November 1, 2019

Well, actually, it’s after midnight so it’s November 2nd…

I left off last week writing of connections. This past week started with that theme again – as the same side of my extended family gathered once more, to celebrate the life of my dad’s youngest brother. Dad came from a family of 8 kids; and his brother had 8 of his own, so our extended family is not small. Add to that the many community members who came to honour my uncle Ronnie, and you have a wonderful time of remembering, of story telling, of sharing love. 

I am grateful for these times of family connection. The day was difficult for my dad, yet at the same time, it opened the door to lots of good memories from his past. 

The morning following, I got up nice and early and made my way to Bashaw United Church – 90 minutes northeast of my home. It was a beautiful morning for a drive – the storms of the day previous over, and most of the roadway clear and dry.  Bashaw is partnering with Ponoka United Church – once part of two different presbyteries, now in the same region (Chinook Winds) – the two share the ministry leadership of Rev. Robin King. They make use of technology, and the skills of both Robin and lay people in the two congregations, to live stream worship. This allows the congregations to stay in their buildings, while Robin travels each Sunday, and shares his office/pastoral weekday schedule between the two communities. 

Due to unforeseen circumstances, there was not a lot of after worship time to ask questions, but that can happen in other ways, too…thanks to technology. I did have time to visit with a couple of people, and got a good feel for how this way of sharing resources is working. I would say it is – and that’s in spite of the fact that the live streaming component failed part way through the service. It’s working because there is a plan B for such times…which was enacted with humour and grace. 

After a couple of weeks filled with those connections and the emotional energy that needed, a nice drive in the country, and just being in worship was precisely what I needed. There was good conversation following, without the time and focus I would have had to offer if things had gone as they originally should have. So…plan B was of mutual benefit for all! 

Tomorrow morning – a visit to my mom’s church, Southwood United, to attend their Bazaar – something she was instrumental in starting more than 50 years ago. The church is naming one of the bazaar rooms after mom…The Country Store will now be known as “Vera’s Country Store.” My sister, visited the church today to deliver our donation of jam we made together in mom’s honour, and saw the set up. She  gave me the heads up that there will be tears when I see how they have made changes to the set up to honour mom. She speaks of her own experience of course. 

From there, my spouse and I will travel to Maple Creek to visit the church there on Sunday. Some sort of symmetry there. A few weeks ago, when the storms redirected my travel home, I was able to visit my maternal grandparents home region. Maple Creek is where my dad’s father was raised. I am not as familiar with the area, as the home I knew my papa Allan to be part of was the family home in Black Diamond. Never-the-less, there are connections again. I look forward to another visit…although I am told there will be, in addition to a baptism, an honouring of saints. So…not going to lie. There will be tears…that’s what I do. The tears are just one of the ways this sabbatical journey has offered me healing. And I am grateful.

Bashaw United Church…That beautiful rainbow pathway leads to a place of warm welcome.

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.

3 thoughts on “November 1, 2019”

  1. Let your tears flow….

    After worship at Maple Creek go to the Saskatchewan Cypress Hills. Only a half hour drive. You feel like you are in the mountains. Terrific views.
    Blessings of Peace and Healing
    Carolynne

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    1. So, we spent a good deal of time visiting…you know, the visit after the visit…with the Michele Rowe and her spouse, Dale. It was a little chilly, and forecasted snow, so we decided to head for home, and go to Cypress Hills another day. We have both been there before – and the member of the church from there couldn’t get to church because of snow up there…she actually started out, and turned back. You could see the snow on the hills as we drove home. The neat thing was that we met someone who was a colleague of Nellie’s in her Saskatchewan ministry days…now retired but actively serving in the area still. Her name is Carolyn, and she is a barefoot and sandals woman, like Nellie! Several of the folks we met with had known and loved our Nellie.

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