Great is Thy Faithfulness

Good Morning!

Christianity covers a wide spectrum of Theological understandings; doctrines; policies and belief systems. Divided into different faith communities we live out our call to walk in the footsteps of the Christ. Occasionally we join together around issues that speak to us and sometimes we gather in praise and celebration. However, for the most part, we live in our own spaces and we co-exist. We support our own church communities and there is even a hint of competition between us, each of us believing that ours way is the best. The ecumenical movement has tried to overcome this, bringing us together and inviting us to respect the variety of traditions and celebrate that there are many roads leading to the same destination.

Ecumenism has been at the centre of my ministry (I even married someone from a different tradition). In every community I have served I have attempted to build bridges between denominations and to help create the broader sense of community that defines us. I have been blessed by the relationships developed with other clergy and congregations and have grown in my own faith journey. That being said, most of us are focussed on our own churches with the growth and development of our own faith family as the main goal. We don’t expect another denomination to be concerned with or involved in our ministry. As involved as I am and as important as I see collaborating with other denominations even I do not look to those other churches as a place of physical support.

Then something happens to remind me that we are indeed brothers and sisters, living and working and supporting one another:

A few years ago, in the community I served, the local Pentecostal Church burned. Within hours the other local churches rallied into action. Some of us offered space for them to worship; others offered help in cleaning up; and all of us offered to support them in the rebuilding. A few weeks later local congregations from many different denominations came together in a service of worship. We celebrated our faith, held our Pentecostal brothers and sisters in prayer and made a financial offering for the rebuilding of the church. It was an amazing display of care and concern! As that packed gathering stood to sing “ Great is Thy Faithfulness” the Spirit was tangible and the sound breath taking!

At First United we are dealing with the reality of a sick building. There are many repairs needed and so we have launched a capital campaign to raise the needed funds. While this is only a building, it is our home. It is the place we gather to be renewed, redirected and empowered and it is a sacred space. It is important to us as members of First United but I have not really expected people outside our community to join us in our efforts. I was wrong! Two weeks ago I had an unexpected visit. Across the street stands Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church and we live side by side without really interacting much. In fact, I have been here four years and had never met the Priest. That is until a Monday morning two weeks ago when he paid me a visit. Sitting in my office, he shared with me the fact that our brothers and sisters would like to help us. The congregation had already taken up a special offering for the restoration and their dinner theatre cast would like host a presentation to raise further funds for us. I was humbled, amazed and blessed by this gesture of love and fellowship.  Once again I am reminded of the reality that, although we may have different traditions, doctrines and policies, the Christian family is larger than any boundaries we construct!

This coming Sunday is Pentecost, known as the Birthday of the Church. We will gather with our ecumenical brothers and sisters to “Make A Joyful Noise!” The walls we have built will be lowered and our voices will unite! At this event 10 – 12 congregations, representing 5 different denominations will sing and eat and offer our gifts in support of the Truro Homeless Outreach Society. And the People say… AMEN!!

Blessings
Valerie

Reminders of the Week

Sunday at 10:30 – BE READY TO PARTY!!!! Celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit we will join in praise and celebration

Sunday 4pm – At First United we will gather for “ Make A Joyful Noise !” This will be followed by a light supper in the hall. Come and bring a friend. A Free Will offering will be taken up in support of Truro Homeless Outreach Society.

June 14th is Graduation Sunday – If you, or someone in your family is graduating from highschool, college, university etc please provide the office with a picture and short bio as we prepare for this celebration.

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