Community of Christ Enduring Principles Spotlight
On Sunday afternoon, February 28, an online service was held to bid farewell to the Meadow Ridge Congregation. It is generally a sad occasion for a mission centre president to preside over the sale of property and the dis-organization of a congregation. Sunday’s service, however, was truly a celebration instead. It was a celebration of almost 40 years of mission and ministry to members and friends of the congregation. It was a celebration of contributing to the surrounding community. It was a celebration of many happy and significant events that happened in the life of the congregation since its organization in December 1982.
Current Pastor, Gary McDonald, led the service. Greetings and congratulatory remarks recognizing the work of the congregation came from the Apostle for Canada, Art Smith, the Bishop of Canada, Dar Shepherdson, and the Canada West Mission Centre President, Steve Thompson.
Founding Pastor, Ed Salahub, provided a wonderful history of the congregation from its beginnings to its conclusion. Ed was Pastor, in two separate terms, for a total of 21 years of Meadow Ridge’s existence. He recognized the leadership and support of others who served as Pastor and of the gifts of many other members and friends of the congregation over the years. Darrell Belrose, former Canada West Mission Centre President and most recently a Congregation Missionary with Meadow Ridge as one of his assigned congregations, spoke lovingly of his experiences with the congregation and of the way the members supported each other and any person who happened to walk through the doors of the church.
A letter from the First Presidency of Community of Christ was read that also recognized the legacy of the congregation and thanked all those who had served as Pastors and leaders and members over the years.
There were at least 54 different “screens” logged on to the Zoom service, representing approximately 79 persons. When given the opportunity to offer individual thoughts many remembered fondly their time as a member of the congregation or as a guest minister or visiting for any reason. There were many wonderful and meaningful memories shared of how much Meadow Ridge had meant in the lives of so many people.
The place of the Meadow Ridge Congregation in the hearts of members of other nearby congregations was effectively symbolized by the beautiful recordings of two hymns for use in the service – piano and solo voice – by two members of the Vancouver congregation. (Thank you, Leah Christensen and Kat Goheen!)
It is tempting to mourn the loss of a congregation, and emotionally it is probably necessary to do so. But rather than mourn the loss of what might have been (after all, who can predict an uncertain future), it was best on this day to celebrate what is known to have been: a small congregation with dedicated, visionary leadership, and enthusiastic members who provided a safe and welcoming space for anyone who came under their influence.
The Holy Spirit was most certainly a part of our service on Sunday. May God’s blessings follow all the members of the Meadow Ridge Congregation as they move on to continue to represent the mission of Jesus Christ wherever they choose to serve.
As always, I pray for you God’s blessings of joy, hope, love, and peace in these challenging times.
Canada West Mission Centre President
PS: In case you missed the service and are interested, here is a link to the recording of the service: Meadow Ridge Farewell Service. The main service is almost 90 minutes in length. This is followed by about half an hour of additional visiting and sharing of memories about Meadow Ridge Congregation.
Note: you should be able to just click on the link and the video will load in your default browser. You will need to click on the “play” button that will probably appear at the bottom of your browser window.
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community of christ
355 Elmira Road North, Unit 129
Guelph, ON N1K 1S5 Canada
Canada West Mission: 877-411-2632
Canada East Mission: 888-411-7537
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