Sermon - Turning the Page (Again)

Date: 
Sunday, May 28, 2017 - 6:15pm

This morning while Rev Sadekie is at conference being affirmed as an ordained minister in The United Church of Canada, David Chandler filled in as our speaker.

Next week, we will be celebrating with Rev Sadekie, with cake and coffee and fellowship following the service.

Today in our service we recommitted ourselves to the Mission of our Church.

We are a Christian community gathered together to worship and celebrate God and to serve Him through Jesus Christ.  Our church is accessible and welcoming to all persons for fellowship, learning, sharing, and teaching.  We strive to show our love through service to all humanity.  

As we Turn the Page, and in fact start a new chapter in our Church's mission, as Rev Sadekie returns to us a newly minted Minister in the United Church of Canada; David gave us a nostalgic and encouraging look at Emmanuel's history of unity and diversity.

He began with an anecdote about a cattle ranch called the Bar J Susie Q Flying W Lazy Y.  This story speaks to the issues of unity and diversity found in our scripture this morning.  And in the importance of the 93rd annual meeting of conference occurring this weekend.  

The Mission Statement of the United Church says that in all things essential to the church we seek unity, in everything else in the church we seek diversity.  It is important that we agree on where we are going but it is our diversity of thought that can give us strength and vitality on the journey there.  It is also crucial that our diverse opinions never become dogmatic for such action can derail our unifying mission.  Diversity must continually be monitored to ensure that it always results in a direct and positive outcome.

Take for example the Bar J Susie Q Flying W Lazy Y cattle ranch.  The lack of consensus of the names desired resulted in a disastrous result for the branding of the cattle.

When Rev Sadekie returns next week, we will welcome our 11th ordained United Church of Canada minister.  

And so, we ask ourselves, how well have we followed our national church's mission of unity and diversity since church union?

Speaking as an active participant at Emmanuel for nearly fifty, and experiencing the service of 5 of the 10 ministers; from a unity perspective in all things essential, Emmanuel has maintained a unity of spirit, a unity of commitment to God that is unmistakable.  For while each of our ministers came with their own diverse agenda, their own unique resonating relationship with God, never once did they allow this church to falter from its mission. Their unique and diverse personalities which guaranteed and fostered the growth of Emmanuel.

From here David spoke fondly and profoundly of the unique and diverse personalities of the recent ministers who have shared their incredible gifts with us and allowed us to learn and grow from them.  George Wishart, Allan Logan, Duncan White, John Palmer, Linda Blair, and David Colvin.

And now we will continue to grow and journey in a new direction with Rev Sadekie Lyttle Forbes.  Sadekie who charms us with her beautiful voice during her sermons, who leads us with a larger than life commitment to God.

Unity, Emmanuel has it.  Diversity of spirit that is purposeful, focused, and eternal, Emmanuel has it now, indeed, has always has it, through the diverse and special contributions of our clergy through the years.

Amen.