Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer 2015 Letter to Northern Lights Presbytery

Brothers and Sisters:

Greetings in the name of the Threefold God!

I trust that you are all enjoying your (hot and dry) summer. Hopefully you will find time during this season to rest and be re-created. Hopefully you will also be re-awakened to a sense of what God is doing in our midst as we look toward the future.

As I sit here preparing for my own vacation time (36 hours away but who's counting) there are a couple of prayer concerns I thought I would share with you all.

The first is weather related. Yesterday morning Parkland County declared a state of emergency due to drought and grasshopper damage to crops. Several communities are starting to issue water-use advisories. Campfires are becoming a thing to save for another year, And for the last several days our news reports have been filled with reports about the wildfire danger and activity in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan – wildfires that may only really be extinguished when the snow comes in October/November. As much as we may enjoy nice clear days on our vacations, let us also remember the desperate need for moisture, I ask all of you to pray for those whose lives are disrupted by drought and wildfire this summer.

Close to our lives as a faith community are the prayers we hold for General Council. Hard as it may be to believe (except perhaps for those wading through hundreds of pages in the workbook), in just a month and two days GC42 will have met, deliberated, and dispersed. As we know, the commissioners have been entrusted with a weighty topic in the report from the Comprehensive Review Task Group, along with many other pieces of business that is coming before them. We join with United Church folk across the country to hold them in prayer. And we trust that they will be open to the voice of God as they deliberate and discuss and decide.

If you go to the GC242 website ( you can not only read the workbook but find out more about the Prayer Pilgrimage we have been invited to join in as the commissioners prepare for the meeting. Also the Moderator, the Right Rev. Gary Paterson has been posting an intriguing series of blog posts lately to get people thinking about what it means to be the church. Gary's blog is at

Then after the summer will come the fall. And the work of the church will continue. Our Fall meeting (September 25-27) this year will take us up to meet and visit with the folks of Hillcrest United Church in Fort Nelson. There is a possibility we will also schedule the Covenanting service between Northern Lights Presbytery, St. Luke's United Church in Fort St. John, and the Rev. Louise Hart on that same weekend. Watch for an e-mail from Martha with more information. At that meeting we will not only do our regular work but are hoping to hear some more about the Truth and Reconciliation process. And of course we are building in a substantial block of time to hear from Bev and Margaret-Anne about what happened in Corner Brook and to discuss what they share with us.

As I leave you to enjoy the rest of your summer, one small advertisement. The Banff Men's Conference this year is a month earlier than traditional. It will be the weekend before our Presbytery meeting. The theme this year is “Finding Kanata in our partnerships with indigenous people”. Information and registration forms can be found on their website and we will be back at the Banff Centre this year after being in Canmore in 2014. It would be nice to see a number of folks from this area in attendance (which reminds me that I have yet to register myself).

May you feel the creating and re-creating power of God flowing through and around you this summer. May you feel the loving presence of the Risen Christ guiding you. May the Spirit set a fire of hope and faith and possibility in your hearts and souls as we all strive to live together as followers of The Way.

See you in a couple of months!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Looking Forward to July 12, 2015

The Scripture Reading this week is Psalm 146

The Sermon title is In God We Trust

Early Thoughts:  There is an old joke about the sign in the country store:
In God We Trust
All Others Pay Cash

It is a nice play on words around credit and who gets it.  But I think it also speaks to something deeper in our lives of faith.

The Psalm reminds us that even when others break trust with us God is still reliable.  In fact the Psalmist reminds us that we should be wary about putting our trust in other people.

One of the recurring themes of Scripture, both the Hebrew and Christian Testaments, is that God is faithful, that God is working to create the world as it could be.  In Christian terms we call this the Reign or Kingdom of God, which indeed is what Jesus was all about.  And we are called to trust that God is doing this, that God is correcting injustice, that God is in charge.

However I think it is sometimes a challenge to trust God.  Because to fully trust God means surrendering control.  It means taking a leap of faith.  It means opening ourselves to a whole new way of being in the world.

Can we do that?