I find my way to an aisle seat for a good view of the platform, and I plop my camera bag on the next chair. I search the familiar faces, nod and smile, and commence photographing the faithful congregation of Stoney Creek Community Church. I'd done this same thing before, in celebration of their twentieth, and here I am again, rejoicing alongside of my childhood friend, at her little church.
It all began with just four of them, Pastor and Mrs. Clarke, my friend and her sister. They left a prestigious life behind to embrace the call to the ministry in another province. Many times they struggled through hardships no pastor ever wants to encounter, but here we all are at twenty-five years, praising God for His faithfulness.
I have vested interest here. You see, when I was a teenager, and times were tough, it was this couple that wrapped their arms around me in their living room and prayed over me. It was their daughter, who remained my friend over the years, us having babies together and celebrating milestones. And so, as I travel the sanctuary, focusing and clicking the shutter button, I'm capturing not only faces, but saints who have persevered and designed a welcoming place for the weary life-travellers of this city. I watch as person after person step forward to share how they've been changed here and loved--I too, am silently one of them. We know that the Lord is first and foremost in this haven.
With an ear to the pulpit, I float quietly about the room, as they had asked--an invisible historian. The congregation laughs, I see them wiping tears. I am moved. I am humbled. I love it here and they do too. One couple speaks and sings, another couple shares their thoughts, children sing and play instruments, a celebration blanket is presented, Scripture is read, stories are told, and the Pastor tells of God's goodness to him and his family. And as we boldly raise our voices in the Doxology, the unity of the body of Christ in strong in this room.
God bless you, Pastor and Mrs. Clarke and family. You reflect God's faithfulness to us. I love you.
1064. persevering Christians who don't abandon their faith through tough circumstances
1065. for those who've returned after abandoning--He's faithful to forgive and receive you back, no matter what!
1066. Virginia and Yvonne who have taught our little group so much about hearing God's voice
1067. for Yvonne's blankets
1068. a bride's excitement and tears during her shower... she's waited so long :)
1069. sisters who always give me something to think about after we've been together
1070. a vision of promise coming to fruition