October 13, 2013

… Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for me. Nancy & I were married on Thanksgiving weekend 37 years ago. I’m grateful for many things, and if I’m honest I’m grateful that the marriage has lasted. I know how bizarre it seems for me to say that, but many marriages don’t make it, and there were numerous reasons ours might not have survived.

First of all, we were VERY young. (Nancy was 7 weeks past being a teenager; I was 2 years older). Secondly, marriage is ‘two sinners living under the same roof” That’s always true, and I know I brought a lot of selfish immaturity into our partnership. But we survived, and matured, and our personalities grew together, and here we are. (Thanks be to God). We were so fortunate; we were blessed.

Marriage is always a blessing and a challenge. These days especially so. I don’t think one can ever predict for certain what marriage will flourish, and what will diminish. Two of my very best friends in the world (one of them another minster) had two marriages fail, before they found the right partner, with whom they now flourish.

So I’m thinking God is happy and rejoicing whenever we find the right partner. And I know that on this and every Thanksgiving weekend, I have a lot to be thankful for. AMEN.

With love, ORVILLE

September 29, 2013

…about what’s been happening within the Christian Church. It’s surprising and hopeful. Some have felt that the Christian faith has begun to age and decline. There’s no denying that it’s been shrinking in the English speaking world. But that’s only part of the story. The growth in Latin America, Africa and Asia is stunning. And there have been brilliant decisions about leadership in the past year. I feel delight and enthusiastic hope about the election of Pope Francis, and the stimulating statements he has made toward new thinking and change. The Roman Catholic church may have turned a corner toward a fresh, divinely inspired path.

Similarly the world-wide Anglican Church has elected a new Archbishop of Canterbury. Justin Welby was a brilliant businessman, the Chief Financial Officer of a huge British oil company. He attended Holy Trinity Anglican Church in London. The Alpha program introduced him to basics of faith and discipleship. He began to feel God calling him to toward a new career. He left the corporate boardroom to become a priest – and his love for God and for people, helped him to give such inspiring leadership that he rose quickly to be come bishop, and now the Archbishop and head of Anglicans around the world.

After his election he boldly announced “I am utterly optimistic about the future of the church…we are at one of those rare points where the tide of events is turning, and the church…has great opportunities to match its very great but often hidden strengths.” Of course I believe he’s correct.There is a longevity and endurance that has sustained the Faith for centuries. God is now doing a new thing.

So Wellington Square is in its 50th year. For humans that’s upper middle age. For a church that’s a mere infant. Last week I was at Riverside United in Windsor for their 84th anniversary – again still young. The history of this place is only beginning, and the people God wants to reach through this community are beyond counting. God always finds a way – that we humans fail to see. When Justin Welby first presented himself to church officials the bishop who interviewed him was pre-disposed to reject him. The bishop declared “There is no place for you in the modern Church of England. I have interviewed a thousand candidates for ordination and you do not come in the top thousand.” OOPS. Justin Welby is now the elected head of the Anglican church.

So don’t worry about the future of the Christ’s Church. Despite human error and sinfulness, God will find a way to renew the Church.

With love, ORVILLE