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Whenever I speak to my neighbours we have a good grumble about the weather. She is an excellent gardener and we say it is too hot, or there is not enough rain but still each year her garden is a joy to behold. The other thing we moan about is the Canucks. Year after year we say how bad the team is or the coach or both. This year however, there are no words. Yes there are 60 plus games to go, yes we haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup finals, but this season to date has been a joy to behold. No wonder poor Bo Horvat was tearful when he was in Vancouver last week. Such a great and faithful captain traded just before the going gets better. The Canucks even managed to have Harry drop the puck, following his grandmother, who did so 20 years ago.

It all got me thinking about the Christian life. Paul encourages those who follow Christ never to give up hope. There is no doubt that being an Anglican has its moments. It sometimes seems our resources are stretched in terms of people and finances. It is so easy to get hung up on the challenges and overlook all that is good, beautiful and true. In a world that seems in constant crisis, we have a place to come together to pray. In a world where many are isolated we provide a place of community. In a world that has many people in need we can support the local Food Bank or PWRDF. In a world where our neighbours rely on the support of others we can be a place of refuge.

Each and every day our parishes and worshipping communities touch hundreds of lives. Many of those people may never enter the building, but as Archbishop William Temple said: ‘The Church is the only institution that exists primarily, for the benefit of those who are not its members.’

As we proclaim Christ we aim to speak out on issues of justice, peace and equality. As we proclaim Christ we visit those in hospital and those who mourn. As we proclaim Christ we provide a place of welcome and refuge, not to escape the world but to help us all live in the world and make a difference.

Our churches are far from perfect, what do we expect, we are made up of fallible human beings. We don’t always agree, we don’t always get along but we all know how much are lives, and the lives of those touched by the church, would be if we ceased to exist.

My poor wife has to endure a lot of hockey but at least this year most of it has been worth watching. The great form may not last, but at least the first 20 games have been special. I hope to goodness I don’t have to complain to my neighbours again about the Vancouver Canucks.

In the meantime we have the church, to be a source of light and life in our troubled world. May we continue to build it, support it and dedicate our time, gifts and resources to see it thrive. For we make a difference in people’s lives, and our own lives are transformed by following the way of Christ.


June 15, 2011: Vancouver Canucks fans wave the flag of their hockey team in downtown Vancouver awaiting the start of the game. A large crowd of people gathered to watch the game on an outdoor TV screen. Even the tourist bus in the background carries the slogan: Go Canucks Go!