Oct. 5&6 Days 35 &36 Moving On
Once again I am writing about two days. Last night we had dinner with Claudia and Will. Back at their home, we had a wonderful, long conversation. At 11:30 when we all reluctantly brought the evening to an end, I had no desire or energy to write up the day.
Yesterday, I visited two great churches in Calgary. St. David’s United is centering their ministry around interfaith dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rev. Peggy McDonagh speak with passion about their experience with guest speakers and locals from other faith traditions. Of course, they have outreach projects as well as worship and Bible study etc. This is a busy city church, carrying Jesus’ message of inclusivity, love and community.
I returned to Wild Rose United to visit with Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Simmins. He talked with enthusiasm about Wild Rose’s ministry with teens, especially at the nearby high school. “There are over fifty teens who are homeless going to that school,” he said as he pointed to the building down the street. “We have a breakfast program for them as well as providing them with bus tickets. At the moment we are slowly purchasing special math calculators for those who need them. We’ve bought five so far. They are quite expensive.”
I had a grand time at both of these churches. God’s Spirit has definitely risen up and led these congregations down valuable avenues of faith and service. I was rather proud of myself as well because I drove myself yesterday. Driving in a strange city with my handicapped sense of direction requires courage and trust in God. God kept me calm and confident. To add to my sense of accomplishment I sold books at both places.
The rest of the day was family time and that was superb. Our last evening with Will and Claudia couldn’t have been better.
Today, we got up early so that we could leave by 9:00 a.m. for Regina. We drove through many miles of our beautiful golden prairies. One of the highlights was seeing Reed Lake. Reed Lake is a shallow saline (salt water) lake, 14 km by 3-4 km that lies parallel to the Trans-Canada highway near the towns of Herbert and Morse in Saskatchewan. The water levels are subject to wide fluctuations. Today the water was very high. It seemed to be almost level with the road. During the spring waterfowl and shorebird migration, Reed Lake is a popular stop over. Today the shore was lined with white as the birds rested and swooped in the air. My research tells me, peak one-day counts of shore birds have consistently been greater than 5000, with as many as 11,327 counted in one-day in 1993. As many as 5000 Tundra Swans have also been counted in one day. The road that crosses the lake was closed today. With the water level so high, we wondered if maybe there were spots on it that were submerged.
We also visited two churches on our way to Regina. We stopped in Medicine Hat, Alberta, for lunch and dropped in at Westminster United. Rev. Jan Stephenson gave me a tour of their building and spoke with excitement about the clustering they are doing with two small rural churches. “There are two clergy on staff here. We will be filling a half time position serving these two small churches,” she said. “Each of us will take two weeks of pastoral care and lead one Sunday worship each month. Dipping Your Toes will be wonderful for our lay leaders.” Rev. Jan bought Fireweed too.
Mid-afternoon, we needed a break. At the Tim Horton’s in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Tom asked a group of senior ladies if they knew where the United Church was located. They were happy to give us directions. “Shall we check it out,” Tom asked. Their directions led us to Rev. Annette Taylor at First United Church. Once again we enjoyed a lively conversation. First United is in the process of discerning its direction for the future. “This place is full of energy,” Annette told us. She also picked up “Dipping Your Toes,” and said, “this is truly needed especially in our rural churches. We left her with what I’m calling my packaged set of Dipping Your Toes, Fireweed, and Spectacular Stella. Selling books is fun when people are enthusiastic about buying them.
Tonight, we’re in our first bed and breakfast of the trip. Rise and Shine B&B has provided us with a big room and ensuite bathroom. The owners are friendly and helpful. They sent us to “Brewsters” for supper, where the food was delicious and the noise level quite manageable. I’d recommend it, when you come to Regina.
As we visit churches and travel through our spectacular country, it’s easy to be aware of God’s presence. At this point it feels as if God is enjoying this journey as much as I am.