A few new things in the eMessage this week: our online presence is moved to the top of the eMessage, and there are requests below (under WORSHIP VIDEOS) for scripture readers and feedback, and there is a request from Outreach.
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 Paul F.
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.)
Communion will continue to be celebrated on the first Sunday of each month. The next celebration will be Sunday, May 3. More information about this service will be in next week’s eMessage.
THIS SUNDAY - THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – The Road to Emmaus
The Readings for this Sunday are Acts 2: 14a and Luke 24: 13-35. I will have a children’s story called “Is this a test?” I am calling my sermon, “Are you the only one?”
One of the things that comes up quite a bit in the Gospel readings of the Easter Season is the difficulty the followers of Jesus had in recognizing him after the Resurrection. This week we have the story that is often called the Road to Emmaus. Two of the disciples are walking to Emmaus on the day of the Resurrection talking about all that has been going on. Jesus joins them and he is not recognized. He asks them what they have been talking about. Although through the biblical texts we cannot see the faces of the disciples, we get a hint from their response to Jesus. First it said the disciples stood still, looking sad, then one of them asks Jesus “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days? (biblical for “Have you been living under a rock?) Of course, Jesus replies, “What things?” Some today might say that Jesus is trolling the disciples. So the disciples explain what has been going on with Jesus of Nazareth, including the fact that some of the women they knew had been to the tomb that morning and saw a vision of angels who said that Jesus was alive. I won’t tell you what happens next, except to say that eventually the disciples recognize Jesus. In our world today, I think people may find it difficult to see or feel the presence of God. Of course some people want to blame God for the pandemic (as an aside, some people only seem to believe in God when there is blame to be assigned) But back to my point. In some ways we are like those early disciples as we move through our lives of isolation and physical distancing. Our worries and concerns for ourselves and our world block our vision of anything else, just as the worries and concerns of the disciple apparently made it impossible, at first, to recognize Jesus. My prayer for all of us is that we consciously try to recognize the loving presence of God in our lives, to recognize those signs of hope and life in our world. As I have said in previous Thursday eMessages, the closing lines of our United Church creed are extremely important at this time. “In life, in death, in life beyond death God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.”
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. The Sunday service is uploaded on 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 at 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)
Please remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can still contribute financially to Spirit West during this time. 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. 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