By Rev. Canon Val Kenyon
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I have always loved this verse from Lamentations, so artfully placed in a collection of highly charged poetry, lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.
It exudes hope in a very difficult situation, as the poet shares their conviction that while the world around them may be greatly altered, the love of the LORD is something upon which one can depend as surely as with the rising of the sun each day, God’s mercies are renewed for us.
This seemed a perfect verse to consider, as a reminder of both God’s love and mercies is just what I needed as I prepared to write this month’s article as animator for Education for Ministry in Huron. Like so many around me, I am trying to do the impossible. I am trying to imagine our life both within the church and society at large four weeks in advance. Normally (a term, by the way, that has lost almost all of its meaning since the beginning of COVID-19) this would not be difficult, as in May we generally would be preparing ourselves for our Synod gathering in London anticipating all the components we have come to expect and enjoy. Yet still reeling from a winter/spring filled with uncertainty of all kinds, we have had exercised for us over this season our skills of adaptability as we bend and adjust to what is needed in changing circumstances.
Like all other groups in the Diocese of Huron, EfM groups have too been adapting and have shifted from meeting in person to either meeting virtually or taking a short break planning to catch up in the months ahead. While we may have many questions one thing is certain – in times like these the opportunities for theological reflection abound as we bring our experiences, ordinary and extraordinary, into genuine conversation with our Christian tradition. As we are shaken out of our long-held and accepted routines we are being invited as people of faith to more thoughtfully engage with questions about the meaning, purpose and value of our lives as understood through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Patricia O’Connell Killen and John De Beer in their classic, The Art of Theological Reflection, remind us “theological reflection has the power to confirm, challenge, clarify and expand how we understand our own experience and how we understand the religious tradition. The outcome is new truth and meaning for living.” So, while none of us would likely care to repeat the last few months, they have presented us with some important opportunities both in our practice of reflecting, and in putting our reflecting into action in our parishes and in the world in which we live. Should you wish to learn more about the practice of theological reflection and its potential in all of our lives, why not consider participating in an Education for Ministry group within the Diocese of Huron?
In June we will again be opening registration for the upcoming sessions of EfM beginning in September 2020. While specific dates for Open Houses are not confirmed at this point, we welcome your inquiries For more information on EfM and how you might become involved, please contact Libi Clifford, the Diocese of Huron EfM Coordinator or myself Val Kenyon, at EFM@huron.anglican.ca
Rev. Canon Val Kenyon is EFM Animator in Huron.