October 29, 2019

So another learning…I am only somewhat better at blogging than journaling. I like to write when I get to it, it’s the getting to it that I’m not great at. I thought that blogging – writing to an audience, as opposed to private journaling, might keep me more to the task…but not as much as I had hoped it would. 

That said, technical challenges have frustrated me along the way, too. So…today’s entry is about last week’s visit…which I did start last week, but once again, had trouble loading. Needless to say, I’m behind one. Here’s last week’s entry…this week’s will come tomorrow!  

Where does the time go? The week of October 19-25th went to places of connection. Several of them. The week started with my visit to Balzac United Church, close to home – just 45 minutes down the road. The minister there, Rita Cattell, is someone I’ve known since back in my youth ministry days. She was already a diaconal minister, and one of few women in ministry in Calgary back then. We’ve both been in different presbyteries for the past number of years, so had lost touch. That in spite of the fact that for the past 7 years I’ve driven past Balzac regularly on visits to my family in Calgary. 

It was great to be greeted by Rita’s warm welcome, and so good to reconnect…which we did for some time after the formal part of my visit ended. It was also great to experience the welcome of one of the youth in the congregation who happened to be sitting beside me in the pew. She started our conversation by suggesting that since she hadn’t seen me before I must be new, and introduced herself and her family, and then later told me a great deal about Balzac United. 

Another lovely piece of my day in Balzac was the great worship service. It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced Rita’s worship leadership, and anyone who knows me would say our styles are quite similar. The music was also a highlight. I have to admit, my bias led me to expect that the woman at the keyboard would play oldie goldies and nothing else. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The music was great, and the musician – soon to be 91 and proud of it. So awesome that she continues to share her gifts with the church. 

Balzac United Church

I mentioned connections…this visit happened just 2 days after attending a memorial celebration of life for a family member, my cousin’s spouse, who left this world way too young (the same age as yours truly). I come from a large extended family, and many of us were able to gather with my cousin’s family and friends. We don’t see each other often, yet we are family, and are there for each other when needed. 

And then more connections…Wednesday night – somewhat unpredicatably, all 4 of my siblings, and my dad, as well as my son, my spouse, and my sister-in-law, found ourselves around our dining room table sharing in an amazing lobster dinner, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for bringing the live creatures home from Halifax! It’s not often that all 5 of us siblings are in one room. The last time was the day of my mom’s memorial service. I know how precious these times are, and I am so grateful for that crazy fun time of eating lobster, laughing, and loving. Mom would have loved it. I like to think that somehow she could see us – the 5 of us, together at one table, laughing, eating, enjoying being together.

More connections…Thursday, Oct. 24, I traveled to Edmonton to my aunt’s (on the other side of my family), to join in a lunch visit with 2 of her daughters – more cousins. The fun part is that my attendance at the lunch came as a surprise to my cousins. It was a really good visit. And again – a reminder of the importance of family, and taking time. These cousins lost their step-mom just prior to mom’s death…so we all share care and concern for dad’s that are missing their beloveds.

After the afternoon there, I got to enjoy an evening with my daughter, who doesn’t like lobster so was okay with not being at the table the night before. 

Then more Edmonton connections – a brunch visit with 2 colleagues, friends that I studied theology with, from 1995 to 2000. It was good to catch up, to hear their stories and share my own with them. 

One of my personal sabbatical goals has been to reconnect with people in my life that I wish I had more time with. There are a few people on my list I still need to make those connections with…and there have been some really important visits along the way. I’m realizing – as the end of sabbatical comes closer, that I need to make it a goal for “re-entry” that I continue to hold on to those connections that mean so much…with or without the lobster! 

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."

2 thoughts on “October 29, 2019”

  1. Thank you Tammy. It has been so fortunate for you to be on sabbatical during this time of grieving your deep loss of your Mom Vera and so many other special family members.

    I love the symbol of reconnections with all of you siblings sharing lobster around your dining room table. Such joy and love. Of course your Mom was with you.

    Reconnecting is so important. Yes it does feel strange that I lost reconnecting with Rita. She was important to me in my journey to look at diaconal ministry training.
    Wish I could have been a bug on the wall as you and Sharon and YOON ok visited.
    Love you friend and colleague.

    Wish you well with many blessings of Peace and Healing with Love.


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