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18
August 18, 2020

It’s was gray-ish day that’s turned into a bright day. It’s a day filled with hope. God is with us. God walks with us in our trials and tribulations and our joys and celebrations . . . as His followers . . . and as a fellowship. We wait on Him – even impatiently . . . but He knows best, and we continue to trust Him.

We are looking forward to joining together and celebrating worship together in person soon! It has been a long wait, but we have been guided by these principles: go slow, get ready, be sure, and stay safe. As much as I want to “get going” and meet in our building rather than on-line, we want to be sure we are ready to do so. Safety is our priority.

And we have been careful as we have looked to meet in-building for worship, and we continue to plan carefully for our opening next month. The re-opening team along with the worship team will meet for a “walk-through/practise” the last week of August just to be sure we aren’t missing anything important. Then, the teams will be on-site Labour Day Sunday – the service will be live on both our Facebook and YouTube channels. Everyone will be welcome “to church” September 13.

The phase one protocol of our “grand re-opening” is found elsewhere on this site. Please note the procedures listed for our return. Please note that entrance will be through the Braydon Avenue  doors and that the Avalon Place doors are only to exit through. When you arrive your temperature will be taken and you will be asked “the questions” before granted entrance to the building. We will ask that you please make your way directly to the sanctuary while practising physical distancing. Initially face coverings will be required. The Ontario Ministry of Health dictates that while a worship team (properly spaced) can lead a service with song, congregational singing is not allowed.

We realize that this time of transition and change may be difficult . . . please be patient as we learn and grow together.

But we’re not there yet! Close . . . soon . . . but not yet (though it’s less than a month away). The next two Sundays we’ll still meet through ZOOM, as we did yesterday. Our services have been forty minutes (or so) long instead of the traditional hour, with one song instead of the traditional “more”, and a ten minute message followed by discussion (I am enjoying the interaction, although I admit that it is hard for me to “preach” for only ten minutes!).

In yesterday’s “message” we looked at the third of our core values as a denomination. We started three weeks ago by remembering that we are Christian. The next Sunday we were reminded that we are missional. And we concluded (except that we didn’t really conclude) with the challenge we are holy . . . we are to be perfect. Over the yearswe have learned that being perfect does not mean being flawless, and over the years we have learned that holiness and perfection are not based on a list that has been created for us (or that we have created for ourselves). The ultimate goal is to be a saint on earth . . . but that is a journey. More important than doing the right things to prove that we are holy is an inner commitment to becoming more like Jesus, the One who is perfect. Rather than follow a list provided (and I can give you one if you’d like – lists are helpful), follow (as Pierre and Barb gave the analogy) the menu of your heart . . . the menu of love that God has written on your heart.

I have always believed that to go to church, to hear a message, and to go home is merely the starting point. The challenge of the Word of God proclaimed (the message) is to do something with what you have heard. Our challenge this week: try to discover what needs to change in your life so that you are more like God (holy).

This Wednesday – as we do every Wednesday evening – we’ll meet at 7:00 pm through ZOOM in our "virtual prayer room" . . . to pray for one another and for others . . . audibly or silently. I will send our prayer requests out with the sign-in information later this week. Please join us.

This coming Sunday we’ll conclude our three part mini-miniseries on Who We Are with a fourth idea that I have added. As people of the Way we have a responsibility to share the Good News with others as well as a responsibility to honour God with our lives on earth. My thought is that as Christians we are not just called to be missional and holy, but that there is a fourth element involved: that We are Missionally Holy!

I’ll explain that (in ten minute detail) in our 11:00 ZOOM service as Trinity Connects.

I have mentioned that as a church we look beyond our four walls to support other ministries (it seems our nature as a church to care for others). There are different emphases through the year . . .

  • In August, we will receive a special offering to help with the expenses of reopening the building.
  • In September, our emphasis is Alabaster: our giving helps provide buildings in other world areas.
  • In October we receive a Thank offering, to help share the Good News of Jesus around the world.
  • In November we emphasize our commitment to Eliezer Suarez, a child we have sponsored.
  • December in Compassionate Ministries Month, and our special offering helps a specific need.
  • In February we receive an offering in support of the two churches in Cuba we have sponsored.
  • And in March/April we receive our “Easter Offering; again, to share the Good News of Jesus.

We often do not start with a specific ministry in mind for the Compassionate Ministries Offering but often something develops through the year that catches our hearts. There are so many opportunities to show support and love, but I suggest that this year’s offering be directed to our work in Beirut Lebanon, where we operate an orphanage in the mountains of Beirut, and the church in Lebanon works with refugees from Palestine and Syria.

We are trying – trying – to get the painting (that was started two years ago!) finished. Our hope/plan/goal, of course, was to finish it back then. We weren’t able to. Last year was the same – circumstances delayed the work. So it was on to this year, filled with good intentions. Instead, we have had humidity, which makes painting difficult for the painter – and hinders a good paint job. Our . . . optimistic goal (hope?) . . . is to complete the job before the month ends.

As we look at Sundays to come our themes until the end of January will remind us who (and whose) we are, as well as challenge us to be all that we can be in Christ. Matt and Johania will speak as well through the months.

Some random thoughts to end . . . there was a “gender reveal” on Friday night . . . our family discovered that there is a girl on the way: Kenton and Camille are expecting in November . . . I really miss getting together with everyone for fun, food, and fellowship . . . I miss our worship services and the depth of the community meeting together in person to encourage and be encouraged . . . I miss the power of singing . . . the Fall issue of the Reflecting God devotional guide has arrived; let me know how to get your copy to you . . . we’ve been told that now that we can meet in person we need to hold our Annual Meeting to confirm and affirm (by vote) what the church board has been doing . . . we’ll announce a date for that soon.