Friday, August 5, 2011

Four weeks in Saskatchewan

Email sent on August 3rd . . .
Dear friends,

Yesterday marked four weeks to the day since I crossed over the Montana-Saskatchewan border and began life here in Coronach. I am using the excuse of that marker and the fact that a profile and picture of me from the local newspaper are now available online to send you all this update. I also want to give people my new coordinates. While email remains the easiest way to get in touch with me, my phone number is now 306-267-4410 and my mailing address is PO Box 522, Coronach, SK, S0H 0Z0.

I am mostly settled in and I have enjoyed the experience so far. The first four Sunday services went well, I think, though the gatherings are small and I have yet to fully adjust to three services per Sunday. I've learned how to clean the air filter on the lawn mower and use the built-in lawn sprinklers; I'm enjoying the central vacuum and air conditioning systems; AMC is re-running Seasons 1-4 of Mad Men on Sunday mornings, so I'm going to have to learn how to use my PVR; the countryside continues to be lush and ever-changing; and I have adopted a 25-minute circular walk that takes me out into the prairie and then back into town, which I try to take twice a day. And just like Lake Ontario in the Beach, the prairie seems ever-changing and beautiful.

My chiropractor -- just a hop, skip and jump away in Assiniboia; well, one hour's drive by car, but who's counting? -- thought that the pain that I had developed in my shoulder blade was a pinched nerve in my neck. But since the pain has now disappeared, I am going to say it was just the stress of all the changes of the past few months.

I have glanced through 35 years of annual reports of the charge (!), and they chart the decline of the church pretty clearly. It is not just the UCC, of course; I am now the only paid minister in Coronach, which feels a little funny to me. There are other churches (Lutheran, Missionary Alliance, Catholic, and Anglican), but they all now persevere with lay leadership, or are closed (Anglican), or have a visiting leader (a Catholic priest, from Rockglen). Lucky for me, the people who worship at the three points I serve have welcomed me, and I am enjoying getting to know them.

As an incentive to visit my sermon/notes blog, I just posted there a picture of an awesome thundercloud that I passed yesterday while returning from Weyburn. The photo was taken about a 20 minute-drive north of here. 

Yesterday, I visited my colleague and fellow Kingston Road United alumni, Rev. Cordelia Karpenko, in Weyburn, which is just under two-hours drive from Coronach. She has been co-minister at Grace United there for two years now. She seemed very well and I enjoyed catching up with her. I envy Cordelia her city (11,000 people! A Walmart and Canadian Tire!) and her mere 60-minute drive to Regina. But I prefer the spectacular rolling hills of Borderlands to the pancake flatness of Weyburn and area.

I hope this note finds everyone well.

Cheers, Ian

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