As a special note, the United Church of Canada will be marking the 95th Anniversary of Church Union on Wednesday, June 10th. The United Church came into being on that date in 1925 at a huge service held at the Arena Gardens (later known as the Mutual Street Arena, then as The Terrace (roller skating rink) in Toronto. When I was at Emmanuel College in Toronto for my theology, a number of my classmates and I went to the Terrace to roller skate and celebrate our United Church history. The building was finally torn down in 1989.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
To volunteer to be a scripture reader for one of our worship videos, send an email to Norma at firstname.lastname@example.org We will include you in the schedule and we will send you all the information you need about the options you have for recording your segment.
This Sunday the scriptures will be read by Bill M.
Sharing our Celebrations
In this time when it is important for us to look for signs of hope and joy, it has been suggested that opportunity be given for folks to share their celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, new grandchildren etc) with the wider community. So I will be announcing celebrations that have been shared with me, to share with you. If you have a celebration you want to share please email email@example.com or phone the church.
We are continuing to invite members of the congregations to share virtual greetings as part of our Sunday Worship Video. It is a way for us to see each other. Bonnie C. is spearheading this program, and has been doing the recording. You may get a call from her asking if you want to be a “Greeter.” If you have not heard from Bonnie and want to be a greeter, you can call the church and your name will be given to Bonnie, or you can record you own greeting. Record a 10-30 second greeting on your phone (record in “landscape,” hold your phone horizontally, this way ‘---,’ not this way ‘I’) and email your video to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will only be using three each week, so your greetings might not appear, the Sunday after you send them.
I appreciate all the positive feedback that we have received about the Worship Videos. We (Margaret, Bonnie, Glenn, Paul W. and I) are trying our best to provide you with something that will assist you in your faith journey during this “crazy” time. We would also like to hear from you if you have suggestions on how we could make the videos better or more helpful (like Scripture readers, Greeters, music with the hymns …). Email your comments to me email@example.com or post them on our Facebook page.
THIS SUNDAY – TRINITY SUNDAY
The Readings for this Sunday are 1 Corinthians 13: 11-13 and Matthew 28: 16-20.. I am going to be talking about “Colours for God” in the Time for All Ages. My sermon is called, “A Mystery”
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It is about the only Feast or special Sunday in the Church year that is not related to an event in the life of Jesus (Christmas, Easter) or of the Church (Pentecost). It is a “celebration” of a doctrine or a way we have come to understand God, in the Trinity. The traditional way that the Trinity has been described is as One God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now that seems to read like an equation where 1+1+1=1, which mathematically is a problem. But we really cannot talk about God as an impossible math problem. The “doctrine” of the Trinity, shows the church’s attempt to understand God in a way that is really beyond our understanding. Since the beginning of the church, we have declared a belief in One God. But then we also have a belief in the one called Jesus of Nazareth, known in the church as the Messiah, Son of God. But Jesus’ relationship with God had to be distinguished from the various children of the gods that the Greeks and Romans knew. Zeus in particular was noted for fathering many children with mortal women. But the church in its teaching had to say that Jesus was not the result of a divine fling, but was a manifestation of the one true God in human form. Then of course, after the resurrection, Jesus promised his followers that they would be empowered by an Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, but that Jesus would continue to be with them to the end of the age. So now, we see God at work in the world in different ways. The doctrine of the Trinity is the church’s way of claiming these three ways that God is made know to us, while at the same time acknowledging one God. This is in itself a simplification of the doctrine. When studying Trinitarian theology in seminary you have revert to talking about it in Greek, because the original documents putting forward this doctrine are in Greek, and English does not have the words needed to convey the nuances of the original. And of course, we also have the additional problem that expressing the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in itself limiting our understanding. God is more than “the Father,” and Jesus is more than “the Son.” The church has tried other ways of describing the Trinity in English such as Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer. But just so you have a proper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity as it is understood in the United Church, I conclude with “Article I – of God” of the Twenty Articles of Doctrine in the Basis of Union of the United Church of Canada (1925), as well as the relevant section from A Song Faith (2006):
Article 1- of God: We believe in the one only living and true God, a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being and perfections; the Lord Almighty, who is love, most just in all His ways, most glorious in holiness, unsearchable in wisdom, plenteous in mercy, full of compassion, and abundant in goodness and truth. We worship Him in the unity of the Godhead and the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, three persons of the same substance, equal in power and glory.
A Song of Faith (lines 15-25):
With the Church through the ages,
we speak of God as one and triune:
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We also speak of God as
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer
God, Christ, and Spirit
Mother, Friend, and Comforter
Source of Life, Living Word, and Bond of Love,
and in other ways that speak faithfully of
the One on whom our hearts rely,
the fully shared life at the heart of the universe.
Communion this Sunday
This Sunday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The celebration at the Church will involve only three people from the Worship committee as well as Paul (videographer) and I, but I would like you to be able to participate as fully as you can. So I would suggest that, if you can, watch the video at our usual church time of 10:30 on Sunday morning and that you have some bread and grape juice (or wine) for each member of your household. Follow the service and share together at your table, be it the kitchen table, dining table or the TV table you have put in front of your television. And as you share the bread and cup in your home, know that others are sharing at the Table of Christ in their homes and around the world.
ZOOM BOOK STUDY – Wednesdays, at 1:30 “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”
We will be discussing chapter 2, “The Story of a Man Named Job” at our ZOOM gathering next Wednesday, June 10 at 1:30. Digital and print versions of the book are available on line (Kindle, Kobo, Amazon etc.)
As you read or re-read this chapter, think about the following: Why is the story of Job so important to this book? What insight does Rabbi Kushner bring to the story?
To join the gathering, save this email and on Wednesday, June 10, click (you might have to ctrl-click) on this ZOOM Link. If you are not familiar with ZOOM, give me a call at the church and I will walk you through the process. You can also join the study by phone, but you will have to call me before Wednesday so that I can give you the numbers you need. I will also be posting the information about this study to our Facebook page.
OUTREACH – Underwear and Face Masks Needed at Bissell Centre
There is still a need at Bissell for UNDERWEAR. Ladies and Men’s - sizes Medium and Large.
If any of you would like to shop and deliver undies to the church, Lori will pick them up and deliver them to the Bissell Centre. If you would rather have your donation picked up, call the church office to arrange it.
They are also taking donations of FABRIC FACE MASKS. So any of you crafty people out there - We know there are a few quilters out there with a good stash of fabric - if you would like a little project to do in your self-isolation (patterns can be found online) ..... Again - these can be dropped at the church (or call the church office to arrange pick-up) and Lori will deliver them to the Bissell Centre.
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH
Now that you are spending more time at home, and perhaps (though I hope not) drinking more, you may have bottles piling up for recycling. You can still bring them to the church (or you can call for pick up). If you want to bring your bottles (and any other recyclable beverage containers) in during our office hours and put them directly in the Bottle Shed (by the garage), give us a call, and we can have the shed open for you. All money raised from the return of bottles goes towards paying down the principal on our mortgage.
We would like to offer a big thank you to those of you who have been able to support the work of Spirit West, particularly those of you who have mailed in your donations or dropped them off at the church. You generosity, as well as that of those on PAR, is greatly appreciated, especially as we have lost our rental income.
Please remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can mail in cheques to the church office (Spirit West United Church, 7003 – 199 St. Edmonton, AB T5T 3A8, include your envelope number if you have one.) The church office is open and you can drop off your offering/donation in the offering plate by Norma’s office. We are also working on making e-transfers possible. We will let you know in a future Thursday eMessage when this option is available. You can also donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
PASTORAL CARE DURING A PANDEMIC
A team has been put together to begin a phone ministry. We will be reaching out by phone to members of Spirit West to remind ourselves that we are a community of faith, even if at the moment we have to practice social distancing, and in some cases self-isolation. The team will initially target those whom we believe are most likely to be isolated. We may not always get it right. If you get a call, and think you really didn’t need it, thank the caller anyway. If you don’t hear from anyone in the next week or so, and really would like a call, let me know. We are playing this by ear in an “interesting” time.
If you are self-isolating for whatever reason (you are not feeling well, you are in a susceptible population, or you are just not taking chances) and you cannot get out to do shopping, let us know. There are people in the congregation who will do your shopping and deliver it to your home. Mention this to the caller from the phone ministry, or call or send an email to the church to let us know.
If you would like to volunteer as a “shopper” let me know by phone or email.
David S. has started a Casserole Ministry as part of Pastoral Care. Volunteers from Pastoral Care at Spirit West will deliver a casserole to someone in isolation, recovering from illness, or grieving the loss of family members.
We would need a supply of three or four casseroles made by members of Spirit West in tin foil pans and frozen in the church freezer available for delivery. The casseroles should be dated and labelled with all ingredients and the instructions for reheating. The supply of casseroles can be replenished as needed. If you are interested in providing a casserole please call David S. so he can keep an accurate inventory of casseroles (not too many, not too few).
Spirit West Prayer Chain
Prayer is important. We know that people still face challenges and difficulties not related to Covid-19, and we cannot forget them. Our Prayer Chain will continue to be active. If you have a prayer request, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO SPIRIT WEST DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
You are stuck home, Spirit West is not holding services, you are not on PAR, but you want to make a financial contribution to the work of Spirit West, because the church has bills to pay even when we are not gathering on Sunday. Check out the online donation option on our website spiritwest.org and click on the Donate tab in the navigation bar.
The Spirit West Church office remains open.
- Norma => Noon to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church