LOGO angelican
September 2013
Vol 5 Issue 11

Practicing Month to Month

Dear friends,


 In many ways September begins a new program year for the church and culture.  This program year at St. Laurence we will be looking at music as a spiritual practice. The first reflection on this spiritual practice comes from our music director, Deb Koning.  We look forward to having others from the parish who are musicians and lovers of music reflect on music as a spiritual practice over the next months.
In the side column is information about which clergy will be taking services during the month of September. As most of you know I am on Sabbath Rest from September 1 - November 15.  I am very grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank Don McLeod and Vic Cabel for their extra help with Sunday services and pastoral care during this time away.  You are in very good hands! 






Deb Koning on Music as a Spiritual Practice



Beginning this month, St. Laurence is looking at Music as Spiritual Practice.  When I was asked if I would be willing to share some thoughts about the topic, I knew that it would not be easy.  Where do I start?! There will be plenty of time to delve into various aspects and types of music, but, initially, I want to reflect a bit on why music is a spiritual practice, particularly within the liturgy.

In his book The Heart of Christianity, Marcus Borg explores "how we can live passionately as Christians in today's world by practicing the vital elements of Christian faith". Opening one's heart to both God and the world is one of those vital elements. The only way to achieve an open heart is to let the Spirit of God give us one, and we connect with this heart-opening Spirit through "thin places".

The idea of "thin places" comes from Celtic Christianity, and they can be found anywhere: in actual geographical holy sites as well as in nature, the arts, particular times of both joy and suffering, people close to us and saints before us.  In a "thin place" the border between our ordinary, earthly reality and the spiritual becomes "soft, porous and permeable".  It's where we can lose our constant sense of self and experience God "shining through everything." Surely, it was through such a portal that St. Paul's friend "was caught up to the third heaven...into Paradise." (2 Cor 12: 2, 4)  An open heart spends as much time as possible in "thin places".

That's all well and good, and I can think of times when music in particular has swept me away so completely that I am not aware if anyone hears me singing or see tears in my eyes.  But here comes the kicker.... Borg goes on to say that "The primary role of music within worship" (as well all other aspects of worship) "is to become a thin place".  That's not so easy. For most of us, I dare say, those "thin places" in corporate worship are memorable, but rare.

But sometimes it is only through song that we can fully express our present joy; it is the quiet, communal chant that leads us into meditation and music that gently guides us through our sorrow. With our easy access to high quality music, performed by gifted artists, church is one of the few public places where it is still socially acceptable for non-professionals to sing (or play, or dance!). 

Music is personal: the instruments and voices, the style of music, the tune and words all combine to elicit our individual responses. Throughout the week, we have control over our own private spiritual practices.  And yet, Sunday by Sunday, we relinquish that and come together to listen and sing and pray, and enter God's grace. Music, as one part of a thoughtful liturgy, helps to open the community to that holy presence.

All unreferenced quotes are from Marcus J. Borg, The Heart of Christianity (Harper San Francisco, 2003).






September at St. Laurence



Sunday, September 1

10 am Sunday Service.  Kersi Bird to preach and preside. Last combined service with Good Shepherd


Thursday,September 5  

9:30 am Centering Prayer 


Sunday, September 8
10 am Service. Don McLeod to preach, preside and lead 'Conversations' after the service.  First Sunday for choir, Sunday School, nursery and youth group.


Sunday, September 15 - 10 am Service. Archdeacon Barry Foster to preach and preside.  "Conversations" after the service to be presentation about OneBody trip to Mexico.


Thursday, September 19

9:30 am Centering Prayer 


Sunday, September 22

10 am service. Bob Pynn to preach and preside. Carolyn Herold to lead discussion of book club book Quality of  Light after the service


Tuesday, September 24 7:30 pm.  Book study with Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman and Rev Tara Livingston on 10 Commandments.  All welcome. Book available at study for $20.

Sunday, September 29
10 am Harvest Festival Service. Don McLeod to preach and preside. Please stay after the service for a turkey lunch.


 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence..." Ps. 51: 10,11


"Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: "Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously..." Exod 15: 20


"Through hands that paint majestic skies, and voices chanting melody, with words that reach beyond the page, we comprehend your mystery. ...our spirits soar beyond the veil, to touch the very face of God." (More Voices, #27