It's be a long time...

It's October... hard to believe but it's true.  Life in the church is full steam ahead with meetings, gatherings, worship, activities, Sunday School, choir, coffee gatherings and people!  It's a busy place around here some days!  Other days I have to admit that I revel in the quite of my office (which has moved, if you didn't know that already.  I am now very happily situated in the back office next to what had been Kathy's office).   There is lots going on here, so I am hoping you are reading your weekly emails and writing down the dates of events that interest you!

We are slowly creeping toward Advent and Christmas and the New Year.... all of which move us closer to the first year anniversary of our ministry together.  Amazing how quickly a year can go, hey?  When I first started here at Sunset, I promised that I would wait until after 6 months together before any changes start to take place.  I don't have any huge all at once changes in the works, but little things to stream line life here at the church.  It might be as simple as how the bulletin looks, events being offered or not offered, where we have coffee.  Lots of conversation about how to make our space welcoming, inclusive and accessible.  Here's one little change that happened this week:  The nametags are now on the wall instead of tucked away in the coat rooms.  Two magnetic frames are in the front entry, and two little ones behind the door in the office entry, so that name tags are easy to see and put on.  It is vitally important to use those name tags as we welcome new people into our community, and for those who are regulars and sometimes need a little help with names.  Not a big change, but a helpful one, at least i think.

Sunset isn't the only place change is happening.  As you may or may not know, the Remits that we voted on in the few years passed at General Council this summer.  This means that as of January 1, 2019 the United Church of Canada will be moving from a four court structure (congregations, presbytery, conference and general council) to a three council structure (communities of faith, regions, denominational council).  There is plenty right now that is unknown, but there is work happening to shape and structure what the church will look like and how things will run.  Currently, as chair of Wascana Presbytery, I have the priveldge of being part of the Region 4 (what Saskatchewan Conference is known as in the new structure --at least until we have a new name) Commission, which is acting as the preliminary regional council executive until the Inaugural Regional Council Gathering (like Conference Annual Meeting) takes place in May 2019 in Swift Current.

This commission is in charge of making sure that the "lights stay on" when the structure change happens in January.  We are working together to establish the foundation of the REgional Council and it's executive.  Things we are working on: budget, staffing, priorities for the Region, budget (yup, lots of that going on), working with the other regions that share the executive minister with us to see what we can share together, commmittee/network needs, some basic policies and procedures that can be handed to the executive to tweek and approve... there's lots of stuff that needs to be done in order to make sure the transition is smooth.

It's a bit of a bittersweet time for the church... presbtyeries and conference executives are planning final meetings, working on closing down their time together and figuring out what the next step is in terms of our relationships to one another once these courts are gone.  There is strategic planning conversations, and asset distribution conversations happening.  And there is grief and anticipation mixed together as we tie up loose ends and say good bye to structures that have been in place for 95 years.  How we do church will look different, but how we are church doesn't change.  Our dedication to social justice stays.  Our dedication to creating safe, inclusive, affirming spaces stay the same.  Our dedication to living into the Holy Mystery's dreams for the world stays the same.  Our vision and our call is not encapsulated by our structure.  It is experienced and lived out by the people. 

So while we sometimes fear change because it shakes up what we know, it can also give us the opportunity to re-evaluate what we do and why we do it.  It gives us a chance to stand back and listen for the voice of the Spirit, opening ourselves to Creator's wisdom. 

So my question to you is:  are you willing to join me on the journey that change takes us on or are you going to stand back and watch?