Minister's Message: Hello and Good-bye?!

The first night in my new house was last Thursday. Compared to Montréal, it was very, very quiet, although a very empty house. I woke up at four o’clock when my hip hit the floor, the air mattress had lost its air, and had a blurry moment of: Where am I? What happened to my bed?

The Lenten journey is calling us. The ashes of anointing on Ash Wednesday, made from last year’s palms, will also be available at Emmanuel for the first Sunday of Lent. They speak of the cost of following Jesus on a journey that makes difficult decisions and ends in sacrifice and death.

These days I am very conscious of changes, transitions and endings.

I read my letter of resignation at SouthWest last Sunday, a deeply emotional experience. It was a goodbye after almost two decades of ministry, of shared journey, challenges and joys.

To quote my written words:

I have served Crawford Park and Verdun United Churches since the summer of 1999 and grown with you through many changes including the amalgamation of SouthWest and the beginning of SouthWest Mission in 2007.
The number of baptisms, weddings and funerals (which we call Celebrations of Life) are of historical record. The number of worship services, sermons and prayers? A lot, I would say.
As two decades come to a close and yet more changes lay ahead I discern some new challenges for me.

My years with you have been rooted in a generous gospel, one that reached into the wider community with radical hospitality, deep joy and inclusion.
SouthWest has transformed my life and I am grateful.
Thank you for the blessing that has been mine to serve you.

With love...

The very first hymn I sang in the Dunham United Church during my internship in 1998-1999 was VU 633. Its prayer language and hope touched me as I left the Presbyterian Church to join the United Church. It was also sung last Sunday at SouthWest.

Bless now, O God, the journey
that all your people make,
the path through noise and silence,
the way of give and take.
The trail is found in desert
and winds the mountain round,
then leads beside still waters,
the road where faith is found.
Bless sojourners and pilgrims
who share this winding way,
whose hope burns through the terrors,
whose love sustains the day.
We yearn for holy freedom
while often we are bound.
Together we are seeking
the road where faith is found.

(Sylvia Dunstan, 1989)

As the move continues forward slowly, and beds will make their way into freshly painted rooms, I am grateful for life and love. The next months before officially leaving SouthWest at the end of May will be emotional and busy.

As we together move into our Lenten journey we are ever surrounded by brothers and sisters in faith that are with us in all the challenges ahead.

We are rooted in faith, hope and love!

With love,

Rev. David