I’ve had a great day….
Someone asked me , if I knew many people here….and I realized, I did not know how to answer that — what is the norm? As I pondered this thought later, I also realized that some of the great conversations I have had today were when I sat down beside someone I did not know, and said, hi…where are you from. From that simple start, the conversations would wind, fed only by questions from a desire to share and to welcome and to be in community.
My learnings in those exchanges ranged from the strong Christiandom celebrated in Bermuda to the joy of youth camp in BelleIsle and the gift of pets in pastoral care. I sat with passionate folks who talked about Palestine / Israel multiple times and with multiple points of view. I laughed with folks from Sault St. Marie, and discovered a wonderful ministry www.giftstograndmothers.com at the Kelowna market. I discerned with travellers from Ghana and Zimbabwe. Whether under a tree, at a meeting, or over a meal, the decision is not which person that I see that I know that I should sit with, but rather, what person that I don’t know that may welcome a stranger into their midst. So far, each of those excursions has been a delight.
We are so blessed by our human resources in our church and those who travel with us. What a depth of talent, faith and committment. I wonder if just knowing this information may help me to remember to come from a place of riches, rather than scarcity.
There is such promise, as well. As we sat, quietly following lunch in the outer courtyard, the sound of drums began to catch folks attention. Before we knew it, a crowd of youth forum delegates filled the courtyard with dancing, drumming, voice and bright swaths of colour. It was like a whirlwind, that stayed for 15 minutes and then, moved on, but in that short time brought joy to those around.
I also had my first glimpse of the prayer flags. Wow! Honestly, they are stunning. I cannot wait to post pictures. The amount of energy and joy that went into them was brilliant, and what a variety…from the joyful community pieces to those which were fabric art, they showed again, the diversity in our congregations, along with the willingness,…. no….deep desire to offer gifts and talents. Hats off to the team who organized and spent time setting them up.
The only minor letdown was orientation, which for the visual learners was a tough due the amount of auditory instruction. Given the rest of the program, my guess is that something just went awry, as I know the content was solid from those who are auditory learners.
Hats off as well, to the UBC pub which opened up, so we are told, a day early for us. There were still signs of it being brand new; however, the staff was great and the company was fabulous. Another wondercafe-live gathering was a success, as Mo5,Ginger, RevMatt, RevJohn, Pinga had many laughs, discussion, zings and just good time with those who joined us.
I end this post knowing I should have been asleep an hour ago, yet this recording helps me to hold up that which occurred so that you too can see the beauty of this gathering.
I also recognize that friends may read this at the start of their day. I offer you a prayer from the Gathering magazine and hope that you carry it with you as you go to your own places of worship this morning
Prayer for Beginning the Day;
Loving God, you welcome me as I come to this meeting of General Council and you will be with me each day. When I feel out of place, or confused, you will encourage me. When I feel at a loss you will enable me to share my uncertainty. When I greet an old friend or find a new friend you will rejoice with me; as I join a group, your smile will bond us together. In the inspiration of worship you will be there; in moments of reflection you will be beside me. There is nowhere I can go and nothing any of us can do to separate us from your presence, or your love. Amen.written by David Sparks, Gathering Advisory Board chair
from Gathering — In the Potter’s House
a prayer resource for General Council 40 www.united-church.ca/planning/lectionary