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Hallo again to all.

Today in our parish we held what we call 'Welcoming Sunday'. We buy advertisements in local newspapers to invite nonmembers to attend our parish that day, with the hope that they might find a reason to join and continue attending. We haven't the money to advertise very often, so focusing it on this one Sunday in September has been a parish tradition for a while. We encourage everyone, old-timers and newcomers alike, to bring babies and children into the nave for this week's service. Afterwards we invite everyone to a noon meal in the parish yard.

With so many newcomers and children unfamiliar with the procedural details of taking communion, it took time to communicate everyone who wished it and to bless the others. Sitting in our pew near the aisle, we used that time to look at the faces of the people, new and old, walking up to take communion. Oh, we suppose that we should have been reverently praying, but we weren't. We were looking at all the people.

It was wonderful. We saw such hope. Such faith. Never mind that the world outside was a dark and scheming place, marked with suffering from hurricanes, wars, famine, corrupt governments, epidemics, and impacted poverty. Never mind that important bishops who ride in armoured limousines are holding press conferences to condemn other bishops and plan new church power structures. Here, today, in this little building, we watched first-hand as the adults and children who were sitting in the pews farther back than us walked forward and accepted the Body and Blood of Christ.

On this Umpteenth Sunday after Pentecost,* no matter what happens in the world of church politics — whatever schisms, banishments, condemnations, depositions, or wickedness happen in the larger church — we know that here in the smaller church, our church, your church, the parish church, people can nurture their relationship with God or find one that they hadn't known before.

As long as there are healthy parishes and inquirers and children and as long as there is faith in God, there will be a church regardless of how inept its governance. We're sure of that.

See you next week. We can't wait to see which newcomers will be back.

Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 11 September 2005

*Or after Trinity, depending on the calendar your Province follows.



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