Our feature tries to provide a broad spectrum of what’s happening in our congregations, offering examples of how our church is dealing with the challenges we face as we find our way forward.
While the feature reflects causes for concern, it also raises reasons for hope. As Keith Myra reflects at the end of the article, “God continues to change the church today, often in ways that we may not understand.”
None of it can be done by relying on one or two leaders trying to do it all. Each one of us needs to contribute what we are able so that together we achieve remarkable things that we cannot do on our own.
The congregation of which I am a member is typical of most North American congregations. For many years we thrived. We came through the pandemic remarkably well. We found ways to remain financially stable while maintaining a solid ministry.
But there aren’t as many of us as there were before and we are no longer able to do some of things we enjoyed in the past. At the beginning of the year, we learned that we face a major financial shortfall by year’s end and that our leaders are exploring new possibilities for our future together.
For the past year and a half, our Church Council has worked together with Deacon Michelle Collins, assistant to the bishop
for the MNO Synod, to identify our ministry priorities; what our core values as a congregation are. We are feeling empowered as we discover new and emerging leadership.
Our pastor, Courtenay Reedman-Parker, regularly reminds us that we are a resilient and faith-filled community that continues to share God’s love and grace, even as we are uncertain where God is leading us.
On a personal level, I have been taking stock of what I am still able to contribute. As I age, some things I once did, I am no longer able to do. But I am confident that God will enable me to discover and to do the things that I can, and be a bit surprised and energized by it all.
Our feature provides some material that may help us to position ourselves for the future into which God is leading us.
There are encouraging words in Practising Our Faith for those whose memories are fading that help us to understand what it is like; a gift from someone who is coping with Cognitive Impairment herself (p. 9).
On the other hand, Q & A cautions that what may appear to be encouraging words for those who are desperate and searching for immediate solutions to life’s problems can prove to be a false gospel (p. 15).
Clear communication requires practice and awareness. On addressing conflict (p. 30) and Co-operation means listening to other opinions (p. 18) provide some helpful observations.
Rev. Kenn Ward