.                          them around.”                                      made illustrated refrigerator magnets for
Ms. Boken’s background is principally          Tertiary level classification, as outlined in      sale in support of Haiti relief.
in the areas of market research, location      the Report, can be applied to parishes             The amount of $134.00 was raised.
                                                                            (continued on P. 4)
In last month’s MESSENGER, we read              whatever the State considers to be a valid      and a woman. This view would not pre-
Brent Cowan’s thoughts on how he saw            marriage. The State is constrained by the       clude the Church from blessing same sex
the relationship of man to woman in the         Constitutional imperative that all individu-    unions just as it might bless a friendship
context of marriage, categorizing it as the     als are the same. The State-sanctioned          or any symbol of fidelity and commitment.
coming together of two separate indi-           understanding of the human being does           So could a person involved in a commit-
viduals to become one complete human            not distinguish between male and female         ted same-sex union be ordained into the
entity. This proposition could have been        and cannot recognize human spirituality         clergy? In my view as a lay person, I can
summarized in Brent’s statement.                in its laws. And as far as our constitutional   see no reason to object. However, if the
“Eve’s first purpose                            rights and privileges are concerned, we         Church is to adopt this position, then,
was to complement                               are all without a sex. And that is as it        again in my view, it has to first develop a
and complete Adam.                              should be in a heterogeneous democracy          consistent philosophy drawn from an ex-
Adam without Eve                                that is respectful of human rights, even if     plainable evolution of the interpretation of
was an incomplete                               it does not correspond exactly with what        biblical teachings and Church doctrine.
project.”                                       seems to me to be self-evident. However,        The Church cannot simply proclaim by
                                                I believe it to be an abdication of its role    prophecy the past several millennia of
Whether contempo-                               for the Church to recognize and celebrate
rary living arrange-                                                                            its history to have been in error. To do
                                                a marriage just because the secular au-         this makes the Church irrelevant. This
ments support this thesis is open to wide       thority recognizes a marriage.
discussion and, whether we like it or not,                                                      is especially so, if this prophecy is, in
that fact is likely to colour any judge-        One major stumbling block in dealing            fact, merely the extension of secular
ments to be made on the subject – at            with this issue seems to be the role of sex     thought and an excuse not to bother
least among those who place little stock        outside of marriage. It is hard to condemn      with a religion-based rationale.
in marriage as a religious contract, in         the physical expression of a true love          For even prophecy can be explained –
short, as ‘holy matrimony’. To extend the       between two individuals of the same sex         must be explained. As a lay person I have
argument to unions between individuals          who are committed to a life-long relation-      given my rationale. But I am a lay person,
of the same sex is bound to create even         ship with each other. And I myself cannot       not a theologian.
more confusion – as Anglicans have learnt       condemn it. Similarly I cannot distinguish
                                                between either same-sex sexual relations        I attended the discussion, or debate, be-
to their cost in recent years. Brent asks:                                                      tween Reverends Glencross and Hannen
“How can our Church go about recog-             on the one hand or heterosexual sexual
                                                relations that occur outside of marriage        with an expectation that I would hear a
nizing same-sex unions without implying                                                         theological discourse on the subject of
their identity with marriage.”                  on the other. Sex outside of marriage,
                                                in my view, should be highly suspect            same-sex marriage. I left not particularly
The following is the second part of Brent       because it is far more likely to be of a        satisfied.
Cowan’s essay.                                  ‘recreational’ nature than an expression        Reverend Hannen spoke first. But instead
                                                of a true and mature commitment to a            of arguing for the blessing of same-sex
Male and Female Created                         fellow human being. Recreational sex            marriage, he argued against those who
                                                                                                were against it. He did not provide a
He Them • Part Two                              would seem to be a perversion of God’s
                                                                                                reasoned argument for the evolution of
                                                gift. That said, who among us, at least in
The world-wide Anglican Communion               our younger days before marriage, has           Church doctrine. Instead he argued for
is in the process of tearing itself apart       not been inclined from time to time in that     what amounts to a reversal in doctrine.
over the issue of how the Church should         direction? God knows. God understands.          The Church blesses pets and homes and
properly recognize a particular class of        God forgives. So I can comprehend, I            ships so why not same-sex marriage?
couples who have joined their lives in          think, a legitimate place in our faith for
a committed, loving partnership. In the         sex between two individuals of the same         Well this particular position is specious,
January MESSENGER, I shared with you            sex as a similar expression of love and         for it asserts, in essence, that a Church
the results of my own reflection on what        commitment. But whatever one’s views            blessing is not deeply meaningful, so why
constitutes marriage. In that article I gave    on this or whatever is truly given from         not bless same-sex marriages? What’s
my reason why I understand marriage to          God, I cannot see how sex between two           the big deal? Specific Biblical condemna-
be uniquely the celebration of the ideal        individuals of the same sex could be any        tion of sexual relations between men is
of a merger of two physical beings, two         more sinful than a sexual transgression         explained away by Reverend Hannen as
spiritual souls - one male and one female       involving a man and a woman. And, un-           a contextual tool to convey the message
- into as near a fusion as is possible in       less it involves children or is wantonly        that lustful sex outside a committed re-
this temporal world. In this issue, I would     adulterous, our society finds it very easy      lationship in any form is sinful and, in any
like to explain my thoughts on the place        not just to overlook such transgressions,       case, the Bible is full of seemingly con-
of same-sex union in our Church.                but to consider them relatively inconse-        tradictory passages. While I can accept
First, I reject the subordination of Church     quential.                                       this latter as a valid lay argument, I cannot
liturgy to secular custom or popular opin-                                                      accept it as a valid theological one. While
                                                On the other hand I don’t believe that
ion. Liturgy must, in my mind, reflect an                                                       the Bible may seem to be contradictory
                                                the union of two of the same sex can be
honest attempt at discourse with God.                                                           in places, our faith asserts that through
                                                sanctified in a church marriage. Church
That is, in my understanding, what wor-                                                         study and reflection, and communion with
                                                marriage, as I reasoned in the last MES-
ship is all about. So I think that any Church                                                   God, coherence will be found.
                                                SENGER, is a special celebration of the
recognition or celebration of homosexual        hope for the completion of a whole human
union cannot be predicated simply on            being from the unique merger of a man
To accept Reverend Hannen’s argu-                 Shortfalls and stratagems •                      Based on the preceding numbers, we
ment as framed is, in my mind, to ac-                                                              would have needed $105,666.51 to avoid
cept the irrelevance of the Church by             some numbers to chew on                          a deficit (by increasing collection-plate
making its teachings indistinguishable            Subsequent to the column Shortfalls and          giving), which at the average rate of
from secular thought. By extension,               stratagems published last month, Mark            $610.39 per family unit would have meant
the Church then becomes just another              Levesley sent a detailed response. The           19 more family units.
charitable organization and the Bible             following article is based on the statistics
just another anthology of interesting
stories and parables.
                                                  sent by Mark who used the latest “Par-                 19
                                                  ish List” dated February 20th, 2009, but
I am not sure Reverend Glencross’ po-             deleted the names of the few who have
sition was any more satisfying to me.             died since that date. His conclusions also       If we wish to look at this in another way,
He did not answer the question how a              take into account data obtained from the         beyond the $610.39 calculated above,
physical expression of love between two           numerical edition of the envelope number         family giving would have had to increase
committed individuals of the same sex             list which, apparently, is three years older     by about $76.00 per year - or $1.50 per
must be sinful. But he represents Church          – and lists many names no longer on the          week to eliminate the deficit for 2009. This
orthodoxy, so it is natural that his argu-        Parish List.                                     speaks to the need to evaluate where we
ment would be based on an orthodox                These include:                                   stand concerning solvency for the future
interpretation of scripture and Church                                                             since, for some parishioners, increased
doctrine. He provided no new insight,             a) some parishioners who have left the           giving may be difficult or not possible.
but, as a guardian of a traditional under-        parish,
                                                                                                   Compounding the problem, our holding in
standing of Church doctrine, that is to be        b) at least one person listed twice under        Anglican Fund units lost $6,626 in 2009,
expected of him. The onus should be on            two different numbers,                           during which year we also lost 15 parish
those who believe that the Church must            c) three people who live outside Que-            members by action or neglect, each of
shift its understanding of human sexual-          bec (one in the U.S.), receiving weekly          whom represented collection-plate giv-
ity to provide a consistent theology that         envelopes,                                       ers. We will probably lose 3 more in 2010.
shows this shift to be a natural extension                                                         Realistically, whether we care to think of it
                                                  d) nine people who live outside Quebec
of where the Church has been. To date                                                              or not, we must also consider the loss of
                                                  (one in the U.S.) receiving monthly en-
this has not been provided.                                                                        members from our ageing congregation
So in the end, where do I stand on this?                                                           due to death. The Boken Report takes
                                                  e) fourteen people who live outside Que-         these statistics and, comparing them
Well, I see marriage as the unique physical
                                                  bec (three in the U.S.)                          to sister parishes, arrives at some bleak
and spiritual union of a man and a woman.
While it is not marriage, I have a great          Some of the above general information            conclusions.
deal of difficulty considering same-sex           is anecdotal, if nonetheless noteworthy.         At any rate, the numbers speak starkly for
committed relationships to be contrary to         One imagines that certain aspects of it          themselves and chewing on them is likely
God’s will. From what I can understand of         are to be expected as members of the             to invoke a severe case of indigestion; it
God and our faith, I don’t believe that sin       parish retire and move to be nearer to           is one which will take more than a packet
is defined arbitrarily. What is sinful is the     other family members, perhaps. From the          of Tums to relieve. Any gastric surgeons
product of hate, or greed, or jealousy, or        sources mentioned above, the following           out there?!
selfishness, or lust. I cannot comprehend         details emerge.                                                             Mark Levesley / DLP
sin being the consequence of an honest            Since few parishioners, if any, attend both
expression of love and commitment.                Sunday Services and, even if they did,
On the other hand I am also unconvinced           there are many parishioners who only                  154
that same-sex unions have any greater             occasionally attend either, how many
standing than any other form of human             families are actually on the parish list?
commitment to friendship or to com-               How many (adult) individuals in total does
munity. As a lay person, am I comfort-
able with the Church blessing same sex
                                                  that represent? There are probably about             203
                                                  10 children to be added to this.
unions? Yes, but I am not comfortable
                                                  What is the average attendance each
with the Church elevating such bless-
ing to the same level as holy matrimony,
                                                  Sunday (combining both Services, 2009),                70
                                                  Easter and Christmas included? Of these,
confirmation, and ordination. And I am
                                                  63 were adults and 7 were children, rep-
not comfortable with changes to Church
                                                  resenting 47 family units.
doctrine except through theological dis-
                                                  What is the average amount of per annum
course and evolving consensus. And I am
certainly not comfortable with a Church           giving by family unit?
                                                                                                       $ 6 10
leadership that forces this issue to the          What is the total of other income, i.e. rent-
point of schism because it cannot seem            als, bazaars, rummage sales, etc.?                $ 59,0 16
to fathom theological discourse and is
                                                  They say numbers don’t lie but is it likely
impatient with evolving consensus.
                   Brent Cowan, Rector’s Warden
                                                  that St. J. the B. will sustain a deficit this       YES
                                                  year or next?
(Boken Report continued)
which are in “residential neighbourhoods,              Further to the article published in last month’s MESSENGER, the following outline is
probably built in the fifties and sixties…             based on the notes of the ‘round-table discussion’ (December 14th, 2009), as recorded
these locations are vulnerable and, in                 by the Rector. They are listed roughly in the order in which they were discussed.
spite of hard work and dedication, do not
experience growth in the longer term.”                                                                a) Take Confirmation class / servers to a
The study concedes that such parishes,                                                                Mission - Tyndale, St Michael’s.
given “particularly gifted leadership”, can
be revived in the short term. However, the
                                                       Rector’s Note                                  b) Sponsor a refugee.
                                                                                                      c) Movie / Wii nights.
best hope for maintaining such a “level of
performance” lies in their amalgamation
                                                       Looking up to God                              In general discussion, proposals centred
with other similar parishes.                           for the future of Saint                        on developing an effective “Parish Care
The Church of Saint John the Baptist
                                                       John the Baptist.                              Team”, with, perhaps, meetings once
                                                                                                      per month. This would help us link up
sits in this latter rank, along with the
                                                       A first wish enunciated was the need to        prospective parishioners with current
Church of the Resurrection, St. Mary’s,
                                                       recruit younger people / families.             parishioners.
Kirkland, and St. Paul’s in Lachine.
                                                       There were a number of suggestions             Other questions asked.

A    n examination of the particular
     recommendations as they apply
to St. J. the B. does not make for very
                                                       aimed at encouraging new parishioners
                                                       to our midst. For example:
                                                                                                      1) Could we pick up older parishioners
                                                                                                      three times a year, for example, for a
                                                       a) pair up any new couples / individuals       Wednesday service and lunch?
encouraging reading. There is no doubt
                                                       with a parish family.                          2) Could we activate Parish contact teams
that the decision to hire an independent,
external consultant by the Diocese was                 b) Contact those parishioners who have         – “six units using phone lists should be
made with the intention of receiving an                left and ask them why.                         sufficient to keep in weekly touch”?
unbiased view of the current state of the              c) Invite friends & parishioners to a Spring   3) How about having coffee at the back
parishes within its purview. However, as               Fling (Dinner / Dance / Pot Luck) .            of the church or in the Narthex instead
things stand, it could be claimed that                                                                of in the Hall?
                                                       d) “Invite a Friend Sunday”.
the Boken report, while independent, is                                                               4) How many would support a Hymn Sing
not as unbiased as it may appear. Ms.                  e) Create advertising to give away at rum-
                                                       mage sales, bazaar, etc. & offer to do the     prior to the Sunday service?
Boken argues from a very particular set
of experiences and these have coloured                 same for other Anglican parishes.              There seemed to be a general sense
the report’s conclusions, even at a very               f) Approach the Post Office about the cost     that the parish should be willing to “try

                                                                                                                                                      Q :
detailed level. They place an onus on in-              to advertise for two or three parishes.        something completely different”. Other
dividual parishes, like ours, which many                                                              congregations have used liturgy projected
                                                       For young people.                              on overhead projectors using Powerpoint
will say is unfair or, at best, partisan. (It
was suggested by those who attended                    Among suggestions discussed were the           presentations. Most of us know all about
the Report’s unveiling at the Deanery                  following.                                     the “pooch” service at Christ Church,
that, in some measure, it is a report writ-            a) Give the ‘Family Service’ over to the       Beaurepaire (Paws to Pray)!
ten in support of judgements which have                families of the Parish to see how they         Among varied comments made and
already been drawn.)                                   would like this Service to be organized.       briefly discussed were the following.

O    n the other hand, we need to be                   Could it be based on contemporary ‘lit-        Send cards on first anniversaries of
     honest about the serious challenges               urgy and hymns’? Find out from parents         those who were married or had children
our parish faces; these are touched on                 what would interest them.                      baptized. Have a worship service once a

                                                                                                                                                      Editor :
in this newsletter and have appeared                   b) When might such a service take              year for them.
in previous issues of the MESSENGER.                   place:                                         Do Lenten lunches? Resurrect Alpha?
Ms. Boken’s repetition of the “Location!               Certain Sundays: 10.00 a.m.? Saturday          Have Bob, Allan, Bruce or Kevin contrib-
Location! Location!” mantra might                      evening: 4.30 p.m. or 5.00 p.m.? Wednes-       ute to The MESSENGER once a month,
seem crass when viewed in the light of                 day evening?                                   in rotation.
a worshipping congregation – but the
underlying metaphor is valid.                          It was felt that young people want to          Go Green! Have Hydro do an energy
                                                       belong to something ‘greater than them-        audit, purchase LED lights, have Church
What are we trying to sell and who are                 selves’.                                       school / servers / confirmation class help
we trying to sell it to?                                                                              reclaim the lawn.
                                                       For example:
T   he phrase which seems to most ac-
    curately predict a critical outcome
                                                                                                                        Rev’d Canon Bruce Glencross

is mentioned in the context of the “final
generation locations” – critical mass! If
                                                                      Pancake Supper
we continue to believe that our Anglican                   The annual Pancake Supper will take place on
traditions, solely on their own merit, will               Tuesday, February 16th, 5.45 p.m. and 7.00 p.m.
be adequate to sustain the future of this
parish, then that critical mass of people,               Adults: $8.00 • Children (under 12): $4.50 or $22.00
money, energy and vision will eventually                               per immediate family.
                           David L. Paterson. Editor
                                                         Cooks•Servers•Busboys needed                           Call Ted: 514-695-4746

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