The Spectator invited local religious leaders to submit short essays on the future of their institutions. Here is an excerpt of the letter penned by Christina Paradela, a minister who serves the congregations of Lynden and Rock Chapel United churches in Flamborough:
“While the institutional church cannot separate itself totally from the culture, we must consider numbers but that is not the lens of our preference. We have been and always will be a spiritual community of believers in Hope and in Love and in Justice. These eternal things do not die! As long as there are seekers of Peace, faith will persevere, be that the Christian faith or any other faith. The formation of these communities of faith will shift and change and that is a sign of transforming Life.
“As a member of the United Church of Canada, my faith is particularly enriched by the ministry it does in leading the pathway toward justice. This denomination has been courageous in its stance on a variety of issues ranging from seeking equality for women in ordered ministry and equality for people of all sexual orientations to many international concerns, including the internationally illegal occupation of Israel in Palestine and environmental justice.
“We have nurtured partnerships all over the world with churches and human rights organizations which challenge our perceptions, and call us to solidarity with them in the struggles that they face on a daily basis.
“These eternal quests for justice will never cease and the people of the United Church will continue to do this ministry in some way forever. A quote often attributed to St. Augustine tells me that communities of faith will never die; ‘We without God, cannot; God without us, will not.’
“No lens or crystal ball will ever tell us for sure what the future will bring to the church but I believe in the power of Love and I understand it to be eternal.”
Special to The Hamilton Spectator