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?


Nancy said...

We were one of those families who for the first Sunday in many did not attend church yesterday, but took to the ski slopes. Our daughter has been teaching skiing for the last 4 weeks and we kept saying we would get out as a family. I was able to join her on Saturday but not my husband as he was dealing with church business (only day all trustees could make it to the bank together). Being a federal employee, my husband does not get Monday off (family day is provincial)... so, Sunday was our day. Our extended family told us that many of our church family asked after us, (we are so regular), which was a nice feeling, however we enjoyed being in God's playground as a family. The face of families has been changing for many years, and I like how at our church we have figured out a way to encourage life together no matter what shape or form. Enjoy your family!

Laura said...

I was one asking of your whereabouts were all missed but a lovely chance to be our in the sunshine together.
I was thinking how even within families, 'family" changes...we enjoyed having my bachelor brother with us this weekend, and he enjoys always being welcomed back by our church family.
Our youngest families took to the road, and offered worship at one of our longterm care facilities on Sunday afternoon. I was touched that our Junior Choir families fit this into family day weekend. And I did notice more family around the nursing home this weekend
visiting...and so it should be.
There is no doubt in this busy world..."family" needs to be intentional.

colinm said...

Performing inlocal amateur theatre combined with family weekend creates massive confusion and altered priorities. We did not make Sunday service due to a late curtain call and post performance gathering and then a very early wake-up from the grandchildren-"the sun's awake".

I think this is part of a new renewall in the church. How do we take an extra holiday into account? Flexibility in times and days may be the answer. I don't think God decreed tha "Sunday"was the day.