St. Paul’s Church in Niagara Falls hosts 81 teens from Winnipeg
This summer brought some real joy to the members of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Niagara Falls, when a bus-load of 81 delightful teens and their leaders from Winnipeg camped in St. Paul’s church hall. The young people were on a summer trip that was to take them to Niagara Falls, Sioux St. Marie, and a youth rally in Thunder Bay. They slept for two nights in the church, and enjoyed nutritious meals lovingly prepared by church members.
It is impossible to describe the good feelings that emanated from both church members and young people. The youths were energetic, respectful, gracious, and oh so polite! The church people of St. Paul’s were thrilled and beaming over having their space filled again with youthful laughter! A good time was had by all.
A little side story comes with this one. To her great surprise, St. Paul’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Doreen McFarlane discovered there were, in attendance, not only eight young people but also their pastor, Rev. Mike Kurtz; all from First Lutheran Church on Victor Street in Winnipeg; the very church where Doreen was baptized in 1946! Yes, First Lutheran was her very first church home. Not only did they have this in common, but Pastor Kurtz and Pastor Doreen also discovered they shared a deep interest in the history and even the languages of the Middle East. (Doreen is a Hebrew and Aramaic scholar and Mike an Arabic scholar!) It was agreed to by the group that Doreen will visit Winnipeg next October for the 140th anniversary of their beloved First Lutheran Church.
The Winnipeg young people expressed that they were impressed by the generosity of St. Paul’s to be willing to host and prepare meals for their large group because, as they said, many larger congregations would not be quick to take on such a daunting project.
The message from all this is twofold. First, if you are a smaller congregation, fear not in taking on a project that may seem a bit beyond your scope. Miracles can be accomplished. And, second, if you are willing to do so, do not be surprised how magnificently God will work in the midst of it all. The members of St. Paul’s will tell you, the presence of these young people was a gift beyond measure.
Submitted by Rev Doreen McFarlane