When I think of the congregation in which I grew up, the stories were predominantly about the “pillars” of the congregation. The past ministers were immortalized in photographs on the walls. Founding members were remembered by putting their names on various rooms and offices in the building. Stories were told about the much loved Sunday school superintendent, or the funeral lunch coordinator, or the lay visitor who kept track of all the shut ins.
The church in those days was a place you could go if you were new in the community and find friendships, support, and a group who shared your experience and perspective. Because there were many committees, and many needs, it was a place to serve, to call out gifts, to develop new skills.
The church was a place where families connected, shared picnics together, celebrated traditional holy days of the faith, learned values, and participated in projects together. We were in the language of the sociologists, “a tribe”. We were a multi family, multi-generational group who shared a worldview, and values, and a relationship to the wider society.
That kind of community seems harder to sustain these days. I’m not sure why. Is our society more mobile? Has our underlying message become less compelling? What is the story we are called to share in St. James, in 2020 and beyond? I’d like to hear your thoughts. Send them to PrairieSpiritUC@shaw.ca. Let’s see what we can learn together.
The other part of the faith stories we share is the story of Jesus. It comes in many forms and from many angles. Next week, I’ll share some thoughts about that story.