SONday citywide millennial celebration

 — Dec. 4, 19994 déc. 1999

What will you be doing on Jan. 2, 2000 — the first Sunday of the new millennium?

Church leaders in Saskatoon hope you’ll be among the many thousands expected at SaskPlace to attend SONday 2000, a “city-wide day of celebration of Our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

The 15-member task force organizing the event explains SONday 2000 this way: “Throughout history, the people of God have gathered at special times to declare their love for God and their commitment to doing His will in the world. Jan. 2, 2000, the first Sunday of the new millennium, provides an exciting opportunity for the body of Christ in the greater Saskatoon area to do this.”

Rev. Michael Stonhouse, rector of St. James Anglican Church, takes it a step further: “Don’t you think, at least once every millennium, all Christians should be able to come and worship our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ together?”

Stonhouse and all the other major denominational leaders in Saskatoon have been working for the past two years on putting SONday 2000 together.

“Having churches of all denominations coming together like this may be historically unprecedented in Saskatoon,” says Eric Stolte, task force co-ordinator. “We’re involving the broadest possible range. Every congregation in the city was invited to participate, and 65 specific churches are fully and enthusiastically committed. Leaders from all the major denominations are on the advisory board.

“We’ve come to realize that this is more than a human event,” Stolte says. “God is doing something new, and I want to be there because there’s a sense of Divine initiative. This is bigger than any one church, or any one group of people.”

Stonhouse is impressed by the unity among leaders. “In the four pastorates I’ve been in, I have experienced Christians working very hard together to minister to the community in evangelism, in justice, and Third World issues. But the one thing we haven’t always done is worship together. And why not? My suspicion is that sometimes lay people are much further ahead and wanting to do this than the clergy are.”

SONday 2000 will offer four different opportunities for Christians and churches to come together in celebration and worship. The day will commence with a Sunday worship service at 11 a.m. at SaskPlace. A massed choir will perform, and author Philip Yancey will speak.

Following the service, 12 city buses will shuttle people to Flexicoil Place for what Rev. Cal Malena, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, calls “a city-wide picnic.”

“From the book of Acts on, the church has shared meals together to express our common fellowship in Christ. Think of the joy of sharing a meal together with other Christians we don’t normally see,” he said. There will be a small charge.

SONday 2000 will continue with a youth event at 3 p.m. back at SaskPlace with the City Wide Youth Worship Band in attendance, and youth specialist Gregg Johnson.

The day will culminate with a candlelight worship celebration at SaskPlace at 7 p.m. The keynote speaker will be Don Posterski of World Vision Canada.

“The day ends with as many churches as possible coming together to experience the unique and powerful worship that happens when me meet in the unity for which Jesus Himself prayed in John 17,” Stolte says. “There will be a commissioning, as well, to bring the light of Jesus Christ to our city.”

The advisory board estimates 15,000 or more will attend the SONday 2000 event. Denominational leaders are thrilled by the implications.

Rev Paul Polonenko, pastor of Westgate Alliance Church says: “For Christians in Saskatoon, this is an opportunity to get together and worship and celebrate the Lord Jesus together. Unfortunately, we do not usually do any gathering beyond denominational lines. I think we will see through this event that we worship the same Christ and have much common ground.

“And for people not connected to the church, we hope they will see that it is possible for Christians to gather together and present what the Christian community in Saskatoon is all about.”

“This is an unprecidented event,” says Malena of Emmanuel Baptist Church. “Having such a broad range of churches involved with the same vision to get together to worship.

“We’re celebrating three big things here. First, the new Millennium, and for Christians, the 2000th birthday of Christ. Second, there’s the idea of unity — joining together to celebrate that we are one in Christ despite our differences. Third, we’re celebrating that we have a common mission to carry God’s love and gospel to the world.”

Rev Bernard de Margerie, pastor of Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Parish, said: “Anything that brings Christians of different denominations together with integrity represents an advance for the Kingdom of God. Preparing for this event has been an occasion for deepening relationships, and the bridging of separateness between denominations. SONday 2000 will be an act of witness in what we in the Roman Catholic church call our real, though imperfect, communion of fellowship with each other.'”

Posted: Dec. 4, 1999 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: events, millenium, Saskatoon
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Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : events, millenium, Saskatoon

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