Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sunday of Family Day Weekend
Ontario now has a Family Day in February, following the lead of other provinces across the country. For several of those provinces it was last Monday, but the three-day-weekend is this one in Ontario. Since its institution I've notice that this means a drop in church attendance with the young family demographic! Long weekends are like that in many congregations still fortunate enough to have growing families. With all the pressures of daily life it is good to get away, sometimes to visit with extended family.
This weekend one of my wife Ruth's sisters is with us. Ruth has ten siblings: four from her biological family, five from the blended family, and her half-sister Mary. One of the step-sisters was her best friend before they became siblings. We also have the youngest of our three children, Emily, with us, along with her partner Patty. They will soon be moving to Toronto from Kingston where he will begin a job with Toronto Hydro.
They will be in worship with our relatively new extended family of the Bridge St. congregation. And I received an email this weekend from a family in my former St. Paul's congregation wondering if I would be leading the service here. I may see them this morning.
More and more we are aware that families take different shapes and sizes and we can't assume that the template of another era will be imposed on family life. That applies to congregations as well, which once anticipated that a family would be mom and dad and a couple of kids. It seems that that the churches which are doing well figure out a way to uphold and encourage life together with God at the core, but with enough flexibility and Christian grace to make it all work.
I hope that this is a restorative and enjoyable Family Day weekend for all of you. And remember that our "family" extends to all of creation. This is the Backyard Bird Count weekend, so keep an eye out for your avian relatives!
Any thoughts about the changing face of the family, including in the Christian community?