I’m sitting at my little kitchen table this morning, in our little apartment, enjoying the rhythmic whirring of J’s spinning wheel. We’ve lived here for five months now, almost half way through my contract with Maranatha CRC.
This morning there is no text to translate from Greek, no commentaries to study, no research to do, no services to build, or sermons to write. My arrangement with the church has me working seventy five percent of the time, three weeks on, one week off. Normally, we would be in Huron county for the week off, but today we are here, staying in the area to catch a flight to San Francisco tomorrow.
After five months, we have developed something of a rhythm.We live in two places; most of the week in this small apartment; weekends (Friday and Saturday) in our country home. We spend at least five hours a week driving between the two, and have purchased a third car so we can both have mobility at either location. Our apartment, like our home, is out in the country without ready access to anything unless you have a car. (especially in winter)
We had hoped to find a place in town where walking to get groceries, or just for exercise would be convenient. This particular area is very tight for housing, so we feel lucky to have found this slightly out of the way, reasonably comfortable, little place. J has done some painting here to make it more like home (and to get rid of the dark chocolate paint in the bedroom). We have added some of our own furniture to what was to have been a furnished apartment.
The work here has been good. Maranatha is a relatively large congregation, nurturing and caring. Conflict, even at a time when a new sanctuary is being built, seems to be at a minimum. There are lots of young families and we seem to welcome a new baby just about every week. The many children in the congregation are able to worship with their grandparents, great grandparents, and in at least one case, a great, great grandparent. If there was a model for a multi-generational church, it could be this one.
While this is wonderful, it also brings its own unique challenges, in terms of worship style, pastoral expectations, and even leadership, most of which seem to be dealt with some grace by all.
I’ve learned a lot here, and so far, ministry seems to have been fruitful. I started a teaching series in the evening service (yes there are two services here, different from each other) on the question “What is Reformed Theology?” roughly based on the book by R.C. Sproul. Using power-point, and handout notes, we have walked together through some pretty heavy stuff, but folks just keep coming back for more. The questions from the group are thought provoking, and comments seem to indicate that the material has been valuable.
The theme of my time here though, will be baptisms. All wonderful, all a model of grace, all exciting as little ones are brought and get wet. I even dress up a little more for those events.
Life isn’t just here in Haldimand county though. I continue to do consulting work through Threefold Consulting to sheep and goat producers. It helps me to stay in touch with another section of the world, a physical one, as opposed to a spiritual one. It is interesting how often in conversations with parishioners or farmers, these two world intersect, roll into each other. Each has an effect on the other.