Sunday May 22nd, 2016 Sermon @ St. Paul’s Church, Dunany
Earlier this week, when I first went through the second Reading, I thought it was perfectly chosen for Pray and Play. “We exult in our present sufferings, because we know that suffering is a source of endurance, and endurance is a source of hope. Such hope is no fantasy.” A better description of a round of golf, I don’t think I could find.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about Dunany as a community. It is important to support your community institutions by participating in them, by volunteering and by providing finances when needed. You are doing so and should be proud.
I found a definition of community that I thought applied to Dunany and it was “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” You should be very proud of the community that is Dunany and Dunany is a lucky place to have all you people. But of course it is not luck. Luck is often created, not happenstance and that is true of Dunany. The luck comes because you made it for yourselves, and that over many generations. You made it by contributing to the existence and to the success of this community called Dunany.
Which is all the more amazing because Dunany doesn’t exist. It is shown on the map but has no formal recognition. I checked for myself in preparing for today. On two maps of the Lower Laurentians, there was Dunany, shown as a … well I’m not sure what. It is not a Municipality, in fact it is part of four Municipalities, so what is it? The reality is that it is a community, a place where the residents share a feeling of fellowship with their fellow residents as a result of common attitudes, interest and goals.
How are those common attitudes, interests and goals expressed or manifested. Through friendships, of course, but also through three institutions which hold the community together structurally. They are of course the Golf Club (officially known as the Country Club), the Community Association and St. Paul’s Church.
Residents of Dunany who are committed to the community participate in the activities of these three institutions; they volunteer their time and work to ensure that the activities take place and they provide financial support. All three elements are vital to community; participation, volunteering and financial support.
The three Dunany institutions must cooperate with each other if we want the community to continuously increase its cohesion and effectiveness. The three institutions are not in competition with each other but are complimentary. They do different things and meet different needs and they all need supporting.
The Golf Club, not surprisingly given the name, provides a place to play golf, but it is also the physical social centre of the community. In the building housing the Country Club take place dances, dinners, weddings, receptions, art shows, fund raisers and all kinds of social events which bring the community together.
These bind the friendships that go back three generations or three weeks. There are new residents coming into the community each year and the Dunany Country Club is a physical place where residents, new and old, can identify with the community.
The Dunany Community Association leads the way on environmental issues, particularly focussed on the lakes. It also sponsors a whole range of activities, like SPANK, the Chippers cycling club, the Glee club, the artists group, cribbage, the walking club, the garden club and so on. It has no physical centre but it makes an awful lot happen, some of which occurs in the Country Club.
The third institution of Dunany is St. Paul’s Church. What is its role? It certainly is a physical place like the country club, but it is focussed not on the physical needs but on the spiritual needs of the community and on the interests of the needy, emotionally, health-wise or financially, amongst the residents. How does this play out?
Well, needy families have been supported very generously through a communal effort. There is a gift certificate programme in which needy people receive certificates to Walmart and the IGA another is the Argenteuil Hospital Foundation campaign to which residents of Dunany contributed $80k.
Support for the Christmas baskets has been offered for many years, as has the collection of money and bras for the breast cancer campaign.
Most recently, the ten churches of Laurentian Regional Ministry, which includes St. Paul’s, are sponsoring a Syrian refugee family by providing financial and administrative management. A charity was needed for housing the donations and Holy Trinity, Ste. Agathe is that charity. Members of all 10 churches in the region have sent contributions to Ste. Agathe to support the family.
Dunany is well-off, as a community, as a place where friends can be made among the residents, as a mix of generations, young and old. Dunany has resources and uses them well. It is important to continue the provision of those resources which support the three Dunany institutions. By support I mean participating in their activities, volunteering to make those activities happen (volunteering in whatever way makes you happy) and supporting financially when it is needed.
One word of warning if i may. Be careful not to become cliquy. It is normal, natural and a good thing to have groups of friends. It would be a shame if that was not the case. In fact you wouldn’t be a community if there weren’t groups of friends. But a clique is a small group of people, with shared interests, who spend time together but do not allow others to join them. They push others away and that is not a good thing. So beware of cliques.
You should be proud of Pray & Play, which couldn’t be better example of cooperation between Dunany’s community institutions. The church organises the event, the Church and the Country Club provides the physical place where it takes place and the Community Association provides the publicity.
All of you here are supporting the event by participating in it, by providing financial support, which also comes from the sponsors, and there are many volunteers who are working to make the day happen.
My overall point is this; it is important to support your community institutions by participating in them, by volunteering when it is needed and by supporting financially; you here are doing that, so be proud. Bravo and congratulations.
Oh, by the way, the only connection I could find between God and Golf was “Go”. So at the end of the service, under Robert’s instruction, please go and enjoy yourselves, for the benefit of one of your three institutions - St. Paul’s Church.