Epiphany, which falls on Sunday, January 6, is traditionally a season that focuses on the Church’s mission – deriving, no doubt, from the story of the encounter with the Christ child of wise and gifted visitors from other lands, cultures, and possibly faith traditions. We associate their offerings of gold and incense and myrrh with wealth, prayer, and mortality – the stuff of striving, spirit, life, and death.
For me it is also a story of risk: the risk of leaving the familiar, of alienating authority, of staking one’s future on the fragile signs of an unwed mother, a newborn child, a star.
As CCS enters a new year, I think about the uncertainties we face and the risks we need to take if we are to keep true to our mission and move forward in hope and faith.
Later this month, CCS will be hosting a consultation here in Winnipeg bringing together members of our program staff and committee, with wise and gifted leaders in adult and theological education, diversity, digital technology, and ecumenical collaboration. My hope is that this event will point CCS in new directions for our program and curriculum – its content, delivery, and partnerships.
We also face risks and new directions in how we approach our finances. Marc Desrosiers resigned six months ago, though you would never know it, as he has continued on contract to distribute Common Threads and to receipt the generous donations we have received in response to the fall campaign. However, this will be his last issue, and donations for 2012 will soon be closed. Marc, we say thank you and goodbye once again, but we know it is more likely au revoir than adieu, and look forward to having you as a good Friend!
In the meantime the Finance and Human Resource Committees have been working hard to consider and prepare for new options in how CCS will staff and plan for fund development. CCS has depended on the consistent financial support of the United Church of Canada – which, though generous, has been steadily diminishing for many years. A deeper reduction in their annual grant is expected in 2014 so it’s time to leave the familiar, to seek resources and wisdom in other places, to look for signs, however, fragile, that will help to point us toward a new future.
With the wise and gifted visitors who followed a star, we too are looking for signs and messages that will give hope and direction to CCS. But following these signs will necessarily involve striving, spirit, and life and death risk. Thank you to all of you who have supported us in our journey thus far, giving us confidence to try new things and go in new directions.
May 2013 bring you every blessing.