Hope and Promise

Good Morning

“ Maritime Conference seeks to be a safe place for all people to worship regardless of age, ability, cultural background, sexual orientation or gender identity” With these word’s the 90th annual meeting of the Maritime Conference began. As we entered the arena it quickly became a sacred space as the Spirit moved in and through and among us. It is difficult, in many ways, to explain what took place this past weekend as we gathered as United Church in the Maritimes. It was packed with business as we prepared for the meeting of General Council in August. The main issue for that meeting is the restructuring of the United Church of Canada and so it was also one of the main issues of debate at our gathering. We discussed Israel and Palestine; the pension investment in Gold Corp; Guatemala; and the culmination of our work as a Conference in discerning to become an Affirming Conference, just to mention a few. With each of these issues there was the opportunity to hear the many different voices that make up our church and then a time to vote as a body. This was an amazing experience!!! There was something different as we gathered this year. An air of engagement, of hope and promise filled the space ! Most years there is a lot of movement – people coming and going, depending on the topic being discussed. This year people stayed in their chairs, were present and engaged in the discussion, and invested in the life and work of the church. AS I witnessed and participated in this I was , once again, reminded of how blessed I am to be part of this church!

It was not all business however. We were also blessed with the presence of our Moderator, Gary Patterson. The best way to describe that experience is WOW!!! His passion, care, understanding of the gospel, and his love of this church were present in every word he spoke. He kept us captivated and inspired, leaving many of us just craving more! Throughout it all we were grounded in moments of worship, reconnecting us to the source of our being. We raised our voices in song, opened our souls to the presence of the Divine in our midst and celebrated our call to be the body of Christ. As I witnessed and participated in this I was reminded, again, of how blessed I am to be part of this church!

Having said all of that, perhaps the most powerful moment for me is connected to the presence of the 200 plus youth who were present among us. Youth Forum and Intermediates joined us in the main meeting space for the theme presentations and for the discussions around becoming an Affirming Conference. In our structure these youth are not permitted to vote but can participate in the discussion. Even though they could not vote their voice was clearly heard. They reminded us that they are the church of today and the church of the future and as such should be able to decide the direction of the church on matters that affect the kind of church they belong to. They were actively engaged in the discussion and as they prepared to leave us they stood , as one, in that arena to let us know how they would vote if they could. As I watched 200 youth and their leaders rise in that space as one body in favour of the motion to become an Affirming Conference I could feel the presence of the Spirit that was overwhelming. As I witnessed this I was reminded, again, of how blessed I am to be part of this church!

I look forward to the 42nd meeting of the General Council in August and am feel blessed and honoured to be one of the Commissioners from the Maritime Conference.

Blessings
Valerie

Reminders of the week:

Sunday 1030am – This is a service you do not want to miss!!!!! The 8 youth from our congregation who attended Maritime Conference will be sharing with us. We will celebrate the sacrament of baptism; we will give thanks for all our children and mark the close of the Sunday School for this year and clue it all up with our congregational barbeque!!!!!

June 12th Dinner Theatre – Tickets Limited Get yours now

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