The following warning note came from the Northern Spirit Region Office.
Caution: Watch out for Email and Phone Scams Targeting Church members
Some scammers appear to have gotten bored during COVID and have improved their skills of late. Scammers can use any publicly available information to ask for money or to claim to be from the national United Church, the Regional Council Office, or the Canada Revenue Agency. They can often find your name on your church website. If you get any email appearing to be from the United Church of Canada or Northern Spirit Region asking for money or claiming to be about finances, no matter how convincing it looks, do NOT click on any of the links. Do NOT ever click on an attached file. Do NOT reply. Hover your mouse over the link or email address without clicking, and your system should show you more information. Most of the time the link or email will include a string of letters and numbers and you’ll be able to tell that it isn’t what it claims to be. If you feel there’s a chance the request is legitimate, call the person who appears to be sending the request for more information before you even think of sending money or responding. You can also search online for “phishing” to improve your scam detection skills.
This Sunday – Remembering Canada Day
This Sunday we will be remembering Canada Day, which occurs next Wednesday. Unfortunately, there will be not barbecue at the church this year. It will be interesting to see if it rains on Sunday, as it has for the past few years when we have had to move our “Canada Day” barbecue indoors.
The Scripture Readings are Psalm 72: 1-8 and John 15: 12-17. These readings are not from the lectionary, but are chosen for their associations with Canada and with our role as Christians in Canada.
During the Time for All Ages on Sunday, we will be celebrating our Sunday School, its learners and its teachers. My sermon title, “Desiderantes meliorem patriam” is the motto of the Order of Canada and is taken from the Latin version of Hebrews 11:16. It translates as “They desire a better country.”
There are people in the Church who are very uncomfortable with, and some who are vocally opposed to having a national flag displayed in a church. And there are those who see celebrating Canada Day as part of a church service as wrong, that separation of church and state idea . But I am not one of those people. I could describe myself as patriotic, I did serve in the Canada Forces for over twenty-three years. But that word “patriotism” has some pretty terrible associations. Patriotism has come to be seen as the unquestioning support and promotion of a particular country and its policies, often to the detriment of others. I am not that kind of patriot. I would like to look at what patriotism can mean for Christians of the United Church living in Canada in the twenty-first century. For a number of years now I have worked with a youth organization for boys and young men called DeMolay. It was founded in Kansas City, Missouri in 1920. Part of its original purpose was to provide male role models to boys whose fathers had been killed in the First World War. The “teachings” of DeMolay are built around seven Precepts. One of these Precepts is patriotism. You might imagine what an organization for boys and young men founded in the United States two years after the end of the War might say about patriotism. And you might be surprised. In the presentation of the Precept of Patriotism, there is of course reference to the call to arms, but there is also a reference to the “patriotism of peace” which is exercised by “good citizenship.” And in the promise that a new DeMolay makes, he says that he will “combat any agency hostile to my country’s highest good.” Now, what is our country’s highest good? This is where I refer to Psalm 72, the psalm from which the motto of Canada, “from sea to sea” is taken. Psalm 72 is a vision of a great country under a great ruler. In the Psalm we find lines such as “May he judge your people with righteousness and your poor with justice” and “May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.” And later in the Psalm, in a part that is not in Sunday’s reading we read, “he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.” It must be acknowledged that much of the political vision for this new country Canada was bound up in British imperial expansion and trade, but if we look a Psalm 72 as a goal for our nation’s highest good, we have something to work with. Have we achieved the vision? In some ways, yes; but in other ways, no. Canada has been seen by much of the world as a place of refuge, security and peace. We are a nation now largely composed of the descendants of colonizers, settlers and immigrants. The First Peoples of this land were pushed to the edges to make room for the newcomers. Not all newcomers receive the same welcome from those who have come before. We have heard much in the news lately that highlights the real hatred and racism that exists in our country. In Canada, the disparity between the very rich and the poor is widening. There is still work to be done. It is important that the motto of the Order of Canada means “They desire a better country.” As Christians of the United Church living in Canada in the twenty-first century let us pray for our country and its leaders and exercise that patriotism that works towards our country’s highest good, for all people. And in all this we must remember Jesus’ teaching from the Gospel reading, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
To volunteer to be a scripture reader for one of our worship videos, send an email to Norma at email@example.com 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.
The Scripture Reader for this Sunday is Colleen Fox.
Sharing our Celebrations
In this time when it is important for us to look for signs of hope and joy, opportunity is being given for folks to share their celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, new grandchildren etc) with the wider community. If you have a celebration you want to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the church. (must be sent in before 10:00 am on Friday for inclusion on the Sunday) During the opening section or our Worship Video, I will announce celebrations that have been shared with me.
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 email@example.com . 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page.
ZOOM BOOK STUDY – Wednesdays, at 1:30 “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”
We will be discussing chapter 5. “God Leaves Us Room to be Human” at our ZOOM gathering next Wednesday, July 1 at 1:30.
I realize this is a Statutory Holiday, but if you are not going anywhere, join us.
To join the gathering, save this email and on Wednesday click (you might have to ctrl-click) on this ZOOM Link
Because this is a “recurring event,” the one ZOOM link will work for all sessions of the study. 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.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT (and this is not a Scam)
We can now accept donations by eTransfer. The contact name for the eTransfer is Spirit West United Church, and the email address is email@example.com . If you include a security question with your eTransfer, please notify Norma at the church office by phone or email. And remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can also 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 just inside the front doors. You can also donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
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.
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