Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Amazing Day in Church

This morning, Pentecost Sunday, started for me in Ottawa, where I was attending a Canadian Forces chaplains' function. A colleague suggested we attend a nearby Anglican church, St. George's, since the rector is the brother of our chaplain team lead at Greenwood.

I can only say that the Holy Spirit blew my socks off this morning. St. George's Church is a lovely old building on Metcalfe Street, not far from Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa.

The service was wonderfully chaotic and totally comfortable, as if I was attending a large house church. The eucharist was clearly from the Book of Alternative Service, though the prayer after communion was the wonderful thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer. Music was blended - a dynamic praise band and some good modern worship songs mixed with an offertory hymn on the lovely pipe organ. The folks are welcoming, and there were an astonishing number of young families present, at least a dozen. While the church wasn't packed, it was comfortable full. The sermon by Fr. David Crawley was heartfelt and solid, and the highpoint was an energetic passage of a large tie-died style Pentecost flame banner, passed repeatedly over the heads of all in the church by willing and upraised hands. St. |George's website is found here.

St. George's has chosen to affiliate with the conservative Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) ,rather than with the Anglican Church of Canada. Prayers were asked during the service this morning for ANiC churches currently engaged in litigation over their buildings, and prayers were also said for the ACC bishops litigating against these churches, which I found quite generous. I have no knowledge at present of how legal relations are between St. George's and the ACC's Diocese of Ottawa. While this post is not meant as an endorsement of ANiC, I certainly felt that God was doing something wonderful in this urban church where so many other downtown churches are closed or struggling. I ask your prayers for the people of St. George's Ottawa and for healing and reconciliation in the Anglican Communion.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mad Padre! I am the secretary at St. George's, Ottawa. Thank you for visiting us, and for this wonderful post, which has given much encouragement to those of us who've been blessed to read it. Thus we would like to reproduce this post in our upcoming newsletter if you are agreeable to it. Please reply to the church office. Thanks again!
Blessings, Beth

Carolyn said...

I've also visited St. George's and found it to be a very warm and iviting place. It has a wonderfully mixed congregation, inspiring preaching by Fr. Crawley, moving worhip, and a comfortable balance between structure and openness to the movement of the Spirit. They also have a wonderfully-written newsletter, Witness, that's available on their website. I always look forward visitng St. George's during my trips to Ottawa.

Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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