AT THE EDGE
As an organization ages, you don’t look to the centre for signs of new life, where the leaders are expending more and more energy trying to protect the old ways. You look to the edges. There the organization is still alive to its environment, still alert to new possibilities.
This weekend we hosted our annual Midtown Mosaic. This is one of our “edges” at St. Stephen’s. It is an enormous effort—a labour of love in particular for its creator, Ginny Binder. But it puts us in direct contact with the wider community—in this case, the arts community. At the same time, down in our lower hall, we connected with our book-buying neighbours through our used book sale.
Our recent renovations were all about supporting opportunities at the edges. Our large flexible worship space can double as an art gallery, a concert hall, or a meditation centre. Our creation space houses our Sunday School program, but also a community chess club for teens, a rehearsal space for choirs, and a meeting room for local condo associations.
One of the supporters of our renovations was the Anglican Foundation, whose Executive Director, Judy Rois, knows a thing or two about new life in the church. The Foundation exists to support churches doing innovative things, whether through bricks and mortar or through creative programming. We support the Foundation with an annual donation; and each year the Foundation supports dozens of innovative church projects across the country.
New life happens at the edges.
GOD IN OUR MIDST
At St. Stephen’s we are exploring the language of Soul as a way of talking about how God moves in our midst. It means looking not so much for signs from heaven as for earthly signs. It takes seriously that God is with us in our everyday human experience and that we are given everything we need here and now to live the life to which God calls us.
One of the ways we discern God moving in our midst is to pay attention to what is happening within our church family. This week that means both sadness and joy as we grieve the loss of Joan McCollum and celebrate the marriage of David Roach and Linda Malakoff.
Turq and Joan McCollum became members of St. Stephen’s after Turq retired –and then retired again—from active parish ministry, both here and in the North. They were the model “clergy couple”, Turq serving as priest, Joan serving as an active church member—playing the organ and teaching Sunday school. Joan’s generosity and common sense, her ready laughter and her big heart will be missed by all.
David Roach has been an active member of St. Stephen’s for over ten years, providing leadership and support to our meditation group and men’s meetings, and providing kitchen hospitality countless times for our social events. We have all enjoyed meeting Linda as David began introducing her to us. They are a fabulous couple and we are pleased to share in the joy of their marriage.