Pastor's Pen October 2013.

As I am writing this article it is the first day of Fall and we are saying goodbye to the summer season. The beauty of creation will be revealed in the turning of the leaves to the many rich colours of reds, green, oranges and yellows. I am looking forward to taking a relaxing drive in the countryside seeing, what I would call, God’s quilt blanketing the area. I will stand in awe and be thankful for all that God provides.

 The Fall season also provides me an opportunity to reflect on the activities of the summer that I have participated in. The summer was a busy one for me as I attended the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada National Convention in Ottawa in early July and went to Confirmation Camp with 14 of our young people from St. Paul’s at the end of August. In between, I visited many of our people in hospital. In September, I installed our Sunday School staff and blessed the backpacks and our young people who carry them. I also attended a National Church Council meeting in Winnipeg and heard gray news about how our National Church is hurting financially. In our discussion, we heard from the Bishops of our Synods across the country and how they are struggling as their base of revenue is from local congregations benevolence offerings. Coming back home, I also heard from our treasurer that monies are very tight and we are struggling too. Everyone is looking at cutbacks and we are seriously looking at what it means to carry out the ministry God has called us too.

 On Sunday, September 29 throughout the world, especially in the Anglican and Lutheran Churches, we will be celebrating St. Michael and All Angels and designating this day in the life of the Church as Back to Church Sunday. We will be reminded that God watches over us and encourages us to be disciples, to be the church in extending an invitation to those around us to worship with us. Being reminded that God loves us is easy, inviting and welcome someone in our midst may be a little more difficult. I recently read a wonderful book called Unlocking the Growth by Michael Harvey. He challenges his readership to extend an invitation to others to come and worship in our parishes. Here at St. Paul’s we will not be recognizing Back to Church Sunday on September 29th but I offer the challenge to all of you to invite someone to church on Sunday, October 27, Reformation Sunday. Michael Harvey says that they might say no, but that is all right. The seed has been planted in their life through the asking, be that family, friend, or co-worker, and God will nurture the seed.

 Throughout the month of October I will be preaching on what it means to be a disciple and how to invite and welcome others in our midst. This is God’s work and we are constantly asked to care for God’s creation and to pray and live with our neighbour. I look forward to celebrating Reformation Sunday with you and with others as we gather as Christians, as Lutherans, and as God’s people. Enjoy God’s Creation this Fall.

 In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeff