So this week I remind you that we at Spirit West have our own YouTube channel - “Spirit West United Church, Edmonton” YouTube channel. Click on the link and it should take you to our channel. On that channel you will find the Worship Videos and other videos made for Spirit West. I will still post a notice on our Facebook page when a new video is available. I will also send out an email reminder for those not on Facebook.
Throughout this eMessage, links to the internet will be blue type and underlined, with some computers this may only appear when your mouse is over the links. You may have to Ctrl+click to activate them.
Tomorrow will be Good Friday, the day when we remember the crucifixion of Jesus. We remember how the crowds that welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem were quick to change their shouts from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!” The worship video for Good Friday can be found at https://youtu.be/tP3YpO18_7k
This Sunday is Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, the festival of New Life. But this Easter is quite different from the ones that most of us are used to. We cannot gather in church, we can only share our celebrations with those of our immediate household. In many ways our world has gotten much scarier, and in some ways much smaller. As we celebrate the resurrection, we are aware of the limitations place upon us by our governments and our society as we battle Covid-19. For many of us, our prayer might be simply, “God, fix this!.” But if we look at Jesus, he did not change the world in his lifetime. He changed people. Even after the resurrection, the Romans were still in charge. Israel was still a vassal state on the edge of the Roman Empire. In the world nothing had really changed. What had changed were people, people like Peter who could now see the world in a different light. Peter, though he often made mistakes, could see that the powers of this world did not have the final answer. Ultimately, Jesus has shown us that no empire, no power, no system, no doctrine, no “ism” that is of human creation will survive unless at its heart is a concern for the welfare of all humanity. We are all children of God, and in following Christ we are given the opportunity the inspiration and the power to be the best we can be for the sake of the world. In the book of Acts, ( Acts 5: 38-39) a Pharisee named Gamaliel addresses those who were trying to persecute the followers of Jesus, and suppress their message. He says, “…keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them – in that case you may even be fighting against God!”
Jesus was not bound by the walls of a tomb. The love of God and the Church are not bound by walls. This Sunday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. There has been some discussion in the church about the “legitimacy” or “validity” of celebrating communion remotely, especially with a service that has been pre-recorded. But our worship committee has decided to take the risk and trust in the grace of God in these unusual times, so this Sunday’s video includes Communion. The celebration at the Church involves only my immediate family, but I would like you to be able to participate as fully as you can. So I would suggest that you watch the video at our usual church time of 10:30 on Sunday morning and that you have 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. The video for the Easter Service will be uploaded in time for Sunday morning.
SO, WORSHIP DURING FOR GOOD FRIDAY AND EASTER IN THE SANCTUARY YOU CALL HOME …
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Good Friday and Easter. Follow the Spirit West Services on YouTube.
- Option 2 - Set aside time on Good Friday and Easter. Light a candle, read the readings for each day, read and discuss my reflections in the Thursday Message, and pray.
- Option 3- “Attend’ one of the live-streaming services from another United Church through the link at SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING… below.
- Also remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can still contribute to Spirit West during this time. You can mail in cheques to the church office or you can donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… 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)
OUTREACH – Bissell Bag Lunches - you can still help by sponsoring a lunch
With the help of local churches, including Spirit West, the Bissell Centre is still providing bag lunches to those in need. Our turn to help is April 19th. However, because of Covid-19, the way these lunches are provided and served has changed. The menu is more restrictive, and all the items must be store bought and pre-packaged. Obviously we can’t have a group of people in the church packing lunches, and we don’t need ten volunteers to help serve, as we have in the past.
To keep the number of people involved to the minimum, Lori, Bill and Adam will purchase the items and pack the 100 bag lunches that Spirit West is to provide, and deliver them to the Bissell drop off site on Sunday. Based on the prescribed menu, each bag lunch will cost around $3.00. So here’s how you can help.
We are suggesting a Bissell Lunch Sponsorship of 3 lunches for $10, or 6 lunches for $20. (Remember we need 100 lunches) You can send a cheque payable to Spirit West United Church with Bissell Lunch or Outreach in the memo line. If you include your envelope or PAR number, this will be credited to your year-end tax receipt. The reason for adding or Outreach is so that if we receive money in excess of what we need for the 100 lunches, the remainder can be set aside for future Bissell Lunches or used for other Outreach projects of Spirit West.
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.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
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