Dear Grace United Church,
Would you believe me if I told you this year marks our third Advent season together?
I cannot believe it. It feels like it was just yesterday the very first Sunday I led worship celebration at Grace – that was Nov. 15, 2020. It is a shocking reality. Sometimes I sense, just because COVID-19 enforced us to stay home and be safe, not just for ourselves but for all those we love and care for, life still went on. The world kept on spinning, bills kept on demanding payments, churches got out of their comfort zones and started streaming online worship services created in our living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and our outdoor decks. Why did we do what we did, and we are continuing to do things virtually still as well? So that people can enjoy worship celebrations in the comfort and the safety of their homes.
In a twisted way, COVID-19 has offered us gifts we were not aware that we can use. What “New Things” have you discovered about yourself, or others among your family and friends? What new gifts did you find out you have, and you can offer to others?
Beloved, we are so fortunate to have a Community of Faith who can truly look beyond the darkness around us and walk together gently and sincerely. At Grace United, we continue to do our best through the Perfect Love of God. We know we are NOT perfect, but God’s Love is. We continue our weekly worship celebrations on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Not only are there more people attending, but thanks to our volunteers, we also have live-streaming on our YouTube channel. Because of COVID-19, we have turned to Zoom for our Book Study Group V.I.B.E. (Venturing in Biblical Education), we will conclude this book on Dec. 21, 2022 – “Learning to Walk in the Dark” by The Rev. Dr. Barbara Brown Taylor. On Dec. 3, we had our very first Christmas Market since 2019 – This was my very first Christmas Market ever with Grace, as your incumbent minister. It was a glorious gift to meet friends that I have never met before. From the people coming to shop to the vendors, it was truly a blessing to meet many people.
Often we think that we have nothing to offer financially, but then God brings forth a new way for us to give. In October, a friend of mine tagged me on a Facebook post that Sam Crosby, a wonderful teacher at Gan. Secondary School, was looking for a safe space for LGBTQ+ Youth to gather. This is a once-a-month gathering where Food, Fun and Fellowship is the key. To make a long story short, I have met with Ms. Crosby and have planned our once-a-month gatherings up to June 2023. Yes, we may not have the human resources to run a safe space for youth, but we do have the building to accommodate those who are looking for such a space.
One of my deep desires in being a minister is to work with Youth, and Young Adults, and the other is to work with all seniors, especially those who feel alone and lonely. Yes, you read that right – I love working with people at ALL stages of life, and I keep on remembering the words of Apostle Paul who says (First Corinthians 9), and I paraphrase, I become everything for everyone so that I can save some. Yes, we cannot reach every single person on this earth, but we can do our part with one person at a time.
Beloved, as you prepare for Christmas and the New Year, would you focus on God’s Generosity amid scarcity? Give and you shall receive, receive, and share abundantly with all.
May we live to make this world a better place, at Christmas and ALWAYS.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed, Healthy & Happy New Year.
Rev. Takouhi Demirdjian-Petro B.A., B.Th., M.Div.