“Happy New Year!”
Yes, it’s the beginning of a new year – a new church year!
This month has been one of newness in a few ways, for me. (In terms of the church-year, there is irony in the fact that November often is laden with end-times kinds of imagery and texts…)
The month began with a multi-faith lunch gathering (albeit smaller than anticipated) at the church-house. Early on, there was a Food Sustainability presentation by a few folks who have had something to do with food production in Canada, including MP Alex Atamanenko (as I look at that link, I’m realizing that the picture of the woman with the megaphone is one I took at a rally at The Sails on the 7th – I guess that’s what she did with the picture when I sent it to her at her request!). Leading up to November 7, All Saints Sunday, I was also working on ‘promo stuff‘ to get word out around the Synod about the mission congregation of All Saints Lutheran.
I wore a White Poppy this month in remembrance of those who have been affected by war – civilians, soldiers, those who have lost loved ones in violent conflict. On the evening of November 11th, I attended a Center for Inquiry meeting of some people coming together as agnostics and atheists; I was well-received and was pleased by the openness in the group to me.
Mid-month, I joined with members of the Okanagan Rainbow Coalition for Transgender Day of Remembrance – I was invited to offer some thoughts at the event, and it was an honour to be a part of the day that way. My family hosted an open house, as we do annually for the congregation (usually sometime close to Christmas). And, All Saints had its second “Souper Sunday” (aka “Soup & Spirituality”) on the evening of November 21st – Reign of Christ Sunday.
Today, for the first Sunday of Advent, we joined with the Kelowna Christian Reformed Church community for morning worship. It was an enjoyable combined Communion service! Our instrumentalists led the music with their singers. Both Pastor Duane and I offered meditations on the readings.
That’s the month in a nutshell… now for the new year ahead… I wonder if All Saints can be a ministry of the community – that our role is one to offer a different message from the Christian community than people may have thought before. There are many churches in the Kelowna-area; many of the churches, while connecting with the community in different ways here and there, have their own buildings and congregational matters to attend to much of the time. All Saints doesn’t have those kind of issues, yet it may be a stretch for some other communities to embrace the work that we do and support it. …we’ll see what the next year brings! And, without a doubt, I’m conscious that what this year will bring will be up to me, and up to the congregation of All Saints – the incarnation which we anticipate this season in the Christ child is also the incarnation we are to the world.