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Phone : 306-586-3613

United Church of Canada

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Fall? Already?

Confession:  I have neglected to post over the summer.... I have excuses:  low to no internet access at the cottage, a week of intense meetings at General Council 43, more time in an internet low zone, and then back to work, juggling working and having kids home.  Regardless, there has been no activity here.  And I am kind of sorry/not sorry about that.  When I was away at the cottage, I tried really hard to limit the amount of screen time and work time I had there.  It's hard not to check email and facebook to see what's going on, but it was a promise I made to my family.  And then General Council...whew.  By the end of the day, I was lucky if my brain could string words together in a coherent sentence when checking in with my roommate.  

But I realize now, that summer is certainly coming to an end.  This week we have our final tri-church worship together.  After four years, I have come to anticipate gathering the three congregations together.  It's such an energizing and life giving gathering of amazing people, that I find my self exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.  I remember quite clearly the conversation about having the three churches sharing services, and the tentativeness of the congregations in agreeing.  We'd never done it THAT way.  Whitmore and Sunset had been sharing summer services for years, but not Wesley.  Wesley and Whitmore had been sharing Holy Week services for years and in the last few years the two Sundays after Christmas.  But to bring all three together???  I am deeply proud and grateful that we took the risk.  When I see the gathered community, when I hear our voices joined together in prayer and song, my heart sings.  Why?  Because this is the church.  A place where community is formed, the Spirit is given wings, and risking and daring happens.  In a time when we seem to be surrounded with words of fear, scarcity and decrease, to have a place where people gather with such energy and faith gives hope... By doing this thing together, we become people of hope and gratitude, we are renewed when we move back to our congregations.  And I pray that renewal becomes a source of energy for ministry and mission in our separate congregations.  Maybe that Hope can help us to have further conversation about what church, particularly what the United Church, can and may look like in our corner of the city.  

I had a similar feeling coming home from Oshawa this summer.  So much happened for me when I was at General Council that it has taken me some time, and likely will take some more time, to process all that I heard and saw.  This General COuncil was kind of a BIG DEAL for the church.  This was the gathering that would be voting on the implementation of the remit, forever changing the structure of the United Church.  It's been a long three years of talking, planning, thinking, discerning, more talking, and lots of questions.  It has been a year of unknowns, and there are still many unknowns.  Votes were sent in from Congregations and Presbyteries, numbers were tallyed, statistics were given, and then the information sat until the commissioners gathered in Oshawa.  Then the vote happened to implement the remits, and the United Church structure changed, and work is starting. And in all of that is hope... hope enough to allow us to risk and to dare, and to dream our church into the future.  We could have given up.  We could have given up and let the church die it's slow death, disappearing into history.  But we didn't.  Because this is who we are, and who we will be.  We are a church that sees its place in the Canadian landscape --which is as diverse as we are.  Throughout General Council we talked about how we can continue our journey with the Indigenous peoples and churches, how do we continue to be allies with the LGBTQ2S community, how do we support and build relationship with the incultural church, looking to and recognizing the gifts and vision they bring to our church in a way that moves beyond tokenism.  These are the conversations of a living and live church.... 

 

So these are some of the things on my mind as we move into the busy time of meetings, gathering, events and worship.  My hope is that these thoughts will shape what we do together as a church.  We've been together for six months now, the learning curve is beginning to even out, and now we can start figure out what ministry together looks like.  What are the changes you want to see happen, changes that come from a recognition of the gifts we have rather than what we are lacking?  What things do you want to do together?  How can I help YOU make your plans, visions, hopes a reality?  

May you know the presence of the holy in the simple acts of everyday living.  May you risk hope and dare faith in all you do!

T

Written by : Tricia Gerhard

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Sunset United Church

 

Phone: 306-586-3613

office@sunsetunited.ca

177 Sunset Drive
Regina, SK, S4S 6Y7

Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Tuesday - Friday