May 18, 2007

Ministerial Musings, MAy 2007

There is a newsletter coming out shortly. Here is the Ministerial Musings that will be in it:

Last month a group of us gathered at First Church United in Thunder Bay. We were there for Living the Welcome, a training event associated with the Emerging Spirit campaign. The idea behind Living the Welcome is that congregations need some encouragement to think seriously about what it means to be welcoming. After all, it does no good to have national magazine ads and an interactive website ( encouraging people to try out the United Church and not help congregations prepare to welcome people who have different questions and expectations.

Part of the challenge about truly welcoming newcomers as active parts of any organization (be it a church congregation, or a service club, or a town) is that it might mean change. And change is challenging, often we see change as a loss instead of as a possible gain, and so we are afraid and saddened by the idea. If new people come in with new ideas and new questions and new expectations then we might not be the same anymore.

During the weekend we talked about change. And it occurred to me (again, maybe reminded me would be better) that in order to be open to change we need to ask ourselves who and where we are. Part of that is naming the obvious but also asking about the hidden, unspoken rules that we use. Part of it also is seeking to understand the differences, if any, between how we describe ourselves and how outsiders see us. Only when we know who we are can we truly ask who we want to be.

On September 23rd we will be having a Congregational meeting. On that Sunday we will also have a special worship service. The worship service will get us to start thinking about how we see ourselves and the meeting will continue that discussion and move us into how best to live out that vision. I encourage everyone to come and take part, whether you are here every Sunday or just once in a while you are a part of who we are and we want to hear your voice.

In preparation for that time I have some questions that I will be pondering over the summer. I share them with you so that you can do the same while waiting for the next fish to bite or while sitting by the lakeside.

  • What makes Riverview special?
  • How would you describe us to someone wondering about coming?
  • What do others see when they look at Riverview?

And just for the heck of it, here is one that we were asked at one of the workshops last month:

  • If Riverview were a tree, what kind of tree would it be and why?

Have a truly wonderful summer, and hope to see you on September 23, if not before.

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