St. Christopher and St. Aidan’s Anglican Church volunteer Sheila McFarlane

St. Christopher and St. Aidan’s Anglican Church volunteer Sheila McFarlane

Loving the environment with the Anglicans

Those attending Lake Cowichan’s St. Christopher and St. Aidan’s Anglican Church so far in the summer have benefited from a series of unique services, called the Iona Service; named after the Scottish island where the idea originated.

Getting a touch closer to nature, the local Anglican Church is trying something unique.

Those attending Lake Cowichan’s St. Christopher and St. Aidan’s Anglican Church so far in the summer have benefited from a series of unique services, called the Iona Service; named after the Scottish island where the idea originated.

“It’s a more up to date service. It encompasses the natural things about the earth, and I like to hear that connection,” people’s warden Irene Palmer said.

The services is very closely related to Gaelic traditions, reverend David Peterson said.

“Part of Celtic spirituality is celebrating creation and seeing God’s fingerprint,” he said.

The service is a move away from focusing on sin and forgiveness, and toward creation and blessings, although Peterson clarifies that all are still important.

“At the end of the service is an extended blessing that goes between the priest and the people,” he said.

The church still uses the old book, as Peterson says, “It’s a reality of our spiritual life,” though this change toward focusing on the blessings God has bestowed upon his people has been well-received.

“The Iona Service has become so popular, we do it almost every other Sunday, now,” Peterson said. “It speaks to people more.”

As such, the congregation has expressed an interest in learning more about Celtic spirituality.

To fill this void will be visiting reverend Herbert O’Driscoll, some time in October.

“We want to invite the churches, and invite the community, and make it an open learning day for the community,” Peterson said. “He’s been a teacher in our church for a long time, and is well known in our church.”

The Gazette will follow up on the details of the visit as they become available.

Also on the horizon will be the October 1 Fall Fair, to take place at the church from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“It’s a traditional fall fair, but it will have a theme of ‘thanking God for the bounty of the earth,’” church member Sheila McFarlane said.

There’ll be baking, a silent auction, kids activities, cotton candy machine, a fish tank, a luncheon, baking, and various other things.

“The baking is always top notch,” McFarlane said.

Church volunteers have also had the Cellar Treasures Thrift Shop to keep them busy on Wednesdays.

One concern at the thrift shop has been with regard to people donating items they may not mean to.

Recently, a pocket watch was found in the pocket of a donated jacket. Photographs have been found inside donated books, and various other items have been found.

“If you’re missing something, please come to Cellar Treasures and pick it up,” McFarlane said.

Another concern is with regard to the quality of donated items.

“Sometimes, this seems like a step to the dump,” Peterson said, of donated items. “We don’t have the person power.”

“Unfortunately, we have to go to the dump rather a lot, and we’d rather not,” Palmer said.

“No encyclopedias anymore. People don’t buy them,” McFarlane said.

Televisions, computers, items that are broken, large furniture; it all ends up being sent to the dump, burdening over-taxed church volunteers.

Don’t rule out furniture altogether, McFarlane cautions. Although the church doesn’t have the capacity for it, they’ve been known to link sellers with people interested in buying said furniture.

The church also keeps busy during the school year helping out with AB Greenwell Elementary School and Lake Cowichan Secondary School’s lunch programs.

“Many kids go to school without food in their system, and they can’t concentrate,“ McFarlane said.

As a result of cost-cutting measures, the church appears to have passed the financial hurdles it’s faced in recent  years.

“We’re going to keep open on Sundays, for as far as I can look into the future,” Peterson said.

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