A Message from Rev. Maya Landell (July 31, 2020)

The Spiritual Practice of Preparation

Dear Friends,

The last several week we have been exploring our Spiritual Gifts. And this Sunday we will talking about the Spiritual Gift of Giving. But today? Today my heart is full of the ways people offer their many and varied gifts and work together at Islington United Church.

Last evening we gathered for the first time since the pandemic. We welcomed an invited group of people into the sanctuary for a service honouring the mothers we’ve lost in our community in recent months. It was a trial run to implement our new health and safety practices and to ready us to honour what our community will need in the future. It was holy ground, and a tender place for hearts to grieve, celebrate, honour and say goodbye. It reminded me of the power of community, and how easy it is to be tempted to lean in for a hug or a handshake.

As we prepared this morning for Ransford Chamber’s funeral, another moment of worship, I thought you might be interested in have a behind-the-scenes look into the current spiritual practice of worship preparation:

  • Jason, James and I spend time reflecting on scripture and theme, planning and praying.
  • James is so intentional about each word he writes and says, his ministry of presence and sharing the light.
  • Jason works meticulously on choosing the “right” music for the moment, arranging copyright clearance, preparing with our staff singer, and managing details from tech to big picture.
  • Jackie and Kim Blackwell spend hours planning and preparing the communion table with such beauty and care.
  • Robert Picard carries in all his equipment, sets up, and tests wifi bandwidth, streaming and lighting, all before he captures the moment in real time then later edits and uploads the video — a process that can take days.
  • Thom Varey sanitizes the microphones, sets them up, records in the moment and then mixes the recordings so what you hear is pure goodness.
  • Randee Marquez prepares text and images and sends out correspondence from the church while Robert Huff ensures everything is linked on the website and ready to go when people arrive to watch online.
  • Cynthia Smithers uses Zoom so people without computers can listen to the worship service over the phone.
  • Sandra Tully and her team (Janet Wells and Laurie Martin) have prepared health and safety and screening procedures. During these “live” services, Sandra is personally welcoming people and documenting who was there.
  • Worku Gebrekidan and Paul Vallillee sanitized the sanctuary, entryways and bathrooms in preparation for people’s arrival.
  • The Hospitality Team prepared generous packages, full of food and the church family’s love, for the service attendees to take home safely.
  • Meanwhile, Michelle Reece works on preparing weekly Godly Play and the family celebration today of the end of two weeks of Compassion Camp; Leslee Armstrong and Lorraine Fait juggle all the other important administrative tasks, and Church Council members leads us through this season.

While we we can’t all roll up our sleeves and pitch in the way we usually do, please know how much your prayers, words of affirmation and encouragement, helpful feedback, regular offerings and support allow us to reflect Christ’s light -– in person and beyond.

Blessings on your long weekend.

Rev. Maya

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