God’s Love is Amazing!

Good Morning!

Thursday evening 7pm. The place – Sackville Arena. The Occasion – the Annual General Meeting of the Maritime Conference. Present at this meeting are people from all across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Bermuda about 600 delegates and 300 youth and young adults. It is amazing to be a part of this gathering of faith filled people and the energy in the room is tangible. Some of us have known each other for many years and others are meeting for the first time and yet we are all family. Around table we are invited to share who we are, where we’ve come from and then create a five word covenant that will ground our time together. At my table we set the stage with these words – love, respect, listening, sharing, connected in the sacred. And so we began to write the story that goes back in time and moves forward into the future. We moved into a space naming and claiming that we are many and we are one – one heartbeat, one spirit, once voice. We called on the energy and spirit of the universe as it flowed through each one present to permeate our time together. We opened ourselves to the story that is ours and we gave thanks for the reflection of the light as it had been revealed in those who journeyed before us.

On Friday and Saturday we gathered to do the business of the church that included reports from a variety of committees. We heard about the situation in Guatemala and were reminded by the presenters that life abundant does not come from secure bank accounts and solid structures, it comes from justice. Once again we were asked to call upon the United Church Pension Fund to divest its investments in Gold Corp. We heard from representatives about the Truth and Reconciliation commission which is coming to the end of its mandate and were reminded that the work of reconciliation now belongs to us as we live that out with our First Nation brothers and sisters. We approved that nine men and women would be ordained at the service on Sunday morning. We elected our new president designate, Matthew Fillier. Matthew reminded us that this time is our time and this place is our place. There is no better time to be church than now! We spent time in discussion around the affirming process. We engaged in discussion around the restructuring of our church governance. We sang, and prayed and danced together.

On Sunday Morning we gathered in worship as our time together drew to a close. There is something so powerful about being in a space with close to 1000 brothers and sisters raising your voice in song and celebration!! In Story, prayer, song and feast we proclaimed that God’s love is amazing!

There has been much conversation about the fact that the church is in decline over the last number of years. This weekend we were reminded that though there is decline this is not death! The United Church of Canada is very much alive and strong and we are blessed !

Blessings
Valerie

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