It’s been quite a year. Troubling for many. We are facing big issues in our time. But that’s what faith is for. And, that’s what churches are for. Advent and Christmas remind me to face such times with an open heart, hands extended to others, feet on the path of Jesus, and trusting in the God who is birthed anew in each act of compassion, justice, connection, love.
It is Edge’s privilege to work with people like you, who are daring new things in the midst of such times. And I want to say thank you to all of you who take the risk. It is to risk failure, criticism, misunderstanding, and also hope. It is to say “Yes!” to the Spirit seeking new ways to touch, heal and reconcile our lives and the world. Daring greatly and risking loss we receive even more. This is a paradox of Christian hope.
These are times for daring greatly in love, and that can’t happen alone. It has been an honour to walk with the Edge team this year and with all of you who are responding to the stronger call of what God is up to in the world. Thank you!
Learning to trust and work together with God and each other is our great opportunity now. It seems to me that daring greatly to collaborate and share with neighbouring congregations, non-church partners and individuals in the community even across theological differences is a deep call of this moment. And like candles in the night, we already see the signs of the energy and impact of this. Here are four examples of this good news:
- The federal government, through CMHC, believes in the value and impact of United Churches and so has provided $300,000 in funding (half grant, half interest free loan) for the United Church to better understand its properties across the church and how to use them to ‘Love their Neighbourhoods’.
- We are partnering with the Center for Progressive Renewal in a pilot to walk more closely and deeply with congregations seeking to ReVision their ministry for vital sustainable mission.
- The new Skylight Festival saw over 500 participants and is looking forward to year 2 with even more arts, faith and justice partners for deep play, generous space, and peace.
- Perhaps for the first time in decades, The United Church Foundation, Communities in Mission, Edge and many, many congregations, presbyteries, Conferences and leaders across the church, have ‘Embraced the Spirit’ to catalyse more new ministry experiments in the United Church this year than the churches we are closing (about 50 per year)
Of John the Baptist, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” It is our weakness (too weak to do it alone) and our willingness to surrender (not to win) that makes great the children of God: a surrender to the stronger call of what God is up to in our day. May the joy of the One to whom creation glowed ‘err yet his foot had touched the earth’ bless you greatly this Christmas.
Executive Director of EDGE