“Praise the Lord with harp: sing praises unto him with the lute, and instrument of ten strings” (Psalm 33:2)
December 6, 2016
I took a little trip to heaven Sunday evening. I am pretty sure it was heaven because there were a lot of harps there. Or maybe it was St Peter’s Church in Upper Gullies. There were a lot of harps there too.
It came about when the Rector, the Reverend Jean Smith, invited Kathy and me to join her and the church community for their first ever “Celtic Harp Concert” on December 4. Billed as a collaborative event sponsored by St Peter’s Anglican Church and the CBS Celtic Harp Circle who practice weekly in the church, it included many harp players and even the Anchormen Chorus. Hosted by Vicky Greenslade of the CBS Celtic Harp Circle and featuring harp teacher Ed Kavanagh as well as Janet Coombes, the evening ran smoothly without missing a musical note! A suggested donation of $10 in support of the PWRDF effort for Haiti was asked of all who came and a food donation for the CBS Food Bank was collected at the door from the capacity crowd. I was delighted to see many municipal and provincial leaders there as well as members of our provincial Arts and Music community.
As impressive as the musical talent was that evening, I think what impressed me most was the way in which Reverend Jean and the people of St Peter’s were able to gather so many people from different backgrounds and places, make them feel at home in the church, and channel all of their talent outward to help others in the neighborhood and across the world. I have believed for a long time that our churches must be places of gathering and sharing for all. And not just for those who say they belong and believe but also for those who may not, or who aren’t sure where their spiritual home is or even if they have a spiritual home at all. You see, I believe in a great big generous church that reflects the great big generous God we serve. I believe in a church that invites all to find a place in the family and walk with us as far as they can in what we do. Anglican Churches are natural places of meeting and intersection across society and let us find new and creative ways to use our holy spaces in the service of God and all the children of God. When we do that, we will discover new and fascinating communities blossoming right in our midst.
My friend, Dr. Barry Stephenson of Memorial University says, “Churches have all the best spots.” That happened over the years because communities grew up in and around churches.