In Times Like These…

February 22, 2022

By Tricia Reid

In times like these, when we are being tested by things like global pandemics, divisive politics and just trying to keep our families safe, it is hard to maintain connections to each other and the world. It is easy to feel alone, helpless, angry. And many of us thirst for certainty, hunger for justice or purpose. 

 I know, as a member of Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, it has been that way for me, for us as a congregation. For us as a congregation that has deep commitments to grass roots community support programs through a deep connection to bringing love and acceptance into the world in a real and tangible way.

 And that has been hard during this pandemic. Hard to remain connected and hard to feed the soul with things that matter. It has left us hungry and thirsty for…??

 And this is how we welcomed Reverend Dr. Ellen Redcliffe to our church and our community – with a deep hunger and thirst for certainty, for reassurance, for …??

 Reverend Ellen has always lived her life in the service of others, whether in the service of her family or in support of her husband’s ministry or practising pastoral care in her community. (Ellen was married to Rev. Dr. Gary Redcliffe for many years). And, once her family was grown, she herself went back to school, studied hard and went into ministry to continue to serve her community and her church. Even in retirement, she continues to seek out ways to connect people to the spirit. But when you ask her, “How should we address you?”, there is no insistence on using titles or status. “Oh, call me Ellen”. Humble servant. 

 And right away, she could see the hunger and the thirst in our congregation. The fear that we wouldn’t be able to continue the work that we started, the concern that we were losing connection to each other and the questioning, always questioning…are we doing the right thing? Are we going in the right direction? How can we help? Where are we best used to make a difference?

 We didn’t get answers. Instead Ellen asked us to:

  1. Feel the hunger inside
  2. Don’t disguise it
  3. Don’t ignore it 
  4. Let it rise and make you restlessBecause then you can take action in the world and in your community and for your community. Only then will we know where we can best make a difference.

Consider these thoughts today. And if you are interested in exploring more about your spirituality, action in the world, connection to others and the spirit, there is always a welcome invitation for you at Birchcliff Bluffs United. 

 Everyone is welcome at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church. We are worshipping Sunday mornings online – check out for information. We are an affirming church and support our community programs that serve 2SLGBTQ youth (Toby’s Place) and seniors (Dorothy’s Place).  Bluffs Food Bank is another community program in our church that fights food insecurity and hunger for over 18 years in Scarborough.  

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