Posted on: May 12th, 2024 by St. Stephens Downsview

As I stand before you all today, marking significant milestones and occasions, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and reverence. Today is not just a typical Sunday; it is a convergence of meaningful events that resonate deeply within our hearts and spirits.

First and foremost, we celebrate Mother’s Day, a day to honor and cherish the mothers who embody love, sacrifice, and strength. Mothers, with their nurturing presence and unwavering support, are symbols of God’s love in our lives. Whether this is your first time celebrating as a mother or your first Mother’s Day without your own mother, our prayers and thoughts are with you on this hallowed day.

On this special day, we also mark the significance of Ascension Day. This day, tinged with both anticipation and sorrow, reminds us of the departure of Jesus and the beginning of a new chapter for the church. Just as the disciples witnessed Jesus ascending to heaven, we are reminded of the importance of letting go and allowing growth and transformation to take place.

Furthermore, we acknowledge the 70th anniversary of this sacred space, a place that has been a beacon of worship, prayer, and community for seven decades. The walls of this church hold the echoes of countless prayers, celebrations, and gatherings, embodying the rich tapestry of experiences that make up our faith journey.

As I reflect on the past leaders of this congregation, from 1954 to the present day, I am reminded of the essential role each individual has played in shaping the life of this community. From baptisms to marriages, from joyful celebrations to moments of grief, each leader has contributed their unique gifts and talents to the tapestry of our shared faith.

But beyond the clergy, I am grateful for each and every one of you who has said yes to your baptismal covenant, who has offered your time, talent, and treasure to the church. It is through your dedication and commitment that the church of God truly comes to life, in all its diversity and beauty.

As we look towards the future, I am filled with hope and anticipation for the next 70 years of this parish church. May we continue to be beacons of kindness, compassion, and justice in a world that so desperately needs it. May we embrace the spirit of Easter, of renewal, and transformation, as we strive to make a difference in the world.

To all the precious souls gathered here at St. Stephen’s Downs, I bless you on this anniversary and pray that God’s grace continues to guide you in the years to come. Amen.

In closing, I urge us all to remember the words of the angels who spoke to the disciples on Ascension Day: “Why are you looking up? Because this Jesus will return.” Let us not be so focused on the heavens that we forget our duty to bring God’s love and compassion down to earth, where it is needed most.

May we all be embodiments of love, hope, and grace in a world hungry for light.

Blessings to you all on this sacred day.

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