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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, July 31, 2009


Today I’m quoting Carman Thompson quoting Peter Drucker:

There are only two questions to ask: What business are you/we in? and How’s business?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


You might have noticed the Blog I recently quoted about how we use our space also talked of bringing coffee into the sanctuary.

I’ve had two very recent encounters in coffee shops. One was with our new young adult led church plant “Fired Up.” That conversation was about “bringing in your coffee (water bottle, whatever) IN to church (worship, fellowship, whatever) with you as a matter of course.”

Totally intriguing snippets of opinions being shared in both these places.

What are your thoughts? Yes or No? Drinks in the pews or no?

One person said “you don’t want my coffee? You don’t want me.” Now that’s pretty strong. What do YOU say?

Monday, July 27, 2009


I’ve just been reading a blog about what goes on in our sanctuaries in the “between-times”; that is, those times when we’re not in there using them for worship. Some pretty creative suggestions for serving the needy are offered.

It reminded me of the shocked and amazed reaction by some of the world church folk in Independence in a non-conference time. Walking around with our local guide these members from India and Haiti kept asking how all this space was used during the rest of the year.

“How many congregations meet here” one of the Haitians inquired about the Auditorium. And the Indian lady wanted to know how many and what types of classes were being held in all these wonderful Temple classrooms. You could see her imagining setting up sewing machines and neonatal care clinics.

So I’m thinking of some of the great spaces in our various facilities and wondering what ministries are flowing out “like rivers of blessing” into all the communities where we’re represented.

What are your ideas? And what examples can you share that you’ve heard of or been involved with?

Meanwhile, congratulations to Providence Bay who just received a Shaw grant to renovate their kitchen and downstairs meeting space to keep up their great community services. And to Corinth, who recently completed a fabulous kitchen reno to keep serving those great meals and providing space for other community get-togethers.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


How does transformation happen? Is it a matter of gathering up spiritual energy until somehow we reach critical mass and then things will magically change? Or is it because our increasing consciousness of that energy finally moves us to action?

This summer, powerful forces are at work in the lives of CEM members and friends. Already in Canada East Mission alone, we have had four reunions and three youth camps; each reporting wonderful, potentially life-changing encounters between people and Spirit. Many of our youth have been dramatically stimulated and changed by the powerful energy of the International Youth Forum (IYF) held in Independence, Missouri. This week, they move on to SPECTACULAR, held each year at Graceland University in Iowa, where more transformative experiences await them. At the same time, families gather eagerly at Erie Beach camp ground for yet another reunion that will no doubt provide even more spiritual banquets to be feasted upon and enjoyed. After that, we have still one more reunion and a wonderful Senior High Camp to go before the summer ends.

This is powerful spiritual energy! I have experienced it, and so have you. With all this going on, is it possible for the church and the world to go back to being the same? Can not all this renewed vigor change us and take us to a new level of consciousness? Will the world and the communities where we live not be different as a result of all this vital spiritual power? Can our congregations not become vibrant places of energy and action? How does transformation really happen?

Perhaps the key is to be found in a document we have had available to us for almost a decade. “Be courageous and visionary,” says Doctrine and Covenants, section 161:3c, “believing in the power of just a few vibrant witnesses to transform the world.” Okay, so it is witnesses who change the world, but who are those witnesses? Are we witnesses because we have seen and felt; observed and participated? Does that change anything other than ourselves? Perhaps the world is changed because we have been changed, and therefore behave differently. To paraphrase the oft-quoted words of Mahatma Gandhi, through our actions we become the change we wish to see in the world.

But witnesses are also called upon to tell what they have seen; to testify of what they know or believe to be true. There is a lot of power resident in words. The act of telling what has happened to bring about a change in us, has the ability to cause others to think deeply and can stir within them the desire to also experience such transformation. Is it possible that the power of a few vibrant witnesses to transform the world lies in their act of sharing their witness with others?

In the end, perhaps it is all of the above. Perhaps transformation happens because we are changed, because we take some action and behave differently, and because we tell others which leads to further change. Or, perhaps it is a gathering of spiritual energy (faith in God) that has the ability to magically change the world. Perhaps it is, but if that were the path to transformation, it would not require us to be “courageous and visionary”, or “vibrant witnesses” would it? History tells us that transformation requires action. Gandhi did not achieve independence for India by merely believing it was possible, but by acting on the possibility.

So, at the end of this summer of remarkable and powerful encounter with the Divine, the question is, will we be silent witnesses who believe in the power to transform the world, or will we be vibrant witnesses who do something about it? What will I do? What will you? Perhaps most important of all, what will we do? How will we transform the world?

Friday, July 24, 2009


Tomorrow I'm off to Erie Beach Reunion. For as long as I can remember well into my young adulthood I did every reunion and youth camp held there. I've got all the Erie Beach thunderstorm memories and I can share tales of the "great flood" of '55 or '66 or whenever.

I went to junior high camp, then senior high camp and then was a counselor at both levels. I remember when the "old dorm" was "the new dorm." As a child in a tent, I was awakened by the deep tones of JC Stewart booming over the grounds on the very advanced PA system.

I was one of the passionate seventeen-year olds who wrote to the Regional Office about some perceived wrong done or planned for our beloved reunion grounds. Since then, as an adminstrator, I've been on the receiving end of similar pleas.

Through the years, I've been to other beloved grounds, experienced other folks' passionate connection to their roots, enjoyed the welcome of many camps and reunions. I've been considering how locked in I am to my early learnings as I'm preparing to preach at the first Sunday evening service.

No question my very early communities shaped the individual I became. Where does my identity become my own? At what point do I choose my path? As I'm thinking of my "identity and my calling" I'm wondering just how rooted am I in the individual formed and shaped and directed by those early days?

More later as I experience the 2009 Erie Beach Reunion.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Enjoyed a great conversation with an adult class who are revisiting the Church Member’s Manual, now entitled Walking With Jesus.

They had lots of good insights about how important it is to share our blessings and our concerns as a way to build community. We spoke about the need to “take something when you visit” and that nothing could be better than a story to share!

Some folks recalled the not-so-good old days in their history when “testimony service” was not their favourite. But that now they freely share what’s new and what’s up and who’s needing a visit or a prayer and it just flows right out of the gathered community.

“We had a prayer and testimony service once last year” somebody offered. Then we all kind of laughed because we realized we’d just had one, right then and there giving praise for Judy’s new granddaughter, and remembering Bruce’s need to have the summer off from his chemo (which is working for him, thank you God!).

Never mind the labels; just don’t forget that sharing builds up community.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


OK, it had to happen sooner or later I'd NEED to talk about books. Today I'll be putting together a collection for display and sale at Erie Beach reunion. I so appreciate the local folk who take my big, disparate collection and put them out and talk about them to the reunion clients.

I recall my early days as a "bookie" of going to reunions or conferences or whatever and poring over the Herald House display and deciding which one or two books I could actually buy.

I also recall, over the years, hearing people speak about the stack of books they already had but hadn't had time to read yet. That just amazed me! To own a book and not immediately sit down and read it right through! Astounding!

But now I have come to realize that not everyone is the kind of book-lover I am. Not everyone needs to know what is to be known--or at least, not via the pages of a book. (I acknowledge there are other sources.) And I even have a small stack that I have yet to find the time to read.

But it is great to have a chance to find them, skim some, deeply delve into others, and then to talk with my favourites with other bookies, to recommend the perfect book to someone who's searching. Maybe I might be able to infect someone new to the world of books. It will be fun to be there are Erie Beach myself. If you're around, do come over and we'll talk books!