Dear Friends, 

Blessings as we begin the month of February.  February 9th we are invited for Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at Lakeview United Church.  If you plan to attend or can help with this please sign the sheets in the narthex.  Ash Wednesday we look forward to welcoming our friends from Lakeview here at St. Laurence for our noon and 7:30 pm Ash  Wednesday services.

This coming Sunday "Journey Through Lent" calendars will also be available if you would like to incorporate this into your Lenten practice.  In addition, I will be sending our a daily prayer or meditation during Lent for anyone who wishes to receive it.  If you were on the list last year your name will carry over but if you would like to be added please simply reply to this email and let me know.

The parish continues to focus on Food Security.  If you missed Elizabeth McLennan's excellent homily on this topic which she gave on Sunday, January 17th please take a moment to read it below.  Sunday, January 24th our guest for conversations was Renee McKillop from Calgary Eats.  Stay tuned for more information but it seems that her visit will result in a fruitful partnership in the months to come.  Renee also provided a suggested reading list re: food security that is available in the narthex if you are interested.

Many thanks to all of you who filled out the refugee sponsorship surveys.  We are in good shape both in terms of financial and volunteer commitments and are moving towards bringing a refugee family in the next months.  Stay tuned for further updates!

Finally, on an administrative note tax receipts will be available this Sunday. Thank-you for your generosity in supporting the parish. 

With every blessing,

Anna Greenwood-Lee
St. Laurence Anglican Church
403-249-6184 x. 2
Food Security written by Elizabeth McLennan  

Over the Christmas season, I had the opportunity to have a quiet visit with my 18 year-old granddaughter Kate.  Kate had just completed the first semester of her program on Health Promotion at Dalhousie University.  So I asked her to tell me about her courses. 
She told me that one of the things she was learning about was the "determinants of health". She told me that her professors were great and that several of them also worked doing food policy work for the provincial government.  And then she told me that her final essay had been about Food Security.
By now, I could hardly contain myself. How could this be?  My lovely granddaughter had left home and returned in four months with an understanding of Food Security.
So I told her that St. Laurence has identified Food Security as the social justice issue we wanted to work on.  Her reply:  "Our church is so cool, Nanny.  The people there get involved."
It was a lovely "bonding" moment between a grandmother and a granddaughter - and it came about because this year both of us had spent a lot of learning about Food Security.  Who knew?
This morning I want to talk to you about two things: our own parish's involvement with Food Security and about the transformative power of food. Food for the body - and food for the soul.
This past year was a learning year for all of us.  I must confess that Food Security wasn't even on my radar until Anna challenged us to find a social justice issue that we could all be involved in.
Yes, I watched the "Fred Says" videos with all of you.  But, to be honest, those videos seemed a bit remote and, well, PWRDF was dealing with it. And yes, I listened to our own Alison Longson, who has worked so tirelessly in this area for many years, speak about Food Security.  But somehow, I didn't move from mild interest to getting involved.
Then, as we began to look for a social justice issue that would be a good fit for St. Laurence, we kept coming back to food.
St Laurence has a long history of doing "food work" in our community. 
  • We have a long-standing, active and dedicated group of people who volunteer at the food bank.
  • We have people who make sandwiches for the drop in centre.
  • For many years we had a committed group of volunteers who worked for Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to shut-ins and the elderly in our area.
  • Our pastoral care group has a "soup and bun ministry". We take soup and buns to our own sick and shut in community members.
So landing on Food Security as our social justice issue seemed to be a natural fit.
Food aid, the kind of work we already do at St. Laurence, feeds the people who are hungry and in front of us right now.
Food security, steps it up a notch, to ensuring that people have an ample and sustainable amount of food over the longer term - even as we feed the ones who are hungry today.
And so, a small but committed group of us started to look at where we could make a difference in the issue of Food Security.
We began to research and educate ourselves about Food Security. And we have tried to share some of this information with all of you by inviting people to speak to us from this platform, at Conversations, by putting food blurbs in our bulletins, and by making reports from Calgary Eats and Food Secure Canada available.       
We discovered that Food Security is an extremely complicated issue.  It is multilayered; it is intertwined with other complicated issues; if you work on one aspect of the issue, you will quite likely cause a problem in another area. 
Let me try to paint a picture of some of its scope and complexities.
  • 2.5 million people in Canada do not have access to an ample and sustainable supply of food.  2.5 million people in our country of abundance are food insecure.
  • At some point in Canada's history, our food became a commodity to be sold on the open market - and ceased to be a means to feed our people.
  • Our Agribusiness is built on mono-culture crops.  Wheat, beef, canola. And did you know that most of the lentils in the world are grown in Saskatchewan?
  • These crops are traded on the commodities markets and sold to countries around the world.
  • Meanwhile we buy our food from places such as California and Mexico and then pollute the environment with the big refrigerated, diesel trucks that bring it to us.
  • As a country, we seem to have lost the ability to feed and nourish ourselves.
Over the last four years, California has experienced a severe drought and our food prices started to go up as California's supply of food shrank.
On top of this, our dollar has dropped dramatically against the US dollar and the price we pay for our food has begun to skyrocket. 
According to a report in the Globe and Mail this week, last year fruits and veggies jumped in price between 9.1 and 10.1 percent.
And the Food Institute at the University of Guelph predicts that this year the cost of some of these items will rise by another 4.5 percent.
Food Security brings us into the realm of international trade agreements, transportation issues, poverty issues and a myriad of food regulations. It mires us in social policies at three levels of government.
Where on earth do we start? 
Now lest this all seems like doom and gloom, the small but mighty group of "foodies" here at St. Laurence have also found some bright spots - some rays of hope and some places where we can help make a difference.
We found:
  • There are many non-profit and non-governmental organizations already working in this area.
  • There are groups like Calgary Eats that was initiated by our City Council to look at food issues in Calgary.
  • Food Secure Canada is an organization that looks at food security and food policy at a national level.
  • Community Food Centres Canada is a group that works in local communities with people struggling with hunger, loneliness, unstable housing or poor mental health.
When Prime Minister Trudeau released his mandate letters to his new federal ministers, we were delighted to see that the second item on Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay's  "to do" list is this:
Develop a food policy that promotes healthy living and safe food by putting more, healthy, high-quality food, produced by Canadian ranchers and farmers, on the tables of families across the country.
So the federal government has now stepped up to the plate, so to speak.
But it's the Community Food Centres that I want to leave you with.  There are several Community Food centres in Ontario and we will soon have one in Calgary.
These centres not only feed people with a shared meal in a dignified space, they engage them in learning food skills and involve them in community engagement programs.  They use food to create improved health, confidence, hope and a sense of belonging. They use food to transform lives.
It is the "using food to transform lives" that has resonated so deeply with me.  As an Anglican community, we stand together each Sunday for our "shared meal" with the clear expectation that it will transform our lives.  It is our food for the journey: the body of Christ, the cup of salvation.
Our shared meal feeds us, transforms us and gives us the spiritual nourishment we need to leave this place of worship and do God's work in our world.
I'd like to end with heartfelt prayer as we get ready for our own shared meal this morning.
You will recognize this as a children's grace by its iambic pentameter cadence. This is the grace my granddaughters have grown up praying at our shared family meals.
Dear God we great fully bow our head
to thank you for our daily bread
and may there be a goodly share
 on every table everywhere
February at St. Laurence
Monday, February 1
7:30 pm Parish Council Meeting in Sunshine Room

Tuesday, February 2
Animate Faith Bible Study
1:30 pm with The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee
7:30 pm with The Rev. Carolyn Herold

Thursday, February 4
9:30 am Contemplative Prayer Service with Geri Urch 

Sunday, February 7
10:00 am Transfiguration Sunday, Holy Eucharist with The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee 

Tuesday, February 9
Animate Faith Bible Study
1:30 pm with The Rev. Anna Green-wood Lee
7:30 pm with The Rev. Carolyn Herold

5:30 - 7:00 pm Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner at Lakeview United Church 3023 63 Ave. SW

Wednesday, February 10
Ash Wednesday
12:00 noon Said Service with The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee

7:30 pm Holy Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes Service with Choir

Thursday, February 11
9:30 am Prayer Group with Stuart McKay

Sunday, February 14  
10:00 am 1st in Lent 
Holy Eucharist.
Gianetta Baril guest harpist and speaker.  

Monday, February 15
Family Day - The office will be closed

Tuesday, February 16
Animate Faith Bible Study
1:30 pm with The Rev. Anna Green-wood Lee
7:30 pm with The Rev. Carolyn Herold

Thursday, February 18
9:30 am Contemplative Prayer Service with Geri Urch

Friday, February 19, 
Wisdom Centre Guest Shawn Sanford Beck "Christian Animism" in Sanctuary

The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee will be away February 19 to February 26

Saturday, February 20
Coldest Night of the Year Walk 

Sunday, February 21  
10:00 am 2nd in Lent 
Holy Eucharist. The Rev. Carolyn Herold

This is also Food Bank Sunday. Please remember to bring your donations.

Tuesday, February 23
Animate Faith Bible Study
1:30 pm with Elizabeth McLennan
7:30 pm with The Rev. Carolyn Herold

Thursday, February 25
9:30 am Prayer Group with Stuart McKay

Sunday, February 28  
10:00 am 3rd in Lent 
Holy Eucharist. The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee

The Annual Meeting of Parishioners will be after the service on Sunday, February 28th.  Full financial statements for 2015 as well as a budget for 2016 will be available for distribution prior to the meeting.