Working Faith

Scripture Reading: James 2:1-17

Quite possibly the most favourite family activity we did this summer while on vacation was attend the Canadian Special Olympics Games in Antigonish. We were invited to be there so we could cheer on my cousin from the Yukon who was competing in bocce.

In fact, we were treated as Yukoners all week long. The reason why is because we were given purple t-shirts emblazoned with Yukon pride, along with flags and noisemakers. If you saw a group of purple t-shirts, you could be sure to hear “RISE UP! YUKON!” bellowed from someone in the group. Especially if they were gathered at an event cheering on the team.

But that wasn’t the reason we had such a great week, although it certainly contributed to the fun. We had a great week because of the atmosphere. We took in as many sports as we could. We certainly watched my cousin. We also watched her boyfriend compete in soccer. And they did really well, ending up with a silver medal.

We also watched basketball, track and field, and also some rhythmic gymnastics. At every event people had fun. As fans, while we cheered loudest for the Yukon team, we also were happy to cheer on the other provinces as well. And other fans were the same. The loudest cheers for your own province, but still there were enthusiastic cheers for all athletes, no matter their skill level. read more…

From the Inside Out

Scripture Readings: James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23

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One of the unforgettable moments of General Council this summer came near the end of the week, actually it came in the last hours of the meeting.

Like most meetings of the church, we were starting to get bogged down with business in the mad rush to get as much work done as possible with the few remaining hours we have left to meet. There came a moment when some “re-wording” was required so there was an invitation to hear from one of our observers. As though we might just try and “fit him in” since we had a few minutes.

His name was Rev. Paul Walfall and he was our “intercultural” observer. I had the privilege of being in the same small group as Paul all week long, and quickly realized he is a wise man. Paul is also an immigrant to Canada from Jamaica and serves in a church outside of Edmonton.

As Paul spoke to the church, his words began to impact the room. Paul spoke about racism in the church, and he spoke as one who has experienced it himself, and heard the stories of many others. As he finished, the moderator thanked him for his powerful message and we moved back into dealing with the loads of business we still had to cover in the final hour or two we had left to meet. read more…

Play Safe

Scripture Readings: Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

Pretty much every summer the kids and I have a traditional outing. Each year we go to OnTreePark, which is a zipline and obstacle ropes course just outside Windsor and not too far from our family cottage. And, as usual, we did it again this summer. There was one day where we had nothing else planned and it wasn’t too stinking hot for a few hours of exercise in the woods.

When you get to the park, the first thing you need to do is register and sign the waiver that you won’t sue them because you fell out of a tree doing something stupid. After you’ve done that and paid your fees, you then move onto getting your safety equipment.

The safety equipment OnTree requires you to wear is a helmet, gloves and the harness. The harness is the part that keeps you from falling out of the trees.

There are a number of straps that go around various parts of your body which are part of the harness. There’s a belt around your waist. There’s loops that go around your legs as well as shoulder straps. Attached to the harness are also the hooks and gear you’ll use to navigate the courses.

As you step into this contraption, a staff member then places the loops and straps in their appropriate positions and tightens them all up for you. read more…

The Bread We Receive

Scripture Readings: Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

It’s good to be home. 6 weeks is a long time to be away. Between vacation and General Council, it’s been a busy summer.

I won’t go into great detail about what I did all summer long this morning, but it was a good summer. We rested. We saw friends. We traveled. We laughed. Aside from some small moments which weren’t the best, it was a good summer. A little hot maybe, but a good summer.

One story I will share is from the time Bev and I spent in the Niagara region. We had the opportunity to go mainly because if I preached in a church in Niagara Falls, we would have free house for a week! Seemed like a pretty sweet deal. So we took it.

You thought it was hot hear in Cape Breton this summer? You should have been in Ontario. We went to the church, and it was a lovely service. Hot, but very nice. There is no air conditioning, no fans… just hot.

We went outside after church, and it was cooler than in the church. And it was 35C outside! So to cool down, we thought we’d go to a local outlet mall. The only problem was, it wasn’t a mall. It was laid out like a mall. It had stores all lined up just like a mall, but you had to go outside. So basically it was a mall without the covered hallways.

Did I mention it was hot? read more…

So What’s Next?

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-20

9 years ago today my family left a home we were renting in Halifax and made our way to Cape Breton. We were on our way to Sydney Mines. We had no idea what to expect. We had no idea how long we would be here. All we pretty much knew is that we were excited to be coming to a place where we wouldn’t have to move for a while. We had moved far too often. Anna was 5 and had lived at 5 different addresses. Anthony was 3, and he had lived at 3 different addresses. So we were very happy to be settling down for a while.

I’ll be honest though, I’m not sure we would have thought we’d still be here 9 years later! But we are, and we are very happy to still be here. We’ve seen God do so much and we also see how God is leading us to do even more. It’s very exciting and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for us all next!

As I think back to 9 years ago, I think about my ordination. I think about the long, long process it took to be ordained. The interviews, the traveling, the education, and even the hurdles I encountered along the way. But in the end, it’s all been worth it. read more…