by Catherine Pate
In her sermon to the congregation of approximately 100 people gathered on June 9 for her induction, the new incumbent of St Mary of the Incarnation, Aneeta Saroop quoted the 15th chapter of John’s gospel to mark the beginning of the parish’s journey. The words are from Jesus who says “This is my commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you…you did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” Saroop went on to suggest that many of the new beginnings in our lives offer “surprise, hope, new ways and promise…but they can also offer change, disorientation, lament and goodbyes. Every story has a beginning, but often it is also an intersection where two or more stories collide in creation and collaboration.”
As the first Lutheran pastor to serve as an incumbent of an Anglican parish (not joint Anglican/Lutheran) in the Diocese of British Columbia, Saroop, with the people of St Mary of the Incarnation, is indeed at the intersection of a new story formed from the many stories that brought them together. And as representatives from the Selkirk region, the larger diocesan family and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada gathered to share in the eucharistic celebration of this new ministry, the interweaving of stories that make up the church on these islands and inlets was poignantly illustrated in this image.
“Like the disciples gathered around Jesus,” Saroop reminded the community, “not fully knowing what his words meant for their future, they knew that things were about to change, and Jesus prepares and encourages them with a commandment to love one another…we are bound up together in mutual relationship that is most definitely for God’s good and fruitful purpose.”
Presiding at the Eucharist was The Rt Rev Dr Logan McMenamie, bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia. Assisting was Rev Dr Gregory Mohr, bishop of the British Columbia Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Having the two bishops participating in the service was a visible expression of the Waterloo Declaration and Full Communion between our two churches, holding in mutual respect the differences between our traditions; a testament to the trust developed through relationships in our shared ministry in Christ.
We look forward to the journey ahead with the parish of St Mary of the Incarnation and what God is going to do through their presence in the western communities.
Photos: David McArthur