Looking Beyond Boundaries

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
By now, many of you have had a few days to sit with the interim report from the Boundaries Commission. For some, what is being suggested is more than was expected, while for others it is less. Still others are wary of change, whatever may come. For many within the Maritime Conference, the possibility of brothers and sisters in faith being divided by the line drawn by the commission, is not a future toward which many are eager to walk.

Let us take time to breathe. Let us also take time to imagine what might yet be in the regions that are proposed, and along with that look at what can continue, what can’t continue, and what might have to take new shape and may gain new life.

Whether what we have been given is what the shape of the church ends up being, or just an iteration on the road of who we will become, we have been asked to reflect. What are the pitfalls? What are the possibilities? The more that we can offer back as authentic reflection and feedback, the better equipped the commission will be in finalizing their work.

In the midst of all our reflecting, let us also make room for the Holy Spirit to move within us, to inspire us to look at who we can be in a new way. And whatever may come, wherever the road may take us, God is already at work finding new ways to break into our lives, calling us to service and the sharing of our gifts. The shape of the church may change how we are called, but it won’t change the fact that we are called.


Rev. Richard


Christmas Message

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.

-Psalm 130:5-6

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The day draws ever nearer, and we, like those who watch for morning, are starting to see the horizon brighten.

I used to work in the hotel industry as a night auditor, and the words of this Psalm resonate with me on very deep level. Many were the times where I would wait and watch for the dawn which was the harbinger of my freedom, a light on the path that would lead me to the comfort of my bed. I know how much I longed for the morning, so I can imagine what the Psalmist is trying to say here about how deeply we are called to long for the Lord.

The season of Advent has been like a long night of work, of preparation, of waiting and of watching. We have taken this time in this season not just to ready our world for the coming dawn, but also to ready our hearts for the in-breaking of God. Because that’s what God is doing, breaking in. God offers us hope that comes with a new dawn to fend off the despair that comes from long nights of loneliness. God offers a peace, a kind that only God can bring, that makes the stillness of the night more comforting and less constricting. In those cold nights of sorrow, God reminds us of the joy that lives and reigns in us, a joy that is born anew this Christmas day. Ultimately God brings love to our hearts, where often we harbour feelings of hate and anger. Just as the stable on Christmas eve cannot remain empty when a woman bearing a child is seeking shelter, neither can hate live long in the manger of our hearts when God is seeking a place. This is because the love of God is stronger than hate.

God’s love is stronger than hate in the same way that light is stronger than darkness. No matter how all-consuming the darkness may feel, it only takes a spark to scatter so many shadows. This is why the dawn never fails to follow even the deepest of nights.

It only takes a spark to lighten the dark. It only takes a child to change our world.

God bless you in the days of celebration that come with the dawning of Christmas. Be safe. Sing loud the carols of praise. Drink deeply of the love that God pours out on the world. May your soul wait no longer.

Merry Christmas!


Rev. Richard

Maine Conference of UCC – Business and Worship

Saturday was a full day indeed. Most of the business was handled in the morning before lunch, and that included conversation and voting on changes to their by-laws! Along with being very efficient with the work they were called to do, the people of the Maine Conference started the day off right with worship that reminded each one present of the light that we take with us, the light that warms and guides us:the light of Christ. Continue reading

Maine Conference of UCC – Silence and Food

Something I thought was amazing was that the Maine Conference takes a whole day for a retreat just before the conference. This retreat is open to clergy and lay, and was titled Into Uncharted Territory: Navigating by Heart. To be honest, even after reading the retreat information, I was not really sure what to expect from the retreat.I thought that there might be a focus on future seeking, looking into the unknown and trying Continue reading

Day 2 – Oasis 2017

The second day started out with a meal. I got to sit at the table with observers like me from other denominations, as well as with leaders within the Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada (CBAC). While we ate, we shared stories of call that brought us to the ministry or to the work of leadership within the church, we shared our experience of the church over the years, and we shared our struggles – similar struggles – as we seek to be the church today moving into tomorrow.

One topic that we circled and spent some time on was around bring churches and faith communities together who separately cannot afford full time ministry. We talked about the A-word (amalgamation), shared ministry, building new homes, and sharing old ones. Coming up with few solutions we came to the conclusion that many of you know too well: that this kind of work is delicate, heart-wrenching for many, and needs to be centred on pray as we are led by God to where we are called to be.
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Day 1 – Oasis 2017

Shepherding God, lead me through this time. Speak to me your guiding word and show me where you would have me go. May I find the green pastures of learning where I come to know my brothers and sisters better. May I find the still waters of worship, where we come before you in praise, seeking revitalization. Shepherd me in these days,

I arrived at Crandall University pretty early yesterday, eager to get started. Turns out that things didn’t really get going until the afternoon. This meant I had a lot of time to walk around the campus taking in the beautiful summer day, spend some time in prayer and reflection in my room, and get to know a few people before the larger crowd arrived.
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