“JOY” rose in song to the rafters of St. Michael’s and danced in the aisles to the infectious rhythm of “Siyahamba,” the famous Zulu freedom hymn from South Africa.
Equip began Friday evening the 25th of May, as old and new friends met and after being well lubricated with cheese and wine from the Northern Lights Winery of Prince George, immersed themselves in vibrant conversation.
The evening continued with an amazing talk from the Rev. Dr. Kara Mandryk. She gave four talks over the weekend focused on the theology of the Eucharistic liturgy.
She began with the “Gathering.” What idea which struck me was when she said that the gathering actually begins when one gets out of bed on a Sunday morning and makes the decision to go to attend church for Eucharist.
Evensong on Friday was sublime. The two Cantors from St. Michael’s, Case and Margo, brought tears to my eyes listening to their haunting chants.
Saturday the 26th May, was jam packed full of good things. There were three more presentations from Dr. Kara. All of her talks were enlightening and enlivening. She was an engaging speaker. The morning talk was about the “Word;” how we hear from God, and how God reveals himself, breathed out by the Spirit communicating through revelation and the word.
Her third talk was on the “Table,” whereby we remember and celebrate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The table is where we are reconciled with God and each other. The Table is where open hospitality is enacted to perfection by Jesus Christ.
The final session with Dr. Kara was on the “Going Forth” from the Eucharist “filled with joy.” Dr. Kara’s whole premise was that Liturgy forms us as Christians, as it permeates to the depths of our being wherein God resides.
On Saturday afternoon there were three excellent workshops we could choose from. My choice was the one given by the Very Rev. Ken Gray, on the imperative of the sixth baptismal vow, to protect God’s creation. It was very thought provoking and a call to action especially in the face of climate change.
Dr. Kara may have fed our spirits, but Teresa, Lola Dawn and Lynda of St. Mike’s fed our bodies! They were like three Martha’s slaving away the whole time in the kitchen, making sure we had so much food we were sure to break the scales the next day! They were ably assisted by the men from both Grace and St. Mike’s, who cooked hearty breakfasts for us, on both Saturday and Sunday.
Evensong on Saturday was followed by a choir which came from the Elder Citizens Recreation Centre. They serenaded us with cowboy and railroad songs that the audience was very familiar with and we sang alongside them with gusto.
The climax of the whole weekend came on Sunday morning with the Eucharist celebration presided over by Bishop Barbara. The Bishop honoured all the Lay Ministers of Word and Sacrament by personally handing them their licenses. Dr. Kara gave us a brilliant sermon and the hymns and singing from the congregation were majestic.
St. Michael’s left the best wine till last however, with their rendition of the final Amen; with the singing of a lively Xhosa hymn called “Masiti.” Shortly thereafter we enjoyed a rousing “Siyahamba” an iconic South African freedom song. Bishop Barbara exhorted us “to be free” leading and encouraging us to dance around all the aisles . . . and so we danced and sang loudly with joy and animation.
It was breathtaking to be a part of this Eucharist celebration which closed a very successful Equip.
I know our God was laughing and clapping and dancing along with us and was taking pleasure being with his children, at play in his house.
God knows whom he has created and finds his work of creation very good indeed.
Dr. Marie Hay