Peter’s Blog

Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

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Monthly Archives: November 2019


2019 Schedule of Special Christmas Concerts and Services
at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, 1585 Yonge St.

*November 26 – Trees go up in the YP Sanctuary – volunteers needed from 7 a.m. till 11 a.m

*November 29 at 7 p.m. – Harp and Holly – Celtic Yuletide Concert
to raise funds for House of Compassion
featuring legendary celtic harpist Sharlene Wallace and friend (Sharlene plays at our Iona service) Tickets from church office $26 or on Eventbrite
For a taste of their music please go to
To learn more about the House of Compassion, an important charitable organization started by people at Yorkminster Park go to:

*11 a.m. the Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes preaching – service includes Communion
*7 p.m. Iona Liturgy with the celtic band Iona Passage – homily by the Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Dec. 3 & Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. – The Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Festival of Carols

*Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. CITY CAROL SING
a fundraising concert with CITY TV for our Churches on the Hill Food Bank, and food banks across the country. (to be broadcast Christmas Day and Christmas Eve)
featuring Bach Children’s Chorus, Hedgerow Singers, Yorkminster Park Baptist Church Choir, the Hogtown Brass and LUNCH AT ALLEN’S (Murray McLaughlin, Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas) To sample the music of these legendary Canadian singers go to:
doors open at 1 p.m. – a free will offering will be taken for the Food Bank.

*11 a.m. the Rev. Dr. J. Peter Holmes preaching, service includes Baptism and the Dedication of newborns
*7 p.m. the Rev. Dale Rose preaching – Helena Bowkun offering preludes 6:40 p.m.

Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. The Bach Children’s Chorus and the Hannaford Street Silver Band present: Winter’s Song
tickets at:

Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Handel’s MESSIAH presented by Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir, directed by Lydia Adams
*200 tickets are available from the church office or on Sundays – all proceeds from these 200 tickets go to the support of the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church Refugee Support Ministries.

*Dec. 14 at 11 a.m. Service of Comfort and Hope – a hopeful and compassionate service or worship designed for those who approach Christmas with the emotions of grief and loss in their hearts and minds.
Lunch to follow.

*11 a.m. White Gifts – Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes preaching
*4:30 p.m. CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT – the inspirational Christmas presentation by the YP choirs and musicians. (doors open at 3:30 p.m. with free will offering)

Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. John McDermott Family Christmas with Dala and Michelle Kasaboski
tickets at the door $25 –

*11 a.m Family Christmas Service – homily by the Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes
*4:30 p.m. Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

CHRISTMAS EVE (Tues. Dec. 24)
*4 p.m. Bethlehem on Yonge – bundle up for this intergenerational interactive event on the Yorkminster Park grounds then join us in Cameron Hall to sing carols and sip hot chocolate. While this year’s event does not feature live animals it will be full of delightful surprises for the child in each one.
*11 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight with YP Choir and special guests tenor, Richard Margison and legendary Canadian actor R.H. Thomson. – homily by the Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

homily by the Rev. Dale Rose – service includes Communion

*11 a.m. the Rev. Dale Rose preaching
No 7 p.m. service

New Year’s Eve (Tues. Dec. 31)
11:15 p.m. Watchnight Service homily by the Rev. Dale Rose

*Denotes a service, concert, or event organized by Yorkminster Park Baptist Church service,
All other concerts involve outside musicians whom we are honoured to have using our space to add to the larger community’s celebration of Christmas. All of the above events are open to the public. All are welcome.


Remembrance Day – devotional

A reflection on Matthew 15: 1-20 with reference to Nehemiah 9:1-25; Revelation 18: 1-8; from the texts of the Daily Office.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and on the surface none of these texts prescribed by our ancient schedule of daily readings would seem to fit the occasion and yet as we dig a little deeper we will discover again that the Word of God always has a word for our lives. The Nehemiah reading speaks to a nation’s desire to start out on the right foot after a period of warfare and exile. This involves remembering God’s goodness and unfailing love and mercy and repenting of the pride that had led the nation away from faith in God. The Revelation reading was a prophetic reminder to the early church facing persecution, that evil nations and rulers will all fall and they will have to answer to God. This is a word that still speaks to Christians suffering for their faith. These readings remind me of a chorus written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu that we often sing at our Iona liturgy services on the first Sunday evening of the month. Here is a link to the chorus.

Neither does the Matthew reading seem to have anything to say about Remembrance Day. In it the religious leaders accused Jesus’ disciples of not adhering to some of the religious cleansing rituals which involved washing one’s hands before a meal. These were healthy rituals to be sure, but Jesus response was to point out that his critics were focused on getting everything clean on the outside while neglecting their hearts on the inside. Their external cleansing rituals were intended to make them more presentable to God, but Jesus could see that what was needed was a cleansing from within of the sources of murder, greed, adultery, jealousy and lies. Jesus contended that if the religious leaders had been attending to the cleansing of the heart they would have been far less prone to judge the disciples and far more likely to have been caring for their aging parents and for others in need, but sadly they were not. I can’t help but think that if everyone applied this teaching, the world would be flooded with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, spears would be transformed to farm implements and war would be no more. But rather than judge the world we need to begin by getting our own hearts right with God.


We remember with grateful hearts those who gave their lives to protect our liberties and we pray for the protection of those who this day continue to serve the security and defence of our nation near and far. Stir our heats by the power of your Holy Spirit that we might be wise stewards of these freedoms and faithful followers of Jesus Christ who laid down his life for us on the cross.


Reflection on Luke 6: 20-31 & Ephesians 1: 1-11
Todays is All Saints Day. Marie Lu is a popular young American writer who recently wrote, “None of us are Saints. We can all do better.” While I don’t doubt we can all do better, I have to take exception to her notion that a saint is someone who is perfect. The Gospel reading for All Saints Day this year is taken from Luke’s version of Jesus’ Beatitudes. The very first of the beatitudes in Luke is ‘Blessed are the poor,’ which Matthew recorded as ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Some make much of the apparent different wording between the gospel writers, but I believe it was a sermon Jesus repeated in village after village. After all it contains the heart of his teaching and even when one preaches the same sermon twice it does not come out the same.

Perhaps in our place and time it might have come out as, ‘Blessed are you when you are spent emotionally and physically with nothing left to give.’ Why? Perhaps it is then that we begin to truly rely on God. Or maybe Jesus would say, ‘Blessed are you when you are broke or broken,’ for the same reason. Our resources are spent and now at last we let go and trust God who as the Ephesians reading puts it, ‘lavishes us with the riches of his grace,’ (Eph. 1:8)

A saint is someone who knows they are broken and turns in faith to the God who came among us in the person of his Son, Jesus Christ, to pour out the currency of his life upon the cross that we might be made whole and live for Christ and enter into the inheritance of the saints. I prefer what Nelson Mandela said about saints, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” By the power of the Holy Spirit let us persevere as true saints do.

Prayer – Today’s prayer is adapted from the Ephesians reading.
God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of glory, we pray for a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we might grow in our understanding of Christ, so that, with the eyes of our hearts enlightened, we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the true riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for we who believe, according to the working of his great power….Amen.

P.S. I got away last evening for some time of meditation and writing but in addition to my devotional for the day I add the following poem.


Drove up to Meaford north of town
colourful leaves were mostly down
pumpkins on porches were aglow
but this morning I woke up to snow!

Yes All Saints Day is robed in white
for those who persevered the night.
It will likely melt this afternoon,
but can’t get winter tires too soon.

Dark clouds rise over Georgian Bay
Will dump lots more in coming days.
Batten the hatches, fix the roof
winter’s coming, I’ve got the proof!