“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
I sit here in my Toronto condo, in COVID-19 times, thinking back to my Rural Route #2 farmgirl days: feeding clover to my favourite Hereford cow; singing goofy songs as my sisters and I pulled out pigweed and horsetails; Dad’s anxiety when his export contracts in Japan fell through or when it rained too much, or too little. Mum kept baking bread and quilt- ing for the bazaars at All Saints, Penetanguishene. We decorated the church with our own cornstalks and pumpkins at Thanksgiving.
That picture rings of rosy nostalgia, but rural life has changed since the ’60s, and the days of overflowing Sunday Schools are past. Walmart, payday loans and Timmy’s have sprouted up in our old strawberry fields. Our scattered churches wonder what the unknowable future will hold for them.
What we do know down here at 135 Adelaide St. E. is that we do not know everything. We know that as rural people, you understand your own situations better than anyone else. And we know that listening to you, hearing your concerns and creative ideas, will help us find our way to God’s future for our churches.
If you have questions and answers about the future of rural churches, Bishop Andrew Asbil invites you to join him for conversation at Trinity Church, Aurora on Saturday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
We need to serve you, so please contact me at [email protected]ronto.anglican.ca. I will collect the questions you have now to help us plan the event. (Spontaneous questions will also be welcomed at the workshop!) Register and sign up for a free lunch at that same email address.
We know that our Creator, the Lord of the Harvest, doesn’t give up on us; the Spirit lifts us up. We know that our Church is God’s Church and is eternal. Before I left home for the big city, my farmer Dad adapted to changing markets: feedlot farming moved to market gardening and then to custom woodcutting, maple syrup production, and Christmas tree horticulture. The Church will change, and seedtime and harvest, day and night, and the redemptive, compassionate work of our Saviour will endure. Come and join us as we join our God in God’s mission.
Reflections on moving forward