Remember when...

    Remember when your minister and congregational representatives would head off to (Waterloo) Presbytery meetings to do the work of the church with the wider church in the area.  Then remember how every May or June, the minister and those same representatives would head off to the Annual Meeting of Hamilton Conference which would run Thursday – Sunday in some part of the Conference, complete with the Ordaining and Commissioning of new ministers.  Well a few years ago, Presbytery and Conference were combined into a single court of the church called a Council.  We are now part of Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council. 

    I share all of this with you, because gathering together with this larger body of the church for an Annual Meeting is still on the agenda, and the Western Ontario Waterways Regional Council AGM is this weekend. I write to you on Thursday night, just after we have had the first session of this Annual Meeting.  Of course we cannot meet in person, so this was a virtual meeting, held over Zoom.  There were upwards of 180 of us together tonight as we worshipped and prayed together, and reconnected, sharing stories of the church in various places, and hearing about the work of the larger church. 

    Now you may ask what does this have to do with Wesley?  Cheryl-Ann Stadelbauer-Sampa, the Executive Minister of our Region and two other Regions shared this analogy: the United Church is like a peanut butter sandwich – the local congregation is one piece of bread, and the denomination is the other piece of bread, and Regional Council is the peanut butter = the sticky part in the middle that connects the local congregation to the denomination.  As your Regional Council meets this weekend to do the work of the larger church, I invite you to hold it in prayer. 

    Just as I was involved in reconnecting with the larger church tonight, so there has been an intentional effort at Wesley to reconnect with all people in the congregation.  When we reconnect, it is a time of sharing stories and of building up community.  As we do this, we hold the needs of each other up to God.  It is a type of prayer. Thanks to all of those involved in this effort.  My dream is that such connections would be a regular part of our community, with regular phone calls at least monthly (and perhaps more often) to all members.  In our times of worship in the season of Easter, we have heard Jesus saying “I am the vine and you are the branches.”  As you reach out beyond yourselves to connect with others, you become a link to the source – to Jesus, the presence of God.  By your presence, you bring God into the conversation, weaving a web of connection.  Blessings to you in your holy conversations.

    - Rev. Keith Hagerman


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