United Church of Canada

Aylesford Pastoral Charge

 

AYLESFORD PASTORAL CHARGE

 

 

Aylesford United Church

PO Box 180, 2414 Highway 1,

Aylesford, N.S.  B0P 1C0

aylesfordunitedchurch@gmail.com

902-847-9624

 

 

 

 

Dear Friends in Christ:

A ministry colleague of my vintage who is safely retired remarked, “I hear you’re making pancakes at Aylesford now.”  There was, I think, a note of condescension in his voice, as if this were a poor way to conclude a ministry career.

 

Actually, I am quite happy to be making pancakes at Aylesford or helping out in whatever way I can.  The monthly pancake breakfasts are times of good food, good fellowship and good fun.  They bring the congregation and the community together.  The fact that they raise several thousand dollars each year to help meet our annual budget doesn’t hurt either.

 

In many respects, the pancake breakfasts represent the willing spirit that keeps this congregation going.  Everyone pitches in.  Everyone contributes what he/she can and the job gets done.  It may not be fancy but it works.

 

These days many churches are struggling to keep their doors open and Aylesford United is by no means immune to the challenges of this age.  Our community is aging and we are affected by the phenomenon of rural depopulation.  Why are there so few young people?  Because most of them have to go elsewhere to find employment.

 

That, of course, is not the whole story.  The cultural climate is not exactly hospitable to faith or to any kind of community involvement. People are mistrustful of institutions in general and the church in particular.  There is no easy way to argue with this mindset or to push back against its effects.

 

Nonetheless, all things considered, I think we are doing quite well here at AUC.  What encourages me most is that the congregation, in spite of the energy and resources required to keep the doors open, has become involved in

a number of outreach projects.  There is the on-going work of  Days for Girls which helps make it possible for girls in Africa to avoid missing school due to lack of sanitary supplies. This year we began supporting the Canadian Food Grains Bank and in co-operation with Kingston United Church our production of “Scrooge’s Tale” raised more than $2600 for the Berwick and Kingston Food Banks.   There is also the monthly support for the Food Bank and the continuing loyalty to the Mission and Service Fund.  Not bad at all for a small congregation.

 

Last fall I accepted a request from Valley Restorative Justice to work with a youth who needed to do fifty hours of community service.  It took him quite awhile to complete his service with us but he elected to stay here rather than

go where he could finish his hours quickly because everyone treated him so well and he enjoyed his work so much.  I think that is a rather eloquent testimony to the character of this faith community.

 

Other reports will tell of the building maintenance projects but I really must mention the acquisition of a new-to-us Allen digital organ.  Thanks to the work of Sarah Keddy and the organ committee and bequests and donations from the congregation, this fine instrument is now in place will provide music for many years to come.

 

I should also tell you that 2018 will be the last year of our current governing structure in the United Church of Canada.   Beginning January 1, 2019, Aylesford Pastoral Charge will no longer be part of Valley Presbytery and Maritime Conference.   We will be part of the new region of Nova Scotia.  What exactly that means is not yet clear.  We are in uncharted territory here.  

 

What is pretty clear is that United Church congregations/pastoral charges

will have to begin finding ways to work together in the absence of Presbytery supervision.  We have already seen an example of this in our collaboration with Kingston on “Scrooge’s Tale.”  Neither congregation could have done this alone

but together we were pretty impressive.  We need to seek more opportunities to

work with Kingston, Berwick and Middleton-the pastoral charges nearest to us.

 

I want to close by thanking everyone for your support and caring during this past year.  I will name a few: Sarah Keddy and the Choir, Tom Skinner, Clerk of Session, Sue Skinner, Treasurer, Jim Franey, Chair of Trustees and custodian,

Hazel Franey, Chair of Session, Shirley Thompson, Official Board Chair, Kirk MacLennan, Chair of Stewards,  Gladys Hitch, Marilyn Butt, Jane Moses and Tom Skinner (again), Sunday School teachers.  Those named represent all of you

who make the ministry of AUC possible.

 

We can’t know what the future will bring and we shouldn’t waste energy being negative about our prospects.  We are responsible for being the church in our time and place.  Let us do that to the very best of our ability

and leave the rest in God’s hands.  

 

May God bless you all.

 

 

(Rev.) John Moses