Church of the Incarnation

Community News

Financial Stewardship

May 25, 2021

Financial stewardship is an important part of Christian life. It helps us not just to maintain, but to plan for and build opportunities for worship, outreach, community, sacramental, pastoral and music ministry into the future. In Scripture, God speaks to…

Easter 2021 Pastoral Letter

May 25, 2021

Dear Incarnation Family,

We began Lent on Ash Wednesday knowing that we were entering a time of self-examination; where, in a figurative sense, we were given the opportunity to go into the wilderness of our own lives - our frustrations, disappointments, fears, illnesses, losses, and into the joys, hopes, reliefs, expectations - and into the temptations all of these things can bring that can often lead us away from God.

Examining these things, uncovering why we are sometimes (or oftentimes!) tempted away from him, and then saying to God, “I struggle with this or that,” is an act of humility that puts us into a position where we are open to receiving God’s grace.

Lent is truly a time of reflection, prayerful meditation, and repentance. But we do all of these things with an eye toward Easter: the End; the Cross and the Resurrection, where Jesus Christ has fulfilled all things. Indeed, in Jesus’s resurrection we are brought out of winter death into the spring blossoming of new life.

And so we look forward with a hope in God - eternal love and presence - that enables the humility of letting go of our temptations because we remember that we have entered into his life and thereby have received our new lives in him.

And so even though we must continue to endure the trials and ultimate changes wrought by COVID on our lives, we know that God does not abandon us. He is right there abiding with us, challenging us to seek him so that we might share his life of love and grace with others.

For we are an Easter people, and this we are called, even commanded, to live out and so to share! May your Easter Season be blessed with God’s grace and may He sustain you and abide with you for ever!

He is Risen indeed. Alleluia! Alleluia

The Reverend Leigh Silcox

Lent Pastoral Letter

May 4, 2021

Dear Incarnation Family,

I have been able to talk to most of you either on the phone or through zoom these last few months and as I said in my November newsletter, I know that many of you are caring for one another. As we continue through this season of Lent, our liturgies in our Eucharistic and Morning Prayer services are filled with Scriptures that ask us to examine our lives as we hold them up to God’s own self revelation. Who are we? What do our thoughts, our behaviours, our words, our actions, our possessions, our ways of engaging others, say about who we are and about our faithfulness to God?

This ‘COVID-time’ is not unprecedented for God’s people, although it is likely unique for most of us. But it has been precisely in such times throughout history that people have ended up taking stock of their lives and turned back to God finding they are utterly reliant on his mercy. In such times as we are in, people have had to grapple with the way we have been living, and the things by which and to which we have been tempted. The same temptations that Jesus met in the wilderness are also our temptations, but the power of God’s love can help us resist these temptations and defeat the figurative beasts that dwell in and among us. At our baptism, we were made Christ’s own forever.

Lent is a time for us to ask: how might God be at work both in us and for us during our figurative wilderness times and what must I do to discover what he’s up to and reorient my life accordingly? These kinds of questions are meant to remind us of God’s presence during those wilderness times that leave us feeling stretched beyond our abilities: in the midst of the various trials we face in life. Because, you know what? the same Spirit of God that descended upon Jesus at his Baptism & drove Jesus out into the wilderness also accompanied him during that time and brought him back again.

As we take time to examine our lives before God, let us also remember that the work and ministry of Christ does require financial investment for now and the future. Your leadership team, along with many who serve in various parish ministries, are working hard to ensure that you as Christ’s disciples have a place and community within which to worship. Although delayed because of the ‘stay at home order’ by the Province, we are hoping to deliver Incarnation envelopes to you within the month of February. We’d ask that in the meantime, you consider including your donation for the months of January and February in regular envelopes which can be mailed to or dropped off in person to the church. Please do not place cash into the envelopes, cheques only. These will be retrieved from the church mailbox on a daily basis and either deposited immediately or placed into a locked safe until they can be deposited.

Finally, please know that we are praying for you, particularly during our Sunday Morning Prayer services found on YouTube, and during our Morning Prayer Services held each Monday-Thursday at 9:30am on zoom (if you are not already and can do so, don’t hesitate to join us for Morning Prayer through computer or your phone!).

Yours in Christ,

The Reverend Dr. Leigh Silcox Earle Armstrong, Deb Simpson, John Kane, and Susanne Matchett, and Bill Otton

P.S. Please remember to keep the parish and your fellow parishioners in your prayers contacting us if necessary. And please consider mailing in or dropping off your January/February offerings to the church mailbox in a regular non-church envelope (or a church envelope when these come to you), continuing with your PAR donation, or making an e-transfer donation to the church.

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’” says the LORD Almighty, “‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” - Malachi 3:10

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” - Acts 2:42-45

Dec 2020 Pastoral Letter

December 10, 2020

Dear Incarnation family,

Every new year in the Church begins, at least for Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, with the season of Advent: a call to raise our heads, to stay awake, to take account of how we order our lives; that is, it is a time to take stock, to give thanks for Jesus’s coming into this world and into our day-to-day lives — testing, chastening, beckoning, sustaining and challenging - and to prepare for his second coming to gather all things to him.

One of the distinctions between the way our society often suggests we orient ourselves and the way we are called to orient ourselves as Christians, has to do with ‘where we’re looking.’ More often than not, society asks us to ‘look ahead,’ to ‘leave the past behind and seek our fortunes in the future.’ We’re trained to do this from an early age, generally. But the Christian life cannot simply be about looking ahead. To be sure, we do look for signs of God’s coming, to what we see as ‘the future.’ But in fact, to look solely at the future, to invest ourselves so heavily in it, is to fail to see God coming to us at every moment of our lives - something we often see only in retrospect - and so potentially to miss the signs of his presence with us now. When we miss these signs, the events of our present can often seem to take on more priority than they ought, or they can serve to distract us from realizing how they ought to shape our relationships, our thoughts, our concerns, our sense of satisfaction, and our willingness to love, share, and give of ourselves and of our resources.

As Christ’s disciples we are to look not simply forward to Christ’s second coming, but also to the past to see where he has already come. Christian tradition is filled with this sense of ‘retrospective learning.’ Recalling where God has worked in our lives; seeing the shape of our lives as they so often follow the figures and characters of Scripture that we hear about throughout the year. Like these figures we are asked to place our struggles, failures, losses, hopes and joys before God so that we might have our hearts and minds reoriented to God’s ways.

Our readings over this new year, our Advent, call us to self-examination. But this self-examination is not about a mere moral improvement. Rather this self-examination is a willing self offering to God. It is a petition, a prayer to God to allow us to see ourselves as we really are before him and to see others as God’s beloved. To offer ourselves is to turn our whole lives over to him willingly. That is the fulfilment of the first commandment; and the second is like unto it: our petition to be shown how to live our lives in charity; that is, love of our neighbours; to take of the Bread of heaven and of the Cup of life; that we might be made partakers in God’s own life poured out for this world in which we live. For on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. These summarize the whole of the Scriptures: the gospel and the law. For they are Christ’s own life of willing obedience to love his Father and all people even to death on the Cross, new life in his resurrection, and life poured out for all by incorporation into his body, the Church. Indeed, what we celebrate in Advent and most particularly at Christmas, is the sure hope, the peace, the joy, and the love of life with God, founded in his sending his only Son into the world that we might be forgiven and capable of receiving the love of God that reconciles us to him and that makes all things new.

This season let us take stock. COVID has exposed our true frailty as human beings. It has pressed us to ask questions about ‘what really matters, why we’re here, where we are going as individuals and as a society.’ COVID has served as a true wake up for us as Christians too often asleep; drifting along, uncritically, living in accordance with the behavioural, social and economic norms of our culture. This new year we begin having to live through a trial much like the Israelites endured. God called them to look up, to see him, to seek him, and to repent and open up to his transformation of their lives. So let us examine our lives and where we have encountered God in them. I would encourage you to take the time this season for intentional prayer. Ask God to show you where he is at work, where you need to grow, where you need support, where you can offer support to others, and what God is calling you to for this next year. For we have been equipped and made capable of sharing his love with others. What will this look like for you this year?

The Rev. Leigh Silcox

Nov 2020 Pastoral Letter

November 1, 2020

Dear Incarnation Family,

I have been able to talk to most of you either on the phone, over zoom, or in person. As a newcomer to your parish, I am deeply heartened to hear about how you are caring for one another with regular phone calls, discussions and check ins. This is the work of Christ’s disciples!

We are entering into the eighth month of COVID altered life, not just for Christians, but for the whole world. This pandemic has thrown off our routines, our expectations, our roles, and our ways of doing things. And while we are struggling to adapt - all of us with different challenges and/or opportunities - we are also having to practice, or perhaps even to learn some of the basic spiritual virtues: patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control and humility. The Scriptures are filled with people just like you and I, often in trying circumstances, out of which God forms us as his disciples if we are willing to allow him to transform our hearts and so our thoughts.

While our circumstances are challenging, Scripturally and historically, difficult times are precisely when people are thrown back not on our own ways, but in dependence upon God. The Scriptures and the Church’s reception and living out of them through time suggest that now more than ever we have an opportunity to seek God more deeply and to clear out those things that prevent us from encountering him and allowing ourselves to be transformed by him. COVID has created for me, and possibly for you, a great sense of uncertainty about so many things, not just practical things like, when will I be able to go into a store without a mask or meet with friends or family, or have people over to my home, but things like, do I really have a deep and abiding relationship with God? How can we grapple with the pain, anguish, loss, confusion, and fear so often a part of these uncertain times? By reminding ourselves foremost of this: Nothing can separate us from the love of God who came into the world for us. We are his. He has bound us to him in his Son Jesus Christ and by his Spirit, he constantly pulls us back to him.

As we take time to examine our lives before God, let us also remember that the work and ministry of Christ does require financial investment. Although our future is uncertain at this time, your leadership team is working hard to ensure that you as Christ’s disciples have a place and community within which to worship. We are also seeking nw ways of connecting with you, and hopefully, ways that we can connect with new folks in this community who can help to build up and diversify our church. In light of this work both now and into the future, we ask you to prayerfully consider ways you can financially contribute to the ministry of this church even if you are not comfortable or cannot attend in person worship. To that end, we have three ways of contributing: 1. Mailing in a cheque; 2. Getting set up with the church’s preauthorized remittance (PAR) program; 3. Etranfering funds. If you are interested in the latter two, please contact the church office.

Finally, please know that we are praying for you and if you cannot attend service in person, our services are being livestreamed at 10am on Sundays and are recorded and posted to the Incarnation Toronto YouTube channel.

Yours in Christ,

The Reverend Dr. Leigh Silcox
Deb Simpson
John Kane
Earle Armstrong

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” - Romans 38-39

“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” - Mark 12:43-44

Sept 2020 Pastoral Letter

October 13, 2020

Dear Parishioners of Incarnation,

I begin my letter to you with two verses from Scripture that have always provided me with the greatest assurance to persevere in and with hope through the most challenging times of my life: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” - Romans 8:38-39.

These last six months where we haven’t been able to gather together for worship, prayer, and fellowship, and where of course we have lived through economic, social and political upheavals, have certainly been challenging for me as a priest, as I would imagine they have been for all of you. At times I’ve felt sad, and even empty. I have wondered, what’s next? When will things go back to normal? What will happen to our churches and to The Church?

But as I have read Scripture each day, as I have read Morning and Evening Prayer, I am reminded that so many of God’s own people have experienced similar circumstances: various plagues (throughout history and of course as we find in the Book of Exodus), even experiences of severe economic devastation (Exodus 7:14-12:26), food shortages (Exodus), political and social turmoil (Judges, Kings, the Prophets), and individual loss (Job, Paul, Jesus Christ himself); the Scriptures and the Church’s own history, are filled with these circumstances and the ways God’s people and that God himself responds. To find God not standing far off from his people, but right in the midst of them, as I read Scripture and Christian writing through the last 2000 years, well this has given me assurance that I am not alone; that in Christ Jesus I, along with you, his people, are bound to him through his Holy Spirit (John 14:11-14).

What now(?) was a central question for me, as I would imagine it is for you too. The starting place for us as Christians cannot be mere recourse to ‘the practical,’ even if this is too is important. That would be to let go of the greatest gift we have: God revealing himself to us and with us, given to us in the Scriptures. What is God doing with us in the middle of this plague is a question we should be asking as challenging as it might be to think of God’s involvement here. But it is to these books of Scripture; to this living Word of life, that we are called to seek our way forward. As your new priest-in-charge, I look forward first, to meeting and getting to know you, and second to using some of the ways of the past, but also exploring with you, new ways of ‘soaking’ (Psalm 62:1-2) ourselves in the ‘honey’ of Scripture (Exodus 3:8; Leviticus 20:24) of receiving the “living water” that is Jesus Christ himself written in them (1 Corinthians 10:4).

Blessings to you in our Lord Jesus Christ,

The Reverend Leigh Silcox

A poetic reflection from Incarnation parishioner, Olivia Lee, on Philippians 2:5-13:

                **REFLECTIONS**
            (During the Sunday sermon
       at Church of the Incarnation, Toronto)

                   Mirrored crucifix
            reflects the church, safely held
      in the Saviour's physical outline as worshipers
              come and go, groping their way
             through an age-old wilderness 
                    challenge to
              survival with no known exit 
            and not knowing how to get there

                    But Jesus knew
                  where he was going
             and how he would get there---inconceivable 
                 to those who followed---
             a pathway dreaded yet willingly
                      embraced
                  to hold in his care
                those willing to trust.



     "For God is the one who, for his good purposes,
      works in you" .
     Philippians 2:13
  "I am confident and unafraid.
 My strength and my courage is the Lord."
        Isaiah 12:2
 "Behold I am doing something new"
       Isaiah 43:19

Vimy Bell

March 2, 2008

Veterans’s website features our a photo of the church’s Vimy Bell….

Photos

Get a glimpse inside our multi-generation church community…