The Rev. Mike Mugford offers this Moment for Mission which he wrote for the Kingston Pastoral Charge inviting a pledge to the Maritime Conference Archives Fundraising Project. He offered to share it as a ‘good idea’ with the rest of the conference.
Moment for Mission
“Why on earth would we spend $3 million building a new Archives and Conference Centre when churches all over the place are without ministers, struggling to meet local expenses or even worse, closing their doors for good?!”
It’s a fair question that deserves a response. In the short view, it might not have been the best time to undertake this project, I believe it would have been better to do it 25 years ago when the Annual Meeting of Maritime Conference was told that the Archives was very close to being full. I believe that it might have been best to undertake this project prior to moving the Archives from the Atlantic School of Theology to the Conference Office building on York Street because the space was full. I believe that it would have been better to undertake this project when the Archives filled the space on York Street and some archival material needed to be temporarily store at Trinity-St. Stephen in Amherst. I agree, now was not the best time to be building a new Archives, but we needed it 25 years ago and we need it even more now.
We could liken it to the situation in the reading for today from Jeremiah 32:1-15. Jeremiah is in prison awaiting a certain death, when God’s Spirit speaks to him and tells him to buy a property in his home town because the right of succession is his. Can you imagine Jeremiah’s response, “I am about to DIE and God is telling me to buy a property?!?” But in faith Jeremiah does it, with all of the rites and rituals of transfer required at the time. He even goes so far as to put the deed in a clay jar in order to preserve it for future times.
This act of faith does not spare the Israelites from being captured and taken to Babylon. But it does ensure that when they return, there will be a record of where they have been and how they lived. The clay jar provides a snapshot of what was. Much like our Archives provides many snapshots of who we used to be. When we go into God’s future, regardless of what the United Church of Canada and the Maritime Conference looks like, through our Archives future generations will get a glimpse of who we were and how our faith informed our lives and the world around us.
Please consider making a pledge to the Maritime Conference Archives and Offices building project.