Southpoint News – Week of February 24th, 2019
In preparation for a workshop on worship that Angela and I will be hosting on Saturday, March 9th, I have been thinking about worship, and pondering how the different pieces of our worship services are, in and of themselves, moments of epiphany. Slowly I have been journeying through the order of our worship, looking at each movement within the service and asking how this, too, is epiphany. Then I have been sharing some of my thoughts with you in the Southpoint News. This week, I am pondering the meaning of communion.
I just read “Signs of Hope”, a monthly feature of Street Psalms that highlights incarnational leaders seeing and celebrating good news in hard places. This particular blog references the national crisis unfolding in Haiti. If you are unfamiliar with this crisis, here is a short excerpt from the blog:
“The entire country of Haiti has been shut down since the 7th of this month. Protestors are demanding justice in response to $3 billion worth of mismanaged funds by the former government. There are roadblocks everywhere, and the situation is getting worse as water, propane for cooking, and bread are rare. Hospitals cannot function. The President and the Prime Minister are arguing publicly on television. The national political situation is, in a word, tense.”
The blog was written by Valery Vital-Herne, a senior fellow with Street Psalms, who lives and works in his hometown of Port-au-Prince. As I read his words, I found myself longing to hear theological reflection from someone outside my own middle-class, white, north american perspective. How would Valery Vital-Herne describe the significance of communion for his city, for his people? What does this sacrament of the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus, offered up for the healing of the world, mean to him? What does it mean to suffering communities around the world, particularly those operating outside of our own western cultural biases and norms?
In our epiphany practices this year, we have been listening to stories of those who have traveled to cultures outside of our own. Part of my curiosity in making room for these stories was my desire to receive glimpses of Christ from other places, contexts, and cultures, glimpsing bits of light that we might not readily see. I found myself wondering this morning, what would communion look like through the eyes of these communities?
Matthew Kustenbader wrote an article for The Other Journal: An Intersection of Theology and Culture. In the article, he shared the statistics that in 1900, 80 percent of professing Christians were European/ Euro-American. By 2005, those demographics had shifted – 60 percent of professing Christians now in the non-Western world.
He noted how this demographic shift is creating a revolution in religion by “dismantling the Western philosophical and metaphysical edifice.” The result? The West is no longer the “exclusive culture of reference” for the burgeoning global church. Although this shift is occurring, theological edifices in the west are either failing to see or choosing to ignore the ways in which Christianity is evolving. Having laid the foundation, he then introduced the purpose of his article: to explore an african understanding of communion as a way of enriching the global church’s understanding.
I could write up for you my theological reflections on communion. However, perhaps we could journey a bit farther afield together. The Christ light is manifesting so brilliantly around the common meal and cup of african Christian communities.Can you find a quiet corner to go on a journey? This is the beauty of our technological age. We can journey across the world at the push of a button and sit at the feet of Christ. An African Christ:
Here are a few snippets from the article, food for thought to whet your appetite:
“The Enlightenment in the West has fashioned in its own image a Christianity distinguished by individual choice, privatized religious belief, and abstract intellectual and philosophical concepts. In contrast, African Christianity most often resembles the pre-Reformation churches, insisting that faith must be framed in a communal context.”
“The Masai “would ask the Spirit to come and change the community into the body of Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit they could say together, “This—not just the bread and wine, but the whole life of the village, its work, play, joy, sorrow, the homes, the grazing fields, the flocks, the people—all this is my Body.” Such recognition—that all elements of life are interconnected because they belong to God—illustrates the powerful moral imperative that under girds our celebrations of the Eucharist.”
“The fact that world Christianity’s vitality is inversely proportional to material affluence is provocative and convicting. Has the increase in Western material sophistication made us insensitive to the demands of Christianity? In his words to Nigerian Christians, Bishop Joseph Ukpo reminds Western Christians that Christ’s love in the Eucharist must make a difference. He asks, “What is the efficacy of the one bread and the one cup? You who have received Holy Communion . . . what have you done and what will you do as a result of your participation? Remember, the Eucharistic Imperative is simply LOVE.”
WORSHIP WORKSHOP @ SOUTHPOINT
March 9th, 1-4:30 at Kingfisher Farm
It is our desire to draw a few more people into worship leading at Southpoint, both as liturgists and as musicians and worship leaders. We will be hosting a mini-worship workshop for those currently involved in leading the worship at Southpoint and those who have interest in being involved. (both liturgists and musicians) Contact Anne or Angela for more information or to RSVP.
Artist Guild is starting up again with 2 Lenten Workshops.
Saturday March 2, 7-8:30 pm
Visual Artist, Cara Bain will be leading us in a workshop focusing on Eyes. Our theme during this Lent focuses on Vision and this will be the beginning of our visual exploration.
Friday March 8, 7-8:30 with some more art as we prepare for the beginning of Lent.
This Artist Guild is open to anyone 10 years old and up. Contact Angela for more information.
An email with the AGM report went around on Tuesday, so check your inboxes, and if you have any questions that could be answered in preparation for the AGM, contact Anne or Theresa.
“Healing Religious Addiction: Reclaiming Healthy Spirituality”, by Matthew, Sheila, and Dennis Linn. Facilitated by Anne Smith
“Why does Christianity set some people free but leave other people more locked up than ever before? By locked up I mean more rigid, more distant from their real selves, less able to think what they think, feel what they feel, and want what they want?” – Shelia Linn
I would like to create a safe place for anyone who is asking such questions. Many of us have come from religious backgrounds that both gifted and wounded us. If you are ready to look at these wounds, would like to know more about this book, or are interested in joining me in a lenten conversation around this book, please contact Anne at email@example.com
Hello Southpoint church family, I am excited to share with you that I am co-facilitating a Saturday Lenten retreat focused on finding God in the dark on March 2. The day retreat offers stories, input and opportunities to engage with helpful prayer practices ( collage, colouring, journaling, or simple stillness) and reflective sharing. Just click on the link to learn more. Thanks for considering this event and passing the word along to your friends and networks. Hope to see you there. Cheers, Brent
A Rocha Spring Break Day Camp
Monday, March 25th – Friday, March 29th
Join us for our Spring Break Day Camp (Ages: 6-12). We will spend every day (9am 3pm) outdoors exploring the signs of Spring in the wetland, forest and farmland at Brooksdale Environmental Centre. Children will have fun singing songs, making crafts and playing games.
Bring your own snack (morning and afternoon) and lunch; bring a water bottle. Come dressed warmly for rain or shine. Boots required!
Cost: $190 (*financial assistance available)
Craig and I have really enjoyed going to the LIFEAPP events. The next one is Friday, March 15th @ 7:30-9:00 at the Chief Sepass Theatre in Langley. We’d love to gather a mix of youth and adults to meet at the theatre for this event. Are you interested? The topic is “Shame on You”
“Shame, fuelled by secrecy, silence and judgement, is something we all experience to one degree or another. At times it shows up through people around us, communities we’re part of, or cultural expectations imposed on us. But more frequently it is the judge within, that internal voice that tells us we are not good enough….that we are flawed and ultimately unworthy of love and belonging. Too often shame convinces us to serve sentences in prisons built out of lies. So how do we stop it? How do we free ourselves from the judge within? How can we silence the voices that make us feel small, flawed, and never good enough? This month we want to start a conversation around shame-resilience: understanding our vulnerabilities and cultivating the kind of empathy, courage, and compassion that will put a stop to the shame that holds us back.”
Interested in Baptism?
We have baptisms at Southpoint when a youth or adult expresses a desire to be baptized. Two youth have expressed a desire to be baptized. Are there any other youth/children/adults interested? If so, please communicate with Anne so she can follow up and explore this with you.
Epiphany 2019: “In Search of Light”
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who set their hearts on pilgrimage.”
– Psalm 84:5
Throughout the Sundays of Epiphany and up until Lent begins, we will listen those in our community who have set out on a journey this year and returned with stories of epiphany. What would it look like if we too said yes and set our hearts on pilgrimage anew this new year? What if we began to listen, seriously listen, to our own holy hunger? What if we began to seek for the manifestation of God wherever our feet take us? Where would we find Christ?
Monday, Feb. 18th: Roots @ 8:30 – book discussion at Anne’s
Sunday, Feb. 24th: ALL OUT – Gathering Groups
Monday, Feb. 25th: Roots @ 8:30 – hang out time at Anne’s
Wednesday, Feb. 27th: AGM @ 6:30
Sunday, March 3rd: Traveling Stories: Adam’s Epiphany
Monday, March 4th: Roots @ 8:30 – book discussion at Anne’s
Have an Announcement?
If you have an addition you would like included in this newsletter, please send a prepared announcement as you would like it to appear to: firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday and we will get back to you.
If you have a need for prayer that you would like to pass on to the prayer chain, please contact John Hardy.