Congratulations! You can consider yourself a member of a maturing congregation!
I am not only thinking of the many bald men and the many beautiful looking white haired ladies. Neither am I only thinking of the fact that our Newsletter now has been published for 66 years, telling us that our church, years back, reached the age of retirement.
The many years and the white hair are facts that we all know, but what made me start out by giving you my congratulations is that a wonderful thing has happened during the past year. Our church has started to look out beyond the tip of it’s own nose.
We have engaged ourselves in several activities, one being the Lutheran Urban Mission Society that is working among the many unfortunate people downtown Eastside Vancouver. An Open House was held where people from LUMS came and told us about the work being done by a Lutheran pastor in cooperation with the United Church. We had a breakfast and more are planned, raising funds for this purpose.
We have also been able to support the little Evangelical Lutheran Church of Albania by donating a hymnal and buying and sending copies of Luther’s little catechism in English to them. A Danish pastor and other Danish people are helping this Church which was started in the only country in Europe where religion has been forbidden by law since the end of World War 2. We are hoping to be able to assist more in the future. By involving ourselves as a congregation in things like these, we are not only giving new hope to people in different and difficult situations, we.are also giving new hope to our own church, because “A church without mission, is a church without vision!”
In our old age we have now got a very nice Web site giving a lot of information about what is going on in our Church, how to find the Church, the history of the church, pictures and much more. Thank you to our Vice-President for this terrific job, “well done.”
At a recent meeting at Nyborg Strand for all the volunteers of DKU in Denmark, the President of DKU, Jens Arendt, started his speech by asking, “What is special about the Danish church? The answer given at one of our churches web sites may clarify this. The Danish Church in Vancouver’s Web site says:
“No, the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, B.C., does not have a snazzy statement of faith; we are Lutherans. Through Dansk Kirke i Udlandet we have placed ourselves under a bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. That makes us conservative in form and liberal in contents: our church service is old fashioned and our hymns are at least 150 years old (and don’t even ask about the tunes).
“As Lutherans we value our connection with a structure that keeps our church on the straight and narrow rather than letting it float with the times as an independent church. As Danes, we value the connection to the mother church in Denmark. DKU pays our pastor’s salary. Being a wealthy church we ought to give DKU what they have given us—and we do.” Unquote.
We are in this difficult transition time from being an immigrant church catering to 1st generation immigrants to becoming an ethnic church serving 2nd and 3rd generation Danish-Canadians, younger people at short term stays in Vancouver, and people of a pure Canadian background. Expressions like “We are used to this…” or “We have always been able to do it this way before…” are often heard in the different board, committee and auxiliary meetings.
The value of experience is greatly appreciated, but it should not prevent us from trying new ways and new initiatives. We cannot be happy with just maintaining the status quo; we don’t want our church to become a museum of customs and ways to do things of the past.
We want changes, but we want the right changes, let me just add to this, no changes can be made without running the risk, that you might have to change again. An old Danish saying says that the one who wears both a belt and suspenders is a pessimist.
We want to be optimists, we want to have visions, and we want our church to be a living and life giving church.
Let me share some of my visions with you:
That is only due to a lot of hard work. It is easy for me to stand here and say that must continue but that is the truth of the matter. It is wonderful to experience how our auxiliaries and other groups and committees are committed to making sure that the frame work for our church’s activities upstairs and downstairs is O.K.
We may be able to develop new ideas, new activities, and new ways of raising funds.
In this connection I would like to mention our Newsletter, which is our connection to hundreds of people all over the Province, many of which have never been to our church, but they support our church generously. The better and the more interesting and informative our Newsletter is, the more it is appreciated, and as a plus the more money will be donated. I am very happy that Sharole Tylor has involved herself heavily in the production of the newsletter.
They are all part of the Canadian Lutheran Church; it might be useful for us to familiarise ourselves with the Canadian Lutheran Church.
That certainly makes you appreciate our remaining volunteers more than ever.
It is a great help to have volunteer groups like the auxiliaries, committees etc. but there are other groups like the 3 to 6 people coming every Tuesday and Thursday morning to do all the odd jobs. There are the deacons, who meet and welcome people. Another absolutely unorganised group is the many who go to visit the shut-ins. Many more people could be mentioned. We need to get more people involved, we should not only be friendly and say just call me if you need me, no, we need people to commit themselves, to take upon themselves a responsibility.
As far as I know we have never done anything to train or educate our volunteers. Don’t take me wrong, I am not thinking of a course on how to make coffee.
But none of us can keep on giving and giving without receiving. I would like to see some kind of appreciation events for some of the groups. I would like to see e.g. an evening or two of training for our deacons. I would like to see a group studying material and books etc. which could be useful for childcare and Sunday school. I would like to see people from the different auxiliaries attend joint meetings for volunteers from all the Lutheran Churches in the Lower Mainland for inspiration and new ideas. There are so many options and possibilities to explore and experience which might help us to be what we would like to be, “a living church,” where the inspiration and joy we receive upstairs may be transformed into our acts and doings downstairs and elsewhere.
A Christ inspired church is a living organism, proclaiming Christ to our fellowman in what ever activity we put on, by being what we are, Christians.
I would like to thank Bodil, who started out being my secretary, coming in every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I am not saying that she ever sat with two pieces of paper and moved them around to look busy, but the work load was not that busy 5 years or so ago. Now Bodil is not only my secretary without whom I would be completely lost, she is now the whole church’s secretary. You have no idea what ends up on her desk. Bodil is a volunteer who works full time as a volunteer and when that is not enough she just adds overtime on top. Thank you so much for your many smiles in spite of the many things you take care of. I would also like to thank my dear wife Dee. At our fridge at home a little sign tells you: “Behind every working woman there is sink full of dirty dishes.” That is very true, but behind me there is a wife, who helps and assist me in so many ways, making it possible for me to devote so much more time to my job as your pastor. Thank you, Dee!
I hope that you will consider and talk about the visions I mentioned, in short form they were
Kai Glud, Pastor.