As my term winds down at the end of June, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on my time on Consistory and other life events over the past five and a half years. I want to begin by thanking you for the honour and privilege of serving on Consistory and as an Elder at Christ Community Church. Thank you as well for the prayers and support you have provided me over these past years, and particularly thank you to my Consistory colleagues who have stood with me.
These last several years have seen a whirlwind of changes and I want to highlight some of the key events. When I came back onto Consistory from a two-year break in 2017, the Church was engaged in Churches Learning Change (formally Ritter), as an opportunity to learn how to develop authentic relationships with one another so we would know how to reach out and connect with others. Several small groups were formed as a result.
2018 was a significant year for Audrey and me as it was the year we retired from our provincial government positions. This was also the year that my Dad passed away. In June 2018, we celebrated Pastor Dave Wulkan’s ten year anniversary as Pastor of our church. Unfortunately, this was followed shortly thereafter by his departure to Powell River in August. With Pastor Dave’s departure, I became President of Consistory. This meant taking on many of the administrative tasks that a Pastor typically looks after. So perhaps this was just part of God’s retirement plan for me. Much time was spent working with Consistory and the Worship Ministry Team to ensure we had weekly Pulpit Supply.
In late 2018 Audrey was diagnosed with breast cancer, so most of 2019 was spent with chemo and radiation treatments and several surgeries. By the end of 2019 Audrey was free of her cancer. Praise the Lord! For our church, we brought in a Specialized Transition Minister – Pastor VanderBeek, who would help us develop new mission and vision statements and some strategies on how we might achieve our new mission – Where Church and Community Connect and Grow. You could sense there was some excitement with this new vision and a sense of optimism was growing in the church.
Well as we all know in 2020, the world changed with the COVID virus. Who would have thought that we would ever be discussing at Consistory meetings suspending worship services at our church? How do we worship together and how do we stay connected with one another, yet alone think about reaching out to others? These have been challenging times. Many of us Elders provided Pulpit Supply when we were able to meet with restrictions. Weekly and then bi-weekly newsletters were used to keep in touch with each other. Finally, we moved to virtual worship services using ZOOM, and having Pastors both near and far bring us our weekly message.
So, my term has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. There were times of great joy and yet there were times where I felt that God has literally left us wandering in the wilderness not knowing what to do next. This was certainly not an easy time for being on Consistory and trying to lead a church and God’s people. We were truly “Canoeing the Mountains.” (Leadership book by Tod Bolsinger.)
But despite everything that was going on, I felt that God was there in our midst and yet it also seemed to double my thirst for God during this time. Psalm 42: 4-5 says:
“My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading the great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks – it was the sound of great celebration!
Why am I so discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Saviour and my God!”
So, during my term, I feel I have grown in my own faith journey and my reliance on God has become greater, escpecially when you recognize his incredible power and that he is there to carry our burdens. We are not alone. Hopefully you feel you have grown as well. He truly is our hope and salvation in good times and bad! Praise be to God!
In the next newsletter, I will share my thoughts about CCC moving forward.