June 2016 Message for Congregations and Lay and Rostered Leaders
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ –
As I am preparing this month’s message I am keenly aware that it is nearly two weeks since the evacuation of the city of Fort McMurray.
We live in the wake of unbelievable devastation; and, in the wake of incredible generosity.
With you, I give thanks to God for the generosity of those from our own communities, province, nation, and indeed, from around the world, in providing for evacuees, for the safety of the emergency crews and first responders, and for all who continue to coordinate and to plan at every level.
I know that you will continue to hold the people of Fort McMurray in your prayers. They remain displaced. There is much uncertainty. There are various forms of trauma.
I know that you will continue to welcome those who join you for worship.
I know that you will respond as you are able. Not, “remarkably,” as someone said to me recently, “but as I am able.”
Thank you to those who gathered last Tuesday, May 10, for a Synod hosted time of prayer and candlelighting, using Holden Evening Prayer, at Trinity, Edmonton. And thank you to Trinity for opening your door for our Synod to gather. I am aware that many others planned similar worship services within your own communities. Wonderful!
Last Wednesday I received correspondence from an ELCIC Pastor serving a small rural community in the Saskatchewan Synod who shared that, as the Church Council met the previous evening, they had worshipped using Holden Evening Prayer, at the same time our Synod hosted worship was taking place in Edmonton. Wonderful!
As you are aware, through the ABT Synod – Special Bulletin: update, conversation and planning continues with CLWR, LC-C and the ELCIC through our Synod. Church groups and congregations in Alberta are invited to apply for funds for programs they feel will benefit the congregations and people of Fort McMurray from the CLWR Emergency Fund. Grant application forms and further details are available from our Synod Office.
Pastor Susan Horton continues to be in regular contact with members and friends of Christ the King, Fort McMurray. Many have been inquiring as to an update regarding last week’s Prayer Request (May 10) for Pastor Susan who had been admitted to hospital. She was discharged from hospital in Edmonton this past Sunday, May 15. Your prayers for continued healing are appreciated.
Pastor Horton shared with me a May 9 CBC News item from a woman forced to evacuate her home in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, during last summer’s wildfires which I found helpful. Kandis Riese was forced to leave her community, with 13, 000 others, in a moment’s notice. She has put her experiences and her thoughts during her evacuation on paper, along with advice for evacuees and volunteers who are helping out. I have edited the article which you will find below. The article in its entirety can be found here: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/sask-evacuee-fort…
Dear sisters and brothers. There will be further updates to our Synod. We know that as the days go by, other events will begin to dominate media reports and people’s attention. This is when we will be needed the most to walk with and support our sisters and brothers.
We continue to pray: Our Lord and God, grant us grace to know your love in whatever we face. Give us patience and thankfulness, even in our pain, anxiety or loss; and move us with compassion and tenderness for our afflicted neighbours; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Recovering from Trauma, Evangelical Lutheran Worship; Pastoral Care, pg. 188).
The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
In Christ Jesus –