Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Service and Transition Planning Meeting

We want to extend a special invitation to our annual Christmas service, which will be held Dec. 23, 2012.  Every year we do a special service of singing carols together, hearing ministry of music, and readings related to the theme of the holiday.  This year Mike Karpowicz will be playing the organ (we're always excited when we have organ in addition to the piano), and Joyce Dawson and Leandro Palacios will be performing solos.  Hopefully we'll also have ministry of music from Virginia Hodgins on her flugelhorn or one of her other instruments.  This is always a special service and I hope you'll join us for it and the social gathering afterwards.

Before the service, at the 10:00 am hour, the congregation will have an important transition plan meeting.  I was able to attend a meeting of the leaders of the Toronto area congregations and the Canada East Mission Center last night and they all expressed their support for Toronto Congregation as we plan our future after we leave our current building.  Our pastor, Roger Dodson along with Chuck Boyd proposed that the congregation have a transition planning meeting during the 10:00 hour on the 23rd.  Our goal is to set up a Transition Team so that we can formulate a plan for the immediate transition so that we're prepared to continue to meet after we vacate our current building and also for a vision for our congregation going forward.  I hope you'll also join us for this important discussion.

Note that we'll continue to have our weekly meetings between now and the 23rd.  This Sunday, Dec. 2, will include a budgetary meeting.  Please join us every Sunday 10 am for adult Sunday School discussion group and 11 am worship, followed by socializing with coffee, tea, and snacks.

Permanent Residency

I want to apologize for not posting here the past couple of months.  I'm committed to achieving a consistent, weekly posting basis over the course of next year.  Part of the reason for the slow down this fall is actually good news.  As many of you may know, I've been in the process of immigrating to Canada for several years.  Our application for permanent residency has been with Immigration Canada for two and a half years.  Being in limbo for so long had caused us to go forward with our lives with unfixed plans.  (This is a very similar situation to what the congregation has faced, knowing that we will be moving from our building, but not knowing when that change will occur.)

I had intended to spend much more of fall and winter in Toronto, but the news came a month ago that our application for permanent residency had finally been approved.  As a result, we decided to redouble our efforts to put our affairs in the states in order so that we would be prepared to make the final move at the beginning of the new year.  Our goal is to back the moving truck up the first week of January and make the final move across the border.  It's been a long time coming, but we're very excited to finally be able to set roots down in the city and to spend full-time with the congregation.

— John Hamer