Having lived in Morinville for the past five years, I’ve come to realize the community seems to have changed. It seems like there are more groups working together. It seems like there are more individuals starting initiatives. It seems like there are more people finding connections where many may not have thought connections exist. Taken together, one can clearly see a community that is fitting together like a puzzle, no one piece of greater importance to the overall picture than any other but essential to the completion of the work at hand.
As I’ve reflected on this tipping point I realized that perhaps the community always has been one where groups work together for separate and common purposes and that the more one gets involved in their community, the more it seems the community is coming together.
This week is another example of how much is going on in the community these days.
The community will gather at St. Jean Baptiste Church Wednesday night for the annual Community Christmas Celebration, an evening of singing and fellowship that unites everyone regardless of denomination or religious affiliation. The event is in its 33rd year this year and was started by one man, a Morinville teacher and school trustee named John Unsworth. If you’ve not been to this event, it is well worth attending.
Thursday night will see two professional stand-up comedians take to the stage at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. This event, a fundraiser for the Vanier Playground Association will raise funds for the school’s new playground as well as the food bank. Once again, this initiative was the idea of one person and made possible through a small group of people looking to get a job done and provide something more for residents to do.
And Friday we all have the opportunity to stand up against bullying by taking part in a candle light vigil in St. Jean Baptiste Park. Initial reaction to the event has been quite supportive and it is likely that amid the myriad Christmas decorations illuminating the park there will be a large number of people – young and old – holding candles in support of those who are or have been bullied. Like most everything that happens in this growing town, the candle light vigil is the initiative of one person. In this case, MCHS student Travis Loseth, a young man who decided he wanted to do something about an issue that has affected friends and family.
Up the road a few blocks from the park, Impact Youth Ministries will hold their Christmas Soul Café the same night, an opportunity to give approximately 100 of our area’s youth an opportunity to perform and be entertained in a safe environment.
That is just one week. There is plenty going on here if we choose to look. It is easy for us to sit back and complain in this town, seeing only the figurative cracks in the sidewalk as we shuffle along muttering. But if we lift our heads and look around we will see just how many people there are right here in Morinville who are also looking around – looking around for their next opportunity to put a little unity in this community of ours.
As we enter the Christmas season and give thanks for our many blessings – good friends, good family, good health – let us also take a moment for our good neighbours, those who continue to build community.