2017 was a big year. In June, on Pentecost Sunday, I was ordained here at Blythwood, surrounded by my church family and people from all stages of my life. It was a beautiful affirmation of my calling and a chance to reflect on all that God has done in my life to lead me here to serve as your pastor. I consider it a privilege and a blessing to serve here at Blythwood.
This has been a year of looking for God’s hand at work in the life of our church and the communities we serve. God’s grace was evident in Out of the Cold, at Horizons for Youth, at our summer camp and in our church ministries and activities.
In August, I led a team of 9 from Blythwood and Weston Park Baptist to Bolivia. This was a first for both Bruce and me. It was great to see the Chagas project and Casa de la Amistad up close and to spend time with the missionaries that our church supports. Spending time with the children from Casa was bittersweet. They were typical children, wanting to play and being shy and silly, and it was easy to forget that many of them are living in prison with their parents. The staff there work tirelessly to make sure these kids have all the support they need. The entire Canadian team was very touched by this ministry and being in Bolivia gave us a deeper understanding of the global church. What a divine mystery that the Spirit which is at work in Cochabamba and in Aquile is the same Spirit that is at work in us here in Toronto.
Another highlight was seeing some of the residents from Horizons for Youth join our Thursday night young adults group to play volleyball and have supper together. It was also great to see some of our camp families coming to the Sunday School picnic, camp reunion and our Easter service. As I think about the size of our church, it amazes it how many people we reach through the many ministries with which we’re involved. As we move forward, I hope we will continue to engage in relational ministry and that we will explore fresh ways to merge our lives with the lives of those we serve.
I am grateful that we are not called to serve alone. I think of all of you who serve in the Orchard, with the youth, on the worship team, at summer camp and with Horizons 4 Youth. You are all a huge blessing to me!
I’m especially thankful to have Pastor David as a partner in ministry. He is always showing me what it means to be a servant-leader and I’m grateful for his wisdom and the heart he puts into everything he does. Jennifer is a steady presence and is always making sure that we stay organized. She does so much behind-the-scenes and is a big support to me (and to Colin!). Dan is another encouraging presence. He’s always working hard and his attention to detail is unbelievable. It’s always fun making music with him and with Adolfo. It’s a gift to work in the same building where Adolfo practices. He’s such a gifted musician and I appreciate the guidance he gives me as I sing!
Finally, I am grateful for a life partner who both supports and challenges me. Bruce is always there, whether to make sure the mic is on, share a testimony in a Bolivian church or grill burgers in a thunderstorm for the church picnic (don’t try this at home). He teaches me about God’s grace daily.
The city around us is constantly changing but the God we serve remains the same. He is faithful, loving and wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. I pray that He will continually transform our hearts and minds so that we reflect the glory of Christ.
Grace & peace,