Tuesday, July 10, 2007

They came ... and now they head home ...

From the four corners of the globe, 86 delegates representing 12 countries, came to Brandon Manitoba for the International Rural Church Association Conference:
New Zealand,
The Czech Republic,
The United States,
and a favourite in our house:
The Kingdom of Tonga.
Those who helped organize this event have before them a time of well deserved rest, and the thanks and appreciation of all of us who were part of the happenings in and around Brandon University this week.
We've shared stories, compared experiences and talked about the possibility and potential that Rural Churches have not just in Canada, but around the world ... The stories told from the South of India have remarkable similarities to those told in the Mid-western US and southern England. The world over, Rural Communities are facing enormous challenges, but with folks like the 86 who came together for a week in Brandon, there is also enormous potential for not just find but also embodying and living out HOPE in the rural landscape ...
I have in my hands today a pile of paper work to read and re-read as I process all that has gone on, and as I begin to incorporate some of the experiences, lessons and stories into the life and work of my ministry here ...
Today, in a very real way, I am mindful that the rural communities can live out the creedal statement - "we are NOT alone ..."
Hands across borders and oceans show us that in a very real and tangible way ...
My one concern is the willingness of others who weren't there, to hear this lesson ... but then, that's what hope is ... Believing inspite of the evidence and watching (and helping) the evidence change !!!!
May it be so !!!!!!!!!

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