In April, our parish executive received some unexpected news: an Orthodox Christian foundation which had generously supported our mission work would not be continuing their sponsorship for 2018. They were undertaking some new, more ambitious (and indeed, more generous) work for the Church, and resources did not allow them to support both areas of ministry.
For us, this news came as a shock. Not only had our Hamilton parish appreciated the help of this foundation, it had allowed us enough stability to undertake the ambitious mission work of purchasing and renovating St. George's in Brantford. It had helped support a visiting priest, as well as helped equip the new altar for services.
Yet the surprise of this news reminded us of other events: the unexpected nature of our own first church building; and also, the surprise arrival two years ago of a church in Brantford - a second mission which we weren't looking for. None of this had been planned for, or budgeted, yet it had all happened, and it was all sustained, despite our apparent human inability to make it work.
Faith in God means depending on Him at times when there is nothing humanly possible to do to help ourselves. In some cases, it takes unexpected events like these to reveal to us the reality that our plans are usually built on sand, and that God holds everything in His hands.
To suggest our parish leadership is not wondering how we will navigate the road ahead would be incorrect - we do wonder, and sometimes, we worry. Yet one hopeful sign of strengthening faith is an absence of panic and trust in God's immense power, and love for us.
A Greek grandmother once told me, "Prayer is a nuclear bomb!" - she had learned from experience how to trust God. We are now beginning to learn this, too, and remain confident that in the months remaining in 2018, we too will know such spiritual "nuclear bombs", in numerous and unexpected ways.