Some years ago, Rev. Dr. Donald Grayston was our priest at St. Oswald's. He told us to "Look back. Look Forward. Look out. Look in." It was a very interesting challenge.
Looking back. When your church is over a hundred years old, there is lots of history and some great memories. We are fortunate to have parishioners who can look back over half a century or more and share their stories...like the time a bishop was visiting and thought that the congregation was utterly spellbound. They were...but not by the liturgy. A small mouse had popped out of a hole and run along the moulding in the sanctuary to disappear into a second hiding place!
Looking forward was more difficult. We are in the middle of an area of heavy industry. When the church was built in 1911, then there were lots of houses around, and many can recall walking or cycling to St. Oswald's. When the freeway went through in the sixties, it cut the church off from the residential part of Port Kells and today all of the parishioners come by car. So...how do you turn what could be a real liability into an opportunity for a very special ministry? Vision. Dedication. Hard work. And a lot of prayers!
Looking out. We're good at that. We've a long list of projects, completed and ongoing. Music in Belize. Water in Kenya. School Fees in east Africa. Bath house in Mongolia. Afghans for Afghanistan. And closer to home, Mission to Seafarers, woman's shelter, Surrey Urban Mission, food bank, prayer quilts. We like the idea of active Christianity.
Looking in. Ah, the hardest challenge. Developing a rich, growing life in the Spirit. Once we had a really active Woman's Spiritual Journey group that certainly sent the members on the right path. Lenten study groups help. So do book clubs where we can meet and discuss theological points of view. Many of us try to do it alone, but it's not easy. Perhaps it's time to come together again on this journey?
Look back. Look forward. Look out. Look in. Thanks, Don, for giving us the challenge.