Sunday, January 3, 2010

St. Agnes Anglican Church, North Vancouver

I attended St.Agnes Anglican Church (530 E. 12th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7L 2K4 Tel: 604-987-0432 for the first time. Since spending more weekends in North Vancouver I have wanted to go to an Anglican church here. I picked St. Agnes because it advertised itself as 'inclusive'.

When I was younger I was more into 'exclusivity'. The older I get as a Christian the more of a sinner I realize I am. I even think maybe Jesus wouldn't have remained sinless if he'd had to do 'middle age' and had more time to reflect on his past. What would he think of making enemies of the Pharisees if he had to grow old with the same bastards in power. Crucifixion is a young man's game. Bladder and bowel control issues and drooling, begging, dementia- like whimpering wouldn't make for great gospel literature. All the facial wrinkles on the holy pictures, especially in the too bright halo lights. That's the kind of sinner I am. I thought I was only accountable for my actions, as the philosophers would describe me, a 'consequentialist'. Increasingly I'm even less impressed with my thoughts. Like Groucho Marx I'm suspicious of any club that would have me as a member. So 'inclusivity' is attractive to me. If I have to associate I might well associate with people who want me. Especially, Christians.

I was warmly welcomed at the door by a greeter who looked me in the eye and held my gaze. I felt she wanted to know me. It's a quaint church. Portrays its self as "a Country Church in the City". It definitely had that feel. All round I liked it.

There was this weird bit, though, during the "peace". Everyone walked about and greeted just about everyone. I'm the kind of Anglican who shakes hands with the people I'm forced to be nearest to but I've already figured the people in the next pew are strangers. Yet here was the church commingling en mass. I even got hugged which is very un Anglican but oddly pleasant nonetheless. Otherwise they behaved themselves.

They used the Alternative Service book, modern and relevant, and the Book of Common Praise. Yvonne Gardner's the music director. I liked that we sang a Manitou and birth of Jesus (Twas in the moon of wintertime) song written by Father Brebeff (sp)( c.1500's). The hunters gathered about the baby Jesus dressed in rabbit skin. Fr. Keith's message was from Paul's acceptance of the Gentiles. St. Peter, the Rock, wanted every Christian genitally mutilated like the Jews but Paul said they could share in the blessings without the paranoia inducing infant male trauma experience. I'm sure the good French father in the 1500s' who wrote the "inclusive" song for the First Nation warrior types, was thankful that Paul won that great Christian 'penis debate'. It must have made his job of Evangelism a whole lot easier.

When it was over the rector,Rev. Keith Gilbert, bright, good looking ,tall, white haired "gentle"man, invited me to come back. He was clearly 'sincere'.

Already, during the 'peace', I'd been invited to stay for tea. But I had to get to a meeting in the West End. Andrea was taking her first year of sobriety cake and my friend Bob was giving it to her.


Anonymous said...

Hello William:

St. Agnes is a vibrant Christian community. Father Keith is a great pastor, and and fellow deacon Lizz Lindsay would make sure, along with the rest of the folks that you would be welcomed.

Deacon Steve Bailey
St. Laurence Anglican
Coquitlam, BC

Anonymous said...

Thank you William,
That was wonderful. You caught the heart of our church in a few words. I have been part of this family since the day I was born and have called it home for 34 years. It has always and will always be just like you stated "inclusive", and being part of that family has helped me learn how to love. I am only surprised by one thing... how did you get away with only one hug, and a lone offer for tea. We must have be slacking that day ;-)