I was born on a farm in Prince Edward Island and grew up as an only child. I moved to Hamilton, Ontario as a teenager. We married at eighteen and while raising a family my husband and I went back to school to further our education. I graduated from McMaster School of Business and family moved to Ottawa where I worked my way up in Finance in the Federal Government. The personal loss of our twenty-two year old son to a rare form of cancer brought us back to Hamilton and my journey into ministry. Thirteen years serving in the northeast end of Hamilton with Fairfield-St. David’s congregation culminated in retirement when the church was sold and passed on to Wesley Urban Ministries. Thirteen years of working in Financial Management with family trucking business followed, and the joy of training and working with three of my grandchildren. Then an unanticipated “recall” into active church ministry arose out of my daughter’s decision to study for the ministry. My work with her for preparation and study reawakened my passion for ministry and I became aware that my journey was not finished and God had more for me to do. Could my twilight years be productive? I certainly have the energy and enthusiasm. When God nudges, amazing things can happen! At the precise moment of my search, Melrose, too began their own search. Not just any church - this was “The” church I was married in, raised my children in, and from which I was a candidate to ministry. At this point in our evolution, we were delighted to find one another. I have been warmly welcomed home! Together in ministry we seek to listen to God’s word, to make Melrose presence know and relevant in our community. It is a joy to work with our dedicated and professional staff and Board. If you are curious or seeking deeper meaning in your life, come join us as we explore what it means to be in the ministry of Jesus Christ together in this challenging world.
Grace and Peace..
Rev. Sonia Ireson
July 18, 2022
TO: Friends of Melrose
FROM: Rev. Sonia Ireson
Greetings in the name of the One who loves us and holds us dear
Weeks passing swiftly, seems to be my ongoing perception with no concept of how to slow them down. At least I seem to pack a lot of living in. I wonder if it is advancing age that puts more emphasis on making the most of time left and fearing time wasted, or if we all have pockets of awareness that time passed, will not return.
I have had a number of occasions this week of remembering little things from the distant past, sometimes small and mostly insignificant things that have remained in my memory. I find it remarkable that forty or fifty years later I can still recall snippets of conversation, specifics of clothing worn, or impressions on a specific day. The mind is truly a piece of mystery. It can just as easily forget something that happened earlier this week.
My friend, Sharon and I had a wonderful day enjoying the sunshine in Port Dover with lunch at the Erie Beach Hotel where we feasted on perch. I had an evening at the theatre in Kitchener with my family where we saw the latest Marvel movie, Thor. I must say I was totally underwhelmed by the movie but impressed with the VIP theatre. The seats recline and leave lots of room for people to walk by. They are equipped with a tray and you can order food and drink from attendants on ipads which they bring to you in your seat. This was good quality food. I had an order of calamari which was as good as most restaurants. My work week involved good productive days of parishioner conversations and emails, theological writing and discussions and a mix of quiet and busyness. It is amazing how fluid and content we feel when life feels in balance and how chaotic and mystifying it can be when we are spinning out of control.
What a delight on Sunday to look out on a full chapel. Al had to bring in extra seats – the baptismal family Jessica and Scott Ellis with baby Cameron, came out in full force adding to the 17 or so of our own church parishioners. The family live in the neighbourhood and I believe I heard them say they are part of the day care. Again, we had refreshments on the patio.
Sunday’s reflection concerned the sisters, Martha and Mary and gave us a reason to look at doing versus being. They are role models for action and contemplation and give us pause to analyze how to find the balance between the two.
Jesus’ comment that Mary had the better way needs to be understood in the context of Martha’s distraction, resentment and judgment of her sister’s neglect to help in the duties of being a perfect hostess. It was not that Martha’s way was wrong, it was in how she went about it trying to draw Jesus into pronouncing judgment on Mary for her choice in favour of the need to help Martha.
So often when we read scripture in black and white, we miss some of the underlying nuances that it contains which may flavour our initial interpretation. In this case, it was not a definitive pronouncement on one way of being as preferable over the other, so much as it was the way in which the one was showcased.
A lot of the bible needs us to read between the lines and to apply context and reasoning. Carolin has just finished a course in the book of Jeremiah and she had to admit it gave her chest pains as she worked her way through some of the depiction of Jeremiah’s pronouncement of God as a violent punishing God. One of the books she was required to read in her next course on preaching was by a theologian who referenced the book of Jeremiah and said that he could do without God’s judgment. He said “if I were Jeremiah’s editor, I would be hitting the delete button a lot on this oracle.” He also says that Jeremiah makes “John the Baptist look like Shirley Temple.” However, he goes on to say that you can’t have justice without judgment. The judgment of God is that we must face the consequences of our actions. Jeremiah offers hope with the word “yet.” “The whole land will be desolation; yet I will not make a full end.”
I struggle with the concept of God’s judgment; I expect you do as well. I see God as a correcting parent but not a violent judgmental one. But even in parent/child relationships there are times when tough love is the only answer to combat a toxic situation. What comes through in the end is God’s patience, love and mercy and our need to shape up to be deserving of that unconditional love.
So, when we carry out our tasks in serving, it is best that we do not whine about the differing ways that others choose to carry out theirs. There are moments when we would do well to sit and listen, and others when it is time to get up and act.
I hope you are able to fill your time with rewarding activities and moments of rest and leisure and that you can appreciate and enjoy both.
Be strong! Stay Safe! Be of good cheer!
Together in the Service of Christ