By Bryce Boan on August 5, for Fr. Dean's first Sunday as St. Aidan's incumbent.
My name is Bryce Boan, and my wife, Birdie, and I have been attending St. Aidan church for a good many years. I was one of the four individuals asked to say a few words on Sunday, August 5 at St. Aidan to welcome our new minister, Rev. Dean Pinter and his family inot our parish family. My question was do we have a theme or topic to work with? But then rather tongue in cheek I said, “Or maybe I could just explain why I keep showing up here.” That resulted in a bit of a chuckle but later when I did sit down to gather together some thoughts I realized that most people are interested in what brings others to attend their church. Stay tuned; my answer may be coming.
First though I want to say a bit about our parish home, this building we call St. Aidan where we come together in worship. This church is among the oldest in the city of Moose Jaw -- in fact, over one hundred years old. It is considered to be part fo the history of the community. We are reminded of that when every so often a visitor will come in, look around and tell us that their great grandparents were married in this building or perhaps that their grandmother was baptized here. We know that Moose Jaw's history is intertwined in the very fabric of these walls.
In addition to local history, the early worshippers through their sacrifice and dedication added several things to their building, items that enhanced their worship. Some examples are the set of clarion bells in the bell tower, which ring out most Sundays and on special occasions. Our pipe organ that accompanies us as we raise our voices in worship on Sundays, and the unique baptismal font at the rear of the church all continue to enhance our worship today. Add to this the legacy of the stained glass windows that surround us. In August 2011, St. Aidan opened our doors to the community and invited the public in to see the windows first hand. But most importantly it gave St. Aidan the opportunity to explain the story that the windows tell, the story of the life of Jesus. I was privileged to be part fo that event and it was very rewarding to me as well as many of those who attended. I think that all of these things help to keep up grounded in our faith.
We know that a church built today would be very different than this building. An aging infrastructure and a myriad of stairs and halls are also a legacy left to us. As one looks around there are signs of work in progress. Renovations have been started to address the many deficiencies of an aging building. Phase one has been completed, offes and meeting rooms and much catch up maintenance work. Now our attention is directed at phase two, which will improve accessibility and provide St. Aidan with a fellowship hall on the other side of the new doors on the south church wall.
We talk about our church St. Aidan, but we know that the church is really you and me, we are the church' we are St. Aidan. We simply come together to worship as a parish family in this building. I think we are a special family, special because we are a collection of people from different parishes, different congregations, different denominations, and perhaps some without church background at all. i believe being unique in this way has made us a more welcoming parish family and this is a wonderful gift to have. When one first enters our doors and receives a warm welcome it makes it easier for them to bring their physical self back again. What takes longer is the bringing of one's heart, too. You will know that your heart has arrived when you begin to pray for those around you, in the pew behind you and beside you.
This is how I see that part of the church we call St. Aidan. This is why I love my church family and am strengthened in the knowledge that I am loved in return. this my friends is why I keep showing up.