There is something about borders that has always fascinated me. I remember going to Carowinds and jumping over that golden line that ran the width of the park signifying the border between North Carolina and South Carolina.
It always felt that there should be something different on the other side.....
While the attention for much of the United States is now focused on the southern border there is another one, a much longer border. I now find myself north of that border. After 30 years in South Carolina, we now are residents of Nova Scotia. After 20 years as the first pastor of a new church in Charleston, SC I am now the latest in a line of pastors at Port Williams United Baptist Church which is celebrating her 150th Anniversary.
It is different on the other side!
It is different being the latest pastor.
It is different being in Canada.
As a friend described it, being an American in Canada is like returning home to find that all the furniture has been rearranged; everything in the kitchen is in a new place. It looks like home, but it feels just a bit off!
This site is about being a pastor on the border, well actually over the border. It is different here. The context is different the language is slightly different, eh. The history is different. (How often have you heard about the Marauding Americans? That is why we burned down the White House!) The religious climate is different. (Did you know the number of Baptist in the US is half the total population of Canada?)
Here the psalmist question is at the front of my mind. “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
But this is not the only strange land in which we find ourselves. Even in historic Christian countries we are living in a Post-Christian world. Sunday is now just another day. Church is no longer “required, but rather A option on Sunday. In Charleston most funerals were held at the Funeral Home and weddings on the beach or at a plantation. If churches are no longer “burying and marrying” then what do we do?
How do we do church in a virtual world? How is community formed when you know more about people on the other side of the world than you do your next door neighbor? How do you do pastoral care with a congregation that leaves church on Sunday morning telling you they are fine, only to red on Facebook on Monday that they are anxiously awaiting the results of their MRI? How do we do ministry in this new world?
This site invites you to come along as I explore all those questions. You will hear reflections of the differences living in a different country. You will hear my struggles with what it means to be church. You will hear me be as real as I dare to be.
You can also read the sermon from last Sunday, how I am seeking to “Sing the Lord’s song” in this context. You can also see some of the wonders we are discovering about our new home.
As we made this move Anita, my wife, kept saying, “This is going to be a great adventure!” I invite you to subscribe and follow along, but even more to join the conversation. What are your thoughts, reflections. Agreements are always welcomed, but even disagreements if offered with compassion!
And if you get really brave, come to Canada! We really are nice!
At least I am trying to learn!