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To Lynn Valley United Church Community Members,

As I write this message, we are 4 days into the new year and positioning ourselves as people of Christ to respond to the Omicron variant with guidance, grace, courage, and in so many ways a great deal of restraint.

Snow is falling on the church roof (which I can see from my living room window) giving rise to the thought that we, as a community, extend far beyond the physical building itself. Never fear dear friends, we remain connected!  This is an exciting time in our congregation as we continue blending old traditions and activities while making way for new ones.

Reverend Franklyn James has been with us for 6 months already! His poignant sermons compel us to bring the teachings of Christ into our contemporary world, building our growing understanding of what it means to be welcoming and inclusive. As we move into our new status
as an Affirming Church, there is much to learn and so many invitations to extend.

On a personal note - I wish to thank the congregation, ministers, staff, and fellow members of the board for the support provided to me over the past several months and for allowing me the privilege of resuming my seat as Chair of the LVUC Board of Governance. I look forward to our year ahead.

Your LVUC Board Members are Leslie Hemmings, Neil Fancourt, Joe Catlin, Victoria Fawkes, Kelly Jenner, Walter Wright, and me. We are always looking for ways to engage with members and adherents of the congregation; happy to have a chat and to hear about your experience at LVUC.

Please enjoy these thoughtful new year messages from members of the LVUC Board of Governance.

With Abundant Kindness,
Wendy Harris

From Joe Catlin:
This last year was filled with many wonderful blessings. We were able to meet together in fellowship as a church. We had opportunities to serve others and to enjoy others. We called a wonderful new minister. We have been blessed by a very caring and able staff. We have developed new relationships and strengthened others. I feel we have made the best out of the situations caused by the covid pandemic.

I have been very blessed this last year by being able to serve on the LVUC board. I look forward to all the wonderful possibilities of the New Year.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57

From Leslie Hemmings:
Here's my practice.
When I come into the house 

I say a short prayer and light a Christ candle. 
Just that.  Acknowledge that Christ is nearby. And center yourself.
Amazing how powerful that is.
Just try it.   
It’s a nice practice to develop.
Leslie

From Neil Fancourt:
A new year always brings new hope and a chance to start over.  While I am excited about 2022, I am saddened that we were unable to meet in community over Christmas and possibly not again until later in January; it doesn’t feel right, yet it may be. Despite our collective and individual pandemic fatigue, we’ll need to dig deep, tread lightly and look for ways to stay connected and nurture one another with love and encouragement. For me, this often requires very intentional planning, follow-through and can take the form of a “to-do” list of things I need to do for both self-care and connection.

For many years I have followed a morning routine of journaling, meditation, and seeking inspiration through books and poetry. I’ll offer this beautiful poem by Rumi titled “Out Beyond Ideas” which inspires us to think of what we’re trying to make sense of now, and the hope of non-binary possibilities. 

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. 
When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. 
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.”

From Kelly Jenner:
Do you remember the game “pin the tail on the donkey” where you get blindfolded and turned around a few times to disorient you and then have to try to pin or stick the tail onto an image of a donkey? The past few years of Covid 19 has kind of felt like that- but an unending game that just keeps going and going. Every time I feel confident I can stick that tail in the right spot, I get turned around again or the donkey gets moved. 

The new year is seen as a time to look back on what went well and look forward with anticipation to special days, milestones, adventures, etc.… some see the chance to wipe the slate clean and get a fresh start (or restart) while others see measurable change, growth, progress, and learning.
 
This year there has been so much that seems to be lost, so much fear and doubt, it has been unsettling.  When I experience “the overwhelm” brought on by being a spiritual being on a human journey, there is a myriad of tools and experiences awaiting me at church to guide me to great-fullness and this fills me with so much gratitude and peace. 

Having a spiritual home base has been essential for me… providing an inoculation of hope, compassion, and resilience. These, and many other gifts of Spirit help me show up as my best self to encounter whatever the world throws my way.  At the epicentre of a storm, it is always calm. Find that centre, your centre. That’s where you will find strength.

                                                                                                                                   -   AVIS Viswanatha


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