On Wednesday June 10th, The United Church of Canada celebrates it’s 90th year of union. This is exciting in and of itself, and to celebrate the day we will be ringing our bell 90 times at 10:30 a.m.. So listen for that. If you happen to be at the corner of York and George between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. that day, stop by! We’ll have fresh coffee and cool drinks.
OK, enough advertising. What I really want to talk about is what we’re celebrating and why we should celebrate, and where to go from here.
90 years ago, several Protestant denominations in Canada came together and realized that the Good News of Jesus Christ and God’s love would be better spread if they came together, not just pooling resources, but pooling praise! They saw that together they would be stronger. Now, this sounds easier than it was. The founding denominations,though similar, had very different structures, and often very different ways of living out worship. So though the act of coming together happened on June 10th, 1925, the work began years earlier, and has continued to this day. We have been made richer in faith by that union, and the passion behind uniting drove us to be a global worker in bringing people together.
So that’s why we’re celebrating. We did some amazing work to come together, and over the years this United Church of ours has worked hard to spread the Good News and to bring greater awareness to social justice issues.
As we move past 90 years, we are called to take that unifying work, and breathe new life into it. We are called to widen the arms of not just The United Church of Canada, but of St. Paul’s United and embrace all those who hear the call of Christ in their own lives. As a church in a soon-to-be Affirming Conference, our task is to spread that Good News of which Christ spoke: God’s great love for all. For all. As God delighted in the beauty of creation, so we too are called to delight in the diversity of that creation, embracing what unites us and celebrating what makes us different.
In 90 years we have ordained women when other denominations said no. In 90 years we have welcomed the LGBTTQ community into our pews as well as our pulpits, recognizing we all are as God has made us. In 90 years we have striven for peace in a world fraught with war.
What will the next 90 years look like? With so much change and challenge, what will the next 9 years look like? The only way to answer that question, is to discover it together, hand in hand, as we seek the Christ together, going to the places where God is already doing a new thing.
May the power of the Holy Spirit lead you into the world,
Rev. Richard Bowley