A Moving Service in the Chapel at Morrow Park

On Monday, February 11, the Sisters of St. Joseph invited the Tyndale community to join them in the chapel at Morrow Park for a symbolic “passing of the keys” service.  Tyndale is set to officially receive the keys to the Morrow Park campus on April 1, but the Sisters wanted to set aside some time for the two communities to worship together, share a bit of the respective histories, and bless one another in future endeavours.

Morrow Park is a really special property, and the chapel is truly stunning.

The service was a great idea, and I think it shows how much the sisters care about Morrow Park – and about its future use.  For them, this beautiful place is not just a building, but a home and a place of spiritual nurture and refreshment.   I really got the sense that, although they are definitely sad to be leaving, the Sisters feel a certain comfort in knowing that their former home is going to continue to be used as a centre for teaching and equipping servants for the church.

After an opening hymn and a  welcome from Sr Thérèse Meunier, Sr Margaret Myatt and Prof Donald Goertz shared a bit about the histories of each community.  The sisters have given themselves over to the service of God and their neighbours in an amazing variety of ways over the decades, and a quick glance at their website today will tell you that they continue to be active in the Toronto area in education, social services, and the arts, among other things.

After intercessory prayer by Sr Sue Mosteller and Regine Leugn, each community presented the other with a gift – a board from the Sisters that recounts some of their history, and an original piece of art from Tyndale.

Then came the most memorable part of the service.  All of the sisters present for the service stood in their places and sang a blessing to the Tyndale community, raising their hands towards us.  The words were:

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you
We bless you in the name of the Lord
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you
We bless you in the name of the Lord

After that, a small group from Tyndale sang this blessing, based on the priestly blessing in Numbers 6. All of us stood in our place and raised our hands towards the Sisters, scattered throughout the chapel.

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord make His face shine upon you
And give you peace forever
The Lord be gracious to you
The Lord turn His face towards you
And give you peace forever

I noticed several Sisters wiping tears from their eyes during this song, and in that moment I really felt for them.  It must be rather difficult for them to leave this place behind after 52 years.

Following the service we were all invited to the dining hall for refreshments, and it gave us a chance to talk with some of the Sisters.  They are moving to a new home at Broadview and O’Connor, not too far from where I live now.

At the end of the day, I was struck by the way in which the Sisters are approaching the transition: thoughtfully, reflectively, and prayerfully.  This is clearly more than a real estate transaction for them.  I am thankful for their generous spirit and their willingness to strengthen the connections between their community and ours.

You can see Tyndale’s official write-up about the service here.

Wesley Ministry Conference with Leonard Sweet: Rediscovering Transformational Discipleship, April 29

Ministry Conference posterLast week I posted about Tyndale’s upcoming Wesley Studies Symposium.   The Wesley Studies Committee has also been hard at work planning an event aimed at a broader audience of church leaders.  This will be the second time they have hosted a “Wesley Ministry Conference,” the first one featuring  Timothy Tennent in 2009.

This year’s ministry conference will take place on Monday April 29 here at Tyndale, and features prominent author Leonard Sweet.  Sweet is currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, in Madison, NJ, and is known as a creative thinker and exceptional communicator.  The theme for the day is “Rediscovering Transformational Discipleship,” and it will also feature workshop style presentations from some experienced practitioners: Matt Eckert, and Luc and Rosetta Del Monte.

The cost is $45, and registration is available here.

Please spread the word about this important event – we are blessed to have secured Leonard Sweet as our speaker, and I’m sure it will be a fruitful day of engagement with the challenges of discipleship in today’s context.

The night before the conference, a public worship service dubbed “An Evening in the Spirit of Wesley” will be taking place at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto (7PM).   This service will also feature Leonard Sweet, along with The Salvation Army North York Temple Band and organist Rachel Mahon.

Hopefully many of you will be able to make one or both of these events!