A congregation of the United Church of Canada
“That sounds hopeful.”
My week is being bookended with ‘wider church’ work. Last Sunday afternoon I had the honour of presiding at a friend and colleague’s covenanting service. (Covenants are promises and bonds.) A covenanting service happens near the beginning of a new pastoral relationship. While you might think there are only two parties in a covenant, the minister and the congregation, there is actually a third party – the wider church. It’s an important reminder that we don’t do ministry in a silo – we do it in community, and as part of an interconnected denomination. That’s why I was asked to lead the worship, another friend and colleague did the sermon, several other colleagues and church members from different communities of faith attended (including Faith), and a representative from our Regional Council oversaw the promises of all three parties to work together and support this new ministry. It’s a lovely example of one of our most treasured sayings: We are not alone.
This Saturday I will be presenting our Region’s strategic plan at the Regional fall meeting in Odessa (near Kingston). Our team has been working on it since May – holding consultations, listening to people, and discerning ways forward for the Region to focus its energy on. I think it’s a great plan, mostly because it strives to be connective. When we changed our denominational structure five years ago we lost some of our familiar connectivity, and then Covid came along and isolated everyone even more. Our strategic plan has several initiatives in it aiming to not only reconnect us, but also to help us grow into the idea that we really do share in ministry together. That’s the common theme between last Sunday’s covenanting and this Saturday’s strategic plan – connection. We are better together than apart. We are more faithful in community than in silos. When hearing about the connectivity of the plan yet another colleague remarked, “That sounds hopeful!” Indeed! As we continue to emerge from our Covid hibernation there’s a sense that things need to change, because the world has changed, and the Church landscape has changed. Happily, hopefully, connectivity will be at the forefront as we navigate that change. We are not alone! It’s more than just a good line – it’s our lifeblood.