Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Love Parties/MANN

Every summer, Doug and I plan a half-dozen BBQ’s, plus a few writing or business retreats. It’s a way we can pay forward and give back. This week we organized another Cousins-BBQ for my side of the family. At our age, you wouldn’t think many could come, but if five in their 80s and four in their 70s can have a whomping good time for a whole day, then we did it. Our time together resembled playing in the sand box as kids in many ways as we interrupted each other, laughed at our own jokes, finished each others sentences and one even had time-out for a sit-down snooze. Come early and leave late – lots of food – good fellowship - that’s the sign of a good party.
As not always happens in families, we are all people of faith. We talked about Sunday school days, baptisms, weddings, anniversaries and shopping days. Amazing how the threads of faith weave itself through our life stories.
One of our parents, from three different families were baptized in the local St. John's Anglican church. Tender reminiscing about how the family would come five miles into town in the late 1800’s through to 1905, with horse and wagon to say yes to God. There was probably some tea and crumpets following worship and a feeling of ‘well done, good and faithful servant’. These folks were second generation Canadian with English parentage – Ontario homesteaders in many ways. There would be struggles and heartaches that would test any faith, yet they persevered through circumstances to continue the tradition of their parents and to personally respond to God by being immersed in God’s love.
The following words are written as a welcome from the ancestral church in Aynho, England with a tower and structure dating back to the 1300’s.
“Young and old gather regularly to worship the same God that generation after generation have worshipped here. We hope one day you may worship with us.” 
Doug and I accepted this invitation in 2012 and were amazed and blessed at the ongoing faithfulness of the congregation. I write this not to emphasize the age of the church, but to remember ‘from whence we come’. Although I do not share the total experience that the Deuteronomist proclaims: “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm”, I do claim the latter part to look back and remember that in the mid 1800s when my fore-fathers and fore-mothers came to Canada, they came out of a peasant lifestyle of servitude with a dream of owning land and building a life for a family in a new generation in a new land.
They achieved this. They carried the faith with them and taught their children who taught their children. I am grateful that as the fifth generation of those immigrants who accepted that, the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm”, we can continue to share this rooted faith.   Thanks be to God. Amen

Donna Mann
Aggie Series, Brucedale Press, Pt. Elgin. 2007, 2010, 2013. (YA) The young years of the first woman elected to Canadian parliament.
A Rare Find: Legend of an Epic Canadian Midwife, 2013 (Biographical Novel)
WinterGrief - personal response to grief (2003) Essence, Belleville.


Peter Black said...

Thanks be to God, indeed! Donna, I loved following this story from your summer BBQs back to the family's roots of long ago and far away. How beautiful it is that the ever-present Eternal One has been present throughout your family's generations! ~~+~~

Donna Mann said...

Thanks Peter. Family is special.

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