It has been my honour and my privilege to serve as the Minister at Knox United Church for the past couple of years. I had been retired for a few months when the good folks at Knox came calling (they actually used a telephone). After some careful thought and knowing that there was still some wear left on my tire treads, I said “Yes!” I was asked to help the congregation keep the place percolating along until it found a new minister or two to lead them into their uncertain, but certainly exciting future.
My time with the folks at Knox is now rapidly drawing to a close. The Search Team has found two wonderful fellows, Rev. Dr. Dave Holmes and Rev. Dr. Greg Glatz, to lead them into that exciting future they are planning. I depart at the end of July. So, for my final blog entry on the website of Knox, I thought I would share a compendium of wisdom that I have gleaned over the past two years, hanging around this place. After all, we are never too old to keep learning!
So, with drum roll, I offer the following nuggets of wisdom:
- A 102 year old church has many nooks and crannies built into it. I took a trip up into the bell tower a few weeks ago (dusty place!) and there, on one of the 100 year old heating ducts, I found an inscription from 1913 scrawled by one of the workers who had built the tower. It was a voice from the past and suddenly I was pitched into a bygone era at the turn of the 20th Century. I wondered about the fellow who posted his name on the duct. What was his life like? What were his dreams? Did he have children? It made me very aware of the generations before us and how they were trying to “build” Canada which was still a very new country in 1913. That inscription inspired me to do my best to make Canada a place where diversity is respected and embraced, where social justice prevails and where peace at home and abroad is actively pursued. Because I am sure that was part of the dreaming of those early pioneers.
- Downtown Calgary is a beautiful, brokenhearted place. Almost every day, I was approached by a homeless, broken person asking for help. I was never able to offer enough help and each day, as I made my way to my safe and warm home, I became more determined to advocate for the 3,500 people who call the streets or shelters their home every night in Calgary. We can do better and I want to be a part of the solution to that appalling statistic.
- Change is everywhere in life. During my time at Knox, we experienced many, many changes. The death of beloved members of the community. The arrival of new babies. Many, many weddings filled with the hopes and dreams of young people. The blessing of many different musical styles. A new governance model. And even a new roof to replace the one that had been in place since 1964! The only constant in this life is change. The people of Knox taught me about grace in the midst of change. Change always comes, but we can offer each other grace and support even during the most trying times of change.
- Finally (because I am running out of space!), the folks at Knox re-affirmed for me the inclusive and all-encompassing power of love. In a cynical, often violent world, it is only love that endures. Hateful acts and deeds sear the soul, but it is only love that has the power to heal that soul.
There you have it. The wisdom of the folks of Knox United Church. I was blessed to receive it. Thank you!
With love, Linda