MEET REV. PETER WOODS
Big things are afoot. Have you come across the word ‘anatheism’? How about pyro-theology? The first suggests new faith in God ‘beyond the death of God’. The second is featured in a fascinating online conversation in which we burn our bridges on our way to the ‘Holy’. When I encounter these words, and the passionate discussion behind them, I am affirmed in still finding my place within that enormous and creative conversation called Christianity. A Christian Wyman poem comes to mind-
In my barrel
More of that. More faith with more questions and even more silence and space. What if we could see all things lit up by the Holy? Cinema. Novels. Music. But also love and death, economics and science, earth and sky.
Many have walked this way before us: William Blake is one of our best guides on the way.
“To see the World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour”
This doesn’t get old, and it is echoed in so much of what brings us into a sanctuary on a Sunday morning. Given all of this, I am so glad to find myself here at MacKay United Church as minister/pastor/teaching elder/resident theologian. Let me make this clear- I am on a journey alongside you. We will encounter sacred themes together as we make our way, I guarantee it.
Want to encounter the prophet Jeremiah? Listen to Bob Dylan sing “Like a Rolling Stone”. Interested in being confronted by the woman named Wisdom in Hebrew scripture: Joan Didion, Margaret Laurence, Annie Dillard. A conversation about the passion of Christ is enriched and amplified by Jose Saramago, Shusako Endo, Marilynne Robinson.
Enough for now. We are awash in tales of revelation, salvation and damnation. MacKay is a congregation where we point to the ecstatic visions and voices in our world. Along with all our limitations and peculiarities, we are entrusted to proclaim, however provisionally, heaven’s wonders and humanity’s truths resident all around us.
HISTORY OF MACKAY UNITED CHURCH
MacKay United Church of New Edinburgh has a long, fascinating history closely intertwined with the development of the nation’s capital. The MacKay name comes from one of Ottawa’s prominent citizens of the early 1800’s, Thomas McKay, a staunch Presbyterian Scotsman and stone mason. He came to Ottawa in 1826 to help Colonel John By construct the first eight locks of the Rideau Canal and when the locks were complete, bought a thousand acres of land straddling the Rideau River near its junction with the Ottawa River. Thomas McKay made many contributions to his adopted community. He built St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Ottawa in 1828 and in 1830 established the village of New Edinburgh on his property on the east side of the Rideau River. Initially, New Edinburgh residents traveled to St. Andrew’s in the centre of Ottawa for worship and the earliest record of Church activities in New Edinburgh is Thomas McKay teaching Sunday School in a hall at the corner of Alexander and Charles Streets in 1845. To learn more...
ORGANIST & MUSIC DIRECTOR
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