The Church year ends with a bang in the month of August. A fast, two major feasts, three feasts of the Lord, and a few other important festal days finish off the summer season, not to mention our last chance to be at cottages, and on vacation.
As a bonus this August we also had our Archdiocesan Assembly, and a Church camp. All this bringing us to the start of a new cycle in September. A little more an enlightened, if not a little more tired.
Of note was the rite of Holy Untion, served during the Dormition fast. My hope is to have these services offered more then once a year, taking advantage of the mercy of the Lord who implores us to come together to call for “the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (Jam. 5:14-15) I was encouraged at the many faithful who came to this service, seeking the mercy of the Lord.
I had the opportunity to take a trip out to Camp Met with my family, at Bird River Bible Camp (just east of Lac DuBonnet) this week. The camp is run by Fr. Ted (Paraskevopoulos) and a team from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek Metropolis in Toronto, for the Greek Churches of Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. But it is Fr. Ted’s desire that it grow into a pan Orthodox camp, with children and clergy from our various Churches.
Besides the excellent staff, activities and services (Matushka approved!), it is more importantly an opportunity to expose our children to other children from other parishes, who share the same dreams, and face the same battles as Orthodox Christians, (like our very own Samuel who went up this year). It is my hope that next year we as a parish can contribute and support this wonderful ministry, for our children and the witness of the unity of our faith. We are sending our older children next year!
For a week both myself and SubDn. David Pensato were just outside Ottawa for the Archdiocesan Assembly. A full report on the business of the Assembly will be given in the next few weeks. But of note was the humility and softness of our Metropolitan Tikhon, whose willingness to listen, was only matched by his genuine concern for our diocese and its troubling circumstances.
Having being to a few of these Assemblies, I noticed that there is a bit of the changing of the guard going on. The usual suspects that have represented their parishes for over a decade, were not out in force. Lots of new faces, with different perspectives, and different talents, were present. This is a very good sign for the future of the Archdiocese.