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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?"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Peace amidst the Unknown

As I and all of us ponder the events of yesterday and Monday that touch each of us in Canada, new awareness strikes home. We have watched the unfolding media of of the fateful events that have taken lives. The young reservist soldier is from Hamilton where I live. The images on the news networks are of places we recognize. Canada has been bruised and changed. Fearful vulnerabilities emerge within our hearts and minds. "Not in Canada" we think. This is so unexpected in our land which is an anomaly in history where our country was not borne out of a war of independence but through nation building negotiations. We do experience civil crime, but introduction of planned and fatal aggression against our nation and innocent people are acts beyond our experience that we have empathetically watched from afar in other nations. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those whose lives were taken in these tragic moments. Words cannot express the sincere sympathy of a person, much less a nation. 

Our church vision of the peaceable kingdom as set forth in our church seal envisions a hope for peace, an assured peace in Christ, independent of our outer surroundings, the senselessness around us, beyond all that may bruise and endanger and even end our lives; this is the peace of Christ that passeth all understanding. This image is truly a test of faith to ponder. In the moments of stillness with God today may we invite the peace of Christ to enter our lives so we may become ourselves beings of peace.

May we with this sense of calm, of resiliency, in the face of tragic circumstances, bring peace to our families and our communities that penetrates the anxiety, the tension, the blaming that could so easily emerge and erupt in group dynamics about us. It is in times such as these that faith becomes real, that sacred communities of loving expressions of hope may envelope those about us with peace rather than despair, hate and retribution.

Peace can only be expressed and enacted through people who are peaceful. May we be such people, mindful in our actions of the unconditional loving, forgiving, empathetic, perfect peace of our humble and holy Creator.

submitted by Kerry Richards

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Courage Workshop

I encourage you with all my heart to attend this workshop. I believe it will change your life!

As a spiritual practice, pause, close your eyes and visualize intently those people who are most important to you; your children, siblings and friends. Many of these valued people perhaps also have rich spirituality within their own lives. Imagine you opening the door that allows you to share together with one another in deeper ways, to experience faith together in making a difference in the lives of others. For many, the hurdle has been our “in the box” thinking that what we are doing as church is the only way it can be done. This workshop will be an adventure in creating, discovering, inventing new ways of being the church in the common everyday activities you and those close to you are familiar and comfortable with locally and in the time and place that fits the availability of your lives. So envision you and these friends at Tim Horton’s or the Good Life gym or hiking or playing euchre and within that fun and comfortable setting you share “moments of meaning” together that opens a whole new "you and them experience" of being together. OK, now you can open your eyes.

This can happen, it does happen. The Courage workshop has a leadership team that will guide us through changing our paradigm of church to connect comfortably with those on the outside looking in with pre-conceptions, suspicion, distrust, hurt, busy lives…. And now we have a way and means, learned tools and resources to blend our lives together in new ways. Sure there is still an element of courage needed for 10 seconds to open the door, but the view through the open door is so natural and familiar that the words you will learn to introduce friends will be comfortable.

D&C 163:3 urges us to be “culturally incarnate”. Jesus was the incarnation of God which means “God being with us” where we are in our lives. We are replicating that same notion in the places and life of people. Following the model of Jesus who did not invite folks to the synagogue but to a hillside or lakeside or home or anywhere at all, we need to be “with people” offering today’s parable like stories, videos, questions that relate to the heart of life. These relationships must be mutually authentic but the beauty of a new creation is we, “you and them” creating the model together. You choose the way you make a difference in the lives of others together, you are the church in a new way. You are not alone. There will be many other groups, like yours, that cluster together in the places of your choosing, perhaps even within C of C churches, as often as works, to share ideas, successes, needs and celebrate through music and other expressions of your own creation. We will experience God in us and in each other. These will become expressions of Community of Christ in a new look, feel and richness.

The Courage Workshop brings you and each participant into focus to touch specifically the people in your circle of life. Your life will be blessed as never envisioned before. Your confidence and competence to be a living culturally incarnate disciple will become a comfortable and life changing expression of what you always wanted it to be. You will become surrounded with those who matter most to you in the life adventure that matters most to you. Through engaging in Mission to pursue peace, abolish poverty and end suffering with those who mean the most to you; joy, hope, love and peace will fill your soul and sacred communities of Spirit empowered friends of faith will celebrate one with another.

Come to the Courage Workshop. Decide right now to set Jan 23-25th aside as the wknd that will change your life. Bring those who with you will be your fellow disciples to affirm, encourage and create together. Orangeville is 20 min north of Brampton. The Retreat Centre is where we held the New Hymnal Retreat last March. It is a wonderful facility with classrooms, fireside lounge, chapel, recreation area, shared rooms, dorms, clean washrooms and a dining hall all contained in one building in a beautiful retreat setting. The max numbers are about 80, so get your name reserved now. Cost is $140 + HST = $158 for the wknd.

Contact me with questions, or ideas of music, resources etc you can think of.  

This is a time of creativity, incarnation and joyful celebration ! Be Courageous !  

submitted by Kerry Richards  416-917-9377

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Yearning to Be

Longing, yearning, searching, hungering, craving, thirsting, wanting, seeking, desiring, needing, wishing, dreaming for, hoping for, praying for…..

There is a deep unsatisfied heart and soul reaching out that in the quiet moments of stillness, fills our beings with emptiness, despair and lack of identity…..or if one has alignment with the source of creation, our God…. We experience joy, hope, love and peace in that moment. I know from being there, that many fear the stillness, avoid the quiet, need the mind to be occupied with continuous busyness, for to allow the silence to penetrate their self-imposed barriers guarding the essence of life, it is a traumatic encounter.

The psalmist captures so well the searching, the journeying, the finding of oneself in the essence of creation, in the enveloping grace of finding and being me. To sense, I am OK, for eternity unconditionally blesses my life in spite of….who I have been. In that pause of ultimacy, there is peace that nourishes my soul not as the world giveth but as a forgiving healing balm. There is hope that illuminates my mind and dashes away the clouds of despair. There is joy that finally I have purpose, freedom and a knowing that fills each breath I breathe. There is love that bursts from my being as I recognize the gift of others in my life to share the reality of life lived beyond me, to collectively fulfill our Mission of the envisioned peaceable kingdom.

I am found! My thirsting is quenched, my yearning is fulfilled, my searching has found a path, my hunger is met, my prayers are answered, my emptiness is filled. I proclaim Jesus Christ! My God has renewed me, opened my soul and given me fresh vision of that which clarifies what matters most. 

How blessed to be, how blessed to be a blessing, how blessed to be in sacred community with Community of Christ.

submitted By Kerry Richards