Parish Council News

Wardens' wanderings - Advent 2018

By the time you read this article, so much will have already happened in November in connection with St. Anne's. The Christmas Bazaar and a Shoebox Party will be memories, as will be our Remembrance Day services. Bible Studies with Bishop Terry Dance and Looking Ahead to Sundays on Mondays will have started.

In the October edition of the Huron Church News, Rev. Canon Christopher B.J. Pratt noted "One of the realities of life as a Christian is that with our baptism comes a certain set of expectations. The Baptismal Covenant outlines very clearly how our faith must shape our lives....being a faithful follower of Jesus takes time, takes effort, and whether we like it or not, it takes work." Bonnie Rees, ACW President also wrote in the same newsletter about the personal blessing God had given her. She said: "I need to live up to these gifts, to make the best use of everything I have been given; to not squander it, not waste it, not ignore it. We are called to serve." There is certainly no lack of opportunity to be active and contributing to both the life of our parish and our own faith life. Have you found your place to shine in our community? If not, think about your gifts of experience and how they could be shared for the good of God's people in the parish or in the wider community.

Many thanks to Rev. Val, Rev. Matt Martin and Phil Hallman and the choir for an exceptional night of music. A great deal of work and preparation was done by all involved, resulting in an evening of wonderful music and fellowship. Truly a blessing for all who attended! And for all lovers of music and in preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth, don't forget to attend the annual Christmas concert at Byron United.

Many people contribute to the work done at St. Anne's to sustain our parish. Without you and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we would certainly be a hollow shell of what could be. Peter
Hawkins has been busy with a number of property matters and we are all safer for it. Conforming with accessibility regulations has meant that our new washroom sign is at a height that some of us will
have to walk around. Do watch your head! Our sidewalk by the church has been levelled after a tripping incident that, thankfully, did not result in any serious injuries. Please speak to Peter or a warden
about any question you have on property matters, particularly those that may be a safety concern. It takes a community of interested people to keep us safe.

As we start to also count down to the end of the calendar year, it is worth noting that St. Anne's has enjoyed financial stability brought about by your donations and the fund-raising work of so many of you. Financial information in the weekly bulletins has given you a glimpse into our year-to-date revenues. The Wardens and Parish Council, with wonderful help from Keisha G. as our Treasurer, have been watching our expenses. Work has already begun on assembling the parish's 2019 budget. As noted in last year's Mission and Ministry Plan, we will have a major expense in the next year or so when we replace the flat roof over the kitchen, Quilters' and Heritage Rooms. We all need to consider what we can do as individuals and families to support the ministries we hold dear. Some of your contributions will be in time, some in lending experience to the church and some in giving financially. Remember that only those donations received by the end of the calendar year can be used to reduce your income taxes payable. Individuals who have envelopes and contributed to the church have received two interim contribution statements this year. A snapshot of givings for envelope holders is included below (print only). The Contribution Range indicates how much has been given between January and October 2018. You will also see how many envelope holders have given in that range as
well as their average contribution. Food for thought when you want to consider your donation for the year. Note that the number of contributors in the table above does not include those making a one-time donation.

As we enter the season of Advent, that season of expectation and waiting for the birth of the Messiah, how will you respond to this year's slate of activities at work, at home, in your community and at church? Busyness in our lives can crowd out any sense of connection with the Divine and that God wants to have a very personal, one-to-one relationship with us. He wants to be our friend in the true sense of conversing with and enjoying time with each other. Rev. Carrie Irwin, in the October Huron Church News, reminded us that silence is full of answers. Often it is difficult to find silent moments in the day and most of us are not used to that practice or discipline of listening for the divine. Rev. Irwin notes that "While we may find moments of silence in the world around us, finding silence in our hearts and minds can sometimes be all too elusive."

With this in mind, it seems that cultivating a time or space for us to find that silence would be a most rewarding gift to ourselves, though a difficult challenge. For who among us could not use a refreshing few minutes with no expectations, no conflicts, no rushing here and there and simply opening ourselves up to the living God who wants us to simply be intentionally available to Him? In this season of Advent, we hope you take up this challenge, to enter the time of silent waiting for Jesus, for that silence is indeed full of answers to life's questions. And truthfully, wouldn't we all like to
have some answers?

Wardens serving you in Christ
Keith Brooks, Shelly Lowther, Sophie Skaith, Marg Wolsley