Three Days in One #travel #unitedchurch #family

September 23, 24, 25  Days 25, 26, 27

I have three days to report on – Wed, Thurs, and Friday. So what’s been happening?

Gilmore Park United Church, Richmond B.C.
Gilmore Park United Church
Ladner United church
Ladner United church, Delta, B.C.

Wednesday we visited only two churches, Ladner and Gilmore Park United Churches. Both of them, are thriving. Ladner has just completed a million and a half dollar renovation and expansion project and paid it off in eight years. Gilmore Park has seniors apartments, a parking building and a youth/children’s minister, Rev. Yokko Kihara. I enjoyed my conversation with Yokko and certainly experienced her lively and welcoming personality and her passion for young people. She is truly a faithful presence at Gilmore Park. For me, both of these churches underline the fact that the United Church is doing well. Yes there are a lot of closures happening especially in our isolated pastoral charges as well as in some of our urban congregations.  Still, there are many United Churches across Canada’s Western provinces that have growing innovative ministries. God’s Word is being spread. We can be grateful.

We spent the rest of the day with Alex, Bonnie and Boris enjoying our family time. After Alex went to bed, Bonnie and her friend Leah came to our place for tea and blueberry cheesecake.

St. Andrew's Wesley United Church, Vancouver B.C.
St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, Vancouver B.C.

Thursday was our opportunity to provide Alex’s day care. We had a wonderful day. Alex and I went to play group at the YMCA. While Tom had the car serviced. Alex had a grand time with all the other children and with Grandma. At first I sat on the floor to watch. Then one of the staff came and suggested that I could ride on one of the little push cars like Alex was using. It was a little small as my knees were folded up to my chin but that didn’t keep us from sliding around the room and collapsing with laughter. On the way home, Alex and I stopped in the park for a picnic lunch. A man in a wheel chair came along and dumped two bags of bird seed on the ground for the pigeons, perfect entertainment for Alex and me. Alex fell asleep on the way home and slept till 2:30. Tom of course took over the child care while I visited with Dan Chambers at St. Andrews-Wesley United Church, another of our alive and growing congregations. I enjoyed my conversation with Dan Chambers. He made it clear that he valued and respected my writing ministry and also me as an individual and colleague.

Thursday night, Bonnie came again to our house for tea, brownies and conversation.

Today, was another good family day. Bonnie took the day off and Boris went in later this morning so we could treat them to breakfast. There are a multitude of places to eat down on Davy street, just a few blocks walk away. Alex woke this morning at 4 a.m. He went to sleep on the way home from a doctors appointment and slept till 1:30. So the rest of us had a nap too. Because the day was threatening rain, we returned to playgroup at the Y. Alex played for 3 hours. Tonight Tom and I were babysitting so Bonnie and Boris could have some time together. As grandparents we obviously have the magic touch or he was exhausted because he was bathed, storied, in bed and sound asleep by 7:15. It’s been a good day.

"Fireweed" by Janet Stobie
“Fireweed” by Janet Stobie
Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotionals
Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotionals

Where was God in all this?  God is our constant companion. My books are my service for God. They bring me to interesting places and amazing people. They open the way for faith conversations like the one I had with Yoko. And then there is family. Every time I watch Alex laugh, I feel the joy of God’s laughter. Just as the pangs of homesickness and absence of sunshine, were combining to darken my world, we had the opportunity to SKYPE with Connie, Ellie and Vanessa. It was wonderful to see them as we talked and hear about all that has been happening at home while we are away.

Tom and I are so blessed to have this wonderful family of five grown children, their partners, and eight and ½ grandchildren. They are all God’s gifts of love.

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