I came to you as your Transition Minister on a cold January morning in 2018 and am now writing this on a VERY cold March morning some 14 months later. It has been a busy, challenging time, filled with a myriad of experiences that have added to the richness of my life in ministry.
I thought it important, again, to remind you of the mandate under which I was appointed here at Central, as you prepare to call a minister to serve you on a long-term basis. These are the four main reasons I am serving among you:
¨ Based on my in-depth knowledge of the United Church and its theological history as a denomination firmly embedded in the Protestant Reformed tradition, I have been asked to deepen the awareness of the congregation about its affiliation to The United Church. For example, making you aware of the work of the Mission and Service Fund that serves the world so faithfully OR inviting guest speakers from other world religions because the United Church is strongly committed to inter-faith dialogue OR offering theological perspectives that invite us to question and challenge the dogmas of the Christian faith so as to make it freshly relevant in our 21st Century context.
¨ To spearhead the development of a new organizational structure for Central. To that end, I have met regularly with the Transition Team to write a Behavioural Covenant, a Constitution, policy documents, a Duty of Care document and to hammer out a new church organizational structure which we are presently in the process of implementing.
¨ To build bridges between the two worship services that are offered at Central every Sunday; that is, our “Spirited Traditional Gathering” in the morning and our “Celebrate Life Recovery” service in the evening. This initiative is designed to strengthen the unity of our overall ministry in the downtown core of Calgary.
¨ To carry on all the regular duties of ministry that include preaching, conducting weddings, officiating at funerals and baptizing babies, as well as offering the Sacrament of Holy Communion on a regular basis. And, most importantly, to walk with you in the joys and sorrows of your lives.
This mandate is broad and far reaching, established by your Board of Elders and the Transition Team. My work is about honesty, about frank and open discussions about the problems being experienced by Central and about helping YOU forge a path forward in the service of God. As in any time of transition and change, there will be moments of conflict and times of unhappiness. I have, from time to time, become the lightening rod for such unhappiness, but this is true for anyone in a leadership role. I clearly recognize why it is happening and why it must happen so that change can be effectively and willingly embraced.
I remain firmly committed to this calling, a call that I believe has come to me from God. And I truly love and appreciate each one of you, for your unique and beautiful selves. Blessings, Linda