Who is in your boat?

Many people today wonder what the Church can do to make the world a better place. One minister answered that question in her article in Christian Century this week “Living By the Word” by Catherine Faith MacLean

A minister from the Reformed Church in Edmonton Alberta, Rev. Catherine Faith MacLean, has written about the impact of the church in changing the relationship between the First Nations people and more recent settlers in Canada. Churches are helping youth build relationships with Native American people.

Apparently, last summer 24 Indigenous and non-indigenous teens paddled camped and cooked together for 2 weeks along Lake Superior in a new immersion program. This wilderness trip brought boys and girls into close contact and fostered strong relationships and mutual trust.

Churches in Canada, including St. Paul’s United in Edmonton, hosted the youth on this trip, feeding them and offering space on their way back home. Rev. MacLean writes, ”Going somewhere remote with complete strangers and doing difficult things with them, like learning to paddle a huge canoe on stormy water, isn’t a walk in the park. Neither is it a test. It’s deep living. It’s life in faith, remote but not isolated” because friendships make the difference.

Life is its own adventure. Even when we find strong canoes, know our way around tie rivers, and use a map the best trips are often unexpected ones. We find ourselves with people we never imagined knowing, and build friendships we never expected. The ability to adjust often depends on our ability to be in this world with others.

I recognize how important the friendships are in churches. You demonstrate the power of those connections each day. I also realize that God calls us to expand our vision of who is in the boat with us, and appreciate that those expeditions to new waters enrich us more than we realize.

Keep paddling,

Rev. Susan


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