August 5th

I officiated at a lovely garden wedding yesterday. Yes, I’m on sabbatical – this was for a family member’s friend, and planned before my dates were confirmed. It was a small, non-church gathering. I knew only the bride and groom – my family member was unable to attend. I arrived before the wedding party, as it was a small gathering, there had been no rehearsal. Yet I felt so very welcomed, and made to feel at home with this group of strangers. There wasn’t one single moment that I felt like I was an outsider. I have had that experience at some weddings away from the church – but not this one. Nothing but gracious welcome. I found myself wondering how well do we do that in the church. When someone new comes in, how good are we at making them feel at home – without being overwhelming? Something to consider as I visit churches across the prairies. Does our gift of hospitality (or lack thereof) factor into how well we thrive?

On another note…as I left the wedding, I decided to give a friend a call, and see if we could have a spur of the moment visit. So glad I did that. 3 hours later, I made the drive home, with such a sense of gratitude for that time. I realized what I’ve been missing this last while is good, deep conversation with someone who has known me for a long time. I did that with this friend, and last week with another friend. I came away from yesterday’s visit knowing that one of the things I need to do on this sabbatical journey is reconnect with people that I haven’t spoken to in way too long.

This past couple of years for me has included care-giving and support of a few family members, who have really needed the attention. That is a good thing, it’s been a humbling thing to walk with people who are working hard to be well, and strong. However it comes with the reality that it takes time away from other things. The most significant being time with my own friends, and time recharging my own energy…which as an extrovert comes from being with others.

Funny thing…I colleague commented that journaling is hard. True. I’ve never been a journaller. Ever. I get nice “journal” books, and use a page or two, and then they become note books for other things.

Blogging is new to me too…I think I’ll aim for a couple of entries a week, and see how that goes. What I’m feeling already, about this blogging thing is maybe its an extrovert thing. I know other people will be seeing it, and I find it less hard to do. Maybe its an accountability thing. I know there’s people “signed up” to read what I write. That’s odd in itself. People that want to read what I write.

Thanks for that…and for joining the journey.


Author: Tammy Allan

I am in ministry with the Olds-Sundre Pastoral Charge of the United Church of Canada. I've served in a rural farm community, in a resource / tourist based community, in an urban city church, and nw back in rural ministry (over 6 years in this community). In August 2019, I began my 2nd sabbatical...the focus of which is to study what helps rural congregations thrive and flourish. That time concluded in December 2019. Today, I resurrect this blog, as we journey through this time of uncertainty as a result of a world affected by COVID 19 or coronavirus. So, journey with me, as we stay connected in this time of "social distance."

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