Happy New Year! It is good to be back here among you after a whirlwind trip to the UK. I passed along the good wishes, hugs and prayers to my grandmother who turned 90 while I was there; she happily received them and we had a wonderful celebration with the whole family.
While away and since returning I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the past year and indeed on the changes here at St. James’. We came together to mourn and celebrate the lives of several of our long time members. We baptised new believers and welcomed newcomers on Sundays, and through the Open Church Ministry. People have come and gone, some moving away for jobs and retirement, and sometimes it feels as though we are on a treadmill, running to stand still in our ministry and development.
In England this past week, I heard talk on the news of church attendance dropping, while overall the Archbishop of Canterbury has assured the wider church that more church plants than ever before are being planted in the UK. These new plants are often unconventional in their liturgy and worship, but the gospel is being proclaimed and people are learning to walk with Christ, each in their own way.
Here at St. James’ we maintain our traditions, but we too are seeing changes, the first being that our attendance over the past year has risen from an average of 110 to an average of 121, despite the attrition of the past year. The gospel is being proclaimed here and your witness and ministry is welcoming people into our community. Keep inviting, keep proclaiming the good news in word and deed!
The Rectory renovations are heading towards completion and as we live into the space we will learn what is in store for us and begin to figure out how we will continue to be part of the community here in the Downtown Eastside. Change is afoot. All things that grow change and the Spirit of God never stands still.
I am excited to see what this year brings and where we will be called. I hope you are too. Please keep St. James’ in your prayers and ask God to continue to guide us in our discipleship.
On Jan. 27 there will be a parish lunch to give us the opportunity to welcome newcomers to St. James’. If you have begun attending here in the last weeks, months, or year, please be sure to come. Likewise, if you have been attending forever, please make sure you attend. All are welcome! The start of the new year, gives us the opportunity to celebrate our community and get to know one another better. We will be sharing a meal and a few stories here and there. Come and see. Please let the office know if you plan to attend or sign up in the Narthex.
Peace to you,