At the close of a service, I was shaking hands and greeting members. I was delighted to hear in words what I have felt as I visited in many of the congregations within our church. The member said to me, “Since our new minister came a few years ago I wish everyday was Sunday so that I could come to church.” I could tell from the look on his face how sincere he was.
Many of our congregations are celebrating milestones in their ministry within their communities and making the church very visible. I have attended special anniversaries such as 75th, 100th and 125th.
There is a new visibility in The Presbyterian Church in Canada in the appointment of Lori Ransom as the animator for Healing and Reconciliation. She will lead our denomination in helping us work closer with our First Nations people. It was reported that Lori literally arrived on the job on September 1st with her suitcase packed. Many congregations and presbyteries have already had the opportunity to learn first hand from Lori as she helps us understand the task ahead. I encourage you to consider the plans for a month long program in May/June of this year. This issue of The Presbyterian Record will provide you with some helpful information. Information was sent to all congregations in the January 2007 PC Pak. Consider inviting Lori to share with your congregation or presbytery.
The Women's Missionary Society and the Atlantic Mission Society continue to be faithful in helping keep mission alive in our congregations by holding Mission Awareness Sundays. If your congregation does not have a mission emphasis Sunday at least once a year, I would encourage you to consider it.
As WMS treasurer, I recently attended the WMS Council Executive meetings. The vision of these women and their willingness to make mission come alive is remarkable. Grants were approved for young adults and others who are planning mission exposure trips. Many congregations are alive and excited about experiencing first hand life within our partner churches in the developing world. They are learning how we can work alongside our brothers and sister in Christ in Eastern Europe, India, Africa and Central America.
What a privilege it was for the WMS to welcome two women clergy Ni-ling Lin and Ibu Kanbudan in November from The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. They came at the invitation of the WMS to share the work of women within their church in Taiwan. It is the plan of the WMS to have approximately 14 women travel to Taiwan in April to attend their General Assembly, visit some of the historical sites and meet with the women in Taiwan. The theme of the Taiwan assembly will be women's work and the issue of gender justice. The leadership of the church is encouraging women from all of the church districts and presbyteries to participate in this assembly. The Taiwan church approved the ordination of women several years before our church. I will represent our denomination at the Taiwan assembly.
We can be proud of the work of our early missionaries as we learn of the strength of the church in Taiwan. The church showed an increase in membership of 3.63 per cent to 222,381 members. Their evangelism committee is promoting a “Lead One, Tell One” movement in cooperation with local district evangelism organizations. It is their hope to increase their membership by 220,000 members by the year 2015. The Hakka Mission Committee has also set a goal of doubling their membership by the year 2014. It is their hope that the growth in faith will transform Taiwan as it testifies to the reality and purpose of the Kingdom of God in creation. I keep asking myself the question: what can we do in Canada to keep the members we have and make newcomers welcome? Do you wish everyday was Sunday so that you could attend worship?