Greetings and peace to you and yours as we journey with great expectation from Advent into the profound hope of Christmas. The annual celebration of the birth of our Saviour reminds us of the capacity that God has to do the impossible. I wish to take just a moment to encourage you to pause and consider just how good God has been to you over this past year.
Our Christmas faith rings true especially as the world both grieves and hopes for a turnaround in this global pandemic which has impacted so many lives in a variety of ways. Yet while there have been many challenges for us, as well as the entire world over the past many months, God is still good! Once again, we are reminded of the fragility of life and that we should do our best to value our loved ones around us.
As this calendar year approaches to a close, I reflect on life at St. Stephen since my service began from 1st January 2021. I am most appreciative of the welcome and support you have extended to Ancy and myself. I am excited about next year and the future of this faith community, as I see the commitment and love you have for this Church. As envisaged recently in our Vision of Hope Campaign, your combined and invaluable offerings of presence, talents and financial gifts to the health and welfare of this sacred place are both noteworthy and humbling. Thank you.
It has been wonderful to become better acquainted with many throughout the parish, while always making new efforts to meet others; and connecting with prospective members always will take some time. If, for any reason, you have been or feel disconnected from St. Stephen, I welcome hearing from you regarding how things might improve your journey here. I hope that holy relationships throughout this parish will increase and I look forward to more fellowship opportunities to gather us in small and big ways. As you are aware, several efforts are underway or being articulated to improve all aspects of our life together: pastoral care, outreach, innovative events, worship, hospitality, communication, member involvement (discipleship), and home bible study. If you would like to join any of our leadership teams/committees to extend the kingdom of God, I would be thrilled to hear from you. It also encourages us to remember that not only do we share in the story of Emmanuel (God-with-us) this Christmas season, but importantly each of us holds a significant role in the story of hope.
Your prayers and commitments will be key for our movement into a new year 2022. Ancy and I look forward to sharing this faith journey with you and your household and to seeing you very soon.
In thanksgiving for Christmas,
The Revd. Guna Vaddadi
The Rev. Dr. Gunavardhan R Vaddadi (DTh M.Div M.Eng M.Ed)
St. Stephen Anglican Church – Summerland BC
St. Barbara Anglican Church – Okanagan Falls BC