Saturday November 9, Men’s Breakfast
Twenty men signed up for the rescheduled men’s breakfast at Trinity, but with guys being notoriously skittish and reluctant to commit I could guarantee thirty, and advised Bill to shop for forty. The final tally was 53, and all dined well on scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns chased with fresh fruit salad. It was loaves and fishes revisited. Vic brought along his guitar with Glenn on percussion to liven up the proceedings with gospel music, and there were the obligatory after meal jokes. Clean and corny. Brian and Carman shared briefly from the heart about the impact that joining one of the men’s LIFE groups (Learning, Inspiration, Fellowship, Education) makes in good times and when the going gets tough. Church is not just a Sunday experience. The big draw was to hear Rev Musa Daba, the recently installed South African pastor talk of his experience growing up in the apartheid torn, racially divided and violence racked country. As a twelve year old he saw his activist father (also a pastor), arrested in a violent raid on his home, and incarcerated without trial or explanation for three months. This was a time when people “disappeared”, but fortunately his dad was released, and found safety under the tutelage of Bishop Desmond Tutu. The young Musa was himself tortured by soldiers for cheap thrills “they laughed hilariously as my body jerked and convulsed when they applied the voltage”, and he bore a bitter hatred against white people. God touched him in a remarkable way, enabled him to forgive and set him on the path to priesthood. “You can imagine the irony of me speaking twenty years later to a room full of white men” he quipped. We all have a story, laced with tragedy and and joy, confusion and peace. Men left this morning well fed physically and spiritually, and with new respect for our well travelled pastor.
Thursday 19 September, Questions of Life
There is a lot of talk these days, but little deeper conversation. Alpha is a forum to skew life’s questions in a thoughtful direction. It is an unapologetic primer in the Christian faith, but starts from the premise that there are no dumb questions or opinions that cannot be voiced. It does not provide glib answers, but prompts people to listen to each other with a respectful ear, and to share experiences. “Does the Spirit world exist, what happens after you die, is there a heaven and hell” were questions voiced as guests shared their opinions. “I believe in a God, but don’t go to church”, “Why do such bad things happen in my life”, “I pray but never get an answer”, “I believe in Jesus, but don’t read the Bible”. So many questions, so much ground to cover, and this is only the first week and the topic “”who is Jesus?”. The dividing figure in human history. Man or God, or both? Tragic leader or illusionist? Great teacher or fraud? Real person or myth? The world has changed much in the two millennia since the events recorded in the Gospels occurred. The human condition has changed little, we still have rich and poor, leaders and followers, joy and sorrow, questions and where do you turn for answers? Alpha is not a quick fix with instant solutions, but a process to lead into soul questions, and enjoy some fun and a good meal at the same time. This Alpha is taking place in Sarnia, Ontario, but simultaneously many there venues across the world are hosting identical sessions. In Community halls, retirement homes, people’s homes, churches and pubs across the world. Check for one in your town and start scratching that itch.
Saturday September 7, Chilli cook off surprise winner
There was a surprise winner at the Trinity fall Fair chilli cook off, rank outsider Rev Musa Daba a recent import from New Zealand claimed the Golden Spoon, although with characteristic modesty he deferred to wife Lavidia who actually runs the kitchen in their home. The sun shone on a warm autumn day, as hundreds flocked to this annual event, which includes a bouncy castle, horse drawn wagon rides, face painting, popcorn and cotton candy in addition to the popular chilli and cookie competition. It takes over fifty volunteers to set up and run the sideshows, manage parking and keep serving hot dogs, all wearing bright red T’s donated by coordinator Shirley Petit’s son’s marketing business. In truth, everyone ended as a winner on this bright and sunny day. Children were happy, parents relaxed, volunteers busy and the bemused parent who asked where to pay was delighted to find that it was all free, a faith gift from Trinity church to the community.
Thursday Sept 5, Alpha
There is a lot of talk these days, but not so much conversation. Social media is awash with memes, memories and videos of feline amusement, but searching for answers to life’s deepest questions, keep looking. Life, death, forgiveness, brokenness, pain, sin, prayer are difficult topics that are avoided because of shame, embarrassment, ignorance or vulnerability. Is there a God? Who was Jesus Christ? Why does it matter? Everyone has questions about this tangled, complicated beautiful life we have been gifted; where it went right and where it went horribly wrong. I am no expert, I’ve had my share of heartbreaks, confusion, loss and defeats. But I have also found meaning, joy and beauty along the way. Alpha arose out of the desire in one church in England thirty years ago, to provide a way for ordinary people to search for answers in the context of Christianity. It has spread around the world, in different languages and involving millions of people and many diverse denominations. Beginning Thursday Sept 12, at 6pm at the Inn of the Good Shepherd Sarnia, Trinity will be hosting a twelve week session. The format is simple, enjoy a meal, watch a video, discuss. No pressure, nothing to sign, no fees no commitment. It is not a subtle recruitment programme, although you may want to continue in a church. Any church. It is not a cash grab, it is free, no strings. Spoiler alert, it may change the way you look at your life. Don’t take my word, check Google or You Tube. It will make a change from cat videos.
Sunday 1 Sept, Just driving by
After this morning’s service I was introduced to a couple of British visitors, who saw the Church sign and decided to stop. Yes its does happen! As a Brit, and talking the same lingo, I was happy to engage, and after the usual “where are you from” icebreaker, they lived in the shadow of the Mothership, Canterbury Cathedral, I asked what they made of the service. Now for those not familiar with church, particularly of the Anglican persuasion, Trinity Sarnia is a lively evangelical gathering with a Praise band, contemporary family centred worship and welcoming culture. Many visitors expecting a traditional service are surprised by the energy, although the liturgy (order of service) follows the rubric. In the popular (UK) press we might be scornfully regarded as the “happy clappy” crowd. “This was great” they exclaimed, “similar to our church at home. In fact this is the only style of church which is growing in England”. I was not trolling for approbation, merely curious what perfect strangers made of our church. It helped that Rev Musa preached an engaging sermon on being humble, a commodity in short supply especially amongst the political class today. They were heading over the border to Traverse City, after staying at a local Air B’nB; sometimes it pays to be curious. There was a healthy turn out for Rev Musa’s second Sunday, perhaps our visitors are prescient.
The Rev. Musa Daba
Musawenkosi Nyanawesizwe Daba (don’t worry, Musa will do just fine) was born in the city of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Married to one wife, Levidia and we have a 15 year old Daughter, Jessie.
I have been in the ordained ministry for 15 years. The majority of my ordained life has been served on the Islands of Bermuda where I served in two parishes as well as a Chaplain to the Royal Bermuda Regiment. I love children and believe ministry to children and families to be vital for the vibrancy and future of the church.
I especially enjoy tennis and soccer (football) and sport of all kinds, (ice hockey… not yet sure). As a preacher/teacher of the gospel I find praying and reading to be integral to my calling. So a good book and a quiet space to reflect are important.
Enough about me we’ll get to know each other deeper soon enough.
Now my wife Levidia. She is my gifted and hardworking sweet-heart, with whom I would not have achieved much in my life. She’s my partner and confidant. I can’t believe she’s put up with me for 20 years already. Levidia has many ministry gifts of her own which she will gradually display as the Lord leads. Please don’t be fooled by her vivacious demeanor (can be very talkative), she is somewhat reserved, until she gets to know people better… and then!!! Jokes aside, Levidia is lovable and loving.
Jessie our daughter is somewhat shy in public but can be very outgoing when she’s acclimatized to her surroundings. She loves music and plays the piano and flute. Don’t you rush her to play in the church band yet, I’ll be the one twisting arms. My girl is a real daddy’s sweetie…
And then there’s the dog (or our other baby to my wife), Snap. She is just the sweetest, most lovable and the laziest dog I know. Well that’s us, the Daba’s and Snap the dog. We cannot wait to join the Family at Trinity and making long lasting friendships.