(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
January 26, 2020
Today is Community Connection Sunday. This Sunday each year, we highlight some of the many connections that exist between church and community. Church is part of the wider community. We are all part of Waterloo Region (with some wonderful people who live just a tiny bit into Wellington County).
Jesus inspired the first Christians to connect to the people, like he connected. No judgement, no condemnation, great conversation! Jesus broke all the rules of his time by going outside of his culture and religious tradition to connect with others.
Our Inclusion statement says: “God’s Love Includes Everyone.” We are all God’s children, so when one suffers, we all suffer.
Involvement in community is not optional for a church. Some churches seem to me like country clubs with dress codes and unspoken but powerful rules of who is welcome and who is not welcome there. When church doors are closed to good people seeking to explore what it means to maybe, learn more about Jesus, then we are not doing our job. We are urged by our faith to connect with people, to be a source of hope for all.
This congregation, I hope and pray, is a non-judgemental voice of compassion in this community. Connecting with our community is what we do.
I have never shared this memory before. In 1992 we had a property crisis at Knox. In the spring of 1992, we learned of a plan to develop property (city owned) on both sides of the church. Knox would have been land-locked with just four parking spots and no prospect of future expansion. The viability of our future as a congregation was in jeopardy.
I learned that there were agreements in the City of Waterloo bylaws that protected Knox’s ability to acquire future land if it ever came up for sale. I spoke with some of our senior members who were then alive, Bob Shepherd, David White and Jack Beynon. They pointed me in the right direction, and I went to city hall each day for an hour, to examine the official record.
I started reviewing minutes for 1950 and worked towards 1992. The real information was found in 1969, so I spent a lot of time looking at information. This was not wasted time. I learned that Dr. Bill Shantz had represented people in need at the council many, many times.
There was no welfare at this time. Each person in need was required to appeal directly to council for financial assistance. I kept seeing Dr. Bill Shantz’ name in the minutes. He addressed council and some of his words were recorded. Bill mentioned that the church (Knox) had already helped the family in question. Bill asked the city to help also. Bill was never turned down.
Knox ended up purchasing the land that our church building now sits on. We grow and thrive, only when we connect with the community. By God’s Grace. Always.