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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—

How might we intentionally deepen and become more effective in our ministry in the days ahead? This is one of the questions that Parish Council found itself wrestling with on Wednesday afternoon during its monthly meeting. 

There are so many ways in which we can answer this question. So many ways in which we can nurture the divine spark within ourselves, one another, and this community. There are so many ways in which we can work together to steward the many gifts that God has given us. And there are many ways in which we envision our participation with God in this work. 

On Wednesday, Parish Council agreed that one of the ways in which we ought to move forward in deepening our ministry is to create two ministry circles.

These ministry circles, made up of members of the St. Stephen's and St. David's congregations, will help develop vision for and facilitate particular aspects of our common life. This proposal grew out of the desire to create more opportunities for people to participate in a variety of ministries in the church. 

We already have a group that meets together to discuss Faith Formation and Liturgy. And while we talked about a number of different areas that required attention, members of your Parish Council were energized to create these two circles to pay attention to two vital aspects of life in our parish household. 

  • Life in Community Ministry Circle
  • Buildings & Grounds Ministry Circle

You can read more about these circles further down in the email (what they do, and and how you might get involved). For now, let me say this:

On Wednesday afternoon, around the Parish Council table there was a good amount of energy and discussion about each of these areas. We know that it is important to nurture the community that is here. COVID has made some of this hard. And yet, as we continue to faithfully press on in our common life, nurturing our bond with one another is just as important as nutruting our bond with God. The Life in Community circle will pay attention to and facilitate opportunities to deepen those connections through hospitality, events, and outreach. 

We also recognise that the church buildings, rectories, and grounds in both New Denver and Castlegar are tools for ministry in our community. We have the opportunity to steward these assets through beautification and prioritizing upcoming projects to maintin the buildings and grounds. This circle will make sure that we have our eyes on what needs to be done, and offer opportunities for the wider community to participate in the work as we are able. 

On Wednesday afternoon, around the Parish Council table, there was good energy—excitement even—about these things. Looking ahead, I am very much looking forward to seeing where that energy carries us. How taking steps in tending to these aspects of our community life will also contribute to developing a wider vision for our ministry in this time and place. 

These may seem like small steps, but they are faithful steps all the same. They provide opportunities for us to come together, to share our faith, to share our lives, and to bear witness to the God of love who knits us together in unity. After two years of holding the course, it feels good and beautiful and exciting to me, to see renewed energy for our shared ministry.

I continue to be grateful for you, and for this community, that we continue to find ways to live deeply into our faith, as we seek to remain faithful to God, to one another, and the world God calls us to serve. 


Every Blessing, 

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner