We received a letter last week from Beth Downey, who is currently away on the Outtatown program of Canadian Mennonite University. Part of the letter was framed for the whole of the saint benedict’s table community, so it just made sense to share it here.
came to saint ben’s two summers ago, unaware that I was on the doorstep of a growth spurt that would feel more like a genuine faith crisis. In the fourteen or so months since then, my perception of God has not so much changed as come round full circle, having deepened beyond communication. The short version is my paradigms got blasted to bits, shaken through a sieve of tough questions—none too gently, I might add—and rebuilt into a richer, though somewhat less defined belief. All this came after a New Year’s resolution which essentially said to God, “Hit me with your best shot.” Although I’ve settled into a very peace-filled desire for this inner reformation to go on indefinitely, it is with great trepidation that I recommend such a course of action to anyone else.
All that said, I owe you all my very deepest gratitude. You accepted Scott and me, as a couple and as individuals, at a time when we needed it the most. I owe the Krushels and Mr. Campbell—sorry… Larry—my particular, heart-felt thanks for this. You have no idea how much your simple acts of love meant to me in dark times. As a congregation, you demonstrate a vital familial love for one another, the likes of which I’ve not seen in another church. I walk into service on Sundays and instantly feel like I’m among kin; I feel safe, cared for, home. Your collective pursuit of a living, relevant, authentic relationship with God, your devotion to practical service, taught me in a time when I was sure of almost nothing of what life with God looks like.
So thank you. As I continue my time here with Outtatown I look fondly toward December when I will worship with you again. God willing, I’ll remember to say “Happy Advent,” lest Jamie chastise me for a premature “Merry Christmas!”
Beth concludes her message by directing us to Romans 15:5-6: “May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”