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
April 12, 2021
TO: Friends of Melrose
FROM: Rev. Sonia Ireson
Greetings in the name of the One who loves us and holds us dear
My friend, Sharon has lived in Village Green apartments in Stoney Creek for about 9 years and I have visited frequently. Usually, I pick her up or leave my car when we go out on our outings, but this week we decided to take a walk on the paved pathways behind the apartments. We started with the small park in front on King Street, just east of Hwy. 20. It contains a labyrinth with metal plaques spaced into the sidewalk, telling the story from a soldier’s diary about the battle that was fought on that site between the Americans and Canadians on June 6, 1813. There are a number of large artillery guns and a cenotaph which contains the bones of some who died on the site. The grounds were a cemetery and have been preserved with paved paths and bench seating. It is a piece of our history that I didn’t know existed even though I have been in Hamilton since 1958.
It got me thinking. Do you ever stop to wonder about how much slips through our awareness? A new piece of information can amaze you at how long you have been oblivious or held in the dark.
We go through this world essentially with blinders on. Because of our biases, our distractions, our concentration on the big pathways, we sometimes miss the little events that give our days meaning. The side trips during our motorcycle rides that my husband and I took were often the most joyous. Getting off the beaten path almost always afforded new cultural experiences, new learning, and a sense of connection with the past, the present, and into the future.
My mother was a lover of tramping through cemeteries, reading the names and learning the stories told on the tombstones. While I have never indulged this interest to the same extent, I, too, have found, a pleasure in recovering some of the long-forgotten stories of people who have passed on.
It is often the interruptions in our day or our journey that mean the most to us. The willingness to stop what we are doing and listen to, or play with, a child; the stranger we meet on the street who talks to us while walking their dog; a conversation with someone who travels beside us, or a chance encounter with friend or acquaintance. All have the possibility of bringing new meaning and new insight if we are willing to pause our busy lives to let them in.
The Pandemic has taken us in directions that would not have been possible within our “normal” lives. Slowing down, taking time to smell the roses seems to me to fall into the category of “abundant living” that Jesus talks about. I admit I am guilty of being an “A” type personality, driven, to accomplish, to get ahead, often missing out on some of life’s simpler pleasures. Possibly age, but certainly, the Pandemic, have changed some of my perceptions with regards to “busyness.” Striving for success and material acquisitions has a way of hiding what really matters in life and some of us learn that later than others.
Open your eyes to the wondrous world around us, the playground that God gave us to inhabit. Enjoy the sights and sounds and smells, and tastes, and touch, of what is really important in our world, before it is too late.
Enjoy the freedom that this Pandemic offers in the midst of limits and lockdowns, to live within your minds, and see the beauty that surrounds you.
Everything we do has a spiritual connotation to it. God wants us to live and love with abandon, to choose our steps wisely, to gain the best experiences that life has to offer. Enjoy the time you have. Explore, grow, and exude love. You have been given the gift of this time on earth and it is yours to spend in ways that you most cherish. Once gone, we can’t get it back but we can make it worthwhile going through.
Be strong! Stay Safe! Be of good cheer!
Together in the Service of Jesus Christ
Wishing you a Blessed Holy Week and beyond, into the time following Easter when we study the call to discipleship and the transfer of power through the Holy Spirit, which enabled the Church of Jesus Christ and God’s message of love, to be spread throughout the kingdoms of this world.
Our celebrations have been somewhat muted by the health restrictions in place. We had to forego palms, gathered singing, and shared conversation, in favour of new ways to be the church. However, nothing could diminish the redemptive action of God on that Easter Resurrection morning. We have visualized the cruelty of the Cross, the following day of mourning, and the excitement and elation of the Empty Tomb.
Our Scripture will continue to carry us through the formation of the early church and the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by a newly recharged, and rededicated group of disciples to peoples of all nations.
We, who live in the 21st century, find comfort and strengthening of faith through our reading, listening, and praying, as we strive to be followers of this God/Man who taught us to love God and love and serve one another. The walk of the Christian is not the way of the world. It offers a different take on acting justly, loving faithfully, and walking humbly, with God. Jesus Christ is Risen! Hallelujah! Christ is Risen, indeed!
- Rev. Sonia Ireson