By Damien Tann
This is the text of Damien minister’s letter included in The Vision, the quarterly newsletter of KSSM, in this case the June-August 2021 edition.
During May I was privileged to overhear several conversations around the question of optimism; the question being “what makes you optimistic”.
These conversations have been in the form of Zoom events, (and not some form of subversive eavesdropping on my part), so I have been able to fully engage in the question and its answer.
Some of you, especially if you live in Kaniva, will have been asked this same question via a KDPA e-mailing list and an online survey circulated by “The Centre for Optimism”.
Whether you took that opportunity to contribute to the research project of The Centre for Optimism I want to ask you the same question: what makes you optimistic.
You will have heard by now, I hope, that I am staying on at Kaniva-Serviceton in an extended Ministry Placement. Indeed I have been asked by the powers-that-be to remain in my pastoral and teaching role amongst you for a period of five years, which is an extension of two to my original three year (initial) agreement: I’ll be here until 30 September 2023, give-or-take.
Perhaps that gives you cause for optimism; “hooray, just when we feared Damien was about to go we hear that he’s only half-way through his time with us”; and it would be lovely if that is what you are thinking.
Maybe, (preferably), you hear this news and think “Damien obviously sees something worth staying for; after all he had the chance to take his awesomeness elsewhere, but he deliberately chose to stay here, I wonder what he’s seen in Kaniva-Serviceton that has kept him here.”
Minus the self-ascribed awesomeness that is the truth, I have seen reasons to stay when I could have gone in four months’ time, and yes I am optimistic about my next two and a half years in this place and Placement. I have also had this optimism affirmed to me in person by some recognised denominational leaders of UCA Vic-Tas and CCVT; our “headquarters” have positive thoughts toward us and the idea of me being a continuing part of you as an “us”.
The ministry of Kaniva Serviceton Shared Ministry, and the town lives of Kaniva and Serviceton, make me optimistic.
So now I am asking you to ponder the question. Aside from the Kingdom values of Hope in Jesus Christ, our Eternal Future in Heaven, and the content of Revelation 22, which are all good reasons for joy, but are too easy to offer as Christian answers amidst global reality, what are you optimistic about?
Why are you excited about the future in/of Kaniva and Serviceton?
What can you see that God will do in/with/for us in the next half a decade, which is to say what are you excited about as a Christian in this town apart from the fact that you’ll be dead soon (not soon enough) and then there will be Heaven. Or is that all you are looking forward to, to be dead by Melbourne Cup Day and a life above with the One Above?
I have already made up my mind, and you cannot give me any reason to change my mind, but if you were me why would you have stayed in Kaniva and Serviceton?
What makes you optimistic?
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