The day dawned grey and cold, sunless, hoar frosted trees barely visible in the ice fog; - 10°C, with a wind chill almost double that. "Socked in" as the old tyme flyers would say.
By lunch time Miss Sadie was vocally bored, and insisted on playing in the fresh winter air.
And so we did.
Her frozen toy stung my hands. Even Her Ladyship found it cold in her mouth. Undeterred, she ran to wherever it landed, and galloped it back — a flowing keyboard of black on white in the frigid yard.
While overhead, the gutter ravens, having moved south for the winter, cried to one another.
Now, Sadie calmly sleeps in her favourite chair, by the warm stove, awaiting another run, latter on, perhaps, not knowing the forecast is for freezing rain, which will make everything treacherous, for travel, or even play in our sanctuary.
Winter. Well below freezing. White upon white,
breath borne on the gentle breeze
above the snow.
Black Sadie running on her well-worn trails; the stark counterpoint to the surrounding snow mantle,
forever ready to chase her toy
one more time — wheeling about,
checking like a hunter,
then leaping like a deer
with the joy of her "find."
All within the sanctuary of our wind-shielded back yard, on a very low day.
Last Monday, our congregation held a special congregational meeting. I wasn't feeling well, so I skipped the event. I had other reasons too, which I'll relate later.
At the meeting, the congregation decided to fold. To quit. Go out of existence. To close it's doors and sell the property, probably to a commercial developer.
There were comments on the decision this morning, though it was hardly news. Mostly a sense of sadness, and "Where now?"
I could look at the congregation, Sunday by Sunday, and see this death approaching. Attendance at Sunday worship is somewhere around 60; that's a lot less than in the 1980s. The building is large, old, and thus expensive to maintain. Most of the people at worship are elderly, many on fixed incomes (and often low incomes). Meaning income isn't meeting expenses.
There are a handfull of younger (as in below retirement age) people who come. They have, by and large, not felt willing or able to take on the role of congregational leadership. There are maybe three or four in their teens. This does not bode well for the future.
So, yes; the decision was hardly a surprise.
About my other reasons for not going.
1. I was a pastor of this congregation in the 1980s. When I became disabled, about five and a half years ago, this is where I eventually ended up; in the midst of a very supportive community.
2. That being said, I knew I didn't have anything to offer that wouldn't be said by others at the meeting. And I certainly don't have the energy to lead any new development.
3. This is one of four congregations in our city what I have served. Of those four, this is the third, in the space of six years, which has decided to close. I'm beginning to think that I'm a "bad luck charm." Actually, I'm not, but sometimes I wonder about the future of our denomination, the largest protestant Church in Canada. I feel very sad, and uneasy about that future. Really, it's heartbreaking.
One other thing. If you have not read my "Religion as a Source for Social Good?" post from Tuesday, I would appreciate your taking the time to do so. I'd also appreciate a comment; I'm in a "learning mode" on this topic, and need some help here.