It was not an auspicious start.
In 1986 we had moved to Ladner from Kitimat where we had attended Christ Church, in Douglas's diocese. Now we were in our new home it was time to return to church, and All Saints seemed the obvious choice. Two small children, 2 and six months. We allowed extra time for this first venture. We had no idea what to expect. Children were fed and dressed. We set off. It was a bit early, but not a lot. We arrived at All Saints. No sign of life. No lights. No people waiting. Nothing. A new family and nowhere to go.
In reality we were a somewhat clueless family. The clocks had changed. We were very early. With children who were oblivious to what was happening we returned home for an extra cup of coffee, before making a successful start at All Saints.
Before long Donald had baptised our youngest, and we had become involved in what was then a very new church building.
Since we arrived, we have enjoyed five rectors and many changes. Through the decades we have not been short of crises, some threatening a major riftBut one thing I love about All Saints is its amazing resilience. Within All Saints runs a deep faith which it has shown can endure hardships and triumphs, devastating divisions and glorious love-ins.
The choir pews give a wonderful view of all the congregation. One Sunday, when my mind should have been elsewhere I looked out over the congregation to look at those who have been at All Saints longer than we have. Not a lot, but surely these people must be a cornerstone of our success. They have demonstrated a persistence of faith upon which many of us have built.
It is a persistence of faith that now encompasses so many. It is a persistence of faith that has enabled us in recent years to build a strong vision of what we are called to be. It is a persistence of faith that is realizing that calling.
I am so grateful to all those who worshipped and have now left us, for those who over the years have taken on so many different roles, who have stepped forward when they see a need, who have given of their talents, time and resources.
As I sat in the Vestry on Sunday I was lifted up by the energy that now embraces our congregation. I pray that we will never stop listening, and never stop checking that our actions meet the goals towards which we have been called.
One more personal thanks. Thanks for being a singing congregation. To me there are so many prayers wrapped up in what we sing.
Thank You All Saints.