The smoke is threatening to clear today, although it has become a constant feature in our warmer-than-usual summer months. The wildfires in BC have cast a shroud across much of western Canada, and the current weather forecasts aren’t making it any easier for the crews battling the flames in the interior. When traveling back from our mid-summer vacation on Vancouver Island, we came up the Fraser and Thompson Valleys. When we passed near Ashcroft, it bore the feeling and appearance of a post-apocalyptic landscape. There were very few cars on the road, and we passed a scorched area where the fire had roared through weeks before. The smoke hung heavily in the air, and even after a brief stop, I used windshield wipers to brush off the ash that had fallen on the car in that short time. That evening, we stopped in Kamloops, where the column of smoke had outright replaced clouds in the sky.
When driving through it, I thought about the passage from Isaiah 43 that inspired one of the verses of “How Firm a Foundation.” It’s the second time this summer where that particular image came to mind, the last being on the letter I sent out in early July, where I offered the verse rather than the passage itself. These are words of encouragement in the midst of crisis. They are words of hope, when the landscape, either literal or metaphorical, lies scorched or enshrouded in smoke. I think of the aftermath this week of the events in Charlottesville, which happened on a street that I personally once walked down many years ago. I think of the demonstrator who was killed, and her companions who were injured when angry young man, a self-identified “white nationalist” (read: supremacist) ran them down in the street with an overpowered car.
Every week in worship, we say the words of A New Creed. One of the lines in it reminds us that “We are called to be the church” of which includes the line “to seek justice and resist evil.” Heather Heyer died doing just that: resisting evil. It is a reminder that sometimes doing the right thing comes at a cost that may even include one’s own life. Firefighters know this when they confront the flames of a wildfire, and those who stand up to evil understand the risk, and still they take it. Isaiah’s words of encouragement were a powerful metaphor, reminding us that God is with us in the midst of these struggles, that they should not stop us from doing what is right.
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 email@example.com or Lonnie Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 email@example.com
- 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.