Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As my Paternity leave (June, July, and August) draws close, I'm finding it harder and harder to concentrate on church-land. Yet, of course, there is lots to get done at the last minute before I leave. There are major decisions to be made about lots of little things. The Rectory needs repairs. The AC units in the church need servicing. I need to write a fundraising appeal letter that will go out this summer. I need to review our mailing list. Etc., etc.

But the summer is already starting. Toronto just springs to life as patios open and people start walking around in shorts and flip-flops. Me, I whip out my Hawaiian shirts and kilt (but not at the same time--my wife would kill me). I also start up my summer recreation projects--of which I have two: softball and sailing.

The softball season has started well. I meet up with a very, very informal group of guy and gals that meet on Monday nights in a local park to play ball and drink beer. It's not a very serious game, and we don't ask that people be good, but they do have to try! I've noticed that my skills are where I left them, they didn't degrade much over the winter break, which is nice. My hitting, in particular, is rapidly improving with practice.

Me lounging on the foredeck of my friend's boat the Peregrine.

The other weekly commitment I have in the summer is sailing. I crew for a friend as we race every Wednesday. Tonight was our second race of season, and we did pretty well. As usual, I serve on the foredeck (front of the boat) while the skipper manages the tiller (rudder) and another crew member handles the sail trimming. Tonight we also had an additional sailer at mid-ship. On our first race, we beat one boat out of the 7 we race against in our division. Tonight we beat two.

Now, in deserves mention that our boat is at a significant disadvantage. The rating system that handicaps different boat designs so that they can compete fairly in the same race is really not designed for short-course, inner-harbour sailing like the Wednesday night racing series at QCYC. The Peregrine (a roughly 7,000 lbs. 27 foot Catalina) has to race against Tanzer 22's (3,000 lbs) and Abbott 22's (also around 3,000 lbs). We can hold our own in heavy wind and distance, but these short courses in freaky Toronto inner-harbour wind favour smaller boats. It's just a fact. So we have to work very, very hard to be competitive.

So this summer Skipper Dave and his brave crew have a plan. First, we took several hundred pounds off the boat. Extra anchors, the water heater, and many other non-essential items were stowed on-shore. Next, we installed bubble levels in strategic locations so that we can see how the boat sits level fore and aft. We can move crew around the boat to change the weight balance to trim the boat favorably. We are also getting a new, custom sail (which should arrive in the next week). We've worked on rigging a whisker pole on deep reaches. We are working on getting our tacks smoother and our tacks sharper. These are relatively minor adjustments, but they have already made a huge difference. We are within sight of being in the middle of the fleet.

It seems like I'm asking a lot from Betsy and Henry--Monday and Wednesday nights--but on the other hand it's pretty much the only exercise I get. Betsy likes to say that I am a lot happier when I get to play softball and race on the Peregrine. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that going outside and running around makes me a better father. And I do look after Henry when Betsy goes to book club or the gym!

Anyway, it's summer in Toronto and pretty soon I'm going to have a lot of time to be with Henry while Betsy works on her dissertation. Maybe I can get some more exercise by taking the little guy on walks? It's gonna be a great summer!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Sermon - Easter 4 2010

On Easter 4 I used the story of St. Lydia (and her hospitality at Philippi) to explore some themes I was working on about hospitality and graciousness. Also, I was introducing a series of testimonials by members of our parish. These testimonials (inspired, in part, by Rev'd Lillian Daniel's work on the use of congregational testimonials) are about five minutes for a member of our church to tell the community about how God is at work in their lives. It is a very powerful community discipline, and I would encourage other churches to experiment with the form.

Because these accounts are so personal, I've decided not to put them up on the web for public viewing. If you are a member of the parish, I am happy to share these "Messiah Moments" with you, otherwise, consider this motivation to come to get know us better!


Thursday, May 20, 2010


At Clergy Conference in the Diocese of Toronto last week Tex Sample, our speaker, told us about Maggy Barankitse. He used her as an example of Christian hope. Here's is a little video that tells her story and has interviews with her, but it hardly goes far enough to show how powerful this lady is. She has saved literally thousands of children in Burundi.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Carpenter's Boat Shop

I've known about The Carpenter's Boat Shop in Maine since I met Kim Hoare in seminary. As Kim explained it to me, The Carpenter's Boat Shop teaches traditional wooden boat making in the context of Christian Community. From their website:
Founded in 1979, the Carpenter's Boat Shop is an apprenticeship-school and community for all people. Whether apprentices are between college and life careers, jobs and new directions, alcoholism and sobriety, or simply transitioning into retirement, the Boat Shop provides a safe harbor before setting sail on a new course in life. While considering goals and directions, apprentices live in community and learn boatbuilding, carpentry, furniture making, sailing, seamanship, and perform community service. They also explore personal faith through reading, study, and discussion. It is our hope that apprentices will gain a deeper knowledge of themselves, a clearer vision for their life's goals, and a stronger commitment in their service to others. (source)

This is a great example of the link between spirituality and craftsmanship that I've often spoken about. We are meant to be creative creatures, cooperating with God to transform the world around us. At The Carpenter's Boat Shop, they do this in a very gentle way, by creating a supportive community and building wooden boats.

Here is footage from the recent launch of a traditional "Peapod" Design destined to be a workboat for the zero carbon lobstering project on Matinicus Island.

Here is a copy of the prayer that they use to bless the boats they make (you can hear it in the video, as well):
Round our skiff be God's aboutness -
Ere she try the depths of sea.
Seashell frail for all her stoutness,
Unless Thou her Helmsman be.

Old Scottish Prayer


Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming This Sunday...

If you haven't seen this before, it's an amusing send-up of the kind of mega-church contemporary worship that is in fashion in some places. So true it hurts. It also makes the subtle point that these churches (which often criticize mainstream churches' adherence in traditional liturgical forms) can have very formulaic worship. So much for being freed from mindless repetition!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Anglican Church of Canada Liturgical Texts Now Online!

Yes, friends, it has finally happened! The Anglican Church of Canada has finally released PDF files for the authorized prayers of our church. It only took 25 years! On this website you can find links to the BAS, For All the Saints, Occasional Celebrations, and the authorized supplemental prayers. This is going to be very helpful to many of us that do liturgical planning work in our parishes. Good for them for securing all those different copyrights to make this happen!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Henry Rolls Over

I got back from the Diocese of Toronto Clergy Conference today and was delighted be able to hold Henry again. Amazing how my feels for the little guy just become deeper and deeper. Here is video of him rolling over the second time we have seen.

Life is awesome!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baby Morality

Scientists at the Infant Cognition Center at Yale have been researching whether infants are born with a sense of right and wrong. Increasingly, the evidence seems to be that they do! Check out this demonstration of the testing method....

Man, that Square makes me so mad! Lol. I'd love to try this with Henry when he gets slightly older!