This space reports on how people at Mill Woods United live out our values of faith, hope, and love. For future activities see Upcoming Events. Highlights from 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 are just a click away.
January 6, Ian’s Fifth Anniversary
On the first Sunday of 2019, the church marked the fifth anniversary of Ian’s arrival in Edmonton and at Mill Woods United with a special service and a soup and bun lunch. Below are the Ian’s remarks from the preamble to the service:
Today is Epiphany, a day on which the church celebrates the second and less-beloved of the two biblical stories of the birth of Jesus. It is the one from Matthew where Magi from the East follow a Star to Bethlehem. They don’t go to a stable far from Mary and Joseph’s supposed hometown of Nazareth. Those features are found in the story from Luke, which we heard on Christmas Eve. Instead, the Magi travel to the house of Mary and Joseph about two years after Jesus’ birth in the place that Matthew says was their hometown, Bethlehem.
The church celebrates Epiphany as a moment when the light represented by Jesus begins to spread beyond Bethlehem; and light will be our focus throughout the Season of Epiphany, which begins today and which continues until Ash Wednesday in early March. But today, I reflect on the concept of the call, which in today’s reading is represented by the Star and by dreams experienced both by the Magi and by Jesus’ step-father, Joseph.
I reflect on the call today because today is not just one of those rare Epiphanies that lands on a Sunday. It is also the fifth anniversary of my first Sunday service here at Mill Woods United. On the day before Epiphany in January 2014, I presided in worship from the front of this sanctuary for the first time and I preached a sermon based on the beginning of the Gospel of John.
I am grateful for all that I have experienced, learned, and enjoyed as a spiritual leader of this community of faith. I am pleased to think back on five years of sermons, baptisms, wedding, funerals, Pride parades, meetings, sharing circles, Bible and book studies, social events, and so many wonderful conversations.
At a confirmation service in 2014, I suggested that we view church as a place in which we engage in a never-ending conversation about Love. But as I noted in my first sermon five years ago yesterday, we don’t enter this conversation at the beginning but somewhere in the middle.
Some of you were here five years ago. Others have joined our band of fellow pilgrims since then. But regardless of when you came to Mill Woods United, I am grateful that you have decided to offer your voice as one of the threads that make up our tapestry of love. Thank you!
As for this morning, I hope that our time of song, sacrament, and sharing will inspire a new year of conversation, communion, and connection. May it feed our spirits and souls and help us in the joyous work of outreach and justice.
Click on this link to access Ian’s sermon from that day.