Bishop Stephen London joined with the leadership team and church family at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Edmonton on March 27 to officiate at a service of confirmation and baptism.
Anya Thomas, Chidel Ugwoke, and Siri Pellegrino were presented for baptism. Chioma Ugwoke was confirmed. St. John’s rector, the Ven. Richard King, says it was pure joy to be with these families as they took these steps of faith; families who are “involved at St. John’s and part of the life and health of the church. I’m so grateful for all they bring to our church family. As a young person, Chioma has been involved with our children’s ministry, working alongside the Rev. Maryann Amor. She is a gift to us.”
In his sermon, Bishop Steve also acknowledged what a great moment of celebration it is when people take these “steps into our new life in Christ and faith.”
“As we get into worship,” he said, “we realize the reason we are here is Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ is what we are all about. Everything we do is all about Jesus.”
Bishop Steve touched on the readings for the day: 2 Corinthians 5:17 which reminds us that, in Christ, we are a “new creation,” and the gospel story of the prodigal son from Luke 15. Then he offered two pieces of advice – to the baptism families, Chioma, and the whole St. John’s community – about how to live out our life in Jesus Christ.
“Number one and before all things,” he said, “we meditate on Christ in the Scriptures: because to live for Christ we have to know Christ; intimately and deeply – to know his love, to know his challenge, to know his call… God speaks to us through the scriptures…"
“We want to take scripture and not rush through it, but read it one verse, one passage, one image, or one insight at a time… It’s not just about our heads, but to feel it deeply in our hearts."
“But it can’t stop there. We have to step outside the door and live our lives in Christ.”
“That is my second recommendation,” the Bishop continued: “to offer our lives to Christ… for the love of Christ…”
Using Eugene Peterson's translation of Romans 12:1 in The Message, the Bishop encouraged everyone to “take your everyday ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
The service was made even more special for many, as it was the first Sunday in which the mask requirement at St. John’s was lifted, and the first time parishioners were able to stay after the service for coffee, carefully served, in the basement.
For King it all added to a day of great joy. “We continue to be cautious as we move away from pandemic restrictions, but there is really nothing like being together in fellowship. After two years, the joy in being together was tangible. It is all too exciting for words!”