Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Two Phone Calls
The other morning we received phone calls from two individuals who are not part of the St. Paul's flock. I listened as our administrator, Helen, fielded a call from someone who wanted to know if we were a Protestant church and whether we had a minister. Helen explained that we are Protestant and had two ordained ministers on staff. The woman on the other end of the line explained that she wanted someone to visit her elderly mother in a nursing home -- in Oshawa. Helen suggested that perhaps calling a church in Oshawa would make more sense. With that the woman exclaimed that this was not what she wanted to hear and hung up.
Around the same time I picked up one of the phone lines because Helen was busy on the other and I ended up in conversation with a new mother who wanted information about dedication and baptism. I explained that some churches baptize infants while others dedicated little ones and then baptize as a profession of faith by teens and adults. She asked thoughtful questions along the way, as well as explaining that she was relatively new to the community. It was a pleasant chat with someone who had no sense of entitlement and certainly wasn't belligerent in the way the other caller had been. I encouraged her to check out St. Paul's on a Sunday morning and she said she would.
I'm glad I got my call and sorry that Helen got hers. It can be rather unsettling, and it is a constant challenge in this rather secular, consumer mentality era to find the ways to enter into dialogue with those who are "unchurched" to use a popular term. Demanding the services of the Christian community is hardly a good starting point and attempts at civility are often ignored.
We will continue to be as open as possible, whatever the circumstances and ask for a good measure of God's grace!