The Reverend Dr Ellen Redcliffe is the new pastor at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church in south-west Scarborough. Photo: submitted.
By Tricia Reid
In times like these, when we are tested by global pandemics, divisive politics and simply trying to protect our families, it is difficult to maintain connections with each other and with the world. It’s easy to feel alone, helpless, angry. And many of us crave certainty, hunger for justice or purpose.
I know as a member of Birchcliff Bluffs United Church that it has been so for me, for us as a congregation. For us as a congregation that has deep commitments to grassroots community support programs through deep connection to bring love and acceptance into the world in a real and tangible way.
And that has been difficult to do during this pandemic. Hard to stay connected and hard to feed the soul with things that matter. It left us hungry and thirsty for…??
And so it was that we welcomed the Reverend Dr. Ellen Redcliffe into our church and our community – with a deep hunger and thirst for certainty, for comfort, for…??
Reverend Ellen has always lived her life in service to others, whether serving her family or supporting her husband’s ministry or ministering in his community. (Ellen was married to the Reverend Dr Gary Redcliffe for many years).
After her family grew, she herself went back to school, studied hard, and entered the ministry to continue serving her community and her church. Even in retirement, she continues to seek ways to connect people in spirit.
But when you ask him, “What should we call you?”, there’s no insistence on using titles or status. “Oh, call me Ellen”. Humble server.
And right away she could see the hunger and thirst in our congregation. The fear of not being able to continue the work we have started, the worry of losing the connection with each other and the questioning, always the questioning… are we doing the right thing? Are we going in the right direction? How can we help? Where are we best used to make a difference?
We didn’t get any answers. Instead, Ellen asked us to:
Feel the hunger inside. Don’t disguise it. Don’t ignore it. Let it rise and make you restless.
Because then you can act in the world and in your community and for your community. Only then will we know where we can best make a difference.
Consider these thoughts today. And if you want to learn more about your spirituality, your action in the world, your connection to others and to spirit, there is always a welcome invitation for you at Birchcliff Bluffs United.
Everyone is welcome at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church. We love online Sunday mornings – check out BBUC.ca for more info. We are an affirmation church and support our community programs that serve 2SLGBTQ youth (Toby’s Place) and seniors (Dorothy’s Place). Bluffs Food Bank is another community program of our church that has been fighting food insecurity and hunger for over 18 years in Scarborough.
For more information, please visit https://www.bbuc.ca/