Sharing in the blessings of community is always important, but it is especially important during the Christmas season. Surrounding ourselves with tasty foods and good company as a way in which to experience Christ’s loving embrace is a beautiful opportunity to gain perspective.
This year, the congregation continued its 2016 Christmas tradition by hosting its second annual community dinner in partnership with the local Lions Village residence. As many of you know, following the sale of our beloved Ranchlands facility in 2016, the Lions took us in in the form of a warm, welcoming lease space until we are able to secure our future permanent home. Thus began our 2016 Community Dinner as a show of our appreciation. We wanted to meet our new neighbours, and what better time to do it than during the Christmas season?
This year, we hosted a whopping 80 people (nearly maxing out the capacity of the space we were gathered in!), with roughly 35 attending from our congregation and the remaining 45 were residents of Lions Village. We enjoyed wonderful food prepared by the Lions, a Christmas tone chime choir performance made up of members and residents, and a Christmas carol sing-a-long after dinner...all while sharing in the blessings of community. Stories were shared, discussions on our church were frequent, and invitations were extended to residents who might enjoy our weekly worship services. On average, we typically have anywhere from 3-5 residents in attendance at our Sunday morning services…a wonderful testament to the power of invitation.
We also had a special visit from Santa and his elves who handed out candy (and even bags of coal!) to folks in the audience. People of all ages loved this experience.
We look forward to continuing this tradition in the future.
Wishing you all peace and joy in the coming year.
Jordan Faith Cameron
Canada West Mission Conference was remarkably eye opening for me. As someone from another faith, coming into this gathering was a challenge, and even more so as the partner of the newly ordained priest, Dylan. However, it was a joy and a privilege to partake and be accepted. From the classes, the singalongs, and the youth activities, to simply sharing meals together, it was a touching weekend.
Particularly striking to me was the atmosphere. It wasn't truly a conference, but a retreat, filled with spirituality, music and laughter. I loved every song with Jan, in and out of her classes, and continue to find myself singing prouder since her teaching techniques and encouragement. Her concert with Edith Wallace (www.edithwallacemusic.com) was magical as well, as was the outdoor show with Vancouver's own Seabillys (www.theseabillys.com)! The musical talent in that building was breathtaking.
My only regret for the weekend is that we couldn't have stayed longer. I'd like to genuinely thank everyone involved in the conference from the bottom of my heart, because I feel like we truly all drew that circle wider. Hope to be able to see you all next year.
I experienced the feeling that many Community of Christ members describe upon arriving in a new congregation. Some describe it as a sense of belonging, or an instant family connection, or even as if they’d been there before. I like to describe it as the way the world should be. Roaming the world is hard enough alone, but knowing that you can walk through the doors of our church’s buildings in a foreign city/country and be immediately welcomed is invaluable. Before I knew it, I was enveloped by seemingly familiar people – laughing, talking, and sharing around food (my favourite). It was only the next day that I realized I never even knew their names…we just knew one another.
Has this ever happened to you in Community of Christ? In all my travels, I’ve never encountered another community like this one…and I, for one, am incredibly grateful to be a part of it.
This has happened to me in countries around the globe, in neighbouring cities, and in this case, a neighbouring province. I walked through the door and familiar iconography greeted me: the church sign out front sparked an immediate sense of calm, the smell was homey, and the faces oddly familiar.
Only my second Canada West Mission (CWM) Conference, I was blown away by the diversity of the congregational representatives (delegates) in attendance. We had members from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, as well as church leaders from Ontario and Independence, Missouri, USA. What stood out to me this year was the music…it was electrifying! The Vancouver congregation is known for its musical abilities, and now having visited personally, I can attest to this!
I spent a great deal of time with young adults from the area throughout the weekend – sharing meals together on-site, visiting the nearby Richmond Night Market, and singing and voting alongside them in the sanctuary during legislative sessions and services. As usual, I was impressed by their decorum, their interest in the process, and the energy and gifts they bring to this diverse community.
Jan Kraybill was our guest minister and she shared her wonderful musical skill with us throughout the weekend and during a one-day workshop on how to incorporate music into worship.
I hope to see you at our next Canada West Mission Centre Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan!
On December 6, 2016, Calgary Community of Christ partnered with Lions Village to put on a wonderful community Christmas dinner for the residents and members/friends of the congregation. It was a special moment for us, giving the congregation an opportunity to share with our new neighbours in close community.
You see, Lions Village took us in when we needed them most. In August 2016, our congregation sold our facility as part of its congregational renewal strategy. While this sale was planned and intentional, our community was in need of a safe, comfortable space to meet temporarily until we could finalize next steps in our new location...wherever and whatever it may be. Our congregation now meets each Sunday morning in a bright, warm space located inside the Lions Village facility in NW Calgary. These residents of this facility are our neighbours, and we wanted to show them just how grateful we were for their generosity by providing them with a community dinner.
In addition to dinner, the Cochrane Young Singers gave a beautiful Christmas concert, and all in attendance were even able to sing a few carols together. Special thanks to all those who helped to coordinate this event - you've helped nearly 100 people get into the holiday spirit!
Enjoy the recorded concert below!
Calgary Spark is a collection of stories told by members and friends of the church alike. Each person's story is helping to shape our community in new ways.