eastcentralontario@united-church.ca

The Good News reaches us in many ways. Today the radio played the Amanda Marshall song, “I Believe in You.” It was almost like listening to a hymn as she sings “somewhere someone’s reaching …”

Friends, it has been a year of reaching for something – something new, something exciting, something different (though that wasn’t the point) – something that has the potential of being good news for all. We are finding ways of living faithfully in our changing church, with both new and familiar faces joining around our tables.

I have been blessed with passionate volunteers on the Transition Commission and Assembly of Elders and others who have begun stepping into leadership team roles. The changes have offered opportunity to engage staff who are focused on helping you connect, learn, achieve goals and explore the realities and potential of your local ministries. I am gradually having opportunities to meet more of you and see where “home” is for you and your ministry. I have been encouraged this past year as many of you are beginning to reach towards each other knowing that we believe in a loving Creator who will give us the strength, courage and wisdom to move forward.

There have been, and will continue to be, challenges. One of the biggest for me is trying to be present. Anyone who, as I have: parented multiple children (I have four); ministered to a multi-point charge (my settlement charge in 1982 had five churches); taught in a classroom with students of various abilities (I taught grades one to four before ministry); or supervised candidates or other staff (now I have 16 between three regional councils); will know that each person needs attention and respect and, at times, more than those around them. The same is true for communities of faith. There are approximately 500 in my care.

Given the size of the project and the stretch of the geography, I sincerely ask you to do the reaching out. Please, take the initiative. Feel free to communicate ideas, interests, questions, concerns or need for care. Know, in return, that the team providing leadership will endeavour to respond in a timely and respectful manner.

Reverend Rosemary Lambie is the senior staff and Executive Minister of the East Central Ontario Regional Council, as well as the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council and Conseil régional Nakonha:ka Regional Council.