At the evening service last night here at the ECC Annual Meeting the speaker spoke of how we must respond to the needs in the Congo. The Covenant has launched a project called Congo Kids powered by World Vision. Hoping to make an impact on the lives of kids in the area of the Congo known as the Nord Ubangi – the area I used to live in.
The needs of this extremely poor country are huge. This could make an impact. They are hoping to have water points in Gemena within 500 M of every home. No more walking all the way to Bokonzo to get drinking water for Pascaline, who did this for Willadeen and myself while we stayed there.
Water towers at Bokonzo.
The Canada Covenant is launching its own part of this project. This will happen in October so watch for it and think seriously about sponsoring a child from this project through World Vision. The money you give for support will go to development of the whole community in which the child lives.
It was a great day. We celebrated paying off the mortgage on our church building. Thirty years or so. It started in 1980 with only $5000 raised. We are not a big congregation and we are not wealthy. We did it by keeping at it and by the grace of God.
I’ve put up a set of photos from today on Flikr. You can check them out here.
We shared in a banquet today and had a great time.
I am waiting in the airport in Calgary, in the Maple Leaf Lounge.This is a good place to wait if you have studying or reading to do. It is quiet and there is free tea and coffee and other things. Leo decided that if I was going to travel, he would get this little perk for us. And it is well worth it. Otherwise airports are no fun at all!
Anyway, I am on my way back to Saskatoon after ALIVE, our church’s adult retreat. I’m not sure if these things should be called a retreat since in the true sense of “retreat” it was not. We did a lot of visiting, some worship with music and we heard God speak to us through Ruth Hill.
Ruth and I have known each other since back in the Congo. Now it seems we are on a similar sort of faith journey, discovering that in our late 50’s/early 60’s, we are hearing God call us on into new endeavours that involve study.
We also both have a weakness for chocolate and after spending our free time on Saturday in our books studying, happened to head out into the hotel corridor at the same time. We drove into downtown Canmore thinking we’d walk around and browse some shops. Instead we just happened to walk by a Creperie within the first block and were divinely led inside to enjoy some wonderful crepes – Chocolate and Nutella. What could we do but indulge?
Right after work tonight, I hit the road and head for Saskatoon to board a plane to Calgary then drive again to Canmore. I hope to make it to my hotel there by 10:30 or so. We’ll see. Last time I estimated the time it would take to get up to Kingsfold, I underestimated by a good hour. Of course I got lost and it was snowing and raining so hard it was easy to miss my turn off.
So, I guess we will see. I will get there when I get there.
I am attending Alive,an adult retreat (which usually means over 50, you young things that do not fit the description) Ruth Hill is speaking and since we did time together in the Congo, we always have lots to talk about.
And I am now waiting for the School Dental Program people to arrive so that I can finish a job that ended up being a bit too complicated for them. I do not want to have to speed too fast on the way to Saskatoon and my meeting scheduled for there at 6 before my plane leaves.
Such a hectic life I lead. Sometimes it seems as if the crazyiness comes totally unbidden and unplanned putting an end to all my nicely timed out schedule.
Life. Is Too Full Some Days.
This is already a bit old being Tuesday already. But there was no internet service out in the bush where I was for the past couple of days.
So, I’ve had time to reflect on what happened Sunday. The experience was a bit unique. It is a good thing that we come together to worship, not to have slick entertainment. And we did worship. In spite of the fact that our speaker did not come and we had to improvise at the very last moment. And that the improvisation was me.
So, I led my first congregational communion service. Without benefit of a Covenant Book of Worship. Thank God that Paul wrote the basics in 1Corinthians! Thank God that we have an abbreviated liturgy, or at least a responsive reading in the back of the hymnal. And thank God that he showed up, we were fed and nourished by his Spirit and by his presence in our midst. We gathered as a body united in Christ, we remembered his death and resurrection and we were fed.
I was glad when they said to me, let us go into the house of the Lord.(Ps 122) I really was. But… I told everyone that they shouldn’t expect to see me in church again till we have a real pastor. (After all, I will be away for the next month and the real McCoy’s should be here by then.)
The week of prayer at our church has become an important marker in our church year. We usually do this just before Advent starts although our denomination marks the month of January for this emphasis. This year things were just too full of events, besides just getting used to functionning without a pastor, to arrange a week for it so we chose the first week in January to set up our stations of prayer.
They went up on Sunday Jan 4 and came down on the 10th. Pictures of what we did at those stations can be seen and followed on Flikr and on Resonate Stories.
This is some of the work I love to do most in the church – hoping that others will experience some of the relationship with God that is so good. Walking around the church with the best friend who loves me and doesn’t mind if I come back and walk this path many times, telling him my same old stories, listening to my concerns and sometimes letting me catch glimpses of what he is like. It is a good week no matter what time of the year we set it up.
There are many tasks I need to buckle down and work on the rest of this week. The sermon is coming but it has not come easily. The quiet in my house now that everyone has gone home is good but it is easy to procrastinate and otherwise find ways to waste time.
The computer is a great tool and also a great distraction.
I have a set of photos taken over Christmas posted at Flikr
Now back to work.
In the seasons of Advent and Lent I find myself feeling a bit at odds with the frivolity of the season. (Not that Lent is exactly filled with mirth but it is hardly about getting stocked up on chocolate for the Easter bunny to deliver either.) As a culture we seem to jump from one event to the next without savoring any part of it – like draining a bottle of wine without holding it long enough in the mouth to appreciate its flavor, becoming drunk on the quantity we consume with no enjoyment of its richness. So, immediately one holiday is done the stores quickly remove all signs that it happened and gear up for the next selling opportunity.
Maybe if these seasons were only about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny it wouldn’t matter what big business did to stimulate us to buy candy and trinkets. But because these seasons hold such significant religious meaning for me I find myself wanting to withdraw from the glittery trappings of our consumerist world into an inward space sparsely adorned with things that have become symbols of where my heart is in these waiting days of Advent. A candle glows in the light of early morning as a symbol of God’s presence with me as I invite his Spirit to fill my day. The Advent ring of candles remind me weekly of expressions of hope, peace, joy and love that we ponder during the four weeks leading up to Christmas day. Some of the mournful tunes of Advent remind me of the longing of a heart for the arrival of a loved one long waited for, of my hopes waiting to be fulfilled and of the melancholy of a waiting heart.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not sad or depressed. The period of waiting gives me time for the preparation I need to do on the inside. I need the reminders of why we wait, why Christians devote this time to preparation and waiting and why it is good for my soul to stop and reflect before I jump into the celebration and joy of Christmas.
The celebration will come. My house will be full of children and grandchildren and their voices, of smells of baking and roasting turkey, the scent of the real tree, the delight of wrapping and unwrapping gifts, and the sounds of joyful Christmas music. But if my heart is not prepared for the coming of the King, a turkey and some mistletoe will not be able to fill my days with real joy.
We had a party tonight. It was our annual Family Advent Program with the usual astonishing talent and this year it was followed by a catered finger food (ie:wings and ribs and wraps and lots of sweet stuff) meal and games night. I think Pictionary was the biggest hit. We had a good evening together simply enjoying each other’s company.
And Roger had a great time – even caught up on reading the paper. I swear this is his favorite activity!
Among the musical greats doing their stuff was Massa with an animated version of one of the latest Lingala Christmas tunes,
the Vandersluys Family Singers,
And Meself trying my best to bow some tunes out of my new bass. (You can tell I am concentrating by the serious look I have.)
There are more pictures which I will post over on Flikr.