Stewardship at SMM

To the SMM Community:

As Christians and followers of Christ, our mission is to form and nurture a community of faith which worships God, seeks to deepen in faith, cares for one another, and acts in the world with love, mercy and justice. Indeed, these are the “currencies” of the kingdom.

To sustain the parish of St. Mary Magdalene, we rely on the generosity of those who call SMM home. The majority of our parish income of approximately $400,000 comes from parishioners who make regular contributions to the parish. This “currency” pays salaries and utilities, keeps the organ in tune and the building in good repair, and includes what we give to others in need in the community and beyond.

We offer our deepest thanks to our parishioners and friends who, together, allow SMM to be what it is. Thank you for your generosity!

We are inviting you, as a member of our community, to consider what financial support you are able to offer this year to support the parish and its ministries. There are several different ways to make regular contributions:

  • The Pre-Authorized Giving form allows you to make a monthly donation from your bank account or on a credit card.

  • If you have not done so recently, you can change your monthly donation amount using the attached form.

  • If you wish to receive weekly or offering envelopes to put on the collection plate, please call the parish office at (416) 531-7955.

  • Contributions can also be made through Canada Helps by using the “Donate” button on our website at www.stmarymagdalene.ca

We each offer our thanks to you for your support of SMM.

Yours faithfully,

The Reverend Canon David Harrison
Rector

Mark Harding                   Elizabeth Salvaterra
People’s Warden            Rector’s Warden

 David Greig                               Catherine Riddell
Deputy People’s Warden      Deputy Rector’s Warden

A Lenten Pastoral Letter from the Rector

The roots of Lent in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, and in the sacraments of the Gospel; the setting of Lent in the noble structure of the Christian calendar of worship and devotion; the demand of the Lenten message on our life and death -- these are great and mysterious themes that Lent forces on our attention.  Fr Eugene Fairweather

Fr Fairweather wrote these words in 1962 in his book The Meaning and Message of Lent, which is our Lenten study book this year. Lent does, or at least ought to, force our attention. It has a different vibe, a different feel. Purple becomes our liturgical colour, we don't utter the word "Alleluia", and the readings and the prayers and the music all draw us deeper into our spiritual lives, as a kind of "spring cleaning" before we open up to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Indeed, the word "Lent" comes from an Old English word for "spring".)

At the liturgies of Ash Wednesday (March 6th) we will all be invited "to observe a holy Lent by self-examination, penitence, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and by reading and meditating on the word of God." In these last days before Lent begins, may I invite you join me in contemplating what the shape of your own Lent might be, and how our parish life at SMM might be part of it.

On the eve of Ash Wednesday (Shrove Tuesday) we have the last great feast, a pancake supper (which begins at 5.35 pm). Prior to supper the last mass before Lent is celebrated upstairs at 5.00. At the end of supper we are invited to go outside and burn last year's palms, that they might be transformed into ashes for the next day.

On Ash Wednesday, mass will be celebrated at 7.15 and 10.00 am (said) and at 6.15 pm (solemn). At each mass ashes will be imposed on our foreheads to remind us of our own mortality and ultimate reliance on God. I will also spend time at 12.30 pm offering "Ashes to Go" at the corner of College and Euclid; please consider joining me.

And then Lent continues. In addition to our regular round of daily masses, the Stations of the Cross are walked every Friday night at 7.00 pm. This quiet and meditative observance (which lasts about 45 minutes) invites us to journey with Jesus to the Cross.

And, as we move through Lent, we are invited to read Fr Fairweather's book. A group is meeting each Wednesday from 11.00 am to 12.00 noon (following the 10.00 mass) to discuss the book. (The session on Wednesday evenings has been cancelled owing to lack of participants, but if there are a few who wish to pick up the study, please let me know and we shall!) Even if you aren't able to participate in a study, please consider picking up a copy of the book from me or the office and reading along with us.

What might your Lent look like? Might you consider adding a daily mass or the Stations of the Cross to your weeky routine? Or making a particular commitment to attend on Sundays? Or to provide additional alms (money) to SMM  (be on the look out for a special invitation from the wardens) or another charity? Or pursuing spiritual conversation or the sacrament of confession with one of the clergy (all you need to do is ask for our time)? Or refraining from a meal, or some food or drink, particularly on Fridays? These are just some of the ways in which we are invited to consider how to mark this holy season, how to allow our attention to be grabbed by it. So that, when Holy Week and Easter arrives, our minds and bodies and souls are made the more ready to celebrate the joyful mysteries of our new birth in Christ.

May we have a holy Lent.

David+

Epiphany 2019 Boot Drive Success!

The boots we collected in this year’s Boot Drive, before the altar at SMM.

The boots we collected in this year’s Boot Drive, before the altar at SMM.

Our Boot Drive has ended—we collected 21 pairs!

Many, many thanks to those who gave.

We will be running it again next winter (beginning in November) so if you weren't able to contribute this year, please bear it in mind when you are sorting through your winter gear at the beginning of spring this year.

Next year we are hoping to collect even more boots!

Why do we collect boots?

Winter is very hard on people who live marginally. Decent cold-weather footwear is expensive, and often other needs take precedence. But cold wet feet lead to frostbite and circulation problems that can make getting around even harder for people whose lives are already difficult. Every year, we try to help by gathering together lots of boots, especially in men's sizes, to take to a social services agency that can distribute them to people who need them. For the past few years we have run a Boot Drive (and a concurrent Sock Drive for warm wool socks) beginning in early November and ending on Epiphany (6 January).

Why do we run the Boot Drive until Epiphany (instead of Christmas)?

The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the moment when the magi recognized Christ as the light of the world, and they brought gifts to honour him. We, as Christians, are called to recognize Christ in every person, even - especially - those who are most lost and broken. The boots that are brought to the Boot Drive are gifts we bring to the Christ Child. The photo accompanying this post shows this year’s boot collection placed in front of our altar, because, like the collection we take up on Sunday to support the various ministries of our parish, we bring them before God as an offering before sending them out to those who need them.

Pray, my brothers and sisters, that this, my sacrifice and yours, may acceptable to God the Father almighty. And pray, also, that these small gifts may be a sign of hope and love, and that they may be a source of warmth to ease the chill of winter for those who receive them.

Christmas Pageant with Flair

Christmas eve wouldn’t be the same without a pageant and our late afternoon service did not disappoint. While those attending sang carols that tell the story, some of our smallest parishioners - joined by a few children and adults brought the story to life to a new script thoughtfully prepared by Viola Lang. We enjoyed both action and moments of quiet and reflection.


Wreath Making - challenging and fun

The night before Advent begins, families gather to assemble an Advent wreath to take home. We provide the forms, the greenery, the candles and the decorations. The participants enjoy a light supper and then get down to work. The creations are always inspiring. The smallest partiicipants were challenged by the wreath making process - but not by catching bubbles, as you can see below.