There is new information about the ZOOM book study below.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
AN UPDATE ON RE-OPENING (It’s not yet)
The Spirit West Church Board met Tuesday night and accepted the Worship Committee’s recommendation that, because of the current restrictions on religious gatherings, (no more than 50 people, no singing, no food, no hugs or handshakes, physical distancing at all times, staggered entry etc.) we continue with virtual services. Our Worship Videos will be provided as long as it is necessary, likely throughout the summer. Whether we open up in September is unknown at this point. The Worship Committee will continually monitor changes in Government and Public Health regulations and guidelines over the summer, and will respond as necessary. We’ll will keep you up to date with regard to any changes.
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 Liz O.
Sharing our Celebrations (this is New!)
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 starting this Sunday, 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.
SO REMEMBER, AS YOU CONTINUE TO WORSHIP FROM THE SANTUARY CALLED HOME, YOU HAVE OPTIONS…
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Sunday, or at a regular time. 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. 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)
THIS SUNDAY – PENTECOST
The Readings for this Sunday are Acts 2: 1-21 and 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13. I am going to be talking about “Understanding others” in the Time for All Ages. My sermon is called, “The Gifts of the Spirit”
This Sunday things really get cooking with the story of the early church. As I said last week, it is a strongly held belief among scholars that the Book of Acts is the “sequel” to the Gospel of Luke, and written by the same person. Luke’s Gospel is his version of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The Book of Acts, or to give it its full title The Book of the Acts of the Apostles is the story of the formation of the community they we now call the Church. And the birth of this community is often associated with the event that happened at the Feast Pentecost following Jesus resurrection. Pentecost is the Jewish celebration known as Shavuot, or Feast of Weeks that takes place fifty days after Passover. (Our Pentecost is calculated as forty-nine days after Easter Sunday.) According to Acts, on that particular Pentecost, the disciples were all together in one place. “And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” Needless to say, the wind and fire caused quite a stir in the neighbourhood. And Galileans being understood in a variety of languages by the diverse ethnic groups in Jerusalem was really amazing. But the point of the narrative is not so much about the wind, fire, and miraculous language abilities. It tells us that God through the Holy Spirit gave the disciples the power and abilities they needed to do what had to be done, “to proclaim God’s deeds of power.” Peter is able to explain to those present what is happening, first assuring his listeners that the disciples are not drunk because it is only nine o’clock in the morning. He quotes from the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-32) about the Spirit of God being poured out on all flesh. And if we look to Paul’s first letter to the community at Corinth, we find him reminding the community that the Spirit of God is poured out to give a variety of gifts. I think that the important line is, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” For the common good. The gifts of the Spirit are given to each of us, “individually just as the Spirit chooses” for the common good. The gifts of the Spirit are not for use in isolation, not simply for the benefit of the one who has been given the gift, but are given so that working together we can be of benefit to all. Sometimes we call the gifts of the Spirit “talents,” of “abilities.” What talents of abilities do you have? What has the Spirit given you for the common good?
ZOOM BOOK STUDY – Wednesdays, at 1:30 “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”
There were a few people at our ZOOM gathering on Wednesday, and I know there are more of you who want to participate. So we are going ahead.
We will be discussing chapter 1, “Why Do the Righteous Suffer” at our ZOOM gathering next Wednesday, June 3 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: What is wrong, according to Kushner, with the quotations from the Bible on page 12 (your page numbering may be different, the quotations are Isaiah 3:10-11, Genesis 38:7, Proverbs 12:21 and Job 14:7)? Such teachings tell us that God is in control and makes things happen for a reason; why does Kushner disagree with the perspective they express?
To join the gathering, you must save this email and on Wednesday, June 3, 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
Thank you to those of you who dropped underwear at the church. Earlier this week, Lori delivered to Bissell what had come in so far.
So our collection boxes at the Church are empty again, and 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 – (Update)
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. Don D. recently returned the bottles from the shed, raising $170.45 to the church.
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