Celebrating a Birthday in the Spirit of Current Times

The congregation at St Martin’s Anglican Church in McKellar Park is gearing up for a gala parish dinner and fundraiser being held Saturday, October 29th. The dinner is to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the birth of the Parish Saint and namesake, Saint Martin of Tours. Guests of honour for the evening include five previous incumbents dating back to 1954. Proceedings will also pay tribute to volunteers involved with a number of the church ministries in recognition of their steadfast commitment to serving. For the current Rector, the Reverend John Organ who took over the pulpit in May of 2015, the stellar service forthcoming from these volunteers exemplifies the spirit evoked by the Parish Saint. St Martin, was a Roman soldier in the fourth century best known in the annals of Christian tradition for sharing his cloak with a half naked beggar lying destitute and freezing by the wayside as the rest of the Roman legion galloped past. Later in a vision of Jesus, Martin heard Him say: What you have done for him you have done for me.

The intervening centuries since the birth of St Martin in 316 AD have seen many monumental doctrinal changes. The most recent was the resolution, which passed first reading by a majority vote at the 41st general synod last July in Vancouver in favour of changing the Anglican marriage canon to include same-sex couples. The immediate result of the vote outcome here in the Diocese of Ottawa is that clergy who are willing can offer solemnization of marriage to same-sex couples who come to them seeking marriage in the church. For its part, St Martin’s Parish has embarked on several outreach initiatives to better serve and understand those who are part of the LGBTQ2S community. An Evening Prayer service underway since September is held on the third Sunday of the month for members of the LGBTQ2S community and friends. The service is celebrated by Father John and St Martin’s Lay Reader in training, Jackie Manthorne. Remaining dates this year are November 20 and December 18. A Guest Speaker series features spokespeople and friends of the LGBTQ2S community invited to share outlooks on faith as part of the Sunday morning worship.

What impresses Father John is how receptive members of St Martin’s congregation have been both to celebrating the birth of their Parish Saint and to celebrating the spirit of diversity and inclusion, that marks current times. As he puts it: “The attitude of acceptance and love from my congregation whose median age likely hovers around 77 is a source of pure joy.”

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Email: stmartins@gmail.com