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February 20, 2020 at 1:10 pm #3906officeKeymaster
Noticings…February 20, 2020
If the same insight dawns on you twice in one week you really ought to pay attention to it, right? That happened to me this week. The first came as I was gathering and summarizing my thoughts about the listening and discerning that a working group on anti-racism that I’ve been part of has been doing, and suggesting possible ways forward and next steps for our General Council Executive to consider. That working group came into being in response to the outpouring of stories and spirit that overtook the end of General Council in Oshawa in 2018, and have continued to emerge since. Those weren’t the first stories about racism in the church, of course. But in that holy moment, that kairos moment, those stories were offered and heard in a profound way.
My insight was that rather than trying to dream up a congregational education program, or design more comprehensive racial justice training, or publish more resources – all of which are good and necessary steps – we ought instead to find ways to share stories: personal stories, human stories, real stories, uncomfortable stories, stories of our colleagues, and friends, and neighbours who have experienced both overt and inadvertent (yet still harmful and painful) racism – especially in the church – and let those stories move us into deeper understanding and then into action to address the injustice those stories lay bare. It’s not a particularly original insight, but it’s a good one.
That insight emerged again Tuesday night as we held our bi-monthly gathering of churches in our area called a ‘cluster’. Our scheduled theme speaker was housebound with the flu so we had to improvise a new topic for the night. We decided to put people in groups and have them share something positive and something challenging about their Community of Faith, then after a time we mixed up the groups and had them do it again. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, two things happened. First, the room was abuzz with energy and connection as people leaned in and listened to one another and shared their stories enthusiastically and authentically. Second, when they changed groups they changed stories, suggesting that there is always more to share, more to learn, more to discern. Sharers were blessed because they knew their stories were being heard, and hearers were blessed because they knew they were listening to sacred stuff.
Writing this reminded me of the stories of faith that several members of our congregation shared last fall in worship as a form of testimony. Again, there was example after example of deeply engaging stories that were personal, and real, and human. Telling your story, sharing from your personal lived experience, is a powerful and potentially transformational offering. It requires courage, and vulnerability, and trust (and sometimes those are hard to come by), but the gift to those with ears to hear can be profound, even life-changing. Friends, I encourage you to share your story, and if you find yourself in a sacred moment when someone is sharing their story with you – listen with your heart.
Pancake Supper ~ Tues. Feb. 25th @ 5:30 PMTickets are only $5 and children under 12 are FREE! Pancakes, sausages and beverages will be served.
Songs For Sunday NightHere’s a way to make your Sunday Night Worship experience even better! Here’s a link to the songs we’ll be singing this week. Now you can listen to the songs before you come and enter into worship more fully! And if you can’t make it Sunday you can just click and listen for your own worship time. Sunday Nights at 7:15pm. (Bring a friend!)Shalom,
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