By Rev. Jean-Daniel O'Donncada, National Pastor
Our tradition's roots--at least in the 19th century--are among frontier Christians who discovered the old ways of being the church they had experienced in bigger cities, earlier in their lives were not working in their context. Our movement is called "Restorationist" because throwing out the old, trying, anew, to do what is even older, more ancient, and simpler, has become our tradition itself.
I find comfort that one of the ways Jesus structures his teachings most is to say, "You have heard... but I say..." That structure says, listen, the old ways matter, knowing them matters, but we are also called to do this a bit differently moving forward.
Our church as inherited resources from our forebears--assets and money on one hand, and talented people formed by the Sunday Schools and camps and seminaries of the past, on the other. Both kinds of inheritances are sacred! And both are limited. We found that a model of rigidity, of many structures, many meetings, many elected officials, many meeting minutes were not allowing us to do the most good with what God has given us.
So we gather around a table as Jesus gathered his friends around tables before. To feed each other, to serve each other, to listen to each other, to pray together. Any Disciple in Canada is welcome to Ministry Table to discuss the life of the church.
To help envision this transformation in how we follow Jesus together, I want you to picture the Christian Church in Canada as a feast, a giant party. We are all gathered because we love the same thing. As wedding guests all share their love of the couple, we share our desire to follow Jesus. That is The Ministry Table of Canada, capital letters, where we all gather as one.
But we also all love, or maybe are worried about, some parts of our life together differently. Those are our Side Tables, smaller group discussions around common interests and needs. The appetizer and dessert and drinks tables of the feast. Rather than formal "subcommittees" side tables meet as much or as little as each need. You mingle as long as or a little as you want. We understand each faithful person will have a favourite side table, but hope they will stretch themselves and make the rounds!
Each side table will have one or two hosts, who convene the meetings and lead the conversations, they set the table. But each meal is a spiritual potluck. The Ministry Table for the whole church is then where side tables share with one another.
Literally, metaphorically, and everywhere in between, gathering at the Table(s) to which Jesus has invited us is what we do in this church.
To be invited to Ministry Table meetings, make sure you are on our newsletter mailing list by contacting national administrator, Pearl John (email@example.com). To be invited to side table meetings let Pearl know which ones you would like to join!
Camp planning and management, both spiritual and physical facilitates.
Creating and offering continuing education for clergy and volunteers and supporting candidates for ordination.
Mutual support for the treasurers and bookkeepers.
All things children's ministry, including pastoral care, local children's church, and kids' camps.
Sharing ideas for worship music.
Fellowship and mutual support of our ministers across Canada.
Praying for one another across Canada and responding to Canadian and global news faithfully.
Advocacy for justice and creative practical ideas for community engagement.
National youth and young adult events, supporting university chaplaincies, and empowering local leaders.
Erin Leitch & Ashley Shea
Do you have a passion for creative communication?
Rev. Awit Marcelino