Its been a Thanksgiving Weekend to remember – and it was the little things that aren’t little that made it so.
Jen and I had our Thanksgiving turkey dinner on Saturday as Sunday in addition to be busy workday for me was also our 1stWedding Anniversary and we planned to have dinner out to celebrate. We enjoyed preparing the meal together and the sharing and laughter at both the ‘under 40’ and ‘over 40’ table added to the sense of gratitude and celebration.
Sunday morning dawned grey, wet and cool – but the energy in both congregations was bright, joyful and warm! As we were celebrating communion at both services I donned my alb and stole. Yes, it had been a while since I’ve worn a robe of any sort – Lent and Easter Iast year I think. But it seemed appropriate as the alb is a symbol of baptism and the stole a symbol of leadership and this morning, in addition to presiding at the table I would take part with the Executive of the congregation in welcoming new members to the Sackville United Church.
The reflection went well I think. I was trying to connect some of what I’d shared last week with the invitation that would be offered for folk to come forward to be welcomed as members of the congregation – trying to capture what the community we call church offers to us in our daily living.
I knew that two, possibly three folk would come forward. These three have been part of the congregation for a period of time and had asked me when the opportunity might be made for them to become members. I was, quite simply, filled with joy as members of the Executive came forward to take part in the welcome of new members and six individuals came forward to join in the semi-circle at the front of the church as we sang:
We have been gifted with each other,
and we are called by the Word of the Lord:
to act with justice, to love tenderly,
and to walk humbly with our God,
to walk humbly with our God.
We are companions on the journey,
breaking bread and sharing life;
and in the love we bear is the hope we share
for we believe in the love of our God,
we believe in the love of our God.
My joy, is I believe rooted in the sense that the community is living out its purpose: to be a place of welcome and affirmation, a place where folk feel safe and encouraged to be their true selves, where together we seek to ‘act with justice, to love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God.’
Here are the words that those who came forward responded to:
I have witnessed the welcome of this community. I wish to participate in celebrating and sharing God’s love.
I have experienced the willingness of this community to ask questions and be open to the Spirit. I wish to participate in this wondering.
I have been welcomed at this open table. I wish to extend that welcome to others.
I have seen ‘the Way of Jesus’ lived out in this place and seek to join with this community in ‘loving God and neighbours as myself’.
Chris, Jack, Janet, Jennifer, Miranda and Stephen, welcome! May the Spirit of hope be our constant companion. May the Jesus of justice and mercy be our guide. And, may the God of Love direct all we say and do. Amen.
Tuesday morning will find me in the office getting ready for Sunday. The day will be broken up with a lunch meeting with the Rev. David Good from Connecticut, Steve Berube and Keith Nicholson of the Mt. Allison Palestine Support Group.
On Wednesday I will take part in the first meeting of a cluster of clergy from the Greater Moncton Area. This group is coming together as a result of the change in our denominational structure as a way for us as clergy to support and encourage one another. Over the noon hour I will attend the Pastoral Care Committee meeting at the Drew and then later that afternoon I’ll serve as host for the group that gather in the Queer Room – likely using this time for final meal preparations for the group that will gather for the Ridiculous Journey. Crock-Pot Supper will be served at 6PM. Discussion Group will begin at 7PM. We aim to be finished by 8PM.
On Thursday I have a number of pastoral visit scheduled for the afternoon and will likely get to the hospital and the Drew in the later morning. On Thursday evening I am looking forward to joining with others for the Queer Songbook Orchestra at the Brunton Auditorium.
Friday and Saturday will be rest days and on Sunday we’ll gather again – until then, or perhaps before – blessings and peace!