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
November 30, 2020
TO: Friends of Melrose
FROM: Rev. Sonia Ireson
Greetings in the name of the One who loves us and holds us dear
I’ve been thinking about some of the things that I am passionate about and wondering what it is about directions we take that cause us to lean into their pursuit with whole hearted zeal. Within our community of Melrose, we have individuals who are known for their strong social conscience. Any cause that seeks to better the plight of individuals who are on the margin, is fair game for them. These individuals work tirelessly to instigate enthusiasm from others and they go out of their way to step up to Jesus’ command to love one another through action. We have individuals who dedicate years of their time serving on committees and boards to ensure the smooth running of the church. They get great satisfaction out of their volunteer work and they do so often through frustrating circumstances.
What is it that appeals to one to choose cycling as their passion, and not just pursue it for their own enjoyment, but try to improve the pathways for the benefit of others? What appeal does activism hold to draw out those who would protest any injustice to human, environment or animal welfare? Why would one choose to spend their free time in knitting or crocheting prayer shawls for the benefit of those who are hurting or as a keepsake memory for baptism, moving away, or new ministry? Why does one choose to devote their life to health and fitness, and another choose academic life-long learning? I sent a copy of this to my daughter, Carolin, before sending it out and she came up with all kinds of ideas about how people choose to spend their time – golfing enthusiasts, individuals who promote a healthy environment, foster parents, people who help at animal shelters, cleanup crews on beaches, and those who save sea life from plastics and netting. The list is endless. If this shakes loose a few thoughts from you as you read this, I would love to hear what it is that brings you joy, and perhaps in the process, joy to others.
As we look around at our neighbour, in the pew beside us, or next door, or in another community, we can gain an appreciation for the diversity in God’s creation. We are all created in the image of God, yet we have very differing traits and personalities. We are spiritual beings in human bodies, yet with common desires for shared love, joyful experiences and contented lives. Somehow, we mesh together with our career and leisure choices.
There is nothing bland about the astronaut and nuclear physicist beside the custodian, the receptionist, or the entertainer. Look around, it is diversity that captures our imagination. Intelligent design created human, animal, plant and sea life. Amazingly, we are still finding new species that have never before been seen. We are cocreators in propagating new varieties of plant life, in developing new technology which expands our horizons into space, or with finding new ways to teach and reach children in the classroom. Our possibilities are endless, because we have seen the expansive model of our Creator; we have been infused with the desire to grow, to discover, to make better, and we do this through our passions.
Are you living your life with no aim or reason? If you are unsure how you can be happier and at the same time benefit human life by being here, take some quiet time, slow down and reassess. You have the capacity to evolve. You write your own story. Each of us are unique and have our own natural talents. We build our confidence by saying “I can” rather than “I can’t.” You instinctively know when it is time to change when you see yourself repeating patterns in your life that are not getting you anywhere. If you are filled with fear of failure, let it go and just do it. Sometimes it is necessary to move outside our comfort zone, to take risks in order achieve our greatest dreams. You will be at your optimum level of contentment when you have allowed your passion to guide your life.
I remember the void of passion after my husband died in June of 2002. It wasn’t just his loss that I was grieving, it was the sense that I had lost my passion for life, and fear it would never return. There is no more desolate feeling than the loss of vibrant colour that is usually present in our day to day living. It leaves us rudderless and incomplete. If you want to truly live into achieving your purpose for being here on earth, in this moment, then you need to discover your passion whatever it may be, and embrace it for all its worth. And then you need to share it, and savour it, and value it as the greatest gift from our wise Creator, who understood that our differences are what makes us part of the whole.
May you come to terms with what it is that drives you to be a better human being and what it is that brings your own personal fulfilment.
Be strong! Stay Safe! Be of good cheer!
Together in the Service of Jesus Christ
October 9, 2020
TO: Friends of Melrose
FROM: Rev. Sonia Ireson
SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MESSAGE
Greetings in the name of the One who loves us and holds us dear…I am thinking of you as we begin our preparations for our Thanksgiving weekend. This has always been an important time of family celebration, of looking back at how we have been blessed, how far we have come, how thankful we are for health, food on the table, and family and friends at our side.
Many of us will not be able to share in family dinner tables. The turkeys will be smaller this year, the laughter a little less boisterous, empty chairs sit where loved ones would normally be. It would be so easy to wring our hands and moan about what we miss, but I challenge you to step up to find something that is positive and thriving and waiting for you to explore.
The new child that graces your family this year; the addition to your family through a new wedding; food enough to share; the sunrises that you wake up to see; the memories you hold and the smiles they bring from someone who has departed all too soon; the hope that arises in new vaccines; the contacts from others like you, who falter, who worry, who fear, yet offer their support and encouragement and uplift when all seems darkest.
We are not alone. We have not been forgotten or set aside, or being punished. We are cradled in love. We are a Thanksgiving people because our great Creator God has made us so. We are fragile, yet made strong; we are empty, until refilled; we are lost, but then are found. Our God calls out to us from the very energy of our far-reaching universe, and as close as our own in-drawing breath. There is no doubt this Thanksgiving will be different for most of us. It will be lonely because someone we love is not in their usual chair; or grandchildren, or grandparents are not present; or siblings are missing, perhaps staying at college or university. Some of us will be spending it alone; some will be stretching limits, combining households hoping for the best. Whatever your choice is, may you be blessed, and safe, and appreciative of life in all its forms. May you find a way to come to terms with the limitations on your freedom, and possibly find new activities you haven’t tried before, or even learn to be still and enjoy a breath-taking moment in nature, a rise of sublime music, or a smile that lifts your spirits.
Know that your church family is thinking about you, missing you, and looking forward to the day when together, we can reclaim our worship space in joy.
Be strong! Stay safe! Be of good cheer!
Together in the Service of Jesus Christ