Yesterday I wasn’t in the office for not just one reason but two: a birthday and an eclipse. Both are rare events, although birthdays are far more common. My son Ian celebrated his third birthday, and those only come around once in a lifetime, even if we do celebrate birthdays every year. The other, of course, was the solar eclipse that received well-deserved wall-to-wall coverage yesterday. This morning, aside from the lingering pictures, the world has gone on its way, when it seemed that many in North America took a moment to pause and look up to witness a rare astronomical event.
In truth, solar eclipses are like birthdays, they do happen every year somewhere on earth, usually over an ocean or high in the Arctic regions. The same is for lunar eclipses, but they aren’t always visible from where we live. Lunar eclipses appear more often because the moon is smaller than the earth, and when it does pass into the earth’s shadow, it can be seen from anywhere on the side of the earth facing the moon. Most of the time this is a night sky. Solar eclipses, appear to be rarer because you need to be in the right place at the right time when the moon casts its shadow on the earth. For us yesterday, we were in the right place for a partial solar eclipse, but one had to drive about 12 hours south to experience totality. Since yesterday was also Ian’s birthday, we elected not to make the trek.
The picture I include is the shot that we took through a properly-shielded telescope. We decided to travel up to All-Star Telescope north of Carstairs to take in the eclipse with other viewers. It was a wonderful shared experience. I noticed that the light dimmed perceptibly, with the landscape taking on a yellowish cast.
You may hear of the hype around the eclipse, perhaps with even some preacher proclaiming it to be a sign of God’s judgement. The trouble is, such assertions are more revealing of the proclivities of the one making it. They’re quoting the prophet Joel out of context. Beware the hype, enjoy events like this for what they are. From a perspective of faith, these are moments for us to pause and marvel at the wonders of the universe; to know that we are a part of God’s living, breathing, moving, creation, and we have the privilege of having the senses and the intellect to perceive it and marvel at it.
Oh, and if you want another opportunity, the next total solar eclipse in North America will trace its path of totality through Hamilton, Toronto, and up the St. Lawrence river on April 8, 2024 –the week after Easter! I think I’ve already started planning. J
Yours in Christ,
Upcoming Events and Announcements
- Killarney Record Fair – August 26th – 11am to 4pm.
- Being held in Fitzgerald Hall, St. Matthew’s is hosting a vinyl record sale and swap event, which includes many vendors and collectors throughout the city. While we are looking for volunteers, this is also an opportunity to connect with a particular segment of Calgary’s community!
- If you would like to volunteer, please contact Shannon McLennan-Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lonnie Taylor at email@example.com.
- Thrift Shop – Volunteers Needed!
- Matthew’s Thrift Shop re-opens on Wednesday, September 6th. The regular hours return Wednesdays from 10am to 3:30pm and Saturdays from 11am to 2pm.
- We are in need of volunteers to help in the shop. If you are interested and able to help, please call the church office at 403-249-1721 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pyramid Dreams and Microsoft Schemes
- On Monday, September 18th at 7pm, David McKee, Community Engagement Coordinator of the Better Business Bureau and part of St. Matthew’s is hosting this special evening to inform people of fraud schemes and identity-theft scams that are currently circulating. Please mark your calendar for this important event as it may help to inoculate you against the smooth-talking scam artists that are out there, and protect your identity and your money.
- Outdoor Movie Night: Cars 3
- Matthew’s is hosting an outdoor movie night on Saturday, September 23rd on the lawn beside the church. This is a free community event open to everyone in the church and in the community. Watch this space for more information!
- Choir Director Search: Brief Update
- The search team for our new choir director has been working hard throughout the summer. After posting the position, they received a number of very qualified candidates and are in the process of interviewing and narrowing the field. Stay tuned for more updates soon!
Summer Office Hours
Our Summer Office Hours remain our “regular” hours in that Wendy is in the office on Mondays from 11am to 3pm, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am to 3pm. John is in the office from Mondays through Thursdays from at least 9am until 3pm or later, although he may be out on Pastoral Visits or meetings as time demands.
John will be on vacation from August 29th through September 4th inclusive. He will be out of the office on August 28th as a day of study leave to attend a meeting with the Flourishing Congregations project at Ambrose University with other members of the United Church’s regional Congregational Support Committee.