Tag Archives: church

Why Bring Your Child to Church?

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“I know what I can do to help my classmate,” said five-year-old Indigo to her parents. They had read the school’s note about her classmate’s mother who was in a Toronto hospital, after being seriously hurt in a car accident. “I’ll ask my church family to help me. They like to help people and they don’t want people to be sad.” The following Sunday morning at Keene United Church, little Indigo took the microphone and confidently asked us to join her in raising money to help her classmate’s family with gas and parking for the endless trips to Toronto. That morning, Indigo collected $360 plus a mountain of prayer.

Of course, the Spirit of generosity in our church family is important, but I tell you this story for another reason. Today many parents invest money and time for their children’s participation in sports in order for them to learn teamwork, self-esteem, leadership skills and benefit from the physical exercise. Occasionally one of them is good enough to be drafted for the big leagues or earn a university scholarship.

Indigo’s mom brings her to church because she knows within her church family, Indigo will learn those same values and so much more. Already, Indigo knows when she hurts, her church family cares. Already at the age of five, Indigo knows she can depend on her church family to help her when she wants to help others. Already, Indigo has soaked in the knowledge that she is accepted as God’s precious child in her church home.

As the years go by, Indigo will more deeply understand the strength that comes from being welcomed and loved just as God created her. She will remember that she didn’t have to “make the team” at church. She’s been a part of the team from her very beginning. Through our teaching and example, Indigo will have gained confidence in God’s free gift of forgiveness, discovered the wisdom and comfort the Bible offers her and accepted the assurance that comes from knowing that she is never alone. God is with her always.

Why bring your child to church? The church family offers love, acceptance, assurance, strength, confidence – these are values all parents want for their children. We hope Indigo will cherish belonging to the Keene United Church family for a lifetime. The gift of faith in God is hers to enjoy for always. Already, she has learned a “way of life” that has empowered her to help others.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

 

Faith Is a Risky Business.

WOW!!!!
WOW!!!!

Our granddaughter scampered up trees like a squirrel when she was about ten. She appeared to have no fear. As she flitted from one limb to the next, she’d call to me. “Come, join me Grandma. I can see a beautiful horse running free in a whole field of wild flowers. The creek looks like a snake crawling down the side of the hill.”

Afraid of heights, I answered, “No thank you.” I remember wishing she had just a wee dab of healthy fear.

When we have been part of a church family all our lives, we are comfortable. Like my granddaughter, we lose touch with the “risk”. We’ve experienced the caring support of our church family. We know the congregation and have participated in most of the activities. We’d like everyone to be part of such a wonderful group

We forget that just stepping into the church building can be frightening, risky. We forget that some have had difficult past experiences with the church that make coming to worship feel like climbing a cliff. We forget there are those with no church experience. They’ve heard that church membership requires commitment, time and money. Their question is, “Why would I take that risk?”

Church membership is a risky business for sure, and… well worth the risk. As members, we need to take our cue from my granddaughter’s attitude to tree climbing. We need to issue a passionate happy invitation. “Come join us. This is fun. There is support, comfort, friendship here. You’ll love the music. There’s a special place for you because you are God’s beloved child. Here, you’ll learn that the gift of God’s forgiveness is free. Here, you’ll experience acceptance. Here, you’ll be challenged to think for yourself. Here, you can discuss and learn and grow in faith. Come, join us, church membership is great. Take the risk.”

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”  (Acts 2:44-47)

 

 

Sunday, God’s Day of Worship, Rest and Fun #travel #friends #Calgary Zoo #God’s Presence

October 4

Wild Rose United Church Welcomes You

Meditation area
Meditation area
Wild Rose Meditation area from another angle.
Wild Rose Meditation area from another angle.

 

What a fabulous day. We started with the four of us attending worship at Wild Rose United church, another of our United Churches that is flying on God’s Spirit. Filled with friendly people, adults, teens and children who greeted us warmly. The service itself was informal and lively. One member told us her faith story. The teens provided opening music, lit the Christ candle, and music during the offering. The theme was Broken yet Blessed. The service was followed by lunch. A great introduction for the four of us to Wild Rose UC. Outside is a beautiful meditation area (see picture) but this morning it was too chilly at 1 degree Celsius to enjoy using it.

This afternoon, I connected with my friend and colleague Rev. Jennifer Ferguson. We had a delightful time catching up on each other’s lives. Friendship is precious. Although we see each other once every 2 or 3 years, we always just pick up where we left off as if the time between didn’t exist.

Tonight Will and Claudia took us to “Illuminasia”, a Chinese lantern and garden festival at the Calgary Zoo. Tonight the entertainment and displays featured the Japanese culture. The lanterns, some of which took three artists, three days to produce were amazing. They featured wild animals, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and more. The Japanese displays and activities were interesting and fun. We had a grand evening.

 

Entrance Lanterns greeted us.
Entrance Lanterns greeted us.
Wire forms covered with rayon type material and lights inside.
Wire forms covered with rayon type material and lights inside.

Every day I look for God’s presence. Although I realize that God is with me every step of the way, the special time today took place at “Illuminasia”. I was enjoying the display of fans and umbrellas, I complimented a young girl (approx.. age 5) on her beautiful kimono and asked to take a picture. Her mother offered to take one of me with her. Another little girl came running over to join the picture. Afterward, I asked if I could post the picture on Face book. The one mother said a tentative no, and then added but of course many people would post it anyway. I shook my head and said, “No, if you don’t want it posted, I won’t post it.” At that point she smiled, took my hand and said, “thank you, so much.” The second mother piped up with, “but you can post my picture.” So you have a picture of me with the two beautiful Mom’s in their Japanese kimonos. I’m not sure why this felt like God’s presence had touched us, but I certainly felt the Spirit there with me, smiling and saying, “Thank you, Janet, thank you so much for caring for my children.”

Two Mom's and a Grandma
Two Mom’s and a Grandma

Family – Biological and Church #travel #family #church

October 2&3 Day 35

Balzac United Church
Balzac United Church

Yesterday and today have been mostly family days. We’ve totally enjoyed Claudia and Will. It’s great to be here.

Balzac UC - a place to worship, a place to gather
Balzac UC – a place to worship, a place to gather

I’ve managed to do some driving here in Calgary. Calgary side streets are set up as a maze to keep people from taking short cuts through residential areas. It makes driving interesting.

I drove out to Balzac United Church, which is one of our rural United Churches that is flying on God’s Spirit. Located about twenty minutes out of Calgary, this little church sits within a few hundred meters of a major artery out of Calgary. There is no town or village of Balzac. The United Church and Anglican Church, next door neighbours, along with the UC hall across a busy road, are all that is left of a once busy railway stop. Everyone drives to Balzac United. It draws members from the south of Calgary Airdrie in the north, as well as the surrounding farms. Young families, and seniors gather to worship, work, and play together. A few years ago they added a big addition. As you can see from the pictures, one side of the sanctuary opens into a lovely meeting room. Behind the meeting room is a two story building with washrooms, small meeting rooms, a nursery. Upstairs is a large Sunday School room. I liked the idea of going upstairs for Sunday School instead of down into a basement room.

Neighbouring Balzac Anglican Church
Neighbouring Balzac Anglican Church

Today, Tom and I actually did some shopping. With the exception of grocery stores, this was only the third time we’ve managed to enjoy the stores. We also joined Will and Claudia and their friends Lydia and Jeff for lunch at Nash, a new Calgary restaurant. Tonight Claudia and Tom shared their music as they jammed on their guitars. What a lovely way to spend the evening.

God’s Majesty #travel #church #Creation

September 30  Day 32

Kicking Horse Pass Canyon Bridge - picture from Wickipedia website
Kicking Horse Pass Canyon Bridge – picture from Wickipedia website

This didn’t capture the depth of the canyon

magnificent 3

Today we drove back through “Kicking Horse Pass”.  Coming out to Vancouver, evening was approaching as we drove through this section of the TransCanada highway. We were so focused on getting to the town of Golden before dark, we did not appreciate what we were seeing. Also today every detail, every tree, rock, and snow patch is glistening in the glorious sunshine. I took pictures but my little camera cannot see the height nor the depth around us. The highest point of the pass is 5,390 ft. We looked way down over the guardrail to the valley bottom below and way up to snowcapped Mount Hunter. My heart filled with the majesty and wonder of it all.

magnificent

Every little while we saw workmen, cranes, giant excavators almost hanging off the side of this mountain. My mind slipped back to pictures of the people who built the railroad through this pass. The hardship and risk they undertook to unite Canada from sea to sea.

The sun shone on the snow, bounced off the rocks, sparkled and danced over the evergreens and brilliant yellow poplars. Wow! Yes, there is a God, guaranteed. All the science in the world can never explain the beauty of this world. As Tom said, every bend in the road yields another treasure. I’ve seen this place in movies, on TV, in books but nothing can compare with being here. I worked hard at restraining my tongue. My natural impulse was to keep saying, “Wow, look Tom, see that.” We do want to get home in one piece. He does have to look at the road occasionally.

Clear cut scar - very little growing years later
Clear cut scar – very little growing years later

Further along we saw the scars left by clear cut logging, patches of barrenness in the middle of this rugged beauty.

Animal Bridge for smart animals and safe drivers.
Animal Bridge for smart animals and safe drivers.

Every once in a while we passed a bicycle. Now that’s an accomplishment. This was the most gorgeous day for driving we’ve had. Along the highway right of way we saw miles of high fences which help the animals find their special safe crossings. These wild life bridges are a relative of the salmon ladders built to help salmon get around dams.

Downtown Banff
Downtown Banff
Banff park - buffalo sculpture
Banff park – buffalo sculpture
Banff park - crackers and cheese for picnic lunch
Banff park – crackers and cheese for picnic lunch

When we got to Banff we were ready for a break. We checked out the United Church but is wasn’t open on Wednesdays. Further along, St. George’s in the Pines Anglican Church had a neat sign, “Come in and Pray.” So we did. We stepped into a beautiful, quiet, dimly lit sanctuary and gave thanks to God for this fabulous journey. We stopped by the church office to talk with the administrator. “The rector is only here on Thurs.,” she said. She took our info. We walked to the park for a picnic lunch on this sunny warm fall day. A grade one class, some teenagers, tourist families, everyone was enjoying the day, just like us.

Canmore Downtown
Canmore Downtown
Canmore United
Canmore United

Next stop Canmore. Another beautiful tourist mountain town. On the main street we found a local dairy selling yummy, chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  Tom virtuously declined the indulgence. I, on the other hand, enjoyed every lick.

By the time we got to Calgary we were out of the mountains. Golden grass covered the parched, flat ground. This too is beautiful. Son Will and partner Claudia welcomed us with love. They prepared a scrumptious vegetarian dinner. It’s so good to be with family once again. Thank you God for a fabulous day.

We’ve Started Home! #travel #church #ice cream

September 29   Day 31

Without little Alex to visit with, we slept in till 7:30 this morning. Both of us would much rather have enjoyed Alex than extra sleep.

Mount Paul UC - a busy place
Mount Paul UC – a busy place

After breakfast we visited two very different United Churches here in Kamloops. The short journey to  Mount Paul Pastoral Charge required a winding trip down the mountain from the hotel into Kamloops and across the North Thompson River. The mouthwatering aroma of possibly home made soup welcomed me when I opened the door of the church. Straight ahead I could see a small army of Grandma’s, hard at work in the kitchen. Down the hall, I found the thrift store. Three more seniors, busy sorting used clothing greeted me. One said, “This is our bag day. You get to fill a bag with anything you want, except jewelry, for the paltry sum of $2.00.” A second woman lifted up a baby’s cuddly lion’s costume. “Any little ones in your house,” she asked. This church, obviously manned by seniors runs a soup kitchen twice a week, and a thrift shop and the list went on. “Yes we’re busy,” they said. “We even have day care here.”

Kamloops United Church, God's Doing New Things Here
Kamloops United Church, God’s Doing New Things Here

I thought, Gone are the days when small churches were locked six days a week and opened up on Sunday morning for four hours. The churches in towns and cities across the west that I have visited are beehives of outreach. When I arrived at Kamloops United (my second church of the morning), I found a billboard announcing condominiums for sale with only six left. “Come inside and talk to the sales people,” the sign said, it’s arrow pointing to the door marked church office. Once inside, I asked the administrative secretary, “what’s happening here.”

She grinned and said, “Big changes. We used to have a gym and now there are condo’s under construction. It will be lovely when finished. We’ve already done the renovations to this part.” She pointed out the almost circular sanctuary with chairs instead of pews. Down that hall are Sunday school rooms, and a kitchen. When the apartments are built we’ll have the church office on the ground floor along with our thrift shop. This church right in the center of town is stepping out with new ideas and yet is still caring for the community in traditional ways as well.

Rev. Bruce was there. We had a good conversation. He bought all three books – I’ve started calling it my $40 package deal. (Dipping Your Toes, Fireweed and Spectacular Stella)

St. Paul's Anglican Church - Welcomed on the church steps.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church – Welcomed on the church steps.

After Kamloops UC I walked up the street to St. Paul’s Anglican. I introduced myself to Verna who was sitting on the steps. “The church is locked,” she said.

“Your minister isn’t here?” I questioned.

“We don’t have a minister, only an interim,” Verna answered. “I’m a church warden . Maybe I can help you.”

“Yes, you can,” I declared and sat down on the sidewalk beside her. We had a great conversation. I showed her my books and explained about them.

“I’ll buy ‘Dipping Your Toes’ ,” she said. God must have wanted you to come today. I’d like Fireweed but I can’t afford two books. Have you any information on these that I can bring to the meeting tonight.

Sure do,” I said, and handed her my info package. We talked a bit more and her husband arrived to take her home. Thank you God, I said as I walked back to the car.

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Camera Close up showing Glacier

Picture through front windshield - camera on closeup
Picture through front windshield – camera on closeup

Tom returned from visiting his mother’s cousin who is in hospital in Kamloops. We had crackers and cheese for lunch in the car and headed off east, thinking we might get to Lake Louise. Once again the drive was absolutely breath taking. For me, believing in a loving Creator is easy when we journey among these mountains, some of them so high they are snow-capped. We stopped a few times, once for ice cream at the Sicamous dairy.  Wonderful treat but we’re still both Kawartha Dairy fans.

Fabulous Ice Cream at Dutchman's Dairy in Sicamous
Fabulous Ice Cream at Dutchman’s Dairy in Sicamous

We arrived in Golden at 6:30. The sun was dropping fast. We had gained an hour so we moved our watches to 7:30. “Let’s forget Lake Louise and stay here,” I suggested. Tom immediately agreed. Neither of us want to be driving through the mountains in the dark. Besides the animals that might be wanting to share the road, we’d miss the scenery. We’re settled into the Ramada Inn – the same room we had two weeks ago and the same price. We’ve had another excellent meal at “The Bear’s Den” and enjoyed the hot tub.

It seems that God is a part of every visit I make to a church. Whether or not they buy books, I feel the joy of the Spirit with each encounter. This is truly a blessed journey.

 

 

A Church on the Move! #travel #church #refugees #family

September 27   Day 29   A Church on the Move.

This morning we returned to St. Andrews-Wesley United Church for Sunday worship. God’s Spirit filled that sanctuary in a very tangible way. Fabulous music poured forth from the organ and gospel choir. Today, they presented Bibles to all the children who were in grade 4. Today they were having a special congregational family meeting to discern how they were going to help in the world refugee crisis. Today the Very Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson spoke about his experience as Moderator over the last three years. Once again I heard God say, “I am doing a new thing.” Our United Church is on the move. Yes, we’ve struggled over the last ten years, but there are glimpses, “tiny green shoots of new life” , bursting forth across this land. New life for our church is beginning. Tom and I experienced it first-hand this morning.

As we were walking back to our condo after church, we talked with two women, one from Windsor and one from London. We shared our experiences of the church service and of Vancouver. When we said goodbye at the corner, I gave them each one of my cards and suggested they check out my books. God continually gives me an opportunity to promote my books.

Tom spent the afternoon with Alex and Bonnie and of course had a wonderful time. I ran errands with our 23 year old grandson, Chris. He’s great company, a wonderful young man. We had lunch together and shared ideas and opinions. At supper time, Bonnie, Boris, Alex, Tom, Chris and I gathered around the table in Bonnie’s apartment for a family dinner. Before and after supper, Chris played with his toddler cousin. Alex laughed and laughed as he and Chris made funny noises, played catch, and built with the duplo blocks. Tom and I are so blessed to have a blended family that is full of love. Oh yes, God was definitely present with us tonight sharing our joy.

Three Days in One #travel #unitedchurch #family

September 23, 24, 25  Days 25, 26, 27

I have three days to report on – Wed, Thurs, and Friday. So what’s been happening?

Gilmore Park United Church, Richmond B.C.
Gilmore Park United Church
Ladner United church
Ladner United church, Delta, B.C.

Wednesday we visited only two churches, Ladner and Gilmore Park United Churches. Both of them, are thriving. Ladner has just completed a million and a half dollar renovation and expansion project and paid it off in eight years. Gilmore Park has seniors apartments, a parking building and a youth/children’s minister, Rev. Yokko Kihara. I enjoyed my conversation with Yokko and certainly experienced her lively and welcoming personality and her passion for young people. She is truly a faithful presence at Gilmore Park. For me, both of these churches underline the fact that the United Church is doing well. Yes there are a lot of closures happening especially in our isolated pastoral charges as well as in some of our urban congregations.  Still, there are many United Churches across Canada’s Western provinces that have growing innovative ministries. God’s Word is being spread. We can be grateful.

We spent the rest of the day with Alex, Bonnie and Boris enjoying our family time. After Alex went to bed, Bonnie and her friend Leah came to our place for tea and blueberry cheesecake.

St. Andrew's Wesley United Church, Vancouver B.C.
St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church, Vancouver B.C.

Thursday was our opportunity to provide Alex’s day care. We had a wonderful day. Alex and I went to play group at the YMCA. While Tom had the car serviced. Alex had a grand time with all the other children and with Grandma. At first I sat on the floor to watch. Then one of the staff came and suggested that I could ride on one of the little push cars like Alex was using. It was a little small as my knees were folded up to my chin but that didn’t keep us from sliding around the room and collapsing with laughter. On the way home, Alex and I stopped in the park for a picnic lunch. A man in a wheel chair came along and dumped two bags of bird seed on the ground for the pigeons, perfect entertainment for Alex and me. Alex fell asleep on the way home and slept till 2:30. Tom of course took over the child care while I visited with Dan Chambers at St. Andrews-Wesley United Church, another of our alive and growing congregations. I enjoyed my conversation with Dan Chambers. He made it clear that he valued and respected my writing ministry and also me as an individual and colleague.

Thursday night, Bonnie came again to our house for tea, brownies and conversation.

Today, was another good family day. Bonnie took the day off and Boris went in later this morning so we could treat them to breakfast. There are a multitude of places to eat down on Davy street, just a few blocks walk away. Alex woke this morning at 4 a.m. He went to sleep on the way home from a doctors appointment and slept till 1:30. So the rest of us had a nap too. Because the day was threatening rain, we returned to playgroup at the Y. Alex played for 3 hours. Tonight Tom and I were babysitting so Bonnie and Boris could have some time together. As grandparents we obviously have the magic touch or he was exhausted because he was bathed, storied, in bed and sound asleep by 7:15. It’s been a good day.

"Fireweed" by Janet Stobie
“Fireweed” by Janet Stobie
Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotionals
Dipping Your Toes in Planning Small Group Devotionals

Where was God in all this?  God is our constant companion. My books are my service for God. They bring me to interesting places and amazing people. They open the way for faith conversations like the one I had with Yoko. And then there is family. Every time I watch Alex laugh, I feel the joy of God’s laughter. Just as the pangs of homesickness and absence of sunshine, were combining to darken my world, we had the opportunity to SKYPE with Connie, Ellie and Vanessa. It was wonderful to see them as we talked and hear about all that has been happening at home while we are away.

Tom and I are so blessed to have this wonderful family of five grown children, their partners, and eight and ½ grandchildren. They are all God’s gifts of love.

Church Tours #travel #church #family

September 21   Day 23

As we remain here in Vancouver, the travel items are fewer because of course we’re here to see family. We’ve been enjoying that totally. Problem of course will come when we leave. For the moment it’s wonderful. Yesterday we did have a fun afternoon square dancing with the Century Place squares. As always the square dancers were welcoming and friendly.

We had sort of skipped lunch in order to get to the dancing in time, so afterward Tom enjoyed fruit from the grocery store and walked over to pick up Alex from his child care worker, Markie. I decided that all the dancercise qualified me for an ice cream cone. Finding hard ice cream served in a cone in the downtown core of a city is a challenge. I walked Davie Street searching. After a couple of blocks, I stopped at a corner to ask a group of three young adults for directions. I guess ice cream isn’t in style. They had no advice to offer. A homeless man heard me ask and came over.

“You lookin for ice cream? They just got ice cream in that Mac’s milk across the street,” he said. “They’ve got about seven kinds – chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and…”

I thanked him and then asked him a question about himself. Tonight I can’t remember what that was. He gave me a long story about his life and why he was homeless. I gave him some money and thanked him again before going to Mac’s for ice cream. Mac’s had soft ice cream not hard. My helper followed me into the store to make sure I found the ice cream. When he realized it wasn’t what I wanted he gave me new directions.

“Oh you want an ice cream parlor. That’s about four blocks that way. Just go down to the bottom of the hill.”

When I heard the word hill, I knew I should have settled for soft ice cream. By then I was determined. I found the ice cream parlor about 8 or 9 blocks straight down at the ocean. The cone was expensive and delicious and gave me energy for the climb back up the hill. On the way I passed another hungry man and gave him some money too. I’d say that was the most expensive ice cream cone both in dollars and effort that I have eaten in my life time.

Last night we left Bonnie and Boris’ early. We were both exhausted.

September 22  Day 24

West Point Grey United Churcch
West Point Grey United Churcch

Today, we visited three very interesting churches(ministries) as we promoted my books. The first, West Point Grey United, located in a multicultural area is a busy thriving ministry. Their children and youth minister, Lorna was enjoying her first day on the job. Rev. Valerie, Rev. Lorna and Janis the office administrator all welcomed us. They shared a bit about their ministry and bought books.

Our second stop, University Hill United doesn’t have a building. The search for the Vancouver School of Theology where they have their office took quite a while. The old building has been sold and is being renovated. The new building isn’t yet completed. After asking several people for directions we found the church office, with only the administrator present. We had a great visit with Marjorie who took our information and promised to pass it on to the interested people. She also bought a copy of Fireweed for herself and gave us their Salt of the Earth Calendar. Even though the year is nearly over, we will enjoy the beautiful artwork.

Salt of the Earth - Christian Seasons Calendar - Fundraiser for University Hill UC
Salt of the Earth – Christian Seasons Calendar – Fundraiser for University Hill UC

Our last stop for the day was Trinity United. Trinity is a church in transition. We met with their new minister, Rev. Rhian Walker, at Heartwood Community Cafe. Trinity United’s vision is to “live out the Christian values of equality, justice and compassion in their neighborhood by creating an inclusive community living room space that supports people working on social and ecological justice, culture and the arts. The café, located in the heart of Mount Pleasant in Vancouver is a safe place for LGBTQ, youth, families and more, offering both physical and spiritual nourishment. Mt Pleasant’s diversity, density and its need for public space made it a great choice. When Trinity United Church’s lease expired, they leased the café with a new mission. www.heartwoodcommunitycafe.ca   Tom and I both enjoyed learning about this new vision of ministry.

Heartwood Community Cafe - Home and Outreach Centre of Trinity United Church
Heartwood Community Cafe – Home and Outreach Centre of Trinity United Church
Heartwood Community Cafe
Heartwood Community Cafe

We don’t often think about visiting churches when we travel to new places unless it’s a famous cathedral. I’m glad I have my books to promote. As God leads us to a variety of churches, God is teaching us that our United Church is a very deep well of spirituality and vision.

Three stops and our time was gone. We picked up Alex and returned to family life. Tonight we enjoyed grandson Chris and the movie, “A Walk in the Woods”. It’s been a grand day.

 

Here Come the Mountains @travel @mountains @church

September 13 Day 15

Free Spirit United Churcch
Free Spirit United Churcch
Clouds Circle into the Rockies
Clouds Circle into the Rockies

We were up early, all packed and ready to go in time for the 10:30 service at Spirit West United Church. The service started with singing. One of the songs, “Grab Another Hand”, I hadn’t sung in years. It’s heaps of fun, and encourages people to mingle and laugh as they sing. A grand beginning for people like Tom and me. The people were friendly which made it fun. My brother-in-law Bob met us at the service, which was special for both Tom and me. Hotdogs and sweetcorn for lunch after the service gave me an opportunity to sell heaps of books and talk with lots of people. Last Friday, God obviously was a part of our choosing Spirit West as our place for Sunday worship.

Fall has arrived on the Jaspar Highway
Fall has arrived on the Jaspar Highway

We went back to Dina and Bob’s to change our clothes and say goodbye. The trip to Jasper this afternoon was amazing. We watched the season of fall gradually appear as more and more of the trees were golden yellow. Rolling hills replaced the flat vistas and big prairies sky. And then…the majestic Rocky Mountains appeared. Canada is awesome. The distances can be overwhelming but there are not enough words to capture the variety and grandeur of the land. Tonight I am singing, “This land is your land. This land is my land…” Wow. I am so grateful to be making this trip, to experience the wonder of God’s creation.

Here Come the Mountains
Here Come the Mountains
Emerald Green Glacial Lake
Emerald Green Glacial Lake
Getting Taller - Mount Edith Cavell
Getting Taller – Mount Edith Cavell

Tonight, we’re in the Athabasca Hotel in Jasper. There’s a picture in the lobby that says it’s been here since 1929. The rooms therefore are small but comfortable. There’s no swimming pool or hot tub but we’re not spending time inside. This evening we walked the town’s streets gazing at the play of light on the mountains as the sun set. Yes, God is with us as always.

Up Close
Up Close