Once upon a time, when I was newly ordained, I was invited to a church luncheon put on by the ACW. Some of you will know what that is, but a lot of you won't have any idea. The ACW (Anglican Church Women) was a going concern at St. James' Church in Orillia. It had four "chapters" and each took a turn putting on the weekly events. The end of season luncheon was for all the chapters. I was the invited special guest who gave a 'devotion' (an inspirational talk) and said grace.
Lunch featured jellied salads. I had never seen such strange foods, but I instantly loved them. There was an orange one (made from orange Jello), with canned mandarin segments and cut up red peppers. The green one (lime Jello) had olives, green peppers and canned fruit cocktail.
My favourite was the tomato aspic - hardened tomato juice with canned shrimp in it. When I told my friends, they were horrified. Jellied salads were a time warp from the sixties. You weren't supposed to like jellied salads! You were supposed to make fun of them.
It reminds me of that time when you didn't admit you knew all the words to ABBA songs. And then the stage musical Mamma Mia changed all of that. ABBA became cool again. I'm still waiting for jellied salads to get the respect they deserve.
There was a time when it was embarrassing to admit that you are part of a church. Or maybe that time still exists? But I'm not waiting until church becomes cool again to talk about it.
Most people are friends with people who are demographically similar to them. In my church, I am part of a diverse community of people I would never otherwise meet. My church can pack a reception room with Jews and Muslims and Christians so we can enjoy talking to each other. My church has put on Gilbert & Sullivan for 53 years running. That may sound quirky, but these operattas deserve respect!
My church has hikes, monthly history lectures, and better music than a lot of concert halls. My church prays for the neighbours, whether they are religious or not. My church is sponsoring gay refugees from Iran. If only people knew how good this is.
So I talk about my church!
I'm ready for that look I used to get for admitting I like ABBA and tomato aspic. Every church congregation has its own different quirkiness, and mine is the best-kept secret that everyone should know about.
From MInistry Highlights - April 25 - May 8, 2016
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