“My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory…”
(Philippians 4:19 NKJV)
Dear Grace United Church Family & Friends,
We all know the meaning of need; may it be personal or communal. Today, in the middle of this pandemic, I want to share with you a story of God’s provision through a total stranger.
In June, a woman called from Wasaga Beach (Ontario) asking if I can do the inurnment at Gananoque Cemetery on August 21 for her life partner who passed away in December 2019. Soon after the celebration of life, COVID put a stop to all gatherings, hence the inurnment has been delayed. She had called Grace United Church Office, and our wonderful administrator, Laurie Cadue, had given her my direct office number.
As usual, whoever contacts me, I always ask for their e-mail address so that we can keep in touch without worrying about time. I got her e-mail address and sent her a test message to confirm it, and also invited her to watch our worship celebrations on our YouTube Channel, so that she can see me and get to “know” me. I admit that this could have led to her changing her mind! 😊.
Since connecting via e-mail, we communicated many times, and had many telephone conversations. A week before the inurnment, I called to ensure that last-minute details were in place and she expressed that she had been watching the worship celebrations regularly on YouTube, at the time which is convenient for her (that is the beauty of YouTube). She said she would like to donate to Grace United for any specific ministry that Grace is working on, and wanted my guidance.
Because she is watching the online worship celebrations regularly on YouTube, the answer was clear. I suggested that she might consider directing her donation to GUC’s AV Department, so that we can set up and continue to do church beyond walls.
On Saturday, August 21, 2021, which also marked the 35th Anniversary of my entry to Canada as a refugee, after the inurnment service, to my surprise, she gave me a bouquet of beautiful sunflowers, (I have never received a bouquet of flowers after a funeral service, specifically bought for me), along with an envelope, saying, “The church’s cheque is in this envelope with your honorarium”; holding another folded cheque she continued to say, “However, I made up a second cheque for the church today, but postdated for the end of September, as I realized I have a few dollars coming at the end of September and I want my husband’s legacy to help spread the love of God, instead of just getting a memorial bench, the AV Work at Grace United will help far more people than a bench.”
I was truly moved by all this generosity, even before I opened the envelope or the folded cheque. When I returned home, I opened the envelopes and tears of joy started to flow for the generous honorarium to me, which was beyond my imagination, but the donations to Grace United, two cheques, each of $1,000.00. I was reminded of the words of Apostle Paul, written so long ago to the church of Philippi, but which still speak to us today. I know, our church councils worry about making ends meet, then God sends provision through strangers.
Beloved, why do I share this with you? Because August 21, 2021, will once again be a historical day once again. God’s Provision has come front and centre. Thirty-five years ago on August 21, (1986) I entered Canada as a refugee, I never imagined that I would become the very first Armenian woman minister ordained by the United Church of Canada and serve this beautiful Community of Faith, Grace United in Gananoque, where God called me in the middle of a pandemic, and do ministry beyond the walls of the church building. Who would have thought that YouTube, which made Justin Bieber a superstar, would be an avenue of ministry for the Realm of God?
So, I share all this Good News with you because Every Perfect Gives Comes from God, therefore every Good News is God News, which surpasses ALL understanding.
Today, with this short reflection, I urge you to pay attention to all that God provides to us with every breath we take and every move we make.
Let us all do our part to share from our own finances and gifts for the work of God and carry on the work for the Kingdom of God which has no walls. Remembering the words of Apostle Paul, “My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory…” (Philippians 4:19 NKJV)
Thanks be to God – For all that we have been provided, and for all that is promised to us through Grace.
Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro
B.A., B.Th., M.Div.