So, as many of you know, something has been brewing up in Whistler for the past few months. A group of people have been meeting regularly, empowered by parish council and the Holy Spirit, to discern and dream together a new worshipping community of St. John the Divine in the northern part of our parish.
We have been discussing all sorts of things in these meetings, and we still have a fair bit of work to do still. However, just this past week, we settled on a name (at least for now.)
Names matter. They help shape identity, and communicate who we are, both for those on the inside and those on the outside. Let me tell you a little bit about this name.
Ironically, before I even knew I was coming to the Sea to Sky, I had to make up a church for a class at seminary. Do you know what church I invented? St. Bernard’s, Whistler (ha ha – like the mountain dogs, get it?!) It was only later, once I was here, and as the Spirit seemed to be stirring something up in Whistler, that I learned more about the person, Bernard.
St. Bernard of Montjoux lived in the 11th century. He was a priest and archdeacon with responsibility over a section of the Italian Alps. As part of his ministry, he founded two hostels in treacherous mountain passes, and gathered monastic communities to live there to offer help and hospitality to lost and weary travellers. For centuries, these praying communities, along with their faithful dogs, offered aid and sanctuary to all who needed it.
I think that this story provides a wonderful vision for what this new thing might be – a place of sanctuary for the lost, lonely and weary in Whistler. I also think that the idea that a small praying community can make a real difference in the world provides a beautiful reminder of what is possible with God’s help.
Dear friends, give thanks and celebrate with me as this project is named. Pray for this new thing that is happening in our parish – St. Bernard’s. Pray that we might grow more and more into what God is calling us to be, formed and inspired by the witness of Bernard, our brother in Christ.
Thanks be to God!