January 23, 2022 Message From JoAnne Fletcher
Chair of Council and Search Team
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 selected verses:
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all, and the Spirit gives a different gift to each person.
By the time you read this message I will have become, once again, and unexpectedly, the chair of council. I also serve, equally unexpectedly, as the chair of the search team. I’m writing this message in late December, at my sister’s kitchen table, waiting for a repairman to come and fix their furnace while she and her husband are out west to celebrate Christmas with family. Over the past couple of months I have renovated a three-season room into a four-season room, needed to have four intruding trees cut down beside my house, had a TV, washing machine and laptop just up and quit or fall apart on me, and a new carpet arrive too small and with a large gash in it to boot. Dealing with all of these issues became all that more challenging because I’m once again working a few days a week at the Covid vaccination clinic so scheduling deliveries isn’t as simple as it used to be. An accommodating cousin spent a full day at my house waiting for a new TV to arrive that never came. My brother-in-law waited for three hours for a new washing machine that arrived with a dent in it, having to be sent back. The delivery people did not pick up my old washing machine despite my having paid for the recycling fee.
Now all of this sounds like perhaps I am complaining, but I am not complaining in the least. I have found every person involved in every service, purchase and return to be courteous and helpful. I am fortunate to be able to afford to do a room reno and replace my broken machines, and that I have people in my life willing to come to my house and wait for them to be delivered. I never have to worry about going hungry or having a warm bed to sleep in at night. I have a wonderful son and his fiancé, who learned how to use a nail gun from a generous neighbour and spent one of their free precious weekends using his equipment and their newly-acquired skills to install a ceiling in my room reno. That same neighbour cheerfully came over and helped me put in some ceiling insulation and set up my new TV. When the washing machine arrived the delivery person suggested that Harold inspect the machine before accepting delivery, suspecting that there was a possibility it was damaged, saving us the time and aggravation of making the return later. Within one day of the dented washing machine being returned, my Visa was credited for full reimbursement of the payment I had made on the new machine along with the recycling fee for my old machine (turns out I live outside the service area for that). Two days ago while I was at work another helpful neighbour came over to my house with some special equipment to put the old washing machine on my trailer for me, and as a little bonus I backed the trailer up perfectly on the first try at the recycling depot. I have ordered a new washing machine from a small local business as I should have done in the first place. It won’t be here until January, but while I wait for the repairman today I am doing my laundry here at Judy’s house, so the delay is only a
What does all this have to do with today’s scripture? Well, as I sat at the computer and looked up the readings for this week in the United Church lectionary, I was pleased to see that it is one of my favorite messages in the bible and one that I have used before in services because it speaks so strongly to who we are as individuals living together in community and in a community of faith. We all have gifts to share, and when needed we step up to share them willingly.
Everyone involved in my reno and appliance challenges stepped up to do what they could to make things go smoothly and take care of any hiccups in the process. Everyone at the vaccine clinic I work at has a job to do and because they do their part with dedication and efficiency, we are able to vaccinate hundreds of people in the course of an eight-hour day with most people getting in and out in well under half an hour, and our whole community is safer because of their willingness to do the right thing by getting vaccinated, for themselves and those around them.
The loss of Debbie Forrest was devastating for our church, but the search team and council have stepped up to make sure that the work that needs to be done is completed with care and enthusiasm. We had looked forward to Debbie’s term as chair, allowing some of us to take a step back for a while, but that was not to be, and we have instead stepped up with gratitude that we are able to do so. Paul Whiteley has graciously taken over my position as one of our church’s representatives on the regional council, allowing me the time and energy to serve once again as the chair of our church council, with Lois Leroux remaining as our second rep on that
And how, I am often asked, is the search for a new minister going? Well, in a word, it is tentative, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, there are virtually no ministers looking for part-time work in our region, and no churches interested in teaming up with us to offer full-time shared employment for a minister. Secondly, with the uncertainty of Covid, our givings are not stable so we really aren’t sure we could even afford a part-time minister. That isn’t to say that givings are not good - the congregation and virtual attendees have been very generous throughout the pandemic, but unlike the old days when weekly offerings were fairly predictable, we never really know how much money we will have from one month to the next just now. Hopefully, once things are finally back to ‘normal’ we will have a better idea of our longer-term financial picture.
However, going back to Paul’s message to the Corinthians about people sharing their gifts, we are abundantly blessed in our congregation and our community to have many people willing to provide varied and meaningful worship experiences for us every Sunday, and a dedicated pastoral care provider in Barb DeJeet. Thanks to the hard work of a dedicated worship team, we now have every Sunday worship service covered from February until June, with a variety of Licensed Lay Worship Leaders, pulpit supply, congregational members and guest speakers sharing their wisdom and talents with us each week, with Tim and the small but mighty choir tying it all together with wonderful music and song. In March our pastoral charge supervisor, Rev. Shelley Roberts, will be with us to provide communion and attend our Annual General Meeting. Hopefully the current wave of Covid will subside by then and we will be seeing many of you there. In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, stay hopeful and stay grateful. Keep sharing your own special gifts and if we can keep the virus at bay we’ll see you in person in the sanctuary again in February.
Blessings to all,
Today's bulletin has been donated by Doris Murphy in loving memory of a beloved husband,
father, grandfather and great grandfather, Ron.
"A Village Church With A Heart For The World"
Christ United Church
12 Perth St., PO Box 113, Lyn, ON, K0E 1M0
(613)498-0281 (Phone) (613)498-2589 (Fax)
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