On the first Sunday of February, Bishop Stephen London confirmed seven young people at St. Faith’s, Edmonton, and joined the Lodgepole Communitas in celebrating its network of supportive relationships.
During the Bleeding Heart Service – a service of creative reflection incorporating many different voices - the Venerable Travis Enright, rector of St. Faith’s and St. Mary’s, described the Lodgepole Communitas as a network of partnerships casting out from St. Faith’s like a spiderweb.
Connected to St. Faith’s, a presence in the Alberta Avenue neighbourhood of Edmonton for more than 70 years, is the PrayerWorks Common community which provides hearty meals several times a week to anyone in need. The Lodgepole bakery and market is a social enterprise business producing – among other delicious goods - freshly-baked sourdough bread. The market provides space for local vendors and aims to be self-sustaining in its operations while providing education, work experience and remuneration for community members. The Celebrate Recovery support group also meets at St. Faith’s every Friday evening.
A more recent addition to the Lodgepole Communitas is the parish of St. Mary’s in the Highlands. St. Mary’s is now home to Bleeding Heart Art Space (previously located on Alberta Avenue), bringing together local artists, musicians and faith expressions.
Over the past two years, the Lodgepole Communitas has become an example of a local Ecumenical Shared Ministry partnership. Avenue Church, from the Christian Reformed Church denomination, worships at St. Faith’s. While maintaining its own Sunday service, Avenue Church is now an integral partner in all other aspects of the communitas. This complex, but life-giving network of partnerships also includes the reintegration community and its chaplain.
Woven throughout the communitas is the Standing Stones initiative which blends traditional Indigenous spiritual practice with traditional Anglican liturgies through worship, teaching circles and dialogue.
“It (Lodgepole Communitas) is a chosen community bound together for the mission of Jesus Christ,” said Archdeacon Enright. “There is in this a mutuality of blessing. It’s all of us sharing together.”
During the February 5 service, Bishop London invited five pastors and the members of the different communities to come together in a joyful celebration of the eucharist, followed by Ugandan worship dancing.
“It is my joy as a Bishop in the Church of God to recognise and celebrate those who in the capacities granted to them through their own churches, are engaged together here in this Lodgepole Communitas by ministries of word, sacrament, service and pastoral care,” he said adding that the five ministers committed to this work of humble service in the way of Jesus, and in turn, invite their congregations to walk in this way together.
Bishop London thanked the participants for the many ways they show God’s love and blessing to their communities: “This communitas operates in so many ways to be a blessing by holding worship, feeding the hungry, reintegrating the broken, visiting the sick, pioneering new ways, ecumenical sharing, being the beloved community. Thank you for being the salt of the earth. May God continue to guide and bless you in this amazing work. Amen.” Photos: Jennifer Stewart