SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
In order for a variety of voices to be heard in our worship videos, I am looking for people who would like to volunteer to read the scripture readings. Now, in order to keep you as safe as possible, you do not have to come to the church to do the reading. We will send you the readings for your Sunday, and you can record your reading at home using your phone. When you are done, either send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the video as an attachment, or you can save the video to a memory stick and drop it off at the church (in the mail-box outside if you wish, just let us know). These will need to be in my inbox or at the church by the Thursday before your Sunday.
If you want to volunteer, send an email to Norma at email@example.com and we will include you in the schedule.
This Sunday the scriptures will be read by Peter K.
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. As a result of suggestions that have come in, we are trying to ensure consistent audio volume throughout the videos, and as you see above, we are trying to get more people involved (in a safe manner.)
THIS SUNDAY - THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – The Road to Emmaus
The Readings for this Sunday are Acts 2: 42-47 and John 10:1-10. We will also be singing a version of Psalm 23. I will have a children’s story called “Sharing, sharing, sharing” I am calling my sermon, “Following.”
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, we continue to see a concern about the followers of Jesus not recognizing him. In the story which takes place fairly early in his ministry, Jesus talks about being the “good shepherd,” the one who has the best interests of the sheep at heart. He expresses concern that there are others pretending to be the shepherd who are really thieves. Continuing his “shepherd” analogy, Jesus talks about being the one who comes into the sheepfold through the gate and not by climbing over the fence. He talks about being the shepherd whose voice the sheep recognize and follow, and about the sheep who will run from the voice of a stranger. Unfortunately according to John, “Jesus used this figure of speech with them [some Pharisees], but they did not understand what he was saying to them.” Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of his community about being able to recognize God at work in the world. And the religious leaders do not get it. We may want to feel a little smug, thinking about religious leaders who cannot recognize the presence of God in Jesus. But discerning what voice is speaking to us, with our best interests in mind is not that easy. Never mind listening for the voice of God, it seems some of us have trouble with the voice of reason. In our world today, we have voices telling us to follow instructions, and stay home. We have other voices suggesting that drinking bleach might be helpful. Many people are staying home, but, unfortunately some are drinking bleach. And others don’t want to be told by anybody what to do or where to go. We have seen churches that have continued to gather, saying that Jesus will bring them through the pandemic. One denomination in the southern United States, which continued to meet in large numbers, often against state “stay home” orders has had 30 of their pastors die of Covid-19. Can you imagine the difficulty Jesus would have had if Facebook had been available in his day. We have a great opportunity to reflect on what kind of followers we are, and whom we have decided to follow, or not follow for that matter. Jesus says to those listening, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Communion this Sunday
This Sunday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The celebration at the Church will involve only Margaret, Glenn, Paul W. and me, 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.
SO REMEMBER, AS YOU CONTINUE TO WORSHIP FROM THE SANTUARY CALLED HOME, YOU HAVE OPTIONS…
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Sunday. Follow the Spirit West Services on YouTube. A new Sunday Worship Video is uploaded each Saturday.
- Option 2 - Set aside time on Sunday. Light a candle, read the readings for each day, read and discuss my reflections in the Thursday eMessage, and pray.
- Option 3- “Attend’ one of the live-streaming services from another United Church through the link found in SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING… below.
SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING ACROSS CANADA
There are a number of United Churches (and some Presbyterian) across Canada who are able to live-stream their Sunday services. At least three Edmonton churches are doing this: Millwoods, Robertson-Wesley and Southminster-Steinhauer. Check out this interactive map for livestreaming services across Canada: https://arcg.is/1TaKqS (and remember to take into account time zones for churches outside of Alberta)
We would like to offer a big thank you to those of you who have continued 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.
OUTREACH – Underwear and Face Masks Needed at Bissell Centre
We got a thank-you letter from Inner City Pastoral Ministry (Bissell Centre) thanking us for the lunches we provided last Sunday. A very special thanks was included for our Lori W. who with Bill and Adam did all of the leg work on our behalf.
But we also have learned that Bissell is in need of UNDERWEAR. Ladies and Men’s - sizes Medium and Large.
If any of you would like to shop and deliver undies to the church (there are boxes just inside the doors), 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.
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.
At the present time, 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