Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Question of the Week

Rev. Rachael Parker




        JAN 13 20 27
FEB 03 10
MAR 10 17
APR 14
MAY 05 19 26
JUN 02
JUL 28
DEC 01



What is the Anglican Church's understanding of sin?  Can sin in our life affect our relationship to God?

Sin is "the seeking of our own will instead of the will of God, thus distorting our relationship with God, with other people, and with all creation ... Sin has power over us because we lose our liberty when our relationship with God is distorted." [Book of Common Prayer, 1979, Episcopal (USA)]


Sin most definitely has an affect on our relationship with/to God because it pulls us away from that closeness we have with God when all is right.  When we sin, we change: our outlook changes; our way of viewing God and the world changes.  Once sin has occurred we cannot simply go back to the way things were by repentance and reception of forgiveness.  We are indeed welcomed back into relationship with God, but we will never see things exactly the way we did before.  That is a consequence of sin.  However, God's gift of forgiveness of sin through the atoning act of Jesus on the cross, promises that our relationship with God will be healed, if we repent, or turn around, change our ways with intentionality of heart. Repentance must be sincere.

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Is there such a thing as "Just War"?

"Proponents of just war theory claim that violent force should be used to protect innocent persons from attack. In contrast, pacifists maintain that war can never be just.  Just war theory concerns the moral principles that indicate the justification and limitation of violent force.  Drawing upon Roman ideas of just war, Ambrose and Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries were the first Christian writers to develop a just war theory.  A coherent theory based on cases that had been considered was first developed by Gratian in the twelfth century.  This theory became the basis for international law.  The criteria for going to war (jus ad bellum) include just cause, just authority, right intention, last resort, public declaration, probability of success, and proportionality.  A favorable evaluation of proportionality means that the good to be achieved is greater than the evil to be suffered and inflicted.  In addition, justice in the waging of war (jus in bello) has focused on two principles: proportionality in regard to the means of warfare rather than the ends; and discrimination or noncombatant immunity in regard to the damage to be caused by warfare.  Contemporary Christian pacifism, including much pacifism in the Anglican Communion, comes not from absolute pacifism but from the judgment that modern warfare necessarily violates just war principles, particularly those of proportionality' and noncombatant immunity."*


Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY, (AlI Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.


This is a difficult question to answer, as the Anglican Church of Canada has not, in the past while anyway, done published work on this particular topic.  The Episcopal Church in the USA has commissioned a study on Just War Theory in the 21st Century as the "face of war" has changed so much and the traditional markers of war no longer seem to be in place.  Throughout the centuries, "Just War' has been acknowledged but the Church's reaction to this theory has been varied and it is recognized that Just War Theory, like the circumstances that draw it into play are dynamic and not static. .

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What is the status of the 39 Articles (of Religion) in the Anglican Communion?

The 39 Articles of Religion were written by Church of England theologians in the 16th century and were made part of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) and are still a foundational part of most of the Anglican Dioceses in the worldwide Anglican Communion. They present to Anglicans a concise presentation of what we believe and where our beliefs come from.

"One Canon (one Bible), two Testaments, three Creeds, four General Councils, five centuries and the series of Fathers in that period determine the boundaries of our faith." - Bishop Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626)


The 39 Articles of Religion are still very much a part of the Anglican Communion. At the 1968 Lambeth Conference, the bishops voted strongly for the proposal that each Province of the Communion should "(a) consider whether the Articles needed to be bound up with the Prayer Book; (b) no longer require assent to the Articles from its ordinands and (c) ensure that subscriptions to the Articles should only be given in the context of the full range of the inheritance of faith and within their historical context." (The Study ofAnglicanism, 1995, p 142)

While many people in today's Anglican Church are not familiar with the Articles of Religion, these statements are still a foundational part of who we are, where we come from and help to determine where we will go. The Anglican Church of Canada does not lean as heavily upon presenting doctrine as a major factor in our way of being, as do some other denominations, and while that can lead to wonderful dialogue, opportunities for further growth and discernment and an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere, there are times when it would appear that a clearer, more intensive understanding of Anglican theology and expectations would be helpful for both "cradle Anglicans" and newcomers, as well.


A new resource for those interested in better understanding the 39 Articles of Religion is the book Forty Days with the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion: A Devotional Guide, written by Robert G.W. Langmaid, and Anglican Clergyman in the Diocese of Yukon. This book also includes a "modern" version of the Articles for easier understanding.

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In the Anglican Church what must I do to avail myself to receive the salvation offered by God?

As Anglicans we recognize that baptism is the sacramental act through which we receive the salvation offered to us by God. "Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or new Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God." (Article of Religion XXVII).

As Christians offered salvation by Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, we also avail ourselves of the sacrament of Holy Communion. "The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ's death; insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ. " (Article of Religion XXVIII).


In short, to avail ourselves of the salvation offered to us by God, as Anglicans we must be baptized. However, to be baptized calls upon us to commit ourselves to a life lived intentionally in Christ. We worship in community; we pray; we participate in the sacraments, particularly through Holy Communion. Once we have been given the gift of eternal salvation through baptism, it is incumbent upon us to live our lives in such a way as show integrity of that promise made in baptism.

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St Augustine said: "For if I doubt, I am."  God said: "I am that I am."  In juxtaposition, how are these two sentences to be interpreted?

Not having studied St. Augustine -yet! -I am providing a purely speculative "answer" to the question, and I am hoping that, as with any good Q&A, this will simply lead to more discussion. So, here goes ...


God said, "I am that I am," or, even more simply, "I AM." The essence of God is God's "is-ness." God has been. God is. God will be. We cannot prove God's being or the reality of God. We cannot comprehend God. Our belief or disbelief in God does not determine or sway the actuality of God. God exists fully independently of humanity. God does not need, nor does God depend upon God's created order or creations.


Human beings, however, whether we choose to accept this reality or not, do depend upon and need God. Our existence is a one-way street, with God at its beginning and, miraculously, God also at its end. Because God "is" and has invited us "to be", we "are." St. Augustine's statement, "For if I doubt, I am" is in some ways a fallacy. Even if we do not doubt, we are. Our consciousness of self does not create the self, it simply helps us to recognize the self. So, on one hand St. Augustine is incorrect.


On the other hand though, he is on to something. God did not create us to be automatons. For whatever reason, God chose that we might not simply have existence but also essence and awareness of such. God gifted people with self-awareness, the ability to both reason and feel, and the option of choice. The Great "I AM" created us with our own human version of "I Am-ness", which allows us glimpses, at best, of what "is".


We cannot ever fully comprehend the Great I AM, nor can we ever fully comprehend our own existence or essence. God has given us the gift of "somewhat knowing" what it is we do not know and the ability and desire to be curious about that which we cannot know. While seems to lead to a great gulf between God and humanity, maybe it is not such a great distance after all. It is in our very questions, doubts and ponderings that we are often granted an "aha" moment when we may not comprehend or understand, but we somehow "know". Those are moments of growth in faith and they will not come if we haven't somehow asked a question, raised a doubt, even if it is only a tiny, passing thought.


I don't know if it is in doubt that I find my own "is-ness". I think that it is in doubting that I open myself to the opportunity to encounter God as the Great "I AM" and when I encounter "I AM", I am then able to recognize myself, my being, as part of God's. creation.  So, maybe it is in doubt that I encounter God and then in God I encounter my own "I am".

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From Easter Sunday there have been extra small candles beside the altar. Why and what do they represent?

The Easter Season is the most glorious season of the Church year and it extends for the 50 days following Easter Day, ending at the Feast of Pentecost. All too often it seems that church-goers are led to believe that "Easter" is only one day and should be celebrated as such. However, as Easter is a whole season, it should be marked or highlighted as a season of feasting and celebration. One way to mark such a celebration is with decoration. The pavement candles from the Chapel are being used, in addition to the regular Church candles, to bring attention to the festive nature of this season. That is why we also have the glorious superfrontal on the altar and the white veil on the cross. At the end of the Easter season these extra decorations will be removed until next year.


There is also a candle lit and sitting on the Tabernacle. Whenever there is consecrated sacrament - the body or blood of Christ - present in the Tabernacle, a candle should be lit to tell the world that Christ is present. When the Tabernacle is empty and there is no Reserved Sacrament present, the candle is extinguished. It is merely coincidence that this practice was resurrected here at the Easter Vigil. Even after the Easter season has ended this candle will remain.

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What is the Mozarabic Rite?

The Mozarabic Rite is a Eucharistic form that was developed out of the Iberian peninsula (latter part of the 6th century) by Visigoths who had been driven out of France and began converting from an Arian tradition to the Latin-Catholic tradition. It is very close to the Celtic and Gallican rites that were in use at that time. It would appear that it was also heavily influenced by Syriac rites of the Greek speaking Byzantine Empire. The word Mozarabic applied to Christians who did not flee from Muslim invaders into the northern parts of Spain with what was left of the Visigothic kingdom. These Christians adopted the Arab dress, language and customs while maintaining their Christian faith. Currently it is the primary sacramental liturgy of the Anglican Communion's Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church in Spain rather than the more common Anglican rites used in the Anglican Communion.

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Can we, or should we, distinguish between sin (or estrangement) as a state of our essence versus sin as a state (or perhaps consequence) of our existence?


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What is Mothering Sunday? And what about Simnel Cake?

The earliest beginnings of Mothering Sunday go back to the time of the early Christians in England who celebrated a Mothers festival on the 4th Sunday of Lent in honour of Virgin Mary. The continuing evolution of Mothering Sunday can be traced to the fact that in early times, people in England as a tradition visited their nearest parish called, "Daughter Church" on every Sunday. Also, by the 1600's, children after the age of 10 left their homes for jobs as apprentice or domestic servants. It was considered important by the people that these children were given a leave by their employers to visit their "Mother Church" or Cathedral of their hometown. On their visit to their homes these children brought along gifts, flowers and special cakes for their mothers. These visits thus became a time for family reunions, and, over a period of time, this holiday meant for the return to Mother Church was stretched to include all mothers and was named Mothering Sunday.


Simnel Cake is a rich fruit cake with a layer of almond paste on top and also in the middle. The cake is made with 11 balls of marzipan icing on top representing the 11 disciples (Judas is not included). As Mothering Sunday was also known as Refreshment Sunday (halfway between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed on that day, Simnel cake was shared to break the fast and celebrate.

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What is Lent?


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We are taught that we are children of Adam and Eve.  How can this be when there was the great flood when all but the Ark and Noah were destroyed?  Why not say that we are children of Noah?


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What is the Columbarium in the Chapel and who is it for?

A Columbarium is generally a sepulchral building containing many small niches for cinerary urns - the cremated remains of a person.  The term is derived from the Latin columba ("dove" or "pigeon"), and it originally referred to a pigeon house or dovecote.  It later acquired its more common meaning by association.  Our Columbarium offers a quiet, sacred space in which loved ones may be interred.  While our columbarium has many niches accounted for, there are still several available for individuals or families who wish to have their final resting place within the walls of the Church.  For more information, please speak to Jean Bradley.  Please feel free to visit the columbarium found inside All Souls Chapel.

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Who is supposed to say the Collect of the Day, the Prayer over the Gifts and the Prayer after Communion in the Eucharistic Rite of the Book of Alternative Services?

Although these prayers have been traditionally printed in the St. James bulletin, these are considered to be "priestly" prayers and are intended to be said by the priest on behalf of the Congregation.  In some cases, an effort has been made to change the Service of Holy Eucharist to be as participatory as possible. When we gather to worship, we must remember that we always place God first and foremost.  By listening and not saying all the prayers, the members of the congregation are encouraged to remember and experience the fact that some things are being mediated for them. The priest. and the specifically "priestly" parts, are reminders of the relationship that God has established with Christ and the Holy Spirit as the bridge between God and God's people.  The priest has traditionally represented the conduit or the need for the bridge that allows us communion with God.

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What is the proper posture to receive Holy Communion?


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