I’VE BEEN THINKING…
…about beginnings and endings; Endings & Beginnings.
They’re inevitably connected of course – one
follows the other. When something ends,
something new begins; then, over time, that becomes the new normal. Until IT
ends… and something new begins – Again.
We’re into an ending\beginning right now, aren’t we?
For me, it’s retirement. For you,
it’s a transition toward a new minister and new chapters of ministry &
What’s up in my future? Bit of
an adventure ahead- I have fuzzy plans to ‘goof-off’ until Labour Day. That ‘goofing-off’ will probably include
trips to Vancouver, and Britain, (visiting our daughters Heather Joy, and
Leslie), then summer at our cottage (N. of Kingston).
Before all that, we’re working to sell our house in Burlington, and
down-size to a house in Kitchener (where our son Eric, lives with his
And for you at Wellington Square?
Also an ending\beginning and the leadership have made very good plans as
you enter this transition year.
As BOARD co-chair Jeremy Cox
reported last week, Sunday services are already sorted and being planned into
and through the summer. Most months
there will be a guest preacher or two; Katie will lead worship and preach regularly, and
partner with our staff team to continue the ministry programs that make this
such a great Jesus community.
And last week a ‘Search Committee’ was approved, to begin talking to
potential new ministers.
How long will that take, and what will be the result? It’ll be a bit of an adventure.
For those who like everything to always stay the same, that will feel
weird, and could make some nervous. No
need to be nervous. Enjoy the ride – the
weeks ahead of curiosity, while things are a little different; Share the adventure
My sense is you all need to lean into each other. Trust the leadership. And trust God.
That will allow you to
move through this transition year with confidence. One inspirational poem has always
“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness, and
put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and
safer than a known way.” AMEN.
& Peace to you all –
I’VE BEEN THINKING…
the sometimes awkward, always challenging complexity of ‘Giving’ – especially
during the season of Christmas.
There are SO many needs, and good causes we can support. Truman Capote, the writer, said, “It’s
bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets
my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.” Exactly.
The needs might seem overwhelming, but we need not be
overwhelmed. Rather, be strategic. How?
First of all,
make ‘Giving to others’ central to your Christmas activity. Here at church, you’re already leaning
toward Jesus, so generosity is part of the atmosphere. It ain’t like that everywhere: “When it comes to giving, some people stop
at nothing.” Ouch.
guilty of not being thankful or generous at one time or another. And this isn’t
about judgement. It’s about remembering the joy of giving and being inspired to
make this holiday season about others.
secondly, ‘strategic giving’ calls for making choices. Requests and needs are everywhere. While we lean toward saying Yes, sometimes we
have to say “No, I’m sorry; bless you in
your work, but I’ve committed my resources to some other projects.” As long as that line of thinking is not
over-used, and not an excuse for doing nothing, it’s okay to say No sometimes,
and trust that the Lord Jesus has someone else who will support them.
thirdly, Giving during these Holy days will be rich and meaningful if it is
grounded in gratitude, celebration and compassion. Most of us have SO much, AND so many to be
thankful for. Awareness of that guides
us in our giving choices… “Lest we forget
those who aren’t getting presents this year, while remembering those who don’t
even have someone to buy for.”
at Wellington Square, our leadership team is diligent in choosing carefully and
supporting with tenacious generosity the causes and projects that will change
lives. This month we’re emphasizing the
huge impact of three global projects:
The Wellington Orphanage in Sierre Leone west Africa, the Prison
Fellowship ministry in Malawi (south east Africa), and the YUGO house-building
in rural Mexico. As I ask you to give to
them with joyous generosity, you can be confident that your support is used
very wisely and well.
that, the ongoing ministries and mission of this Church always seem to need a
December boost. Entering this last
month of the year, our budget is running about -$28,500 behind. So friends, Thank You in advance for your
support that enables Wellington Square to continue to testify and serve in the
name of the baby born in Bethlehem.
& Peace to you all,
I’ve been thinking
…whether anyone needs ‘reassurance’.
It’s been suggested to me that I reaffirm and remind us all of the incredible truth and value of a friendship with the Living God.
Apparently somewhere there’s a minister who now says she doesn’t believe in God. ‘She-who-must-not -be-named’, (as my minister friends call her) is getting a few headlines and her 15 minutes of fame. Most have left her congregation – attendance is small on a Sunday morning (according to Toronto Star columnist Rosie Dimanno). United Church stats suggest Wellington Square is at least 5 times bigger than her congregation.
But she keeps her job, for the few years left until she is gone. It’s important to note that it was not a decision of the full United Church of Canada. It was a decision of a small committee of Toronto Conference. The rogue minister was challenged for her ‘fitness for ministry’ (or lack thereof). She ‘lawyer-ed up’, threatening a long expensive lawsuit for wrongful dismissal.
The committee decided not to waste our church’s money and time. Why bother?
Were they correct, or should she be ‘slam-dunked’?
ON the one hand, It does raise questions; and cause embarrassment; and make some angry and ashamed. On the other hand, she loves the attention, the headlines, and the spotlight- so maybe just ignore her, and keep living our faith with joy and gusto.
I kinda go in that direction. I’ve been influenced by the wisdom of Gamaliel, a teacher of the law in the ancient Jerusalem Council (Acts 5). The early followers of Jesus were excitedly telling everyone about the Resurrection, and of God’s coming in the Christ. The authorities of the day wanted them to stop, shut-up, cease & desist. So they arrested them and dragged them into court. But when the judges were discussing what to do, Gamaliel said this: “…keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them.” (Acts 5: 38 & 39)
Exactly right. This silly rogue minister will have her 15 minutes. And God loves her, and wants to embrace her with grace and mercy and truth.
Our task is to continue our quest as disciples of Jesus, trusting in the Living God who rolls across space and time, who has come in the baby of Bethlehem, and who has redeemed humanity and begun a great restoration project, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
He is on the throne of history. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.
Christ has come. Christ is coming again.
Thanks be to God.
Grace & Peace to you, ORVILLE
I’VE BEEN THINKING…
…about left-overs & legacies. What do we throw away, give away, leave behind, leave for others?? Nancy & I are in a transition stage of life. Earlier this year her uncle and my Mom left us. And we had a new grandson born in K-W 6 weeks ago (the day before my Mom’s funeral). All of that got us thinking. We have just re-done our ‘Wills’. We started by asking ourselves ‘What are the causes we believe in and have been supporting? I totally believe in finding ways to, throughout our lifetime, use our resources for our family, and for the betterment of God’s world. And I believe we can and should do that even beyond our earthly lifetime. So we thought about 3 ‘good causes’ that we want to support. Over our married years we have ‘adopted’ children growing up in a 3rd world country. We have had 4 children in Haiti that we have ‘sponsored’. So we named that Development organization in our will. And the Cancer Society – my Dad, and all my uncles have died of Cancer. And Wellington Square church. I hope my will isn’t needed for another 25 years – but I know that when I go there’ll be enough for our kids and family. AND, those three organizations that are doing God’s work are named to receive a total of (6 figures) from our ‘leftovers’.
I mentioned this to a younger friend, a volunteer here at the church. He told me he & his wife have already named W. Square in their will. I was astonished and impressed. His kids are in elementary school. I guess it’s never too early. So I got an idea. I ran it by our Leadership team (Trustees, & BOARD) and was given approval to do an ‘Ask’. Would you consider naming Wellington Square in your will?
I’ve been here 22+ years and I’m hoping that at least 22 of you would consider leaving something to the church, when you are gone. If you can do that, would you tell our church treasurer, Karen Dobson. Her email is on the ‘staff list’ on the back of the bulletin. You don’t need to name any amount$. You don’t have to tell me. Just let Karen know. And if we hit 22, we’ll celebrate and give thanks, for all our future gifts. BLESS YOU.
I’VE BEEN THINKING…about a conversation I had with an 83 year old member who told me “I came just before you arrived, and I joined the choir. Loved it! & sang there for about a decade. When my voice and strength slipped, I moved out into the congregation.
The first Sunday, I sat down beside a woman and asked if it was okay. She smiled and said, ‘my husband used to sit right there’. I started to get up to move, but she stopped me and said – Don’t leave. I’m happy to have you with me.”
I like that story! It reminds me of the warm atmosphere any church should exude.
And energy. My former choir friend also commented that in her early years at W.Square (20+ years ago), when she and I were both ‘newcomers’, there was a fresh energy, a spark of enthusiasm and even anticipation for the new beginning that was happening.
I sense that same experience lies ahead. Even as my official ministry is winding down, I sense that this church is approaching a new beginning. Focus on that.
We’re going to finish well together, and maybe have a few moments of feeling a little sad. Fair enough. Perfectly normal. And then – I’m passing off to new leadership. If together, we can all pull off a smooth transfer, It will bring spurt of energy and momentum.
The image I have is of a relay race team – the best ones are able to have each participant push themselves as far and fast as possible, for their part of the race, then just before they run out of gas, they hand-off to the next team-member who is un-fatigued and bursting with energy. Zoom – Zoom!
A new minister next year will bring that Zoom, just by showing up!
I’m ALSO very aware that all newcomers who join a Christ-community bring with them, their own spiritual and personal energy. Every new member to Jesus team contributes to the atmosphere with their spiritual hunger, their dedication to serve, their curiosity and yearning for growth, their willingness to give of time, talent, treasure, and more.
Next month, we hope to receive new members. If you’ve been around here, and haven’t yet officially joined – I’d love it if you’d let us welcome and receive you now.
Then in a decade or two, you can repeat your version of the story from my 83 year old friend (above). You can tell the next minister that you were part of the renewing spirit that welcomed them to their start.
Grace & Peace to you,