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St. George's Weekly
September 7, 2016

Dear friends,

I hope you are adjusting to the change in weather.

This week will have been an interesting one for me. First, I was interviewed for an article in the United Church Observer called "Young, Smart, and into Jesus," all about young(er) ministers in the United Church of Canada who see reclaiming and re-appropriating our tradition as vital for our future. And second, I will be participating in an interfaith event sponsored by Unity Comox Valley called "Tell Me About Peace" this Thursday at St. John the Divine Church (7:00pm).

The first was about being deeply committed to core values of a particular faith tradition. The other was about engaging in dialogue and friendship among faith traditions. Often, these two things are presented as opposites. The Christian commitment to the uniqueness of Jesus as the full revelation of God is often seen as being pitted over and against other traditions, that we possess the truth and everyone else can look forward to an eternity of suffering and misery. On the other hand, as a remedy, some suggest we should abandon our unique beliefs and traditions because those traditions are exclusive, so we can fully embrace everyone as full human beings.

I have come to believe, however, that we don't necessarily have to choose between the two--loving God and living in our particular tradition, and loving the world. In this Sunday's scripture reading, Jesus likens God to a shepherd who leaves his other 99 sheep to rescue one who has gone astray, as well as a woman who turns her house upside down to find a coin that is of little monetary value. God seems to be relentlessly and actively seeking, extending grace and mercy even outside those who are already in the fold of faith.

I do believe that the fullest life possible is found in the Way of Jesus. But I also believe the unconditional love of God is radically extended to all. Christianity is not a point of privilege for me. Rather, following Jesus, has actually made me take risks to establish relationships with people unlike me. It's increased my love for my non-Christian friends and neighbors, rather than creating a sense of judgment or exclusion. Essentially, I believe in the common good and interfaith dialogue because of Jesus. Not in spite of him. So perhaps being "into Jesus" and joining together in celebration with non-Christian neighbors isn't such an odd combination after all.

I look forward to sharing worship again with you this Sunday, where we hope to--in the words of Saint Augustine--"increase in love of God and neighbor" together. We also look forward to another Sunday of wonderful music leadership from Eve, and Kelly our new accompanist. See you then!

Yours in Christ,
Rev. Ryan Slifka

PS: Speaking of the unconditional love of God, I received a lovely email today quoting one of our friends who regularly visits the drop-in: “It is so great to get up in the morning and have a coffee with people who care.” Mother Theresa (who became St. Theresa of Calcutta this last week) once said that "the hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." I continue to be grateful for this community of faith that seeks to offer both kinds of food.

PPS: We've done some reorganizing of the church website--now you can keep up to date with the progress (and donate) to the refugee sponsorship by following the link on the front page. Thanks to Gary Stevenson for keeping us informed.

PPPS: At our August meeting Church Council voted to appoint Matthew Sieber as our new Treasurer. Matthew, his wife Lindsay, and their three children have been a delightful recent addition to St. George's. Matthew's skills and his passion are already a welcome addition to our community's leadership. Thanks, Matthew, for your willingness to serve!

Thank you from our accompanist Helen Anderson

To Rev. Ryan, Eve, the choir, and the members of St. George's United Church:

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me in to your church. I will be forever grateful for the chance you gave me when you hired me at 16 years old. You have all helped me grow as a musician, as an employee, and as a young adult. Now, at 19, I feel the spirit of the church and of your music within me wherever I go.

Thank you all for your limitless kindness and love; I will cherish this church in my heart always.

Thank you and much love,
Helen Anderson

Upcoming Services and Events

Thursday, Sept. 8
Interfaith Celebration of Peace at St. John Divine 579 5th Street, 7:00pm

Sunday Sept. 11
17th Sunday After Pentecost, Rev. Ryan Slifka Preaching

Wednesday September 14
First fall choir practice, 7:00pm.

Sunday September 18
18th Sunday After Pentecost, Rev. Murray Etty preaching, Rev. Ryan Slifka presiding
Choir returns

Sunday September 25
19th Sunday After Pentecost, Rev. Ryan Slifka presiding

Sunday October 2
20th Sunday After Pentecost, Rev. Ryan Slifka presiding.
Celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion
Over the next year, St. George's Church Council will have 5 remits before us from the United Church's 42nd General Council. We will be seeking the congregation's input, as these proposed changes will have a "denomination-shaping" impact. Click here to find out more.

Looking for a Rug

We are looking for a large, circular rug for the music room (in the basement down the hall from the old nursery). Eve, our Music Director, is starting a children's music program and we need a place for the kids to sit.
If anyone has a rug that would be suitable and not using, please call the office: 250-334-4961.
Copyright © 2016 St. George's United Church, All rights reserved.

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