Our Purpose and Mission Statement

Working to build God's dream. Help wanted!

We the people of Glen Rhodes United Church, are determined that our life together will be fully inclusive for people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, differing abilities, ethnic origins and economic circumstances. Therefore, we hope that God will work in us so that we will be a sensitive congregation, willing to share our faith and gifts in language and worship, in the life and work of our church and wherever God calls us to do justice in the wider community, with compassion, fun and laughter

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Looking Forward to New Ministry Together...

(Editor's Note:  This Sunday we celebrated the end of our two year journey through transition with Rev. Jong Bok Kim.  This is the reflection from the service.  The first part was presented by Marian Stinson, Secretary to the Council and the second by Rev. Jong Bok Kim, Intentional Interim Minister)

Looking Forward to New Ministry Together
Marian Stinson

A few weeks ago Jong Bok asked me to write a report for Presbytery on the work and accomplishments of the interim ministry and he asked me to share some of it with you today.
It’s hard to believe it was less than two years ago that we welcomed Jong Bok and began this mysterious journey together. At the beginning we were uncertain where that journey would lead us, even though we knew our goal was to call a new minister.

And what a journey it’s been! We recruited many of you to serve on committees, discussed and reflected on our history, our mission, our governance structure and the work of our Council. As with any wilderness journey we drank large volumes of liquid - hot tea and coffee, ice tea, juice and ice water – and pondered our past, present and future as a congregation. We discussed our identity, options for growth and the kind of ministry needed in our community and in a changing world.
We prayed and sang hymns, did much soul-searching, we wrote reports and had many thoughtful and moving discussions. When we began this journey with Jong Bok, there had been five different ministers at Glen Rhodes in the previous eight years, and we were struggling with anxiety and a sense of instability, as well as a growing awareness of our fragile financial situation.

During this time Jong Bok encouraged people to take leadership roles in worship. Together we reviewed our governance structure and recommended changes; people responded by coming forward and suggesting ways to strengthen and expand our ministry.
In light of this work, we welcomed a new chair of council this year.  During the interim ministry nine people joined the congregation and we have new voices in the choir. We continue to search for ways to encourage new leadership and are heartened by his optimism about our future.    

The final report of the Joint Needs committee reflected the sense of reconnection with past accomplishments: the successful amalgamations between Glenmount and Rhodes Ave, and Glen Rhodes and Simpson Ave.,  the journey to becoming an affirming congregation and our leadership in the strong United Church presence in the Pride Parade,  our work with the Delta churches, the ongoing work and accomplishments of our food program over almost three decades, and the changes in our congregation and our neighbourhood. We acknowledged that we need to do things differently, recognizing our financial situation and the need to rebuild our ministry. We regained our sense of pride in our journey as a congregation, and important stepping stone to meet the challenges ahead as we look for ways to be a strong presence in our community.
 Our job description for the new minister tried to pull together all the parts of our identity: our need to hear God’s word, and make the connection between what we do and why we do it, our love of music, our passion for social justice, our commitment to pastoral care and Christian education, our need to be inclusive.

We summed up those needs this way:
We need a minister who recognizes and shares largesse of heart; who understands and accepts the many diverse ways in which we express our faith and love for our own community, the larger community and all of God’s creation.

Thus, we are seeking a full-time ordained minister of Word, Sacrament and Pastoral Care to help us rebuild our ministry in a time of limited resources. We are very aware that the status quo is not an option and we need to change. We need someone to help us reshape the congregation, reach out to the community and help us build a sustainable outpost of God’s mission to the world. Someone to help us look at how we do church and reach out to a community and world in need of spiritual sustenance.
We look forward to the challenging time ahead. Today we bid farewell to Jong Bok and recognize the end of this journey. Next Sunday we welcome Rev. Robin Wardlaw and look forward to getting to know him as together, we enter this exciting new ministry.

 Reflection: Looking Forward to New Ministry Together
Jong Bok Kim, Glen Rhodes United on Sunday, June 24, 2012

The other day, Wally teased me about my grey hair.  He apologized to me for making my hair much greyer than it was two years ago when I came here.  Well, I took it as a compliment. In fact, I am comfortable with my grey hair.  I grew up in a culture where elderly people were well respected.  Because of the colour of my hair, I likely look much older and more mature than I am; I like to look like a mature person.
These last two years seem to have gone by so quickly.  This is the last Sunday I am going to work with you.  I wish to thank all of you for helping me grow, not only in my appearance, but in my ministry.  When I was appointed as an Intentional Interim Minister by the Presbytery two years ago, I was far from an experienced, eloquent and confident minister.  But, thanks to your wonderful support, I have become much more confident in my ministry and cannot wait for an opportunity to share what I have learned from my wonderful experience of working with you here at Glen Rhodes United.

 One of the best things about interim ministry is that it has a defined end.  The anxiety of change would be unbearable if we did not know it was coming to an end.  You have been able to engage in this interim ministry without the anxiety of its ending because you know you do not have to work with me forever.  On the other hand, I have been able to keep going through the conflicts and challenges in part because I know I cannot work with you forever but must leave at a specific date.  It can be and I hope it has been a blessing for us all.
At last, we have arrived at the end of our interim work. Has it been a blessing for us?  I can say, yes. First of all, you have called a new minister with great expectations of establishing a long term and stable pastoral relationship you have not enjoyed for some time.  Now, you are ready to begin your journey anew with a new minister starting next Sunday.  Congratulations!

Secondly, you have been able to find more support from other neighbouring congregations around your Outreach Programmes.  Cosburn United has begun supporting your Food Bank, enthusiastically donating food items and financial support since last fall.  More volunteers from Kimbourne Park United have joined you in serving the Community Dinners every month.  Now you are working on the restructuring of the whole outreach programme in order to encourage more neighbouring communities to become involved.
Thirdly, you have elected new leaders.  Now you have a new chair of the Council, Ann Temple, a new chair of the Ministry and Personnel Committee, Kathryn MacGregor, and a new Presbytery Rep, Fred Angus.  And you have made a new covenant with the members of the Council before God, pledging that you will honour the leadership of these people and assist them through daily prayer, generous support and personal example to become a faithful church of Jesus Christ

Fourthly, you have enjoyed and developed confidence in leadership in worship services.  The word, ‘liturgy,’ public worship, comes from a Greek word meaning the ‘people’s work.’  Your worship services are supposed to be the work of all the participants, including the sharing of leadership.  Especially, in the reformed church tradition, it is important for each one of you to offer your gifts to the worship.  I hope many of you will be able to find joy and meaning, writing prayers, introducing scripture readings and doing the welcome on your own in the future.
Fifthly, you have regained your ability to care for members who are in need of pastoral care with renewed energy and dedication.  You have sent cards, made phone calls to those who are sick, troubled, lonely or in grief.  You have visited shut-ins or those who are no longer able to come to church and served Communion with me regularly.   Your sense of a closely-knit church family has been restored and strengthened through your efforts to reach out to those needing pastoral care.

 Overall, during the two year interim work, you have been able to transform your feelings of anxiety into enthusiastic hope for the future.  You may take pride in what you have achieved. 
Today’s reading from 1 Samuel presents David as a young man of extraordinary courage and conviction. Yet, the energy of the story comes not from the actions of the hero alone, but from David’s relationship with God. At the heart of the story is God’s faithfulness, God’s presence and God’s unique way of doing things. David responds faithfully to the call of God.

 The story of David and Goliath embodies the hopes of all people – that, when they are faced with overwhelming and evil power, there is a way to overcome that power and win the future. This story has been told and retold especially by the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized, and the powerless — those who do not simply hope for a David but see themselves as David, faced with the giants of oppression and who know that their only hope lies with a living God.
I wonder if you too can picture yourselves as David to face the exciting and challenging time of transition with such extraordinary courage and faith in God.

Yet, your work is not done.  There is much work to do on your journey ahead.  Be assured though, that you are not alone. 
Today is Pride Sunday.  Like David, let us gather five smooth stones of pride, courage and faith in God into our bags and go out to join in the celebration of this Pride Week and join Bob in the parade next Sunday to pave the path for overcoming the Goliaths of homophobia, injustice, prejudice and oppression in this society to walk the way of companionship. 

My prayer for you is that you will also take with you five smooth stones of enthusiasm, compassion, fun and laughter to pave the path for overcoming the Goliaths of fear, pessimism and lack of confidence, to walk the way of God’s mission.  Looking forward to this new ministry together, be assured that God will be with you on your journey today and in the days ahead.  Amen.

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