Well I bet you wondered if you would ever get another of these. It has been a busy time in my life this year so it has been a little difficult in finding the time to sit down and think about what I can say.
We have much to reflect upon this year. Each day we are becoming a stronger family. As we have come together from different places we are getting to know each other and accepting each other as new members of the Orchard Valley family. We have seen some faces from before again worship with us. We are glad to have you as part of our family again.
Our Transition Team is working hard to achieve their goals with the help of Rev. Bill MacLeod. Thank you for all of the dedicated work that you do on our behalf. These individuals take time away from their families to try to make Orchard Valley a better place to come each week. I am excited to hear the results of our recent workshop on our Mission.
Our Mission is what is important to us. I think I can easily say that our mission encompasses the work that we do for others. I like to think of it as helping those less fortunate than ourselves. We have a wonderful group that work on our Meet Your Feet program. A big thank you to Cheryl Manzer for her willingness to continue this work for those seniors and homeless who can’t afford the proper foot care. We have a great team behind Cheryl that help out on a regular basis to keep this program running and successful. I cannot say enough about the dedicated people in our Outreach program who offer their time, talents and resources to work on our Christmas Hamper program, our Canucopia program, our food banks and our breakfast program just to name a few. We should all feel good about giving back to our communities. For a small church I think we do a lot.
Just to touch on a piece of our history, as Orchard Valley I do believe that many are happy that our former Kentville church, St. Paul and St. Stephens, will be used as the Kentville Library. It is a fitting use for such a wonderful building. I know there is hurt and regret that we as a congregation let it go. We did not have the resources to do that building justice. We put the building into the hands of someone that could and now we see the results. It will live on as a cornerstone to the Kentville community and for that we should be proud that in the long run we made the right decision. I hope everyone will take the time to visit the library and see the transformation that has taken place. What a wonderful place to read a book and sit and meditate.
As we look towards the New Year we will see many things taking place as we move forward on our journey as Orchard Valley. Our Transition Team will probably be finishing up their work and turning the process over to our congregation. We will be looking into the Joint Needs Assessment (JNAC) that is required for us to call a Minister to Orchard Valley as well as the Joint Search Committee. For each of these, we will need volunteers from the congregation to sit on the committees to develop our JNAC Report which will be the document that tells potential Ministers who we are and what we are about. These are important tasks. We need to choose clergy who are going to carry what we are building forward and to help develop a welcoming church for us to share with others. A sage piece of advice that Ivan gave me one day was to look for a Minister who left their church better off than when they arrived. That is what we are looking for.
At this point we have much to look forward to. I think that 2017 will be a significant year in the life of Orchard Valley. What a nice thought that along with the 150th birthday of our great nation Canada, we as a church blossom and flower and show our communities who we are and who we can be. I am excited about our future. If we all work together we can be a great family of faith and support for our communities.
As a closing I want to thank each and every member of our Orchard Valley family whether you are someone that sits in the chairs each week, or one of our choir members, our staff and all of those who participate on a committee through the years. Each of us can only do so much alone but when we come together we can do so much more. I also want to thank Ivan and Judy for their continued support of our congregation. Where would we be today if these two wonderful people had not entered our lives? They have brought so much to us that I can’t even begin to list how they have helped us grow and to have direction and allowed us time to get our feet under us to move forward as a more stable congregation. Just as a baby learns to walk, they have guided us from the wobbly stage of learning to be a family together to a more assure walk that we can manage by ourselves from time to time. We still have a ways to go to be that confident child that can go without help and I know they will be there for us as we continue to walk along this path. Thank you so much for your continued support and faith in us.
I will be stepping down as Chair for the Council this spring. You will have someone new taking over. I know that you will support them as much as you have me. I will be there to fill gaps that may need support as we move forward. Orchard Valley will continue to be a big part of my life. Thank you for being there for me as I have travelled this journey. It has been a pleasure to serve such a wonderful group of people.
Lastly this is a time of year that is joyous for some and offers painful memories for others. If you have a chance, offer those suffering a visit or a meal to brighten this time of year for them. If you have family close by, take time to share the joys of Christmas with them and recharge your batteries. We have a busy year ahead and we will need your help. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!