By Rev. Canon Christopher B. J. Pratt
In the waning days of summer each year, I get a notice that it is time to order my calendar for the coming year. I suspect that it will come as no surprise to those who know me, that I still use a paper calendar to set the framework of my life.
My collection of calendars, (you guessed it… I have never thrown one away), stretches back through my four decades of ordained ministry. Each notation, as I take a moment to review them, generates memories of people, places and moments in ministry that cover a range of emotion.
The calendar is printed in the Great Britain. For many years the maroon colour has remained unchanged. In gold leaf lettering the words, “The Parson’s Pocket Book” have been another constant. The only element which changes on the cover, are the numbers which identify the year.
Within the book, the Seasons of the Church Year are clearly defined. Saints’ Days are given their place and are marked with bold lettering. What our own Prayer Book identifies as “lesser commemorations” are still noted, but in much finer print.
When I was involved in active parish priestly ministry, I would take a moment and place my new calendar on the altar. My prayer was very reflective of a new Incumbent’s prayer which is offered from the midst of the congregation, invoking God’s blessing on the anticipated (and unanticipated) experience of ministry in the year ahead.
I have shared this story at different times and places. It seems right to do so in this January edition of the Huron Church News because 2020 marks a time of new beginnings for our Diocesan Family. New episcopal leadership will offer us the opportunity to experience shared ministry in new ways, and yet….
One of the features of my paper calendar is its unchanging notation of the rhythmic pattern of the Church Year. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Trinity Seasons will continue to shape our shared devotional life. Saints’ Days and the stories of other faithful servants of our Lord will provide us with the opportunity to reflect on the faithful witness of individuals whose experience of life in their own day and age has much to teach us.
The pattern of the Church year may appear to some to be out of synch with the calendars used by others. Yet the pattern of devotion which is outlined provides a constancy and many teaching moments.
As you think about each Season of the Church year, each day when the witness of a Saint is highlighted, each day when a person of faith is commemorated, pause for a moment. Find out what the story is behind the devotional act of observance and commemoration. I have every confidence that those stories will enhance your experience of worship and may renew your own experience of faith.
In 2001 the Diocese of Huron had a devotional focus of a prayer which was used on a regular basis across the Diocese, which had been written as a part of an experience called, “Vision 2001”. The words which began that prayer call us to faithfully use the Divine gift of each new day of our own calendars.
God of our yesterdays,
God of today,
God of our tomorrows,
You call each generation to be renewed
in faith, hope and love…
May those words be true in your life and mine in the year ahead.
Rev. Canon Christopher B. J. Pratt has retired from full time parish ministry, but continues to offer priestly ministry in the Diocese of Huron.