Skip to main content

Church with Diversity and Contrast

I love the variety, the unexpected and the huge diversity that is my church. Perhaps I should describe the basic setting first. We meet in an older-than-a-century four-story brick refurbished tractor factory built in what was, at the time, the perfect location, right beside the railyard. Today this neighbourhood is the saddest, neediest, most violent place in the city. The old brick, massive timbers and polished but distressed oak floors inside remind us that this is no ordinary church.

Our pastor said that we are at the intersection of the ordinary and the kingdom of God, which couldn’t be truer. In our midst are suburbanites who move in the finance, medical and education worlds, Others are artists, musicians, writers. Some are homeless, some living in booze-can hotels and some in apartments and houses that have seen better days. We have the well-dressed and the unwashed, those with poise and those who hide in corners, never looking anyone in the face. Prostitutes and drug addicts mix with the minivan crowd and together we make what may be the oddest but very warm community.

This week was a good example. In the midst of our worship time, two girls in black, each with a multi-coloured shawl around her hips, did a beautiful interpretive contemporary dance of worship to a song that included the words, “I will not be moved, I will not be shaken.”

A little boy about five arrived at church with a costume of gem-studded gold crown and cape.

The pastor opened the microphone to those who had announcements to make because he couldn’t remember all who had asked him to do it. We heard about the fund-raising banquet for Living Bible Explorers, an inner-city ministry to children with the least promising futures; the tree-cutting bee at the church-owned farm (bring your chainsaw, please); and a neighbourhood man in scruffy clothes talked about how God used gamma-ray surgery to remove a large growth from the back of his head. We were told about the evening before when all the Himalayan people in Winnipeg—Buddhist, Hindu and Christian—gathered together in our building and we listened as one very articulate young man shared his recent experiences on a leper colony near Bangalore, India—a story of how lonely is the leper’s existence but also of miracles performed by God.

When all the preamble was done, the Nepalese pastor visiting from our sister church in Kathmandu stood up to exhort us to living a godly life. That deserves its own post, which I will hopefully share soon.

I love this church. I love the diversity and contrast. I love the way I am challenged to step out of my “box” and see life from different perspectives. I love the ministry to our needy neighbourhood and to the needy on the other side of the world (e.g. water is currently available in Kathmandu for only four hours a day—at unpredictable times). God is good.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hey Debbie! This post is wonderful... I wish my church were more like that. We're in the darker side of town, and we've attracted sketchy people.... there's a guy who stalks me all the time, and there's this other guy who was trying to get out of his druggie situation... however one of the pastors drove him away. I felt really awful about that.
That is sad. I think it happens all too often.

Popular posts from this blog

Monogamous, Homosexual Unions--My Position and the Story behind it

I've been asked to be one of two participants at church each representing opposing views on the matter of monogamous, homosexual unions, moderated by the pastor.  In preparation, I have written the following.  In the comments, please do not post any vitriol--from either side. If I think any comment is hateful, I will delete it. Respectful disagreement or questions are welcome, however.















My Position and Values:
I believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex is contrary to God’s will.I would like to say otherwise but I find nothing in Scripture that allows me to do so.BEING homosexual, having a longing or desire for someone of the same sex, is not condemned in the Bible.  We all have desires that are contrary to God’s will.  The sin occurs when we feed those desires, like Jesus talks about when he calls lust adultery (Matthew 5:28).Much cruelty to LGBTQ people has happened because of the stance of the Church. We have not acted with love, compassion and listening ear…

In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.












You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.























You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.


















You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
song
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…

Eulogy for Mikael

It's 3:13 a.m. as I write this, just hours before Mikael's funeral. I've slept 2 1/2 hours already but when I woke I couldn't get back to sleep. I am so full of joy I have no room for grief. I lay in bed two hours ago, feeling this joy well up into near excitement, undergirded with a peace and contentment that to most people would make no sense. I'm not sure it makes sense to me but I know it's real. God has been so good. He has poured out his blessings on us this week and I feel like we are the most blessed family in the world right now.
I can't imagine life without Mikael. I'm still in shock, running on adrenaline and the drive to give Mikael the best farewell ever and not wanting to miss a moment of the flood of family and friends who have been pouring into our home with cards, flowers, meals, goodies, more meals and goodies, love, prayers and memories. I've been sitting in an armchair where I have a straight line of sight to the front entrance, a…