Life is filled with challenges no matter where we live, our gender or our age among other things. So a couple of years ago I found myself living in Victoria, male and at the then age of 73. Our minister issued the challenge for membership in James Bay United Church. I am also a retired Anglican Priest, so my days of active ministry were behind me. Or were they? And so I thought to myself: if an attender, why not a member? And what about the commitment involved in membership? I would be a part of this part of the Body of Christ with the challenge to support the family of God in any way possible. And so my answer was “yes” and I was welcomed as a member. So why do I live in a real sense of joy at that decision?
1. Because this is an all inclusive congregation, that is, it is open to all human beings. This is something I have striven for all my active life. At times I have had to struggle with our society about racial issues which still plaque us, or with divisions between rich and poor in any part of Canada, or with issues around sexual orientation especially when it comes to Ordination and Marriage in the Church. I look forward to being a part of worship and of further learning in this place because the attitudes are formed not on what is popular in our day, but by an increasing awareness of our biblical faith which is open to all.
2. Because this is any all inclusive Congregation. That is, it is open to all human beings. And in this regard I find my present challenge. I do not suggest that we have a blind spot in our attitude of inclusion, but I want to keep that challenge ever before us. We need to be far more inclusive when it comes to those of us who are not fully able physically; and that will one day include just about all of us. We are not all able to access all parts of our sanctuary. We are not all able to hear in comfort, and some have vision problems. We must strive for full inclusion, for that is part of who we are.
3. Because we have the refugee situation before us. We are reacting well with our financial challenge, and must keep on doing this. But frustration is certainly a part of it. We are without a clear date of when we will see a refugee here in Victoria, and we anxiously await news of an arrival. But our own frustration pales in comparison to that of a person or persons who waits for the news of a safe place in this new Country.
Thank you for the invitation to share. Here we are, and we all have our stories about the “why”. This is mine.