I read an article this week entitled, “I Don’t Want to be a Small Church” written by Karl Vaters, that was posted by a clergy colleague of mine via social media. The article really resonated with me as our church community could easily fall under the “small church” category and in some circles, this can be seen as a negative thing. Small churches sometimes struggle to see a way forward, thinking that perhaps there are too few people, or too few dollars to really make a difference in the world around us. But this article offers some basic truths about small churches that I think are wonderful reminders to us – especially as we begin to look ahead to the new year which will be upon us in a few short weeks.
The articles simply states that small churches can be great – just as they are. I think so often we get caught up in the idea of growing the church and we can’t do wonderful and great things until we are big enough because the reality is, we can be great now. Our great may not look the same as a big mega church or even a bigger city church – but we can still do great things within our own context. The trick here is that we only ever hear about the great things happening in big churches – and small churches are wired differently, so what works at the cathedral with over 400 people on a Sunday, won't work in a place like St. Mary’s. So, for small churches to be great, we need to look at other small churches and share what great things we are doing and learn what they are doing in turn. Perhaps this means combined leadership meetings or maybe we will need to look at sharing resources or skills with a neighbouring small church so we can work on being great together – the possibilities are endless, but the key is to look to other small churches and share how we further the Kingdom of God as a smaller community.
The last point the article makes which really struck me, is that some great churches stay small and growth may happen in unexpected ways. Just as a rose will never reach the size of a cedar tree, the reality is not all churches are destined to be big churches. And really, if the church is one body with many parts, isn’t it possible, or perhaps even likely, that the body of Christ needs churches of all shapes and sizes?
As we begin to look to the coming year and ponder and pray about where God is calling us next as community, I invite you to reflect on these ideas, and begin to imagine how we might become a small church doing great things for Nanoose Bay and beyond.
Come a little early to the service on the 17th and 24th for a sort Christmas Sing-along with Margaret! Margaret has agreed to let folks from the pews choose a hymn to sing together before the service begins so you will have a chance to sing all those songs you are longing to sing this season! So set your alarm clocks a little earlier and be here by 9:45 to sing along with us!
Thank you to all those who helped out with this years’ Carols by Candlelight event. The church was full with over 100 people (mostly from outside our church community) for an evening of song and festive cheer. Thank you to Jean and Margaret for their help in organizing and to Elaine and her kitchen helpers for making a lovely festive spread for the refreshments afterwards. It truly is a night where we show the community the best of St. Mary’s hospitality and folks are already looking forward to next year!
This week I received a scam email that appeared to be from Jennifer, our Treasurer, asking to me transfer money because the church account couldn’t pay an invoice. It also came from an email address I did not recognize.
Scam emails have been running rampant again this season, so please be on alert and if anything comes to you that seems a little out of the ordinary, please do not respond. Remember that no one at the church: Rev. Kirsten, Council Members, Treasurer etc… will ever ask for money, e-transfers or gift cards of any sorts. If you are concerned about something you receive please reach out to the office or Rev. Kirsten to discuss anything that may come across your screen. It is so important that we are diligent, especially at this time of year.
The 2024 Church giving envelopes are ready for pickup at the back of the church.
We are finding quite a few sets of envelopes left over every year and they are not cheap! If you no longer require them, please let Malcolm know. Just a regular envelope can be used with your offering number. If you don’t know it, call KAT!! You can always sign up for the electronic plate PAR program too. We must order a whole year in advance, so if not picked up this year, they will not be reordered. If you have any questions, please call Kirsten or KAT.
Amidst the dark days of December, it can be hard to feel the joy of the Christmas Season. This service is one of comfort and light where together we can give our burdens over to the Holy One so we can enter into the Christmas Season bearing the light that is to come. During the service we will pray through the lighting of the Advent Wreath and engage with acts of remembrance, including a time of blessing with the priest.
All are welcome to come, just as they are, as together we move through the weariness in the world and prepare to rejoice in the coming of Jesus.
As community we will observe the coming of the Messiah in a few different ways this season – so be sure to mark your calendar for the following services: