A couple of weeks ago I was one of the 140 or so people who gathered in Teresa Sargent Hall for a presentation by Peter Kageyama, author of the book For the Love of Cities. The event was sponsored by City Council to start a discussion (or multiple discussions) about why people love Grande Prairie and how to build affection for the city within the residents of Grande Prairie.
AS I have reflected on that session I have come up with a couple of questions I would like to pose in this newsletter. And maybe they will grow into an ongoing dialogue.
The first is to ask if you love your church. And if so why? If you could write a love note about St. Paul's what would it say? And maybe more to the point, what would make you love the church more? How did you fall in love with the church?
This sounds like a discussion question to me. I think we as a congregation will benefit and grow by hearing how St. Paul's has made an impact on our lives. And so I am offering a challenge. I know that Valerie is often looking for submissions to the newsletter. And so I challenge people to write their response to one of these questions: “What St. Paul's means to me?” or “Why am I a part of this congregation?” and send it to Valerie for use in a future edition. I am sure that if you asked nicely she would even publish it anonymously if you wanted. (note I have NOT talked to Valerie about this so she may think I am out to lunch).
The other question has to do with our relationship with the larger community. How attached are we , as individuals and as a group, to the community around us? Are we offering love notes to the city of Grande Prairie? Do we make an impact (hopefully positive) on the city by our presence?
As it happens this links with a discussion we are planning to have at our next Council meeting. Before Christmas we decided that we would include on every Council agenda, near the beginning of the meeting, some time for visioning-type discussions. The first of these happened in November when we talked about the need for and role of a Pastoral Care Committee (which still exists in our structure but has become defunct over the years). This month we talked about providing transportation assistance on Sunday mornings.
Next month we are going to discuss this question “If St. Paul’s were not here, what difference would that make to our community?”. If we were to disappear would anybody notice? Council has been asked to think about this over the next month in preparation for our discussion. I invite you to ponder that question as well. And if you have thoughts on the answer feel free to jot down a few notes and pass them on. Of feel free to attend the Council meeting (guests and observers are always welcome) and join in the discussion.
So that's where I am this week. Lots of questions but no answers. Maybe next month I'll come up with answers and no questions??