Pastor's Page - October 2022
For the past couple of years at Hope we have been working with the metaphor of canoeing the mountains to describe our ministry and plans for the future. The image comes from the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804/05 that attempted to find “the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.” The key word in that mission statement is “water communication.” The expedition expected to canoe the breadth of North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Of course the Rocky Mountains (unknown to the Americans of the time) presented a massive and surprising challenge and the expedition had to find new ways to achieve their objective of reaching the west coast.
In the same way, church life of the past decade has experienced massive, discontinuous change. There have been surprising obstacles—the COVID-19 pandemic being just one of them—and we have had to think very creatively about how we do things. Our goal – our Pacific Ocean—has remained constant these past 60 years of our life as a congregation: to worship God, celebrate the good news of Jesus Christ our Saviour, share in His community, and witness his love to the world. But the old and expected ways of accomplishing this mission have needed to change in the face of the challenges of contemporary society. We need to canoe the mountains.
One of the ways we do this is by reaching deep into the resources we already carry with us, and maybe use them in creative new ways. A banner under which we have tried to shape our ministry of the past few years that comes from the Word of God, our most fundamental resource for faithful living, is the idea that we find ways to “nurture connections” – with God, each other as members of this congregation, and between this congregation and the world—even as a vine is connected to its branches (John 15). This banner has been a good one under which to gather, and it has led us in many creative ways as we canoe the mountains of the 21st century. When COVID hit we remembered our mission to nurture connections as we organized to reach out to each other and support our most vulnerable members through a dramatic time of physical distancing. We have used our building to nurture connections with groups and organizations that extend our ministry to the wider community, groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, New Territories (a day program for special needs adults), and Pre-Kindergarten Services.
In 2022, as we continue to paddle our way through unfamiliar, challenging, but also exciting mountainous terrain, two new ways to nurture connections are emerging. First, there is a possibility of deepening our partnership with Lutheran Campus Ministry. Read Joyce’s report for more details on this. Second, we have the opportunity to support Lutheran Care Ministries (yes, another LCM!), a ministry of welcome and support for new immigrants from Hong Kong. Sponsored by Pastor Peter Chau and his core organizing group that has begun meeting at Hope on Sunday mornings for prayer and worship, this group hosts social events for Chinese students. You can find out more about their ministry at www.elciccareministry.com.
The expansion of our opportunities to nurture connections reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the talents: those servants who had been faithful with little were entrusted later with much more responsibility. Hope Lutheran Church has been constant for 60 years in the ministry of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Well done, good and faithful servants! What new thing does the Spirit have in store for us in the coming years? I am curious and excited to find out.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Photo by Brady Stoeltzing on Unsplash