Janice Love lives in the sunny (except in the winter) Okanagan Valley in the interior of the province of British Columbia in Canada with her husband, James and son, Jameson (who was baptized in a United Church, has been attending an Anglican Church and goes to a Roman Catholic school). Janice also lives in the hope, at times desperately, of what God is up to in and for the church and the world. She is the co-creator of the Christian Seasons Calendar, which subverts the January to December marking of time by the Advent to Season After Pentecost structure of the Christian Year. Janice also has her own website which offers resources to fellow Christians for marking the Christian seasons of the Church at home.
I grew up attending the United Church of Canada, a denomination formed in 1925. I grew up in this church in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, taught Sunday School (from which I went on to study education in university and became a public school teacher) and was married in this church.
In attending and then working on staff with a United Church in Calgary, Alberta, where my husband Jim and I lived for seven years after university graduation, I began a more in depth biblical and theological exploration. This blossomed into undertaking a Masters of Pastoral Studies from the Vancouver School of Theology in Vancouver, British Columbia. A significant part of my learning at this time came from my participation and ministry with University Hill Congregation of the United Church of Canada. UHill had recently called Rev. Edwin (Ed) Searcy to be its minister and Ed became a mentor, colleague and friend for both my husband and me. In conversation together one day Ed and I conceived of the Christian Seasons calendar, which UHill still produces and now distributes worldwide.
The biggest and best connection we ever received also came through University Hill Congregation. Jim and I have been unable to have biological children. The church held our story, our hope, our suffering and then our great joy when, through a member of the congregation (now 99), we were put in touch with our son, Jameson, after 13 years of waiting.
Also through Ed came my participation with a planning group which included Mike Budde through whom, of course, I was introduced to the Ekklesia Project. Mike also introduced me to Debra Dean Murphy whose book, Teaching That Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education, I “amened” my way through (as I did with Walter Brueggemann’s The Creative Word: Canon as a Model for Biblical Education). I have met and read Stanley Hauerwas who has affirmed many of my suspicions about the enculturated North American church and who has helped me to form a more corporate and public understanding of discipleship. I would like, as time might allow, to read more of John Howard Yoder’s work.
It has been a delight and sustenance for the journey to connect with the EP – to find folk who understand their discipleship of Jesus to be all encompassing and rooted in the church. In 2007 I was able to attend the EP gathering on Congregational Formation (a passion for me). I have been writing reflections on the Sunday lectionary texts for bLOGOS for the past couple of years and recently contributed a blog piece for the Slow Church website. This is the extent of my theological work currently as we contend with the joys and challenges of parenting a child who is gifted and also has some learning disabilities and attention issues. I am also currently learning the craft of editing in the hope of finding flexible work I can do from home.
In 2005 we moved to Vernon, a small city in the Okanagan valley in the interior of British Columbia, to be nearer Jim’s parents. While this has strengthened family connections it has left us somewhat homeless churchwise as we continue to search for a church we can all call home, perhaps ironic in a city that once briefly held the Guinness world record for the most church buildings per capita. One benefit though has been Jameson’s very ecumenical upbringing thus far which has included baptism in the United Church, attending a Roman Catholic school and participation in the Anglican and Alliance churches. We may in time be casting about for a church to move to though as this remains of high importance for us. Any takers?!