Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Rev. James B. Pratt Christmas Letter - 2013

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy. 

Isaiah 9:2-3a

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Christmas is a celebration of the light of God coming into a world darkened by sin and despair. The child Jesus brings hope and joy, the promise of a new relationship with God.

As the people of God, we are called to be children of the light, living our lives in the fullness of that light, and sharing the light with others.

In the past two months, we at St. Philip’s have done much to share the light of God with others. We sent over 167 Christmas shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child (this year they went to Central America and West Africa). We delivered a carload of coats, boots and clothing to St. Michael’s Mission. We sent another carload of stuffed animals, toys and other Christmas gifts to Mile End Mission. We helped the NDG Food Depot collect, sort and pack several tonnes of food, and offered our space to sort and store the food. Earlier in the year, our Lenten collection provided over $1400 for Operation Eyesight Universal. We have been able to offer the use of our hall at reduced cost for a couple community fundraisers for worthy causes, such as the Steven Lewis AIDS Foundation, and we now host three 12-step recovery groups.

Through all these outreach efforts, we are making a difference in the lives of people in our community, in the wider Montreal community, and around the world. We are sharing hope.

Doing this is not without challenges. We are already making good use of our most valuable asset, our members. But we need to look seriously at our second most valuable asset, our real estate, and discern how we can better use it to further our mission, both now and into the next generation. We need to be able to devote more of our financial resources to mission, including mission to ourselves by funding ministry to the young families with children who are moving into the neighbourhood.

This Christmastide, let us give thanks for the light of God which shines so brightly among us, and shines through us into the world. Let us seek to continue to spread the hope, joy and love which Christ brings.

May you have joy abounding this Christmas.

The Rev. James B. Pratt

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