Alecia Greenfield
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“At that time I will bring you home,  at the time when I gather you;for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth,when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord” 

Zephaniah 3:14-20


For seventy years we have been gathering together in this place to receive the announcement of the resurrection, and this year will be no different. The message of the resurrection takes on a new meaning this year, however, given that we are celebrating our platinum anniversary in the building on April 16, 2023. We have a special service with the Bishop planned, beautiful music, and a festive reception afterwards, which I hope you can join us for. But the resurrection is also more than this, it's about how we got to this- which is something Zephaniah helps to anchor our celebrations in this easter.

The section that opens our letter is from near the end of the book, which is known as part of the minor prophets of Israel, and is read on Easter Saturday during our vigil- when we hear again the story of our salvation. But this isn't a story for Zephaniah, or for us only, it's a living experience of life. A life which will always be full of uncertainties and unknowns. Only a decade ago we were slated for closure because of dwindling capacity and budgets. Our choice was dignified closure, and we refused. We knew that God was up to something in this place and we refused to let it die. That something is what our founding generation had prayed for when they consecrated this building, which was for a community of hope, faith, light, and love to take root on the UBC campus. Something which after 70 years we continue to evolve into in this place

It continues to evolve because we have listened to God's call to come home to our truest selves throughout the generations. To change and shift, even when it's uncomfortable, to be a welcoming and outward facing community who sees its mission as alive in the streets of our neighbourhood. We’ve welcomed rich and poor, gay, straight, non-binary, trangendered, immigrant, local, student, and so much more to join us. We have learned valuable lessons, made mistakes, and rejoiced in our successes as we continue to be “renowned and praised among all peoples” in our neighbourhood. Slowly, we are being seen for what we are; that little church that could- and its becoming infectious.

It's becoming infectious because we are listening to God, and following God's call in our lives to seek the Kingdom of God in this world. Yet 70 isn't just a number either, its a sacred cycle of practice. Seven, in the Christian world, speaks to the perfection and completion of the world. God's sacred completion of what is ordained to happen, we have practiced and lived that for 7 decades together. The question is what will the next seven decades of love look like in this place? Only God knows, but the signs are being planted all around us today.

Part of that perfect 7 fold love we experience here starts with community. We continue to feed the hungry, visit the sick, create community in the margins of our world, and this year restarted the Anglican Chaplaincy at the University of British Columbia. We work with partner parishes, we continue to deepen our walk with reconciliation, and broaden our horizon of purpose to include everyone we meet on the road of faith. All of which brings us to the fulfillment of what Zephania was speaking about. We will go through challenges and fires of purification on our walk of faith, but the one absolute is that God will always be right next to us, bidding us to keep going. A bidding, a going, which includes you too.

I invite you to make a donation to our shared ministry this Easter in thanksgiving for all the ways you’ve been touched by God through the seven decades of ministry here. For all the everyday moments and memories, the coffees, socials, christmas sales, bbq’s, baptisms, weddings, funerals and so much more. We are a parish alive in active service because of you, because of your presence, your commitment, and your willingness to live the love you are given here by God in the world.

Come and celebrate the Love of Christ’s Resurrection this Easter and St. Anselm’s day! We have much to give thanks for!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!!