A year in grateful review
October 4, 2015
We hope this finds you experiencing the blessings, along with the bustle, of the fall season. We want to take this opportunity to share a round-up of God’s goodness to Mosaic over the past year. God has painted bold strokes on a fresh canvas and we are amazed by the beauty of his grace to us.
Today we mark one year, just shy of Thanksgiving, since moving to our new location and embarking on a new era for our community. We have so much to be grateful for this year. Across the spectrum of Mosaic’s members – old and new faces alike – we all feel that this move has rejuvenated us in ways we would have never imagined before the year began.
The Strathcona neighbourhood feels tailor-made for our vision of becoming “a Christian community of inclusive diversity where everyone knows they belong and has opportunity to serve.” Our diverse neighbours and partners, who live and work alongside the realities of the Downtown Eastside, have shown us what it means to belong. In belonging, they engage with the needs around them – ours included – and by doing so, have welcomed and inspired us to do the same.
We want to share a few snapshots of what this welcome and engagement has looked like.
Inside and out
Since joining the incredibly unique group of Christian ministries who share the building called Strathcona Church, Mosaic has been given a seat at the table, invited to serve on Strathcona Church’s Operations Committee. Through regular meetings and ongoing collaboration with this committee, we have been able to link our work together with that of the other congregations who use the space. It has been a great source of inspiration and encouragement to us, feeling part of what God is doing in Strathcona through this hub of Christ-centred community.
Looking outward, we have also meaningfully connected with seven other area churches beyond our doors, to form a collective of similar, small churches – many with a focus on the Downtown Eastside. We hold regular joint services (held in the Strathcona Church building), alternating turns as hosts. As we are present here together, this exciting unity has widened the scope and relevance of each church to the wider community, and blessed everyone touched by it.
In the garden, in the city
This year we engaged a local missionary, who works with Servants Vancouver, to work with members of Mosaic at the Briarpatch Community Garden each week. This special place, just two blocks from Mosaic, has become a tool for community and a symbol of hope and fruitfulness in the Downtown Eastside. Gardeners gather to nurture and harvest vegetables, and have pizza parties using the ingredients grown, baking delicious meals together in the garden’s clay oven.
We also continued to cultivate our relationships with other ministries this year as a way of engaging the wider city in a celebration of National Aboriginal Day this past June. While the location changed to this year to South Vancouver, where our friends at Hummingbird Ministries hosted the event, the fertile ground was the same. Together we continued to grow in our appreciation of First Nations and Métis culture with a pow wow, dancers, drummers, art and food. Our connection with this community was renewed and new friendships took root. How blessed we were that day, to see the isolating walls of our city crack to let God’s light in, feeding unity and reconciliation.
Mosaic’s focus on the arts has also found expression this year. In May and June, we sponsored "Soul Sustainability,” an urban artist-in-residence program hosted by of the School of Poets and Prophets, in which five artists from Japan spent three days encountering the Downtown Eastside.
The poet Mary Oliver instructs us to live life this way: “Pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.” This residency gave participants an opportunity to do the communal and theological work of attending to, recognizing and communicating embodied hope and dignity in the Downtown Eastside. The event was hosted in the belief that artists are uniquely equipped to bridge cultures and differences by finding and navigating our common humanity. Rooted in having been made in the image of God, we are all agents of hope, calling us and others toward our full humanity.
As we have continued to prioritize our financial stability this year, we have been amazed by God’s constant faithfulness. While greatly reducing our expenses through the relocation, we have also seen new doors open and our needs consistently met. As we begin our second year in Strathcona, more established with deeper connections, we do so with an expectance of God’s goodness, trusting Him to bring more people to Mosaic, and more churches and individuals to partner with what we are – what Jesus is – doing here.
We also continue seeking to broaden the leadership at Mosaic. We ask that you continue to pray with us, for God to bring a lead pastor into our midst, and the means to support this position. While pursuing this important outcome, we also remain focused on empowering our members, allowing everyone an opportunity to serve. So many people in our community bless Mosaic with their talents, their time and their commitment to doing God’s work where we are.
As we begin a new year, we ask you to please join us. Join us in creating something beautiful for God, and with Him. We ask for your prayers, and also that you would consider supporting us in other ways, too, through your gifts, ideas and friendship. We would love to connect our vision with your own this year.
We welcome you to get in touch and start, or renew, a conversation with our community. Meanwhile, may His peace be on you and on all you do.
The Mosaic Community