Called to Be the Church


Kaleidoscope image of Riverview United Church

The Tuesday afternoon Study Group has been reading Grounded by Diana Butler Bass. The chapter we read last week focused on neighbours and neighbourhood. She wrote about the common good and how many communities used to have ‘commons’ at the centre. And how she takes part in rich, spiritual encounters outside the church walls.

She, like many of us, has been disappointed in the church at times. And yet, I heard no tone of condemnation in her words, but I did hear sorrow, when churches fail to live up to Jesus’s commandment to love God and neighbour as we love ourselves. To be as concerned with the world outside our walls as within our walls.

We call the place where we worship the sanctuary… The word sanctuary has religious roots, and can refer to a temple or church, but its use has broadened to include anywhere people go for peaceful tranquility or introspection.

But it’s not a place to stay… it’s a place to be comforted, challenged, refreshed, renewed… and then to go out into the world, taking our faith with us.

We have been exploring the theme of Salt and Light over the past 5 weeks. Exploring how we are called to be salt and light in the world. Each week had a slightly different focus:
1. Living Thankfully
2. Living Our Mission Locally
3. Participating in Our Church’s Mission
4. Inviting g Generosity
5. Giving Thanks

I think sometimes it seems that we have only valued ministry and mission when it takes place in the context of a church project. Sometimes we haven’t looked upon our contributions outside the church as ministry and mission.And so I asked people to share how they contribute to the greater good of the community and I know that these are just a small sampling, these are the folks that responded.

Margaret Logan Graham – I volunteer presently at Caring and Sharing Angel Tree food bank and continue to volunteer with the Canadian Ski Patrol (30 years) providing first aid and rescue services at Ski Wentworth. With the ski patrol I have volunteered first aid services for FIFA women’s World Cup Soccer and the large RCMP funeral in Moncton as well as local events such as the Bluenose Marathon.

Amanda Tate – volunteering in the library at our children’s school to ensure there is a library program as funding cuts took that away several years ago, secretary of the Tri County Bball Association. –spring/fall shoulder clean up of our subdivision, visitation of a few elders/shut ins that live in our area.

Reeta Sweeney – I volunteer at the Caring and Sharing Food Bank.

Gary Smiley –I am the secretary of the Elmsdale Beautification Society . I sit on a board that does the research for the East Hants Sports Hall of Fame . I MC. that induction ceremony of the Hall of Fame every year and the young people’s recognition night.
I along with Martha lead the singsong at the Tree lighting event every year. I am part of the Community Chorale. Then I play with a musical group in Truro that performs at Senior citizens complexes.

Martha Healy – Founder and director of our community choir, “East Hants Community Chorale”

Christine Rainnie –I was on the planning committee for the East Hants Relay For Life for 8 years and was Team Captain for the church team United We Walk. I resigned a year and a half ago. ‎

Paul Bolivar – Enfield Fire Dept – Co-chair Bingo, runs Canteen, calls Bingo, makes civic address signs, does accounting for 3 Fire Dept Accounts, Medical First Responder and volunteer firefighter. Others: First VP and Treasurer Colchester/East Hants Seniors Council, Treasurer and Director East Hants Senior Games, runs Elmsdale Seniors Group, runs Safe Senior Cards, assists Caring & Sharing Food Bank, member July 1st committee, over the past 20 years Santa to thousands of Corridor area kids. calls TV Bingo for Sportsplex, does a bit of work for church.

John and Margery Wagner – Every Sunday Marge and I drive to Fall River and pick up Luke and Emma and bring them to our church because we want them to be exposed to the religious aspect of life. On most Thursdays we pick up the children from daycare and preschool because the parents aren’t able to pick them up. On some weekends we look after the children at their house so the parents can get out and have a special time for themselves

Murray Wellwood – Chairperson for the ELMSDALE Beautification Society. This group is responsible for the flower baskets along the roads in ELMSDALE, the wreaths, the Christmas tree and all that goes into the tree lighting events.

Kim Horne – Both Margi and have assisted in the transition of a refugee family here in Elmsdale, and are looking forward to another family arriving soon. Details, if necessary, my input has been with language, I am at the school two/three days a week to assist teachers and meet with the family in the evenings. We also have been involved with medical concerns as well as finding employment and other community affairs. Volunteer as it is, it has still been a hoot.

Melanie Maloney is the president of the Home and School in Elmsdale.

There were a considerable number of Riverview United Church people volunteering at the 10,000 Villages sale at the Enfield Fire Hall this weekend.

These are all examples of you being salt and light in the world.

That passage from Matthew takes place right after the Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes.

I would like to include a few more:

Blessed are you when you take yourself into the community to create a better world.

Blessed are you when you stand up for love instead of hate.

Blessed are you who are tired.

Blessed are you who welcome the stranger.

Blessed are you who are lonely.

Blessed are you who feed the hungry.

Blessed are you who clothe the naked.

Blessed are you who work on suppers.

Blessed are you who look after this place in so many ways.

Blessed are you… and you… and you…

Today, as you leave, there are envelopes for each one of you. And if we you are new here, or we have somehow missed having an envelope for you, please let us know, and accept our apologies. John Wagner, Gary Smiley and myself have been working on some stewardship material . The envelopes contain a letter, a Narrative Budget, which is the story of the money we invest in ministry. They also contain a giving guide and response form and envelope to be returned to the church.

As we think about being God’s Salt and Light in the world in the coming year, you are encouraged the think about the role you can play as part of the Riverview family. You are asked to think about volunteering to be a part of a ministry, committee or group within the church… especially as our structure will be transitioning to something new. You are also invited to think about the financial offering you make to our church to support its many ministries and consider if it might be increased or made more regular through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance). No one of us can be the church alone, but we are all called by God to participate in the work of Jesus in the world. How might you be called to be a part of our ministry together?

Thanks be to God for the challenge and opportunity of being salt and light, amen.

Matthew 5: 13-16a

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