January 2023 Minute for Ministries by Bev Tracey.
The Property Team is responsible for the maintenance of the church and thrift shop buildings, and tending the gardens. Over the last couple of years a great property team has come into being with Martin Stewart, Janice Edward, Paul Date, Carol Garceau, Mark Zeigler and Bev Tracey part of the team. But it’s not just about keeping old buildings in good repair and weeding in the gardens. It’s about working together, it’s about growing friendships, it’s about knowing one another, about caring and supporting one another. And it’s about connecting with the neighbourhood.
Let me tell you a story …
It was a sunny date in late spring and I was out front working. An older woman walked by and stopped to admire the peonies – her name was Reiko, and she told me about the many beautiful varieties of peonies that grow in Japan, her homeland.
I picked a bouquet of peonies for her and told her she would be so welcome to come to a service here some Sunday morning. The following Sunday she was here, and she kept coming to worship, to coffee time, even to a study group.
That fall November 11 fell on a Sunday, and at coffee time Reiko told Karen how she loved living in Canada but that Remembrance Day was the hardest thing. She interpreted the gun salutes at the cenotaph as a celebration of victory in war and she knew firsthand the horror of war.
Karen spoke with her, about the day being a somber one for us, a day to reflect on the cost of war and a day to pray for peace. And then Karen mentioned the Japanese story of the peace cranes, and with that Reiko lit up. Of course she knew the story.
“Would she teach us how to make origami peace cranes, so that we could make a thousand cranes as a reminder to pray for peace?” “Yes, and my daughter will send the origami paper from Japan.”
For weeks a table was set up on Sundays at coffee time, and Reiko guided us in art of making origami cranes. 1000 of them. And Isabel took those cranes home, filling her spare room with them, and carefully stringing them into long strands. And then came a crazy day or two when Karen climbed ladders, and we figured out a way to install these 1000 cranes here in this sanctuary.
Reiko had to return to Japan before the cranes were hung, but the dedication of this installation was recorded and Reiko was able to hear and see of our commitment to pray for peace.
All of this starting with a chance encounter, and a gift of peonies from the church’s front garden.