Paul and I were away last week to Edmonton. The first two days we were attending an event just for ministers meant to be a time of reflection and inspiration— and it was! There was time to absorb important messages from the three speakers; time to worship; time to reconnect with colleagues and be inspired with all that is going well in their ministries and there was time to rest. Such a well-balanced event is rare, and it was so very welcome.
All of the three speakers, spoke of creating ‘space’.
Rev. Dr. Amy Butler from Riverside Church in New York City spoke of the need for churches and church leaders to enter that most frightening ‘space’ in-between groups of polarized people, recognizing our essential humanity and not the politics that dangerously alienate groups from one another.
Rev. Dr. Jennifer Janzen-Ball from Saskatoon spoke to us about the creative natural spaces in nature where the edge of ecosystems meet and create ‘edge habitats’ that incorporate characteristics of multiple naturals spaces into one another. She used this as a powerful metaphor for the spiritual spaces that we are being called to create now.
Rev. Dr. Russell Daye from Halifax spoke to us through the study of Anthropology – explaining that religious practises from all over the world have common characteristics of ‘spirit space’. He spoke of how Western Christianity stopped valuing its own expressions of spirit space and imposed a form of Christianity on colonised peoples that denied the very soul of their experience of the Divine.
It is good to have time apart as ministers and come back to our beloved communities refreshed and renewed. I’m looking forward to exploring sacred, holy spaces with the congregation of Living Spirit United and the Transition Team in this special ‘Interim space’ that we are in.