At First United Church, we celebrate our diverse stories and experiences of faith. We strive to be an intercultural community where we learn about one another and practice listening to our varied perspectives. For today’s column of "One Church - Many Voices" we welcome the voice of Karen Martin....
Gateway Pipeline Debate
Like many of you, I followed the events at General Council in Ottawa last month via the internet. My interest in the event was piqued by the fact that our congregation had two delegates attending. By watching on-line, I felt a sense of connectedness not only with Matthew and Julia but also with the wider church. I “checked in” several times a day, tried to keep up with what motions were being passed and watched as many of the proceedings as time allowed. The more I watched however, the more I realized just how little I know about the governing body of our church, both nationally and locally and sadly, about many of the issues that were being discussed and debated.
Some of the outcomes of General Council bothered me. Some happily surprised me and quite a number of them frankly, confused me. I found myself wanting more information, more background, and more details as to why the votes went the way they did.
I must admit, the rejection of the Enbridge Gateway project didn’t frustrate me as much as some of the other items did, but as I sat on the chancel steps with other member of my First family a few weeks ago, I found myself listening very carefully to other people’s voices and concerns & I soon realized I really didn’t have enough information on the project to faithfully take a stand on either side of the project. What I need, I realized, is a wider and broader understanding of the whole issue from all sides.
I’m extremely grateful that as a God family we are talking about the issues & that we are creating intentional space for learning and open, honest, dialogue in the weeks & months ahead. These education forums will allow each of us the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Northern Gateway Project by hearing from a variety of different viewpoints as well as multiple voices. By participating in these active dialogues we will be better equipped to make well informed, faith-based, decisions when people ask us where we stand personally, especially in light of our national church’s strong position against the project. Education empowers us – education gleaned from a place of respect and love enlivens us!
Having participated in one of the talking circles and now taking some more time to read and reflect on the Enbridge issue (and other issues) I would encourage each of you to attend one or more of the upcoming learning circles. It’s an opportunity to practically step into God’s Wisdom found in Micah 6:8. By participating in one or all of the sessions you will be acting justly (by considering all sides to the story), you will love mercy (by making informed, faith-filled decisions based on what is the best for all of us - God’s creation and our global community & not just Alberta) and you will walk humbly with God as you are able to share your position (whatever it may be) from a place of honesty and integrity backed by truth-filled knowledge, a sense of empathy and a strong commitment to care for all creation.
Grab a coffee & come with an open mind & quiet heart – you just might be surprised what THE Spirit will help you to discern! Looking forward to growing & learning with all of you in the weeks ahead.