Sunday was one really big and really great day. It was a moment that will be remembered by many for a lot of years to come. I was so pleased to be a part of it.
Our focus yesterday was ‘bridge building.’ I proposed in my homily that what we are building is a bridge. While we are erecting a building, we do so not for our edification but for the glorification of God. We are expanding our facility because we are getting full in the space that we now live in. We are getting full in the space that we now live in because we have embraced outreach as our primary ministry. The youth ministry in our parish is great because our youth love to give, to help, to minister. Our parish is constantly working to get involved in the community around us as well as in our global village. Each time we feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit the prisoner, or welcome the stranger we welcome Jesus. I feel strongly that we need to keep before us the great commission and be careful not to fall into the temptation of being self-absorbed because of our building. This space that we are erecting is for us ‘a bridge over troubled waters.’ It can be for us the very tool that we need for the one who ‘is down and out…on the street.’ We can take the added space to look for ‘the tears in the eyes and dry them all.’ We want to be there when ‘pain is all around, like a bridge over troubled water…’
Being present to each other and to the world around us is a great gift. I was pleased yesterday that we were shown that support from the community around us. We were pleased to have our Mayor Gary McNamara, and our MP Joe Comartin on hand to offer support. We were pleased to have friends form the other faith communities in town. The Reverend Sharon Willis-Whitewell from Tecumseh United, Captain Steve and Erika White, Father Robert Couture from St. Anne’s and Father Bill Bradley from St. John’s in Sandwich were all on hand at one point or another which showed great love given they all had to come from their own liturgies. Also present were John Rocheleau and Jerry Marcotte from the Knights of Columbus. Who have been nothing short of tremendous in the midst of all of our issues, providing space whenever we need it . Archdeacon Jane Humphreys from St. Mary’s Church was on hand and offred remarks on behalf of our diocesan partner. We thank you Jane for your prayers and your support
Seeing Norm Becker yesterday and hearing his own sense of excitement for the project gave me a great deal of excitement and pride as well. As Geoff Dibbs pointed out in his remarks at the groundbreaking, this can be a little bit scary, but I confess that much of that fear is taken way when I speak with Norm as he is so competent and so excited about what he can do.
I offer my thanks to all who made Sunday such a great day. While Andrea was away, her sister Meghan Byrne did a wonderful job and we thank her for her music yesterday. The choir cane out early and was in fine form. Thanks to Christian Paulton for his offering of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water.’ Marion Hinton and Amanda Dibbs did a great job of planning a great reception, the Wardens planned marvellously and our Geoff was stellar as usual. It was great that so many came out on a hot summer day to celebrate our expansion, so the greatest thanks is reserved for each and every parishioner who have thrown their support and their commitments behind this project.
I was also moved very much to see Jack Heeley and Art Shields put those shovels into the ground. Jack and his wife Minne along with Art and his wife Arlene were present at the original groundbreaking in 1954. They are pioneers of our church and they have been faithful witnesses to God in this community. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for all that they have done to keep this place moving, often inspite of ordained leadership and not because of it.
Art And Arlene Shields
Going back to my last post on this page – I could really see and celebrate Andrew Robinson’s Seven Habits of Effective Churches. To recap –
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Churches
1. Strive for excellence in service to Christ.
2. Cultivate a spirit of innovation and experimentation.
3. Take the initiative to build relationships with people and groups in the wider community beyond your congregation.
4. Accept responsibility for mistakes, learn from them, and in all things let grace abound.
5. “Always be prepared to give an account of the hope that is within you.” (1 Peter 3:15)
6. Be willing to let people go in order to stay focused on your core mission.
7. Splash it on!
It was a great day to ‘Splash it on’ – and we did. If you would like to see photos and even better a video of the great event please visit our parish webpage at www.stmarkschurch.net – and leave us a note with your thoughts on our guestbook. While you are there check out the photos of the big move. Those guys and gals have been working hard for sure!
There is more excitement to come I am sure – stay tuned!