A Chanukah Grace

Early in the year a woman named Sonita made an appointment to visit our church in order to see our most recent stained glass window known as ‘The Creation Window – Let There Be Light.’  She was drawn to the window as it had been donated by a dear friend.  However, she also had a great knowledge and appreciation of stained glass and a heart open to the window’s theme.

We were somewhat taken aback a few months later when this same woman contacted us again wanting to offer a meaningful gift to our church in honour of the friendship and support given by the donor of the window to her late husband.  I was on medical leave during this time, but after conversations with Dale Rose and Ralph Neal, she decided to honour us and the particular member of our community with the gift of a new Communion Chalice.   

At Yorkminster Park we have been deeply moved by the offering of this gift, not only because the Sacrament of Communion is such an important part of our life and liturgy, but also because the one who gave it does not identify as a Christian.  The beautiful chalice was gifted to us by a devout member of a Jewish congregation, a congregation which also happens to be part of our Neighbourhood Interfaith Group.  One friend described the gift as a mitzvah.  To us it is also a grace.     

Neither by design nor coincidence the gift happened to arrive in my office on December 10th, the first day of Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.  This kind and meaningful gesture from a Jewish neighbour has reminded us in this time of darkness that we are all called to participate in God’s new creation by letting our light shine.  I pray this gift will forever speak to our church family of what it means to love God and one’s neighbour as oneself, and that it will inspire us to deeds of kindness and generosity. 

At our Christmas Day Communion service the chalice will be dedicated to the glory of God and with thanksgiving for the friendship of Rick Howson, and used in that same service for the Communion. 

And so to Sonita and all our Jewish friends and neighbours we wish you a Happy Chanukah and we thank you for letting the light of your faith and love shine in our community and world.