September 4 2022

Looking Back With Gratitude… and Ahead With Anticipation        

As I write, the hot summer sun is pouring through my office window while the cool evenings remind me that fall is just around the corner. Fresh herbs and garden-grown produce make star appearances in savoury dishes while ice cream remains the kids’ favourite treat. Road construction projects are still in full swing as we’re all in the habit of slowing to 30 kph. Teachers are preparing their classrooms with haste, while students soak up the last days of summer break. For football fans, the Labour Day Classic is right around the corner and Winnipeg fans are invading our city. There are signs all around us, in nature and in our community, that another grand summer is coming to an end and fall is almost here.

The same could be said as we look around the church. The organ has been tuned and the piano awaits its turn. The bells will be pulled out of storage and choir music has been chosen right through to Christmas. Learning for Life classes have been thoughtfully selected and plans for the children and youth are well underway. In just a few days, Pastor Joel will return from his Sabbatical to welcome new staff members, Cheryl Johnston and Louise Krueger. With all this in mind, I take a few moments to reflect back on summer. For I know that this type of reflection produces gratitude and reminds us all of God’s faithfulness throughout life’s journeys.

On May 15th, we said goodbye to Pastor Joel, Heather and family, praying that this break would help them enjoy some much needed rest. At the same time, Maria Fuller concluded her short-term contract with us, leaving us wondering what would be next with the music minister position vacant, Richard’s position not filled, and our Lead Pastor away. At a time that could have been very challenging, instead we saw many of you step up to help. Throughout this summer, at least two things have been evident: Our community cares deeply for one another, and God is with us. Before Pastor Joel left, and after several attempts to bring in extra help from outside, he sensed God saying “You have what you need right within this community.” Thank you, Lord!

Throughout the month of May, we were grateful to be able to dedicate children from five families to the Lord.

And in June, we all gathered for our Church Picnic on Willow Island.

Then there were the patio parties, BBQs and other informal fellowship opportunities times that gave us opportunities to do life together. Back in the church, we enjoyed the contributions of a diversity of gifted preachers, musicians, prayers, tech people, ushers and kids leaders, all making it possible for us to worship together.

Proving that we are even stronger when we work together, we took part in initiatives too big for any one church to do on its own. The Saturday lunch program continued each week with 200 lunches given out within 15 minutes of opening. Out at the lake, kids, teens and adults from our congregation took part in making another beautiful summer at Katepwa Lake Camp.

I want to say thank you to each of you for doing your part, and for being a part of this community in whatever way God has called you to help. I wish I could name each one of you, but know that would take pages, because it truly has been a team effort as we have kept First Baptist going. Please do not feel bad if health didn’t allow you to be more involved, for it is God who has sustained our congregation in ways beyond our imagination. Great is God’s Faithfulness! How great indeed!

Looking forward to what God has planned for First Baptist this fall!

With love, Pastor Kayely


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