There are days when this work is such a blessing! Sunday was one such day as we gathered in community to baptise Lita Mai and welcome her into the family of God. On behalf of this community, I get to meet new people, listen to their stories and serve as an agent of affirmation and welcome. Thank you for entrusting me with this privilege.
I think my smile in the pictures below say it all… but regrettably, behind that smile is a deep worry for the future of faith and communities of faith: the absence of children and families.
I know families are busy. I know there are so many demands on the time of parents and that children are involved in so very many activities. I know that many of us remain cautious in respect to the events and activities we are taking part as we navigate through a pandemic into these endemic times. I know all of this, and I am so very empathetic. But I still worry.
I worry for the future of faith communities. We are now two, almost three generations, into the secularization of community life. David Hewitt said it well in a Facebook post on this 61st birthday:
I was born on this date in 1961 and today I become 61 years old. I began the day driving for 4 hours to meet with a church that is anxious because their typical 3rd quarter operating deficit is larger than it has ever been and will not likely be covered by the end of the year. No one in the conversation will be younger than me. This in a community where 77% of the population is under 65. If you are my age or older please start asking yourself what you are doing to mentor the next generation of leaders in the church.
I am not as old as David (!) but I share his concern – not for the sake of the faith community but for those who individually might compose such a community.
Faith and spirituality in my mind is about making meaning, gathering in safe community where we can both celebrate and struggle with what it means to be human. True community assists us in making/creating meaning in our lives through shared vulnerability, asking questions of life, loss and love, and working together to participate in the building of a kinder, more gentle, compassionate and just society – all against the backdrop of the ancient story of one people’s experience and expression of the mystery we call God.
So here is an open question to one and all: What could Sackville United Church do more of, or less of, that might lead you to participate more fully or more regularly in the community called Church? What do you need from your Church community? What do you need from your Minister? If you’d like to respond to these questions, seek me out for a conversation, drop me an email or, use this link to respond anonymously through a SurveyMonkey form.
PS: I was grateful that Lita helped me sustain my record... 31 years of ministry with countless baptisms and not once has an infant cried in my arms during a baptism!
I am in the office this morning there I have three meetings scheduled - in between meetings I will be working on this offering to you and the liturgy for Sunday in which we will celebrate the ministry of the UCW and mark the conclusion of that ministry within Sackville United Church.
On Tuesday I morning I will meet with the Lectionary Study group at 10:30AM after which I have two pastoral visit and a meeting scheduled.
Wednesday morning will have me in Moncton for a meeting after the Seniors Sharing the Table gathering and back in the office for a meeting in the afternoon.
Thursday, as has become my practice, I will work from home putting final touches on the liturgy for Sunday and write a reflection. Friday and Saturday will be days off and I am looking forward to getting the the library at AST on Saturday and lunch with friends.
And on Sunday October 30th at 11AM I look forward to being with all who come to recognize and give thanks for the ministry of the UCW over these past 60 years as the Sackville United Church unit of the UCW is disbanded - with deep gratitude for the faithfulness of so many!