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In an average congregation of 25 or so, we may have as many as 12 taking some formal part of the service. There is no choir – we are all expected to sing, however off-key, sometimes accompanied by violin, sometimes karaoke (CDs), sometimes a capella. We have many other parts to our lives, whether ACW or Bible discussion groups informally gathered or just coffee-and-cinnamon-bun gatherings or the regular “breakfast at Jean’s” where we gather with members of the other churches in the group. The “Dresses for Haiti” campaign has run its course, but we still contribute largely, in goods and in effort, to the local food bank; we still contribute to the street mission at Harvest House; we try to respond to needs in our scattered community (Alma to Moncton makes a long community!) We keep together socially by having a potluck supper on “second Sundays” at 5 PM, to which we invite our physical neighbours, as well as our priests (who otherwise have to rush off to a second church each Sunday just as we start coffee time) This meal, or “agape feast”, is followed by a service of Evening Prayer or Communion at about 6:30 (although we are open to the idea that sharing a meal in this manner is closely related to the formal Communion). And we do offer Quiet Times in Lent or other penitential times, for simple quiet, meditation, contemplation, whatever, with no preconditions about the type of prayer to be said – just time to listen to God. We are open to other suggestions which will support your, and our walk.
We have been in a cooperative Team Ministry sharing two priests equally since May 1, 2011. Essential to the vision is our team approach where both priests alternate leading worship weekly, thus providing a fuller expression of personal Baptismal gifts and an understanding that each parish is in full, equal, cooperation.
The rotation model has resulted in an excellent expression of our Baptismal ministry. The team thus exemplifies how each parishioner should live out their understanding of the Gospel, and how the parishes combined in shared ministry can cooperate and realize the Body of Christ (see Rom 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4). In this model both Father Rod and Father Douglas have resisted any hierarchal title, as they see themselves as equal in the task, just as the four parishes are equal in the task: none more important than the other, all working together for the building up of the Kingdom of God.
The following are examples of our coming together to do ministry as a family: we have a Common Bulletin, Joint Services on all the 5th Sundays, the full use of the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), a fuller use of the Book of Alternative Services (BAS) in all points, a shared Sunday School Program, a common Bible Study, Back to Church Sunday, Youth Ministries, Joint Men’s Group, a very successful Video night, increased multi-media services, a joint deanery Advent Carol Service at a sister church, and celebrating together throughout Holy Week and the Triduum.