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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—

I'm writing at the end of a long day on the road. It was a good day. A beautiful day, in fact, and I'm tired. I set out early Thursday morning for New Denver, to participate in their annual Remembrance Day ceremony. I'll tell you more about that in a moment.

Late Thursday afternoon I had a conversation with Archbishop McNaughton confirming details for her preaching and presiding at worship in Castlegar on Sunday.

The Archbishop is in the area for the funeral of the Rev. Elizabeth Lewis this weekend, and her schedule freed up earlier this week. This will enable her to join the St. David's community on Sunday. I know that you will offer her a wide welcome this weekend. 

At the end of the service, the Archbishop and I will greet folks at the entryway to the church (rather than the top of the stairs) to help with social distancing and ensuring that all are able to stay safe. 

The Rev. John Ruder will travel to New Denver to join the St. Stephen's community for Eucharist on Sunday. 

Each year in New Denver, the organizers of the Remembrance Day ceremony invite the leader of a different local church to offer prayer and presence at the service. This year it was our turn. Being new to the parish, I was grateful to be invited, to be able to spend some time with members of St. Stephen's, and to meet others in the community. 

My remarks before the prayers were brief, but I share them with you all the same. 

It is difficult to overstate how deadly war has become in the last two centuries. More people died in the opening days of the Great War than in entire medieval campaigns.  

In recent years, the cost of war, the cost paid by individuals, families, communities, and the earth, have become increasingly great. And so today we mourn.

We mourn and we remember. We mourn and we remember and we pray. 

Today we bring the past into the present so that we do not—so that we will not—forget how destructive war truly is, and that we might be guided into the way of peace.

We offered prayers for the dead, and I concluded with the blessing (adapted from Henri Frederic Emil) with which we have lately concluded our services: 

Life is short,
and we don't have much time
to gladden the hearts of others.

So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind.

May the blessing of the God of Peace:

Creator, Christ, and Spirit be with us,
and remain with us this day and for evermore.

After time with members of the St. Stephen's community, I visited the Kohan Reflection Garden—a place I haven't been in some sixteen years. It was good to spend time in reflection and prayer. I wrote a short poem as a way of marking a good day. Before leaving, I took some photos, including the photo that accompanies this post. 

Two minutes silence
drawing past into present
Service re-membered

May our feet be ever guided in the way of peace. 

Every Blessing, 

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner