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Flin Flon

Flinty! Some rights reserved (CC BY-SA-NC 3.0) by LMP+I spent yesterday in the city of Flin Flon, at a Diocesan AFP event. I like Flin Flon. It’s got a lot of character: the Canadian Shield is gorgeous around the area, the wildlife is tremendous to watch. It has all the amenities of a small city, including good coffee and a used book store. It’s one of only 2 cities in Canada that exists in 2 provinces (both MB and SK). It has a LOT of history, and culture. And—of course—it has a funny name. The city was named after a fictional character—Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin—from a science fiction novel (The Sunless City by J. E. Preston Muddock), when a prospector’s find of copper veins reminded him of the story. As such, the town’s identity started to form around the name, so much so that there are a few statues of “Flinty” proudly displayed around the city. An interesting feature of the city comes from the people: they all know where the city got its name. They know its history as a mining community, they know “Flinty”, they know the basics of the story. This got me thinking: how many of us know our hometown that well? Do we know what inspired the naming of the place? What history influenced people to gather there and settle? What features and attractions are present now? Do we show them off? Or are they simply overlooked? Taking it one step further, how many of us have delved into the history of our faith communities? So many of our congregations have been named after saints, or significant events, that we may not fully understand. Surely, we can recognize the St. George’s for all the slain dragons, but do we know why we honour St. Barnabas with a church name, or when his feast day is? Do we know which St. John is memorialized on our sign? Do we understand why St. Luke’s newsletter is called “The Winged Ox”? Do we know who these people are in the life of the church, and why were they selected to represent the congregation at the time of its foundation? Do we care? I would argue that each unique community has been influenced by the rich history of the church—throughout history. I would hope that the people gathered there would be interested in learning about their church history—not just the dates and names from the past, but the rationale behind it.   I would hope each church community would be interested in learning this history, and then could be eager to share it; keeping it alive, making it relevant and interesting. It’s a part of who we were, who we are, and who we will be in the future. After all—if a city can take as much pride in the story of their naming from a paperback, why shouldn’t the church take pride in the story of their naming—from rather more saintly sources?

About Laura Marie Piotrowicz

I'm a high-energy priest, now serving in the Diocese of Niagara, catching glimpses of the kingdom in daily life. I consider church to be a verb, and I'm passionate about prayer, eco-theology, and social justice. I love travel, reading, canoeing, camping, gardening and cooking, playing with my dogs, and drinking good coffee. http://everydaychristianityblog.blogspot.ca
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