As the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario faces its last days, we were asked to organize a session remembering the past. Of course, we wanted to honour our history. The presence of a hope-filled shalom has often broken in on our congregations, by our actions, and through our people. Justice and mercy have been enabled; good people have taken courageous stands. Compassion and care have been encouraged; gracious souls have reached out to offer solace and support. Faith and love have been embodied; worship leaders and Sunday School teachers have shared their vision and hope.
We also needed to acknowledge that this history has not always been faith-filled. The realm of God has too often gone wanting. The imperative “to love God and neighbour” has too frequently been ignored or mis-applied. The powers and principalities of the world have infiltrated the church. In the existence and reality of residential schools and disjoining, homophobia and classism, apathy and petty conflict, our churches have failed to embody the vision of the kin-dom.
At this time of transition and closure, we have identified aspects of gratitude. In this is an occasion we give thanks and name our appreciation. And this is also a setting for recollection and reflection. May we thoughtfully recognize, and lament, that which was negative and harmful. And in doing so, may that encourage us as the church to identify unfinished business and unfilled expectations, and push us to imagine, and enact, ways forward into the fuller embodiment of God’s love.
-Ted Dodd, May 2018
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