Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Why I Believe in the Resurrection - Eleanor Shepherd

                    This is our first Easter in our new church location. We have seen the Risen Christ at work ever since we moved into this building.  The first week that we were here I had two visits the same day from people who wanted to meet the new folks on the block. 

                  The first visit was from a pastor who is responsible for a church a few blocks down the street.  He came to see me, as the pastor to tell me that his congregation had been praying for us.   I was delighted to hear that and wanted to know more.  It turns out that his congregation wanted to buy this building when they found out it was for sale.  However, things did not work out for them .  Nevertheless, they felt strongly that there should be a church in this location, so they prayed that the Lord would have a church buy the property.  They were so excited when they learned we bought the building.  As they watched the renovations taking place, they prayed for us and for what the Lord was going to do in this place.  It was my joy to be able to show the pastor through the building and thank him for his encouragement and their prayers for us.  I am hoping that before too long, he and I will be able to join together in a fellowship with other pastors in the area. 
             The second visit that day was from a lady named Diane who had successfully been offering economic cooking workshops in the area. When the source of funding for this project dried up, the program was cut, yet she felt there was a need for it in the neighbourhood.  She wondered if we would be willing to have a program like this in our building.  When I explained that we were a church, instead of being skeptical, she was quite enthused, as she herself is a committed Christian.

I did not say so that day, but I have  always believed that one of the best ways that we can integrate our new immigrants into our congregations is to cook food together, learning from them about how to prepare the specialties from their countries and showing them how to use some ingredients found here that are unfamiliar to them.  After working together with Diane and our denominational leaders for nine months, trying to discover how to introduce such a program into the ministry of our congregation, we were able to begin the Economic Cooking Workshops in January of this year.  The success has been greater than either of us dared to hope. It has proved to be an excellent way to integrate people from our congregation with people in our community.  What better way to naturally share the Good News in our neighbourhood!  

Other activities that have revealed that the Risen Christ is at work among us, has been the way that the community has welcomed us.  An unexpected bonus has been the return to the denomination of some who had drifted away, for a variety of different reasons and were looking for a church home.

One person was a part of our denomination in Atlantic Canada and after she moved to Montreal, she never really connected with us, until one day she passed the door and realized we had come to her neighbourhood.  The next Sunday, she tried us out and has hardly missed a Sunday since.  She is part of the Friday night Bible study group and feels that she has come home.

Another person was visiting the esthetician next door and saw our sign out front.  She had been heavily involved in lay ministry in our denomination several years ago, and through a variety of circumstances that opportunity had come to an end.  She came through the door that afternoon to see if this was really a church, or whether it was a social institution.  Now she is a vital part of our fellowship.

The brass band that provides music for our congregation had dwindled to a small ensemble.  Since we have been here there have been several folk who have joined us and are finding their place of service in the band. 

Our Sunday School that consisted of only a handful of children has mushroomed into an exciting group that occupies four classrooms in the building, under the leadership of seventeen workers.  There are so many interesting ways in which people have come into our fellowship.  Easter Sunday morning we will welcome into our fellowship the third group of new members this year.

Now, when I park my car and head down the street to the church each day, I find myself wondering who the Lord is going to bring us into contact with today.  There are so many exciting things happening that I cannot doubt His presence among us.  This Easter I rejoice that the Lord is alive and at work among us.   
Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award


Donna Mann said...

Thank you for telling the story in process. Such a gracious beginning with many blessings.

Peter Black said...

Eleanor, I'm absolutely thrilled and I rejoice with you in how our Lord has been demonstrating His presence among you and your congregation and working grace in the lives of others. You are lifting Jesus up, giving Him His place, and He is drawing people to Himself.
Oh, and the growth in the band - marvellous!
Thank you.~~+~~

fudge4ever said...

Oh this is so exciting, Eleanor! It is so wonderful to see all the ways in which the Lord is working in your group. It is so encouraging to know that He really is alive and at work in our lives every day, causing the unexpected to happen. What joy it brings!
Pam Mytroen

Colleen Kimberley said...

This was a wonderful expression of encouragement. Love, love, love reading how God is at work.
Thank you for sharing this with us.

Colleen Kimberley said...

Thank you for sharing this encouraging report of how God is at work. Loved reading about it. It just makes me want to praise Him and keep my eyes open to see where He is at work.

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