Drummond Hill Newsletter, June 8, 2022
Wednesday Meditation (Luke 8:22-25)
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they put out, and while they were sailing he fell asleep. A gale swept down on the lake, and the boat was filling with water, and they were in danger. They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?’
Our existence, we say, depends on Jesus. In times of troubles, our assumption is that we turn to Jesus to lead us into a life of peace and grace. However, sometimes, we are very good at relying on ourselves and our abilities to handle things first and foremost.
When the disciples woke Jesus in a storm, Jesus wondered, “Where is your faith?” This is not to say that they should have expected Jesus to calm the world. Rather the question was why they were cowering facing death. If Jesus is indeed Life, their faith ought to be on God who sent Jesus. Death ought not frighten them. They are to remember that it is God who gives and takes life as the Lord of all life.
Many Christian congregations in Canada are in the middle of darkening storms. Like us they face diminished numbers and resources to carry out Christ’s ministry as they used to do. Seeing the storm raging all around us, we have been busy trying to figure out what we must do to save ourselves. Like the disciples in the boat with Jesus our primary concern is the closure, a sort of death, of our churches. Some of us are not yet at the point of calling on Jesus to save us. Nonetheless, in our anxiety for our future, we are busy trying to save the sinking churches.
This is why we face the same question from Jesus about where our faith is. Do we truly believe that God is the Lord of all life and that our life as a local church depends solely on God or do we call out to God out of desperation? Where do we have our faith? With God, of course! More than ever in our history we remember that the living God is the one who gives, sustains, provides and continues the life of Drummond Hill.
Drummond Hill 3.0
A new worshipping community: Hot and Spicy
Starting something new sounds exciting. Like everything else, however, starting something brand new is a lot of work. It is more daunting if this new thing is not what other people want. This is why many churches that are able to begin new and grow do thorough market research along with a solid plan for finding people who will come.
We know that most people are not interested in religion. Firstly they do not think they need one. Second, they are convinced that religion is for weak people who need help. Thirdly, they know they will need to solve problems on their own. Yes, they do not know and do not care to know what churches can do for them. People interested in attending churches are very few. Most of them already do.
So why, oh why are we going to start a new worshipping community? I certainly do not want to start something that may not succeed. If so many failed, why should we bother?
The simplest answer is that we think God is asking us to do it. How do we know? We will soon find out if there are interests. If it is not God’s will, we will know that it will not continue. If it is God’s will, we will find the will to make it happen as we serve God and neighbours. One who is starting a new worshipping community is not me, you, or us. It is God who is gathering God’s people through Christ. We only participate in God’s mission.
Those of us who already belong to the current Drummond Hill are being Christians as they have always been, worshipping on Sunday, and living the great commandment to love God and neighbours as best as we are able. We are called to witness and share in God’s ministry through us. Witnessing is to rejoice together with God in seeing through a conception, pregnancy, and birth of a new community. Sharing is to invite others to rejoice with us in this God’s gift. Here, this sharing is a bit different than the ones who are being called to be part of God’s new mission. It is to share the joy of new life in preparation and birth.
Market research, focus groups, and finding people to start this new community are useful in allying our fears, but the real reason we do them is to discern whom God has ready for us to start this new faith community with. As we begin our preparations, there are many questions of who, what, how, and where. What we are learning in all these preparations is that everything begins with God. We are only servants who are called to participate in God’s mission here and now. This is difficult for us to fathom because we learned that our preparation means success or failure. In God’s mission, however, God has already begun the work, has prepared, has called people to come, and has provided sufficiently. Our tasks as God’s servants are to discern God’s will and serve according to God’s plan.
New Direction: A congregational meeting, June 26
The session is calling a congregational meeting for Sunday, June 26. It will be part of our regular Sunday worship.
The resolution from the session:
- That the Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church downsize by keeping the 1886 building, containing the sanctuary, basement and all the contents therein;
- That the congregation approve in principle the building of an all purpose use hall for its use at the current manse site;
- That the current church hall and education wing be replaced by parking; And that we find a buyer for the lower parking (a property south of Buckner Pl.)
If this motion is passed or not at the congregational meeting on June 26, we will begin planning how we will figure a way forward. The session will form a team to prepare to deal with our concerns and immediate future. It will help us to begin preparing for our future in a new way.
So what changes are we going to face?
The downsizing will help us manage a facility that we can maintain within our means without the exorbitant cost of maintenance fees. We will be focused on being good stewards of the sanctuary and its content like the organ and hand-painted windows. This building will require installing a new furnace to handle its needs. Structural adjustments will be made to make the building up to code.
The current suggestion envisions building of a small all purpose building on the manse site to replace both the hall and education wing. This small all purpose building will be where most of our fellowship activities will take place. Also it will house a new faith community of younger aged people.
The hall and education wing will give a way to parking which will make it easier to get to worship and fellowship activities.
With this downsizing, the lower parking lot, situated south of Buckner Place, will no longer be needed. The land that currently is being used for parking and a driveway connecting the upper parking lot and Buckner Place will also be kept to provide parking. The playground on the East side of the sanctuary will be kept for outdoor activities.
147th General Assembly
This year’s online General Assembly began on Sunday and will end today. Chuck McRea has been a commissioner to this assembly. A difference between a representative and a commissioner is that Chuck as a commissioner makes decisions along with other commissioners on his own understanding. A representative is required to represent those who send the person. A commissioner in our assemblies vote based on their own knowledge and understanding and does not have to represent anyone’s view.
Some important highlights so far are:
- Last year’s decision to formulate a confession regarding the wrongs the Church had done to LGBTQI people was done and brought by a special committee. The confession was approved and was read out during its meeting by the 146th General Assembly moderator.
- A special committee to listen to those who suffered racism in our denomination also brought the report. Much harm experienced by many racial minority groups, including Eastern Europeans was shared in the report. The committee will continue its work. The debate on holding two definitions of marriage (a marriage as a union between two adults and a marriage as a union between a male and a female adult persons) were discussed.
- Knox College’s agreement to sell its buildings to the University of Toronto and lease back the building for the next 50 years was affirmed. On the retirement of Knox College’s principal, Dr. John Vissers, Dr. Ernst van Eck was appointed.
Hot and Spice: Friday, June 24 at 5:30 pm
On Sunday, June 12th, Mrs. Joan Weaver will be at the church to do fundraising for Ukraine by selling her cards. As many of you know, she is a friend from Stamford Presbyterian Church and an artist. She will be available before and after the service.
and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.