It’s 29C in Edmonton. The temperatures are expected to drop suddenly. A rainstorm is in the forecast, followed by a windstorm. We had a late spring, and now we’re having an early deluge. It’s unusual, but not unheard of. It does mean that I have to climb onto the roof and clean the eaves before the storm hits (which is why this is a short blog). The truth is, I didn’t have to wait this long to do it, but meh, it’s the eaves…what could go wrong, other than sheets of water running down the walls?
Synod has had mucky eaves since 2015. Synod’s largest district declared bankruptcy and 60 church leaders, including the synod president, a sitting and former district president are facing lawsuits. Throughout the crisis leadership have been reticent to act. In spite of the apparent calm, our Synod is roiling with raw hurt and anger.
Our Synod’s habit is not to take action – I mean, you can’t screw up if you don’t do anything. It’s airtight logic, but it’s not really a workable solution. So, as is typical of the church in times of stress and need, someone among our ranks has sparked an initiative to relieve the spiritual and financial pressure. Our institutions and leaders won’t do it, so people of good conscience put their faith in action to help others. What a novel concept.
Rev. Michael Schutz in Penticton, BC has started the ball rolling on “The Barnabas Project.” The project website outlines four clear goals:
Encourage congregations to be intentional in taking care of those in need in their midst.
Identify people who have financial need and determine what their needs are.
Collect funds from people or others who are willing and able to donate.
Distribute the collected funds to those who have need, with an absolute bare minimum of overhead.
Synod has waited so long to address the CEF disaster that it has been blown past by a parish pastor. And that’s just a meager two-and-a-half years after the financial disaster first hit. I hope leaders in Winnipeg and elsewhere are watching: taking action without asking – that’s called leadership.
I don’t know if the Barnabas project is the right thing to do. I don’t know if it’s realistic or even possible. It may be sentimental. But, nearly two and a half years after the collapse, this is the first official action to mitigate the financial and spiritual loss.
This could be the start of a movement: LCC’s mission is its own wounded people – with intent and hope. This is what it looks like when the grass roots decide to do something.
Visit the Barnabas Project and see if you can help, because there are people among us who need it.
Website: The Barnabas Project
Andreas Schwabe is editor and publisher of SolaGratia.ca, and an Edmonton-based multimedia & communication strategist and producer. His focus for SolaGratia is on administration, governance, and issues of faith. For clients, he writes or produces just about anything.