Celebration At Transfiguration….
We worship with creativity, commitment, enthusiasm and inclusivity. The 8:30 a.m. Sunday service, with an average attendance of 13 follows The Book of Common Prayer. The 10:30 a.m. Sunday service, with an average attendance of 82, uses The Book of Alternative Services, as well as several other Eucharists. There is also a Wednesday morning Eucharistic celebration in the chapel with an average attendance of 10 to 12 people. Many members, including our children and youth, add to the creative flavour of Worship.
There is a regular Sunday Children’s Programme, during the 10:30 service, which operates on a “theme” rotation basis. Members of the congregation assist our Christian Education Co-ordinator in leading the various workshops. There is also a supervised Nursery offered at the 10:30 service, as well as for many other special functions. Parishioners enjoy the coffee and fellowship time that follows both the 8:30 and the 10:30 services.
The Advent Season opens with a traditional plainsong version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel and closes with a reggae version of that same hymn as we dance our way to Christmas. The Advent Candle is lit each Sunday by a delightful mixture of adults and children. The family theme continues on Advent Four with the Trimming of the Greens when the entire congregation decorates our parish home for Christmas. While our musicians play jazz tunes of the season, poinsettias are placed; windowsills are festooned; the crèche is set out and each one of us brings a personal decoration to place on the tree.
The Feast of the Transfiguration is a time for celebrating our life together as a parish family. We sing the hymn A Moment in Time which was written by one of our resident composers and features the words “Here in this place, I see God’s face wreathed in the smiles of hello.” Last year we each wrote down our prayers for the parish and offered them along with the gifts at communion. Because we like to eat, there is always cake.
Holy Week observation is a hallmark of our parish. A planning team meets before Lent begins. After reading the assigned Holy Week lections, the team selects a theme and the creativity flows. A theme song is written for the Lenten gradual, and characters are chosen from the readings. These characters are portrayed by parishioners who create monologues and dramas that reflect the theme. These characters show up during Holy Week but are particularly evident on Good Friday when their monologues are interspersed with a retelling of the Passion, prayers and another original song that underscores the theme. Attendance at this service has become a tradition for many outside of the parish. Holy Week ends with a joyous Easter service that starts with the traditional Jesus Christ it Risen Today and ends with the ragtime Christ is Atonement.
St. Francis’ Day is celebrated by the Blessing of Pets at our 10:30 service. Our honorary assistant priest blesses a wide assortment of pets, gamely cradling each one, be it cat, dog, chicken, partridge or hamster. He draws the line at snakes and fish-out-of-water! As each creature is blessed a ribbon is placed on their collar or crate. Homemade dog and cat treats are available for all pets attending and for those who are more comfortable at home. The congregation sings a lusty version of All God’s Critters Got a Place in the Choir.
Remembrance Day we honour those who gave their lives in service. Our veterans present a wreath; our children hand out origami cranes of peace. The choir sings In Flanders Fields. A young trumpeter plays. During communion time, the congregation joins in the singing of songs from the 40’s (We’ll Meet Again; The White Cliffs of Dover etc.)
The parish has identified music as an integral part of worship, an offering of praise as meaningful as prayer. Seeking fresh ways to reflect the lections of the day has led to an eclectic musical mix. Spanning plainsong to jazz, selections are chosen from North American, Celtic and World music.
While two resident composers create music that is especially meaningful to our parish, sometimes their music is enjoyed in the wider church. Our main instrument is a Yamaha keyboard often accompanied by guitar, bass, whistle and percussion. A variety of other instruments appear on occasion including harp, violin, saxophone and flute. The choir, which averages 12 to 15 members, leads the congregation in song and offers an anthem during communion.
The children’s choir, the Joyful Noise, makes occasional enthusiastic appearances, often inviting the congregation to join in their refrains.
Weekly we sing parts of the service, and once a month we have a musical setting of the Eucharist. Currently we alternate between a Celtic setting and one by David Haas. The Gradual Hymn is generally set for a season, enabling us to become comfortable with something new, or to enjoy an old favourite.
Musical selections reflect the world around us, with Welsh music on St. David’s Day, Irish tunes on St. Patrick’s Day, and creation songs on St. Francis’ Day. Week by week we strive to offer music that speaks of today and honours our heritage.