As I prepare to attend the last meeting of Alberta and Northwest Conference, I am making a list of things I hope to do there. First is to find an opportunity to ask everyone present to not use restructuring as an excuse not to do the work many of us have neglected for the last 10, 20, or more years.
Many congregations and their leaders have been more focused on survival and keeping what they want than on seeking to learn what the communities around them want and need. Excuses such as wanting to be faithful rather than marketable, too complicated to determine what people really need, and blaming societal changes such as sports and shopping on Sunday helped many of us become irrelevant and an impediment to God’s work in the world. Some cling to the necessity of being a faithful remnant in a world gone mad.
Fortunately, there are congregations and leaders who rejected those excuses, and made changes that make them not only relevant, but essential to many people needing to feel loved by God and wanting real connections to other people.
The elimination of presbyteries and conferences opens an opportunity to spend much less time on the business of being church, and more time on fulfilling the ministry of being church. We have an opportunity to worry less about our egos and status, and to eagerly seek and accept opportunities to create a variety of partnerships with other congregations, organizations and individuals in meeting the needs of the hungry, homeless, disconnected and spiritually lost people around us.
My hope is that love and trust in good will inspire us to think ahead and look around instead of grieving what has gone.
Thanks be to God.