Meet Our Minister

Summer 2017

Grant McNeil

“We are not alone, we live in God’s world”

We are soon to begin the Season of Summer: the time of year when life is easy andrelaxing; when warm days stretch on and on leading us to think they will last forever; when holiday journeys are planned and taken; when vegetables are coaxed from the earth; when the beauty of flowers pleases our eyes; when an afternoon nap calls us by name; when laughter and conversation rings out across backyard fences and from down the street with kids running free!

Whatever we do this Summer, wherever we go, do know that Summer is a time for Sabbath pause and giving thanks.

The Season of Summer is…

…a time to give thanks to God for the bounty that weighs down our table: carrots, strawberries, ears of corn slathered in butter and salt, lettuce, tomatoes sliced and drizzled with balsamic vinegar and freshly ground black pepper, raspberries, beans, peas, radishes, onions and so much more.

…a time for resting. A time for simply living without worry about what might happen in the next hour, day or month. A time to rest in God and giving God our thanks for the abundant blessings we enjoy.

As we take our Summer Sabbath of resting in and giving God our thanks, we know this

Summer will be different…

…I will not be present to minister among and to you. You will not be present to minister to me. I shall miss every one of you. But, you shall be in my heart and prayers and I ask for the same. And, I pray that we will see one another again upon my return.

Although I will not be present with you, I give thanks to God for each of you and the gifts you bring and have brought to our communities of faith. As I give thanks...

…thank you to everyone who listened to the Spirit of the Living God and agreed to take a risk in offering ministry in a different way this Summer. Thank you to those who served on the Joint Needs Assessment group to get our new way of ministry underway.

Thank you to the Boards of Trinity, of St. James, the OKPC Joint Board and our board chairs Ronda and Heather for all their work in putting plans in place to try this new way. Thank you to our Joint Worship Committee for their tremendous work in ensuring Summer worship is in place. Thank you to the amazing and creative group ofpeople who stepped up to lead worship this Summer. Thank you to the great and caring folks who form our Joint Pastoral Care Team who are ready, able and willing to reach out to each of you offering care and compassion in my absence.

And, in prayer, I thank you God, for all who responded to your call to imagine with you, a new way of being the Body of Christ in our world. Amen.

If I might ask, would you do two things this Summer?

1. Would you be willing and able to take time for Sabbath rest every day and give thanks to God for the blessings of your life? It can be a minute, 5 minutes, 10 or longer. The simplest prayer to offer God is but 3 words: “Thank you God!

2. Would you be willing and able to practice a ministry of presence to others however you can this Summer? Perhaps you might invite someone over for a glass of lemonade or iced tea or even a barbecue? Or, maybe you could pick up the phone and call someone you’ve not seen in a while? We all have a calling as the Body of Christ to offer our gifts, whatever they may be, to others. Might you do so?

Until we meet again in mid-September, I offer you my prayers and the blessings of God, Jesus and the Spirit for a Summer that is filled with laughter, with love, with appreciation for the beauty and bounty of creation.

Rev. Grant McNeil

Osgoode-Kars Pastoral Charge, United Church of Canada