By Dr Kathy Yamashita

Kathy Yamashita

Foster and his Baba, Kathy Yamashita, say: “Merry Christmas, Everyone!”

This will be my last communication as the President of Alberta and Northwest Conference. It comes at a time in the church year when we celebrate the arrival of the baby Jesus, the reason for the Christmas season. It should be a time of mindfulness and happy anticipation. But often the busyness is overwhelming, and it is hard to reflect on our blessings. Personally, this is what I experience every Christmas. I feel overwhelmed.

It is during this most challenging time of year, that the United Church of Canada is making major changes to its governance. Our presbyteries and our conference have been organizing their work in order to pass it on and holding their last meetings and celebrations. Almost everyone says that they feel some grief for the old way of doing our church governance. They will miss the people, they say.

What we may not realize is that while presbyteries and conference are closing, two Commissions have been working hard to create a new governance structure for our new Chinook Winds Region and Northern Spirit Region. We are putting together offices and staff, and for those who were worried… there WILL be committees to do the work. Remember, it will be us church people who will form the committees, not Martians!

As I have travelled throughout Alberta and Northwest Conference in the last year and a half, I was reassured that our United Churches remain faithful to our denomination’s belief. We follow the teachings of that grownup baby boy, whose birth we celebrate still. Advent reminds us that God loves us, enough to send his Son to live among us in our chaos and peril.

So, when I say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, I really mean: have a sensible, safe and happy
celebration while we remember the arrival of God’s Son. Keep your heads about you as you show everyone how much you love them. I wish for you enough warmth, enough family comfort and enough happiness to have a wonderful Christmas time.
I will leave you with:


An Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons bring
the best to you and yours.