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Dear beautiful people of our parish,

I write to you on this lovely holiday of Thanksgiving as we all celebrate the abundance in our lives AND cope with learning to live in unsettling times. No matter what the future holds, we know it will be so different from what we’ve known before. And we might find ourselves longing for the past, for the comfortable, for what at least seemed safe. And yet, as my friend, the Rev. Scott Denman, said a few days ago: “When Paul says we are to BOAST in the cross of Christ, he is pointing out that the church must name the traumas of this world, not just name them but act in ways that bring healing.”  He goes on to say, “We embrace a faith that embraces and walks towards all the traumas of the world.” Powerful stuff, right? And what gives us the courage, boldness, and tenacity to do this? I think it’s opening our hearts to see, hear, taste, and feel the abundance that surrounds us. We give thanks, as Paul also bids us: “Rejoice in the Lord always.” And so we are called in these unsettling times to both name and walk into the fires of trauma AND to rejoice in God’s abundance — in other words, to let all that we are praise God. In this way, we are both blessed and become a blessing to the world.

We can be thankful for a summer of smoke knowing that we did not live through evacuation or loss of homes and community, while praying for those who have suffered and still are suffering.

We can be thankful that in the midst of the COVID times in our community, so many found hope and courage in renewing their commitment to human endeavours — growing gardens; baking, cooking, and preserving; repairing, restoring, and renovating; and exploring new avenues of learning … we have not been idle. And we can pray for those struck down or incapacitated by the virus and for those who deny the reality of it.

We can be thankful for all those who have stepped up to answer needs: rides to medical appointments, groceries delivered, gardens dug, masks stitched, books shared. And we can pray for those isolated and lonely in this time of distancing and fear.

We can be thankful for the resourcefulness of creative people finding ways for choirs to sing, concerts to take place, art to be shown. And we can pray that we continue to find new ways to share and appreciate the expressions of life and beauty as celebrated in the arts.

We can be thankful for gentle hearts stepping up to raise money, offer comfort, speak the words of kindness we all so need to hear. And we can pray for those whose hearts are closed and angry. And we can pray for ourselves when we react without compassion.  

We can be thankful for all those who serve our community from our first responders to our Search & Rescue, both the marine and the online, to staff of our hospital and care homes.

And we can pray for those who are bereft of professional, kind, and respectful medical care, and for those struggling with addictions and lack of support.

We can give thanks that we know our only true safety lies in the Creator, who is responsible for us being here at all. We can give thanks with all our hearts and know how blessed we truly are!

However you choose to celebrate this time and holiday of Thanksgiving, may your hearts be so overflowing with gratitude that you are moved to continually seek ways to share God’s blessing. Certainly the church will also be grateful for any special donations you feel inspired to share.

And may you be blessed, all of you and all those you love and all those who you find hard to love. May God’s blessing so overflow your being that you become a bright flame of light in the world.

Gyllian +

PS Thanksgiving donations may be made by cheque (made out to “Anglican Parish of SSI”) with   “Thanksgiving” written on the memo line.

Cheques may be mailed to:  Anglican Parish of SSI, 110 Park Drive, Salt Spring Island BC V8K 2R7
or dropped off through the mail chute on the lower level of All Saints.              

Your extra gift is greatly appreciated!