A couple of weeks ago as I was waiting at an intersection to cross the street, I noticed a car edging cautiously forward towards a right hand turn. I glanced in the car and saw a teenager in the driver’s seat and a nervous looking adult on the passenger’s side. It happened to be the same day that my son got his G licence. In that moment, thinking of Johny’s confident and thoughtful driving, those awkward beginnings seemed so long ago! I was grateful that we are through that particular phase!
This week, seeing kids having their pictures taken on front porches and walking with parents to the first day of school, I have been reminded again of the cycles and milestones of life.
The church has its seasons too. In communities of faith, this time of year is always a time of looking forward and beginning new things. It’s also that way in the broader church, with active meeting schedules ramping up after the summer respite.
Next week the Planning Committee for the 44th General Council will be meeting in Calgary to look at the site for the July 2021 General Council and begin the planning process in earnest, under the leadership of Planning Team chair Sue Brodrick. Right now that meeting seems a long way off, but in the life of our church, the time tends to go very quickly. So it is time to get busy with all the work that will make for a great meeting in a little less than two years time.
On the day we travel to Calgary to plan for the next General Council, the lectionary includes the text from Jeremiah that was the theme for the first General Council that I was involved in planning, GC 40: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” As a potter, (very amateur!) the theme that then Moderator David Giuliano’s chose for that meeting really resonated with me, and I look forward to the conversations next week with our current Moderator Richard Bott about what he is thinking of for the next General Council theme.
In our own lives, and in the life of the church, we experience both “newness” and familiarity, and find stability in balancing them both. I give thanks for the assurance of God’s presence as we journey through the seasons and cycles of life.
— Nora Sanders is General Secretary of The United Church of Canada.
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