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
October 25, 2021
TO: Friends of Melrose
FROM: Rev. Sonia Ireson
Greetings in the name of the One who loves us and holds us dear.
A piece that I read in the Hamilton Spectator from Thursday, October 21, written by Cheryl Fenn on self-reflection has prompted the ideas in this letter.
She makes the point that successful aging is enhanced by taking stock of where we are at, how far we have come, and by making adjustments in all aspects of our life to improve our level of wellbeing.
I find myself gravitating more and more to reviewing and analyzing each of my decisions with a view to changing behaviour that is unhelpful, and reinforcing those choices which have promoted my wellbeing. Having good friends and family that I can bounce these ideas off of can be a sobering and eye- opening experience.
If you are like me, you already know what action is best to achieve balance and harmony, but I tend to glide over what is right, for what may be more expedient or preferred. I am fortunate in having a daughter and a good friend who care enough about me to call me out on my tendency to dismiss self- care in favour of pushing myself beyond my physical and emotional limits.
Consider for a moment that you find yourself repeating behaviour and actions that do not serve you well. This could take any form of negative behaviour that prevents you from being a wholesome person – addiction to alcohol, drugs, harmful foods, overeating and over-work; neglecting spiritual practices; over-extending your physical limitations; inattention to your mental and emotional heath; or packing so many things into our days without leaving time to just be. Basically, it all comes back to balance, ensuring that each aspect of our lives fits and compliments with one another.
When our bodies get out of alignment or homeostasis, they begin to break down. The way we keep tabs on how well we are functioning as human beings is by the feedback of our own personal environments. Am I feeling happy, fulfilled, living with a sense of purpose, healthy and self-aware? When we refuse to stop and reflect when something goes wrong, we lose the ability to change our behaviour and improve our personal circumstances.
Most of our time on this earthly plane is spent in learning lessons, the majority of which occur outside the classroom, in the arena of life. The entirety of our aging involves successive periods of growth. When we allow ourselves to become stagnant, we fail to live up to our potential as human beings, created in the image of our heavenly Creator.
Ask yourself, are you living your life with joy and if the answer is no, then why not? We have been blessed so that we in turn, may bless. Our lives are intended to be filled with abundance and from that well of abundance we have a reservoir from which we can scoop out goodness for others.
Choosing to be a life-long learner and always interested in growing allows us to choose tidbits from other writers to challenge us and help us think. We should never be happy with the status quo. You won’t even be aware that you are missing anything until you reflect on who you have become.
Take stock of your gifts and your talents and share them generously, but also ensure that you are first feeding your soul.
Be strong! Stay Safe! Be of good cheer!
Together in the Service of Jesus Christ
We are to about to see God’s masterpiece at work as the trees are beginning their early preparation for their winter rest. Tiny splotches of colour are starting to occur. Temperatures are finally beginning to be more comfortable, at least for some of us, who are fall lovers.
Since I last wrote my Easter message, life has continued to be a struggle for many as the Pandemic continues its roll of up and down case numbers, however the availability of vaccinations has helped to ease the spread.
We are, along with many other businesses, educational centres, and facilities, in the process of planning a long awaited reopening. Our Reopening Commission has determined we will be back in our Sanctuary on September 12 with attendance limited to 20 plus our volunteers and staff. We will revisit these restrictions as we go along.
This part of the church year beginning with the Sunday of September 5 and running for 5 Sundays is referred to as Creation time. October will bring us into World Wide Communion on October 3 and October 10, Thanksgiving. This is a joyful time of year filled with both church and family celebrations. The extended period of downtime since March 15 of 2020 has given us mixed reviews. We have longed to resume our life pre- Pandemic, and while vaccines have moved us forward, we are not completely there yet. We cannot return to many of our beloved customs , singing, hugging, hand shaking, coffee hour, and sitting beside friends, but we can be together within safe distances. We have missed all this closeness and connection.
Although apart in physical space, we have continued to worship and join our hearts and spirits through the blessing of Internet. Our walk with God continues in faith. May you feel the peace of God as you follow along in your own daily walk.
Rev. Sonia Ireson