Anne Harding

This is a written version of a verbal announcement that was given after church on Sunday, November 3rd.

I wanted to take a moment to connect some dots on a few different things that are happening at Hope these days.This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the National Church Convention in Regina, which was an enriching and inspiring experience. I provided a more fulsome report on the Convention, which you can read in the September/October Anchor newsletter.

I was particularly inspired by one resolution and idea that came to Convention, which was the call to Re-imagine Our Church. At its heart, this is a call for a renewed commitment to our baptismal vocations, as individual children of God and as a community in Christ. The actual resolution is accompanied by a 60+ page report, which you can access through the ELCIC website or ask for a printed copy from the church office.

I found this idea inspiring because it aligns with the call that our local Council has put out to nurture connections. We connect when we step actively into our call to know and love one another as Christ has loved us. When we are intentional about inviting God’s call to service, we will live our mission in the world. The really neat thing about nurturing connections is that it’s up to us as a community to do it together.

We have an amazing opportunity coming up for a time of reflection, discernment, transition, and experimentation during Pastor’s upcoming sabbatical. We know that we will have an interim pastor with us for up to 60% of a full time position [it was later announced that Pastor Martha (Marty) Tuer will be taking this position - yay!]. That leaves a significant amount of service for the rest of us to take up as a community in Christ.

This is God’s invitation to Hope Lutheran to re-imagine our church in a deliberate, grace-filled, experimental kind of way. I’m so looking forward to seeing what the spirit has in store for us all.

So what does this mean for you, today? There are the calls to action that I’d like to offer and ask you to take up:

  1. Fill out the congregational survey by the end of November. This survey will help us identify what makes Hope unique and how we can use that to live into our mission and call. Having spent my whole life so far as part of this church family, I think this is a pretty special place, and I’m looking forward to learning what you think is special about it too.
  2. Nurture connections. Check out the whiteboard in the Fellowship Hall and respond to what others are saying. Share how God is calling you by naming your passions and interests so that you can connect with others to work together in Christ’s name.
  3. Step up. When an opportunity to contribute comes your way, please don’t just brush it off right away. Take a moment to stop. Pray. And ask if this is what God is calling you to do. Whether it’s helping with Worship Planning teams, distributing Advent care packages to home-bound members, supporting the Bowness community supper as our chosen charity for November/December, or something else, please step up. Live your baptismal vocation. Answer the call of discipleship, and be Christ’s light in the world.

If you’d like to talk more about anything in this note, or what re-imagining our church might mean to you, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m passionate about these kinds of conversations and taking action as our church evolves and grows through the spirit.

In peace,

Anne Harding