“Living in love and grace; nurturing connection.”
This is the phrase our ministry team (Council and staff) discerned at a retreat last May to provide focus and direction to our work in 2019 and beyond. It is expressive of some fundamental human needs that we all share, and our aspiration for them to find fulfillment in our community of Hope.
Try saying the words slowly to yourself. Take a breath in between each one.
Life. Love. Grace. Nurture. Connection.
Does not your soul breathe a sigh of recognition and peace just to hear the words? These are the longings of our hearts. We feel joy and contentment when our longings are met. Or maybe there’s some pain there. It could be that in you are not experiencing the abundance and richness of life that your soul knows God intends for you. It could be that you are not feeling nurture in your primary relationships. Maybe you are more familiar with disconnection – from God, self, or others.
Wherever we find ourselves with relation to these needs, they remain the longings of our hearts. In choosing these words we are telling ourselves as a community that here at Hope is where we want these needs to be met. Indeed we are confessing our faith that these are things God in Christ wants for us.
But saying the words, of course, is just the beginning. As we—staff and volunteers—have planned programs for this fall we have asked ourselves in each case, How does this event, activity, or program nurture our connections within the community? How does it help us live in love and grace? And how does it help us connect with our wider neighbourhood and the same heart’s longings in the world? The words become both a lens for planning, and the beginning of a criteria for evaluation.
As we live more and more into these words as a congregation, everyone has a role. What events, programs, or activities would help youto become more connected, nurtured, or loved at Hope? How would you like to see us live more fully into this vision? Over the course of the fall we’ll be having a conversation as a congregation to develop this vision. Watch for more updates and opportunities for input.
Meanwhile, let’s not forget the many ways we alreadyare nurturing connection. Let’s celebrate them! God is working in, through, and often enough even in spite of, our efforts – bringing forth life, love, grace, nurture, and connection like blooming flowers among us. This newsletter is full of information and opportunities to connect. Read on and more importantly, come and seewhat’s happening at Hope!