Dear Friends & Congregation of Briarwood
It’s hard to believe another year has gone by at Briarwood! We are a congregation on a journey and 2013 brought many joys and some challenges. First, is to remember some of the amazing people who died this last year. People with whom we worshipped. Prayed. Built relationships. Loved. Thank God for them. Let’s be inspired by their examples of faithfulness.
Second, is to give God thanks for what God has been doing in our midst. Four years ago the Presbyterian Church in Canada held the national Emmaus Conference, about changing times and healthy churches. At the same time, we as congregation supported the addition of a second worship service at the church and later, a full-time Children & Youth Director position. This last year, 2013, was the first full year of that vision; and I wish to thank everyone for their prayers, patience, good wishes and participation in it. We can celebrate together the 36 children registered in our Sunday morning faith programs. We can celebrate the 15 youth registered for Youth Group. We can celebrate the music we offer to God. We can celebrate a strong year of giving to mission and to Presbyterian World Service & Development. We can celebrate the 6 baptisms, and 23 new members to this community. We can give thanks also in 2013 for the major gift we received from a beloved (anonymous) member towards Christ’s ministry at Briarwood of $29, 000. A blessing and encouragement. At the Emmaus Conference, which provided much confidence to churches to try new things, no one ever said our work would be easy. But a look at the faces on the bulletin board by the kitchen will quickly remind us that God is using our work and patience and prayers.
Third, and finally, is to commit ourselves to prayerfulness for 2014. Before we speak, let us pray. Before we act, let us pray. Before we worship, let us pray. Recently an elder who has been at Briarwood for some time invited the Session to the sanctuary to pray before a Session meeting. We divided in three groups and spent 20 minutes giving God praise, 20 minutes giving God thanks for this church, and 20 minutes asking God for guiding and blessing. I’ve been to a lot of meetings, but that one stands out for how uplifting it was. It is almost as if even now, I still am because of it.
In everything for 2014, let us bow down, let us pray, then let us act, worship, give and serve as Christ calls us. With love, with joy, with peace and with hope for God’s future for us.
“The joy of the Lord will be our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
With thanks and best wishes,
Greg Davidson, pastor