Slideshow image

Sunday, October 22, 2023

This fall, St. Matthew saw a surge of interest, from all age groups, in Confirmation Preparation and commitment to Christ through the Anglican Church.

This sense of commitment and spiritual renewal has been a joyous process, culminating in the Confirmation Service hosted by Holy Spirit (Maple Ridge), where four people (Devon, Emmanuel, Robert, & Rebekah) from St. Matthew and two (Maria and Victor) from Holy Spirit were confirmed by Bishop John Stephens. Devon received double blessings (and cake), having been baptised that morning and confirmed in the afternoon.

Both congregations were there in force, sharing the Love of Christ with all who were present. Rev. Miranda Sutherland, Vicar of Holy Spirit presented the candidates and Rev. Karen Saunders was the deacon for the service. 

In his Sermon, Bishop John emphasized the message from the Gospel (Matthew 22: 15-22), “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperors, and to God the things that are God's.” The members of the congregation and the confirmands were confronted with the question: What really belongs to God?

Of special note, Bishop John blessed Holy Spirit’s 215 Indigenous Resource Room, created to honour the lost children and survivors of the Residential School Tragedy. We were reminded that we are all responsible for reconciliation, no matter when or where we were during those dark years. The space invites all who would like to learn and understand more about the stories and the impact of the Residential Schools in Canada. A space for quiet contemplation, study, and healing prayer.

The 215 tiny orange sweaters were knitted with love by Holy Spirit parishioners.

Following communion, the bishop received many special gifts from the young people of Holy Spirit, and a lovely and unique Talking Stick, fashioned by Rev. Miranda Sutherland for this occasion.

After the service, everyone enjoyed a lovely meal—a two-cake affair—and got to know each other better.

Many thanks to Deborah and Thomas of Holy Spirit and the hard-working group of people who lovingly prepared food and decorated the church and hall in preparation for the Bishop’s visit. To Mimi and her Sunday School group, thank you for your lovely handmade gifts for Bishop John.

Thanks also to Trish, Linda, Art, Margaret, and the friends and families of the confirmation candidates for their presence and participation. Special thanks and appreciation to Dick Martin for all his time, hard work, and expertise in developing, with Rev. Miranda Sutherland, the Confirmation Preparation classes and program at St. Matthew.

Mother Miranda has ignited something special in our hearts with this program and the parish can look forward to many more Confirmations, Reaffirmations, and Receptions in the coming years.