I wanted to begin this blog with a purpose. We at Squamish United church are in a time of exciting mission transformation. As we share and blog together I want us to take the opportunity to discover who God is calling us to be as individuals and faith community. So today we will begin with a reflection on our Discovery Weekend (Oct. 1&2, 2010).
On this weekend a group of us from the congregation engaged in the question of our mission and ministry. We engaged in conversations around faith, calling, justice seeking, mission and purpose. We rekindled and reminded one another of the gift of God that is within us as we worshiped, fellowshiped and worked together. We were challenged and called to have a spirit of courage and faith. For some of us there was a deep process of increasing our faith and trust. For others there was a wrestle with what God calls us to in a time of change.
We know that as people of faith we are called to be a witness to hope and new life. Like a clay vessel that carries a message we are in transition and we do not know exactly where God will take us and yet we stated over and over that we are willing and ready to trust, even in these uncertain times. We realized that we are being lead by the spirit to take a leap of faith. We spoke to one another messages of Jesus’ teaching - like “Don’t be afraid” and “consider the lilies of the fields...consider their beauty and how God cares for them...how much more will God care for us? It is God’s desire to give us the kingdom.
We are being challenged to change and trust that God is with us in the transformation.
Perhaps the clearest message we reflected upon over and over is that transformation is going to happen whether we go along with it or not. And so we began a deep process of reaffirmation and discovery. We sought out the mystery of what is our mission as the united church in Squamish. As people in the practice of leadership we recognize that we need to be attentive to all the voices in our midst. We need to ask ourselves who are the voices not being heard both within and outside of our congregation. As people of faith we need to ask who we are advocating for? How is God calling us to be in mission in this time and place?
We live in a time of fast change and transformation within the world of technology, education, communication and more. And yet we recognize that all statics say that everything that is working and growing today in this fast pace technological world is about relationship. Jeff Davis wrote in What would Google do “...the single greatest transformative power of the internet and google has little to do with technology, or media or even business. It’s about people and making new connections among them. It all comes back to relationships.” Think about it - email, facebook, social networks, skype, text messaging, iphones and blackberries are all about maintaining communication and relationship. The encouraging thing about that for us is that from what I can see about Squamish United Church is if there is anything we know and do well it is relationships.
Loren Mead from the Alban institute says “We are at the front edges of the greatest transformation of the church that has occurred for over 1,600 years. It’s by far the greatest change that the church has ever experienced in America (even more so in Canada); it may eventually make the transformation of the reformation look like a ripple in a pond.”
So perhaps that is why at times we feel anxious and fearful in our transition and process. Perhaps we feel like we don’t know where we are going, what we are doing, and feel like we even need to rediscover our purpose. It’s true we don’t know exactly where God is taking us but as my friend Mary says what we do know is “Jesus is going to be okay.” God is going to carry on working and moving in this world whether we join her or not.
The spirit moves where it may and at this time we are being called to discover who God is calling us to be. And we are going to need to trust one another, and be transparent with one another. And so I encourage each one of you here to do that. To be in conversation with myself, with the facilities development team, with one another. We are the body of Christ in this place and each part of the body is essential.
And I invite you to engage in the conversation - How then shall we live and be as a community of faith this day?
Blessings on the Journey,