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Community – Connections – Hospitality

Vaughn Bender

This, our autumn edition of Life Together, is an interesting collection of ancestral reflections (both family and instrumental), stories of building linkages with youth across Canada and in Benin, West Africa (both spiritual and agricultural) and celebrating 10 years of friendship and fellowship through Small Groups (involving fun and food).

The harvest season is themed in thankfulness and it strikes that this Thanksgiving edition of Life Together has an underpinning of deep appreciation for the many ways in which community, connections and hospitality are sown, nurtured, cultivated and harvested within the gathering spaces of SJMC and in gathering places in the broader community. That thankfulness extends to the Todd and Melissa Metzger Family who have enriched the SJMC family and whom we get to know a bit more about in an interesting article. From the perspective of another family that experienced first hand the sense of community, connections and hospitality of SJMC members when we arrived on the doorstep 14 years ago… we hope Todd and Melissa Metzger and Family have sensed that same warm welcome.

The harvest season is also a time when thought and care begins in planning for the sowing and cultivation in the seasons ahead. The Benin Bible Institute’s (BBI) Agricultural Project, along with the personal stories recounted by the Rebecca Seiling and Derek Suderman family, inspire with the ways in which we can support spiritual growth along with a sustaining and catalytic agricultural development project at BBI.
Our youngest community members (and community seniors as well!) here at home have experienced community, connections and hospitality through the 2013 Vacation Bible School. That August experience is captured in photos. What a tremendous dedication of the many planners and volunteers who come together across denominations and the community and sustain this important initiative each year and for generations now. (Be sure to read the top caption on page 9.)

Connections Small Groups celebrates 10 years. Read within about the Community and Hospitality Ministry which has as its mandate to create community and nurture the fellowship, hospitality and connection opportunities through Small Groups and the many, many other activities and events of SJMC, including the opportunities for building connections and community through this newsletter.
This edition of Life Together is best enjoyed with chair tipped back, hot chocolate in hand and feet by the fireplace.

For the blessings of the field, for the stores the gardens yield,
for the joy which harvests bring, grateful praises now we sing.

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