A Year in Review from Pastor Abby
2018 was a year of new things.
In February, we were invited to visit a church in the Cree Nation of Mistissini, Quebec. We were a team of six and we met with the Baptist pastor and church leaders there as well as several members of the community. We heard stories of surviving residential schools and were honoured by peoples’ openness with us. We heard about how God has brought hope and healing to a community that has been living in the shadow of this legacy for generations.
In March I started a program called Uptick which is designed to mentor young women in ministry. I travelled to Waco, Texas and Charlottestown, Virginia and met online monthly with a group of nine other women and four leaders. We learned about many practical tools for discipleship, focusing on the Mike Breen book Building a Discipleship Culture. We also met with different ministry leaders who are finding new ways to reach out to their communities and make a difference in their neighbourhoods.
In May we welcomed a mission team from Campbell University in North Carolina. Six young men and women spent a week living here at Blythwood and volunteering at different ministries within the Toronto Baptist Association. They visited Matthew House, the Dale, Bethany Baptist and Dixon ministries.
In June we started Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Many of you signed up to be either a guest or a host and people were paired together for meals. It was like a blind-date that the whole church was invited to!
As June approached, Bruce and I found out that we had been chosen to adopt a baby boy and we welcomed Miles into the world on June 20th.
We were blessed to have Helen Lenz ready and willing to step into the Associate Pastor role so I could begin my parental leave. She did a
tremendous job and her pastoral gifts were a blessing to this congregation.
As I consider all the new things that took place in 2018, I am reminded that God is always doing something new. Whether in our hearts or in our church, we will see fresh expressions of His redemption if only we train our eyes to see. The question is, What way has God made for us at Blythwood as we continue to do Christ’s work here in Toronto? We will be exploring this question in our small groups and on Sundays in the year ahead. Still, knowing that a way has been made and is being made, we can move ahead with confidence, trust and maybe even a little excitement.
I am grateful to be in a church where so many of you are committed to serving and I thank God for all of you. I am especially thankful for those who are with me throughout the week here at the office. I am thankful for Pastor David and his generous encouragement. He is always demonstrating to me what it means to love people well. I am thankful for Jennifer keeping us all organized and for her steady presence. Dan always puts so much thought into his work and makes sure that everything is ready for ministry. Adolfo adds so much to our worship music and brings beauty to our services every week. I love the people I work with!
I am also thankful for my husband Bruce who supports me in so many ways I can’t even count. He’s been a great partner as he continues to learn what it means to be a ‘pastor’s husband’. And of course, I’m grateful for Miles. He’s been such a gift to Bruce and I and we are thrilled to be his parents. He reminds me daily of God’s goodness and grace.
I look forward to seeing what new things God will do in this coming year.