Last month, St Luke, Cedar Hill hosted a visit from Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee. We present two articles about this event.
“New ways of being” — Bishop Anna at St Luke, Cedar Hill
By Roland Hui
On Sept. 10, St Luke, Cedar Hill welcomed Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee.
As part of her visit, Bishop Anna gave a homily. She spoke of the inevitability of change and the need to move forward. As Christians, we ought not to be stuck to the past and be tied to that which is familiar and comfortable, she told the congregation, but to always be prepared for the new and to progress.
The bishop recounted the story of Passover — how the Israelites were commanded by God to eat their meal with “your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it hurriedly…” (Exodus 12:11). In the spirit of this passage, one cannot stay put, Bishop Anna said, but be always ready to go. Her crozier is a reminder of that. As she travels across the diocese, it accompanies her as her staff of office (made easier — Bishop Anna confided — as it comes apart like a cue stick for playing pool and is portable!) and symbolizes her role as a shepherd of her people; one who is constantly on the move to find the sheep and to follow the sheep, so to speak. We are not meant to be inactive and sedentary — think of Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden, and of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, for example — but be active and face tomorrow. Change is a challenge to be met head on. The theme of the homily was appropriate to St Luke’s as it discerns the redevelopment of some of its property.
In embracing what is new, we must not have a preconception of God solely as “the oldest thing,” but as “the newest thing” as well, Bishop Anna suggests. After all, God is the alpha and the omega — both the beginning and the end. As well, we can’t forget that Jesus came to us in newness as a child in infancy. With that in mind, it is always easier, and often preferable, to stay within our comfort zones, stuck in the past and worrying about the future. But we must not stagnate. We must be open to change and to even embrace it. We must “welcome new traditions, welcome new people, and welcome new ways of being,” as Bishop Anna charges us.
After the homily, the bishop celebrated the eucharist and distributed holy communion to those present. In keeping with Ordinary Time, the altar, at which she presided, was decorated with a frontal — made by parishioner Brenda Morgan — consisting of a design of leaves representing the current liturgical season of Ordinary Time. The leaves represent growth, according to the artist, and symbolically, made a most appropriate backdrop to the homily given by Bishop Anna.
After the service, refreshments were served in the hall and parishioners were invited to meet and speak to the bishop. During this time, the bishop led a brainstorming session with the parishioners, looking at ways to move forward through the challenges ahead.
Anna, the crosier and courage
By Brenda Morgan
Bishop Anna Greenwood-Lee came to visit to St. Luke, Cedar Hill on September 10. We looked forward to hearing what direction she would point us in. We hoped that would be part of her message, and indeed it was.
She reminded us that as bishop she was symbolically our shepherd; she even carried a crosier, as all bishops do, to symbolize this role. The shepherds of old herded their flock from pasture to pasture, ever on the move. Bishop Anna likened that to her role now, leading us through turbulent times. Her message was clear — the church is in a flux of change; the church of tomorrow will not look like the church of yesteryear, and that is as it should be.
She encouraged us to think about redevelopment not just of our property and buildings, but of our approach to the way we think of church and how we present our worship. Are we as invitational as we should be, or do we speak the language of exclusivity? What does “church” mean in this new age? How are we serving our community?
Bishop Anna is leading us, as the shepherds of old, into new pastures where the grasses we are used to do not grow, so we must find new sources not tried before. She is basically asking us to leave old habits behind and find new ways of being Christian. Bishop Anna has courage, and she is asking us to follow with courage.
We can only be grateful she has been sent to us.