11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. 13 When you search for me, you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. (Psalm 100:4)
Dear Woodlawn Church Family,
As I write this letter it’s still summer, but fall is just around the corner and with the fall comes cooler temperatures, fall colours in flowers and foliage, and harvest time. These are blessings indeed, and definitely something to look forward to. Come fall, our Transition ministry will be well underway, and with God’s guiding hand and prayerful discernment, we’ll be able to envision a future filled with promise and hope. May we continue to hold our Transition Team and their important work in prayer, and may we work cheerfully alongside them to make Woodlawn the best it can be in mission and ministry.
Throughout the past year, the Nova Scotia Health authorities have continued to work with the provincial government and many church leaders to bring faith communities hope and stability during the Covid-19 global pandemic. We are thankful for this. By the end of September, the majority of people in our province should be double vaccinated which will help Woodlawn to return to more normal church activities this fall. Life has been so unusual this past year and sometimes very challenging, but we have learned to cope and adapt to the shifting sands caused by this virus. God has been with us through it all, and Christ has been our firm foundation. With faith-filled lives, we’ve had the strength to persevere. What a gift! It has not been easy, but with prayer, discernment, caution, and adherence to protocols, our Woodlawn family has remained strong. We couldn’t have done this without our many lay volunteers and our Woodlawn staff. Thank you to everyone. A special thanks to Shelley, Ruth, Gus, Katie, and our newest staff member, Transition Minister Rev. Dr. Dale Skinner. The group efforts of staff and volunteers have given Woodlawn the stability needed to not only survive, but thrive. Even though Katie has had to leave Woodlawn back in late June in order to continue her education and pathway to ordination, we give thanks for her and her ministry over the past year with our youth. We will miss her but look forward to ministry with another Youth Coordinator in the future.
Many people have worked hard behind the scenes during the Covid crisis to keep Woodlawn in good shape physically, financially, and spiritually. Thank you to Ivan Richardson, our Treasurer, Joan Mikkelsen, our Envelope Steward and Records Clerk, and Bob Watt, our Council Secretary. Thanks also to our rotating Council chairs who filled in until our new Co-Chairs, Barry Zwicker and Fay Gunter, stepped in, for which we are grateful. As well, Woodlawn’s church Council, Trustees, and many, many lay people have been dedicated to keeping Woodlawn and its various ministries in good health so we could begin another church year this fall with grace and confidence. We have so much to be thankful for.
Since Covid began, we’ve tried very hard to be there for you; through prayer, pastoral telephone calls, mail, email, Zoom, Seaside FM, and on-line ministry. Our new livestreaming equipment has been an added blessing to Woodlawn’s Sunday worship time and we are thankful for the many tech savvy people involved to make this happen. Thank you to everyone who continues to look after our many and varied needs by the offering of your talents and treasure. Truly, the gifts offered through the people of Woodlawn have kept our church family alive and well, and for this, we praise God and give thanks.
God, Creator and Sustainer of life, is the giver of all good gifts and we are blessed to receive them, especially in and through the people who call Woodlawn United their church home. Thank you for being a part of the Woodlawn family. May we continue to strive to be Christ’s disciples, worshiping God, and working together to share God’s love with the world.
Blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Rev. Mary Lynne Whyte