September 8th, 2019

The above photo was taken a couple of days ago…on our journey to the centre of …Canada. My spouse and I are in Manitoba, visiting relatives and beginning the sabbatical part of my journey. That day, we had made a little road trip from where we have been staying in Stony Mountain to Steinbeck, to visit a few antique stores.

My sabbatical journey is taking me to rural churches across the prairies, asking them about what they believe helps keep them healthy and flourishing. Today was the first official visit. Below is a photo of Carman United Church, located southwest of Winnipeg, in the town of Carman. I had been here before, as my late brother-in-law once served the Anglican Church in Carman.

This is the largest point in a 2 point pastoral charge, the other point being Elm Creek, just north of Carman. Being here felt much like home. The welcome was warm, as was lovely soup lunch. Worship was very familiar in it’s style to what we do at home, with a blend of music from Voices United and More Voices, our two United Church hymn books. The sermon reminded us of the value of caring for creation – especially in these days following the effects of hurricane Dorian.

This is a faith community that works well ecumenically to meet the needs of the wider community, and as one person so aptly said “to make a difference.” They have a strong outreach and social ministry. Following today’s service, the congregation had a “farmer’s market” for Mission and Service. People had brought home canning, fruit and vegetables from their garden, and other treats to share…on a pay what you can basis, with all proceeds going to Mission and Service. This was a first, and very successful endeavour, that I am told was easy to organize. And it was fun to see the fruits – and veggies – of people’s labour!

We’ve been in Manitoba for a week now…I’ve connected with a couple of colleagues, in addition to today’s worship and visit with the people of Carman United. My spouse and I have enjoyed some much needed restful days, including a walk in Oak Hammock Marsh, yesterday. There are pictures of nature’s beauty from the marsh walk below.

Tomorrow, we begin the journey back to Alberta. May the week bring peace to all.



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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