As another year comes to an end and we all increase in age, the joy of listening is not getting old. Every year we have the privilege of meeting and serving new people who are an inspiration. I did not know Jack or Valentyne at the beginning of 2023. Both attended retreats this year and have enriched us significantly. A year and a half ago I had never met Wasim, but has he ever come into our lives with exuberance and joy! Wasim is a chef from Pakistan who cooked an amazing meal for us at the Mark Centre Garden Party this year. He also shared our ‘bird book’ with a friend back home who has now completed translating the entire book into Urdu! One aspect of listening is noticing the precious people who are coming our way. Jack (from Poland), Valentyne (Ukraine) and Wasim (Pakistan) have spoken into our lives.
The idea of paying attention, listening, noticing what we’re noticing, is increasingly captivating – definitely not getting old! Recently I decided to have a one hour phone meeting outside rather than inside our house. The purpose of the meeting was to listen to how God is present and at work in and around us, so we started, as usual, with some silence. I enjoyed looking around at the trees and river and mountains. I was looking up at one tree as our silence came to an end when I suddenly noticed an eagle sitting proudly at the top of the large evergreen. Until that moment, I guess you could say I was looking but not really seeing. We’re excited to enter into 2024 with the hope that we will look and see and experience God among us in new ways.
As we finish this year and head into the next we are grateful for your friendship and partnership in listening. We’re calling one of the retreats we have planned Create with Us (May 31-June 2). Stay tuned and you’ll hear more about it very soon. It will take place at Barnabas on Keats Island. On that weekend our focus will be twofold; listening to how each of us has been created uniquely and what it looks like to create out of our true selves. We’re also excited to offer Sneak Away – a morning retreat once every month for pastors & leaders. This small retreat (max of 6 people) will happen from 9:00-12:00 in our comfortable rooftop room. Registration is now open for Sneak Away by filling out this form. You can also join us for a weekend at the Mark Centre Chalet on a Listening in Community Weekend.
WE ARE THANKFUL for every donation that has helped us operate again this year. If you are able and willing to make a year-end donation you can do that in a few different ways. You can drop off a cheque at our office (31605 Old Yale Road), use your credit card through this link or E-transfer us to firstname.lastname@example.org
Merry Christmas to you and best wishes for 2024,
Steve & the Mark Centre team