This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, May 7, 2021
This week is one I’ve been waiting for, a little bit more than usual. There have been two stars on the calendar for a while now: one for yesterday’s Community Care of West Niagara annual fundraiser (Every Bowl Full), and the other for Springsong 2021 (the 20th annual fundraiser for Pelee Island’s Heritage Centre and Bird Observatory). Both are normally galas, and both have presently shifted to a virtual celebration, for reasons you already know too well.
I don’t think I ever thought I would look forward to a virtual event. Everything about ‘gala’ speaks so clearly, so warmly of being with others of like mind and pursuit; of having a wonderful time for a wonderful cause; but the needs continue, and so must the events. CCWN and PIHC/PIBO occupy different places in the world, but both seek to rebuild communities, defined by dignity, sustainability, and compassion for all. Of course we’ll continue to show up to support their work and ways. Wouldn’t we?
In these lead-up weeks, it’s been humbling to hear these community organizers speak of their trials and trepidation in shifting their events to wholly online. It’s so easy to compile lists of what is different and lost from events gone by. It’s intimidating, too. It tests the measure of commitment. It might give some reason to turn attention elsewhere. Without the social merriment and interaction that feeds our souls, would supporters still choose to be part of nurturing others?
Thankfully, both CCWN and Springsong have been overwhelmed with response and generosity. Endless numbers of their existing partners have stayed the course and shown up in this new way. Of course, some have not, for reasons they alone can name – but new supporters have entered, too. Whether it’s the expanded access across cyberspace, or a renewed commitment to what we’d like to have and be on the other side of this pandemic, new names and faces have come on board…and that is a marvelous, life-giving gift.
If you’re starting to draw some parallels between these virtual events and ours, every Sunday, you’re quite right. Every week, same time and channel, we take the blessed risk that there will be others out there to join us. We’ve been doing things this way for this long that there’s something expected about it now, even as it still feels entirely unnatural. It is, however, the expression of all that we will do to continue to be God’s church for this community, in these months and for long, long after. It is something we’re doing all together, as followers of Jesus, and something that has, unexpectedly and wonderfully, brought new names and faces to our lives. Cyberspace has made space, and forever expanded our collective sense of inclusion; at least I hope that’s true.
Wherever you are these days and this weekend – perhaps celebrating and honouring those who nurture you, perhaps remembering with great love those who aren’t with you anymore, or perhaps processing relationships you’d hoped could be – may you know the promise of this chosen family. Connecting across wires and screens, with time-delayed snatches of our present selves, we are still welcomed into this place of holy belonging. There’s just nothing virtual about God’s love, ever.
With love to you all,
“And yet God continued to transform people in our church, not in spite of our limitations, but because of them. Embracing our collective weakness made space for people to be vulnerable about their own limitations. We didn’t need to worry about being good because the gospel assured us we already belonged. All we had to do was show up.”
(Kevin Makins, “Does church still matter, even in a pandemic?”)