May 21 2023

Photos contributed by Hilary Ryan; taken on Silver Stream Bison Farm, about 50 km north of ReginaI hope this finds you well as spring arrives in earnest in Regina. This past week, many trees leafed out quickly. I spent a few days south of Indian Head in a little secluded valley. Some of you may remember Fred and Betty Anderson. I was staying in a simple, little cabin they built by hand almost 40 years ago. The hills went from the brown and beige shades of the bare branches to a bright, lime green in just a matter of days. Crocuses were in bloom across the south-facing slopes.

Perhaps from your window or in your outings you are able to see signs of spring as well. Could it be for you as it is to others, a reminder that no matter what is happening today in your life, God is good and faithful, and is carrying on in blessing the world?

“This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21–23)

Or, as Esther Wiens is fond of recalling, Gerard Manley Hopkins put it this way:
      “And for all this, nature is never spent;
        There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
      Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
        World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.” (God’s Grandeur)

We are of course approaching the celebration of Pentecost (May 28), the celebration of God the Father sending the Holy Spirit to live within us. The Spirit comes as a promise of a coming day when we will awaken to watch a heavenly spring.

On May 7th we held a farewell celebration for Mark Anderson after over 30 years of helping to lead us on the organ, offering excellent teaching in Learning for Life classes, and being a good friend to many. Annabel, Joel, and John, all spoke, while Chris was the MC. Mark preached, and his sister and brother had roles in the worship service that ended with a communion meal together.

Earlier in the year, Oluseye Popoola applied and auditioned for the organist position. We were blessed to have Oluseye play a few times in April and May and he did a great job. We are looking forward to getting to know him and his family. He will continue to share the organ with scholarship student, Xavier Russell MacLean. Xavier did an excellent job helping to lead the Sunday of Mark’s farewell, he has come a long way in just three years and we are proud of him. Pastor Chris often shares how grateful he is for Xavier as he also helps at many youth group events.

On Saturday May 6th, some of our folks attended Westhill Park Baptist’s centenary celebration meal held at the Turvey Centre. Hundreds of people were there and congratulations came in from a number of representatives. The program was informational and joyful. Cameron Baptist was a church plant from First Baptist Regina and was founded in 1923. The congregation voted to move to Westhill Park in the late 1980s and to change their name. Doug McCall was able to attend and was honoured as the oldest living member of Cameron Baptist Church.

May 18 is the celebration of Jesus’ Ascension in the church calendar. A few of us are setting aside a few days to reflect on its meaning and to pray together. Everyone is welcome to take part. Included below for those who enjoy poetry is a composition by Malcom Guite, a British Christian poet becoming more well known on the prairies thanks to his close friendship with Winnipeg’s singing and songwriter, Steve Bell.

God be with you today and every day

With love,

Pastor Joel


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