We have done so much together, beloveds, not just this year, but in the four years I’ve been here. We’ve struggled, too. And right now, we are all traumatized, we are living through something none of us has experienced before. We can choose kindness with each other. We can choose to listen when someone tells us that harm has been done, and we can choose to learn from our mistakes. We can choose humility, and love, and grace.
And even if we find it hard to do that for ourselves, we can choose those things because it changes other people’s lives around us. We can make these choices because others will witness us, and perhaps make those choices, too. We can make these choices because after every goodbye there will come a hello, and we are constantly co-creating a community that the children in our lives will grow into inhabiting.
The way our ministerial search system works, with its confidentiality during the process, it can seem like the candidate minister appears out of nowhere. And even after the fact, we’re not really allowed to discuss details. But what I can tell you is that four other churches wanted me, could imagine me as their minister. I spent weeks in discernment about such an important, life-changing choice. And I chose you. I believed in you. I choose you again, over and over, every day.
And, we are entering a brave new world of congregations no longer limited by geography. That means people can come from anywhere, live anywhere, and be a part of our congregation. This brave new world of increased accessibility also means that people in Winnipeg can go to any other congregation they want.
For decades, we’ve had our solo-ness on our side — we were the only game in town. Now, people will choose us not because they have no other choice, but because they believe in us. They will choose us, from all their options in the world, because we choose to live into our values, to work to heal ourselves, each other, and the world. They will choose us because we choose people over things, people over systems of oppression. They will choose us because we choose redemption and restoration over punishment and fear.
I choose you again, every day.
In gratitude and faith,