Meet Our Minister

Summer 2017

Grant McNeil

 

Summer Sabbath: a time to slow down your life

(for some – a lot; for others – just enough!)

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

 

I am once again on the cusp of entering a time of Sabbath rest. At the completion of

worship June 9, I shall depart until late September.

Together, we have moved through the church seasons of “Ordinary Time,” “Advent,”

“Epiphany,” “Season after the Epiphany,” “Lent,” “Holy Week,” and the “Season of

Easter.” So much occurs in ministry, in the life of the church, in your life and

in my life during the 9 months that I am with you. During my absence there

will be many transitions. Some of you will move to a new home. Others will move

from one grade to another while others will start school for the first time. Some of you

will leave home either for the first time or again at the end of the summer for college and

university studies. And there will be some who will seek and find new employment.

Individually and collectively, there will be many transitions during my absence. I am sad

that I will not be present to walk beside you in whatever new chapters unfold in your

lives. Please know that whatever transitions take place, God is beside you, walking your

journey with you and I hold you in my prayers.

 

In preparing for my absence, your Joint Worship Committee worked diligently to

recruit lay leaders who will offer worship beginning Sunday, June 16, 10 a.m. at Trinity.

The full summer worship schedule will appear on the back page of the June 9 worship

bulletin as well as on the back page of our summer worship bulletins. In case you

misplace the schedule, it will also be posted on the doors of both churches. As well, your

Joint Pastoral Visitation Team continues their ministry of presence, care and

compassion in my absence. If you would like a visit or a friendly telephone call, please

reach out to a member of the team. Their names and contact information also appear on

the back of the June 9 bulletin as well as the summer bulletins. Each member of the

team knows what to do if there is a need for urgent pastoral care. You are in good and

capable hands. Do not hesitate to contact them for any reason. I extend my thanks and

appreciation to everyone who is sharing their gifts of time and leadership during this

time apart.

 

While I take Sabbath rest, might you too? Might you slow down your life

over the summer months? Might you take time to rest, relax and spend time

with family and friends? During the weeks and months of summer, may you

have many reasons to smile, laugh and take restorative naps. Take in the

beauty of God’s creation all around you, for summer will be over much too

soon.

 

Until we are together again, have a blessed, restful, healthy and safe summer.

 

Rev. Grant McNeil

Osgoode-Kars Pastoral Charge, The United Church of Canada

 

P.S. For those who might be wondering how I shall spend my Sabbath rest, here’s

some of what is planned.

 

I’ll most likely go ‘home’ again to Grimsby for a few days, as I have in previous

summers, to be with my Mom and see as many of my family members as possible. Then

of course it’s back to Ottawa. Surely by late June raspberries and strawberries shall have

ripened (fingers crossed) and I can put down jam to get us through another year.

 

In July, we are off to the Rock to rest, eat, laugh, work and spend wonderful, relaxing

times with family and friends. The old house there always needs some work. The work is

fun and enjoyable – provided it is accompanied by time to tour around and do not much

of anything save, reading, napping and picking wild blueberries out our back door. Wild

blueberry pancakes! Delicious!!!

 

And of course, my summer Sabbath of rest wouldn’t be complete without some good

books to read. In my summer reading stack (thus far) are:

 

• A couple of fiction books by Susan Barton– “The Widow” and “The Child.”

• Canadian Marq de Villiers “Hell and Damnation: A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal

Torment” (described as ‘This urbane, funny, and deeply researched guide

ventures well beyond the Nine Circles of Dante’s Hell and the many medieval

Christian visions into the hellish descriptions in Islam, Buddhism, Jewish legend,

Japanese traditions, and more.’) This book certainly promises to be an interesting

read.

• Two books by another Canadian author, Susan Doherty. The first non-fiction -

“The Ghost Garden: Inside the Lives of Schizophrenia’s Feared and Forgotten”

and her fiction book “A Secret Music” about a young man growing up in Montreal

in the 1930s in the shadow of his mother’s mental illness.

“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.”

Rev. Grant McNeil

Osgoode-Kars Pastoral Charge, United Church of Canada