Letter from Bishop Chris after General Synod

A LETTER FROM BISHOP CHRIS HARPER

To our Family in faith, the Diocese of Saskatoon, as we come toward the last day of this General Synod 2019, Vancouver B.C. We, your delegates for the Diocese of Saskatoon, acknowledge that this Synod has been a tiring and trying one. Emotions and passions have taken us to highs and lows, spurring our hearts to respond with Christian love and prayers to our many realities. Long nights and early mornings are the part of the physical reality as well.  

It has been interesting to note the responses within the circle of the Synod as well as those on the outside watching across Canada and beyond. With the legislative process and wording utilized there was no way there would have been a win / win result. This means that it then comes down to our Christian response to our Brothers and Sisters in faith, no matter where they sit or stand on this conversation. It should be noted that we as Christian have failed to witness God’s love to all when we stand firm in our own views. As of late, social media has become the weapon of choice for those that are passionate about one side of the conversation or the other. Certain on line attacks are far from Christian, they certainly do not respect another who has their own context and life. 

General Synod 2019 is yet another example of Christians across this land getting together to express their faith as they practice and witness, and as Christ has opened their hearts. Whilst on this journey of faith we as Christians are not all at the same place in faith and understanding, praise God in this fact, because this shows that the Spirit of God is alive and working in and amongst us. 

What am I coming away from this General Synod with: My dear Lord!!! we are different from each other, made lovingly in the image of God, but different in the song of life and experience we build up, is ours to sing before God Almighty at our end. This song is ours and ours alone, but still part of the great Choir God our Creator has blessed this world with. I personally give thanksgiving to the Almighty, for your song and I personally respect and honor you as you sing your song and presence in our beloved church. The church and the world would be diminished and less without you. 

We need to listen more and speak less, we need to pray more, we need to walk in humility in the love that God almighty exemplified and revealed in Christ to all peoples and nations: to be peace and hope in an embattled world… That the church is not perfect nor perfected. 

Reconciliation is not only an exercise with the Indigenous, but all peoples in God’s creation.

That General Synod is always going to be a challenge to the sensitivities of all of us. To believe that the Spirit of God is leading us should challenge the controlling nature within all of us. The Anglican church has Orders of Faith in our Primate, Metropolitans, Bishops, Chancellors, Archdeacons, Priests, Canons, Deacons, Wardens, Lay Readers, Servers, Ministers of the People, and Laity, all vital parts of the body of the church.

In the imagery of the body, a head is important but is useless without the neck to turn it, the shoulder to support the head and so on…  with all the parts of the body and their function, we as people of faith in our context need to see what your place and function is… 

Yours in Christ,

+ Christopher


Letter from Bishop Chris Harper Re: General Synod

To the Diocese of Saskatoon,

How do we receive and embrace change when it challenges us to the core? This is our Christian challenge in the Anglican Church of Canada in the present time and the days ahead.

Joshua 1:9 may be helpful for the days ahead as we pray and discern the call and will of God for the church and our faith, for as fear and trepidation came over Joshua who was called to lead the people into the promised land after Moses died, Gods word of encouragement rang in Joshua’s heart, “Be strong and courageous”...

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

On July 10-16 the delegates of the Diocese of Saskatoon will enter the doors of General Synod 2019, representing by your nomination, and election, our Parishes and our Diocese. We will stand with our brothers and sisters across the church and we will vote on changes that will affect the church and our witness to the wider church family.

Before us to vote on will be (succinctly):

1. The Primatial Election: Arch Bishop Fred Hiltz 13th Primate elected in 2007 is retiring and before General Synod 2019 we have five nominees from the House of Bishops:

  1. Bishop Jane Alexander of the Diocese of Edmonton

  2. Archbishop / Bishop Ron Cutler of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince

    Edward Island and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada

  3. Archbishop /Bishop Gregory Kerr-Wilson of the diocese of Calgary and

    Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert’s Land

  4. Bishop Linda Nicholls of the diocese of Huron

  5. Bishop Michael Oulton of the diocese of Ontario

Clergy and Laity vote in the Primatial Election and Bishops do not.


2. Indigenous self-determination in matters of ministry. Noting that this motion is not to walk apart from, but in equality and equity with the Anglican Church of Canada.

3. Changes to the Marriage Canon of the Anglican Church of Canada.

More detail on these prayer/discussion points can be found on the Anglican Church of Canada Website :

https://www.anglican.ca

As bishop of Saskatoon, I ask for your prayers for the delegates of our Diocese, General Synod 2019 as well as the church as family of faith. That we come home from General Synod with New Hope before us in the changes of the church, which may challenge us to the core, in one way or the other, but may so we cross over to change, one in the Body and family of God, prayerfully,pastorally, and faithfully... trusting in Gods will in all things.

So may it ring in our hearts: “Be strong and courageous”...Prayer for Synod:
Book of Alternative Services

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in General Synod for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honour and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Guide, we beseech thee, Almighty God, by the light of thy Holy Spirit, the counsels of the Bishops, Clergy, and Laity who will assemble in General Synod; that thy Church may dwell in peace, and fulfil all the mind of him who loved it and gave himself for it, thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Holy Week 2019

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The voices and prayers of the people across much of the world rose in unison as the flames of Notre Dame changed the landscape in Paris France. The fanning hand of flames and fingers of destruction reached out and pulled down the roof of the cathedral, and the falling spire to pierce the heart of the people and nation and as the hymns and prayers rose up, all were reminded of the fragility and non-permanence of our humanity. We are also reminded through this Holy Week that true faith is stronger than any stone of the greatest cathedral and that our prayers rise up higher than smoke, as we together this Holy Week walk the journey of our Lord and Saviour.  

Our hearts and prayers are with Paris, and I ask that our prayers also be lifted up for the Diocese and Churches of our communities which stand as landmarks of hope for so many. Pray for the Leadership and clergy as we welcome all to the walk of so many emotions in this Holy Week. Lent should have prepared us, as we stand together in faith, a face among the many in the crowd, shocked at the momentous events before us. 

+ Chris Harper

Advent - Christmas 2018

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Psalm 126:3  The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.

            In meditating on Psalm 126 this day in the season of Advent, we acknowledge that God has done great, wondrous and mysterious things in and amongst us. Maybe this is what Advent and Christmastide is all about, persevering through the difficult with hope and peace, and knowing all the while that God is with us. 

            Christmas is heralded each Advent Sunday in our parishes in Peace, Hope, Joy and Love, tempered with the reality of our brokenness, it is in the balance of the expected and desired, reality and truth that we reach out to the promise and gift of God Almighty, revealed in the true gift of Christmas... in Christ. 

Christmas is not just about gifts, but acknowledging our relationships and familial ties, in the coming together to celebrate Gods' blessing and faithfulness to us all in the seasons past. This is the reason we come together to worship, to sing our songs of praise and to rejoice, for we do it as a people of God and family of faith... that love and forgive, as we are loved and forgiven in the faithfulness of God. 

            I am thankful to all our Clergy in and outside the Diocese as they give of themselves the parish family, often they are alone away from their family and they celebrate as they can in and through the many services and needs. I am thankful for all who serve the church in so many and varied ways through this most blessed and busy season, especially for those who serve behind the scenes to lift up worship and enable smooth procession. I am thankful for everyone's gift of your ministry, as we walk together to Christmas morning, where once again we remember and celebrate the one true and glorious gift given of God to all in the world. 

Truly, God has done great things for us, and we rejoice!!!

Christmas Peace and + + +Blessings,

+ Chris and Tracy