This week I write to you from Toronto, Ontario, where I have the privilege of attending the Society of Catholic Priests annual conference. This year's conference is proving another year of success for the SCP, and clergy from all over North America are attending. People often find the name "Society of Catholic Priests" interesting. Their first reaction is why would an Anglican or Episcopal priest attend such a society. I then have the opportunity to explain that the membership of the Society is comprised of Episcopal / Anglican clergy. Catholic in this context is not synonymous with Roman Catholic, but rather it is the catholic that we affirm in our creeds. If you desire to learn more about the SCP, check out their website.
Over the course of the three day conference there has been a variety of presentations, and each day is ordered by the Daily Office and the Mass. The conference began with a service of Evensong and Benediction at St. Thomas's Church, one of the great Anglo-Catholic parishes of Toronto. Most of the conference is at Trinity College, and each day includes a solemn high mass at a local church. The neighborhood we are in is very vibrant due to the University of Toronto. Perhaps the best part of this week has been the quality discussions with other catholic-minded clergy.
I have discovered yet again that we are very blessed at St. Mark's. When attending clergy gatherings, one hears many stories about other parishes - some are success stories while others are troubling. We are fortunate to have such a clear parish identity at St. Mark's, and we are lucky to have a congregation that knows how to love one another. I have a homework assignment for all of you while I am away. Take a moment and give thanks to someone at St. Mark's for what they do for our parish. We are an incredibly fortunate parish full of loving people. Let someone know you are grateful for how they minister to others in the Name of Jesus Christ. It does not need to be a grand or dramatic gesture. Simply thanking someone for their service is good enough and worth the time. I will not be with you this Sunday or the next, but you are in excellent hands with Fathers Grieves and Leatherman.
Father Paul Lillie+