Summer in Canada is notoriously short, so this year our faith community took a pause from sitting in someone's living room for mid-week Bible and book studies, and we went outside.
We planned regular walks around the city which included the following elements: 1) getting to know a neighbourhood and its story from someone who lives or works there, 2) praying for the local institutions and the neighbourhood's unique challenges, 3) blessing the people who live and work there, and 4) supporting a local ice cream shop with our business.
We learned about the city water supply, farmland which turned into one of the city's largest parks, the cost of private schools, and where to find one of the city's favourite fishing and canoeing spots. We blessed churches, schools, city workers, teachers, students, families, small businesses, community clubs, pilgrims, immigrants, coaches, mechanics, hospitals, bank employees, and tourists. We prayed for people struggling to find their way, people working through difficult transitions, people living with sickness and pain, people needing love and acceptance and a community around them, and people serving in positions of authority and service. We prayed for a pregnant woman close to her due date, we took care of a dog while his owner got ice cream, we oohed and aahed when we came upon places of beauty, we said hello to strangers, we repented for ignorance and bias, and we gave compliments and tips to ice cream servers.
As we walked and prayed through the different sections of our city this summer - the multi-cultural neighborhoods, the gay village, the wealthy and exclusive sections, the public parks, and the rows of houses inhabited by the working class - we learned a bit about how to be better neighbours (rejoicing with those who rejoice and weeping with those who weep). And we got a taste of the great love God has for this place we call home.
Photo: Praying for all those who come to find refreshment in Parc Lafontaine (which used to be a farm).