Lent, A Season to Make Space

A Message from Rev. Maya Landell

Lent is upon us – a season to make space, to return to practices that draw you closer to God. What does this look like – God who created you for good, who names you as God’s handiwork – unique, special, gifted, loved. This God yearns for you to have wholeness, health, and love your neighbours well. This God, known to us through Jesus who rested, played, spoke truth, saw things from different perspectives, held lightly to things, spent time with those no one else listened to, healed, challenged and loved boldly. I wonder what you can choose to “do” or “not do” that helps you draw closer to that?

As a congregation we are making space to do this collectively, to reflect, to pray and to hear each other. Some of you were in church on Sunday, and heard Peter Spratt (a colleague of the facilitator Betty Pries who is helping us look forward into the future) speak at the end of the service. (In case you missed it, visit the website to hear what he said.)

I’ve had interesting conversations with people wondering what this process is about: Is this about money? Are outsiders telling us what to do? Why do we need to consult? This is such a changing time, not only for Islington United but also for “church.” We can all look around and recognize that demographic, contextual, and community change is impacting our church family.

The journey to this process began at the last Annual General Meeting when our congregation recognized the need to be praying and planning into the future. With a lot of other pieces of work on our plate, this is not work that the council and I could lead you through without help. It is also too important. So we reached out to the most experienced, grounded and prayerful team doing this work in Canada: Creedence and Co. I personally have had the privilege to learn from Betty Pries, and I trust her and value her work. Betty is respected worldwide and her work is allowing congregations and communities to lead through change.

We have everything we need at Islington to do this if we work together. Creedence and Co. will simply help us with the process. While they won’t do the work for us – that will be up to us – they will collate data, gather information, help us hear each other, and offer feedback on what they hear us saying.

There are two steps for you to take:

  1. The first step is come to the congregational meeting on March 4 (or listen to the meeting recording once it is posted online) to learn about the Growing Forward process.
  2. The second step is for you to complete the survey you heard about in the email yesterday. A link to the survey will be sent to you on March 4 and responses are requested by March 20. Please fill it out — each person’s voice is important.

This is not a quick-fix, and no one has an agenda for our future but God. This is an invitation to be Growing Forward together as a community of faith. I can’t wait for you to be part of this, and to see what happens.


Rev. Maya