This Sunday –ADVENT 1
This Sunday is the first Sunday of the new Christian Year. We start the cycle of worship and witness again. We go back to the beginning of our story as we wait again for the coming of the Saviour. Now, this past year has been quite different than the one we expected when we began Advent in 2019. But as we look to the readings for this Sunday, we are reminded that the whole of our Christian story is centred on an event and a life that was foretold, but not really expected. We can almost hear the voices saying, “Well, God never did it that way before!” And yet, if we look closely at the stories of the Bible, we see that God often acted in unexpected ways. So as we look towards the celebration of an unwed mother giving birth to a son in a stable, because a government edict forced her to leave family and friends to be registered in her fiancé’s hometown, a town not prepared for that many people all at once, we can see God at work doing amazing things in the most difficult circumstances. And we can rejoice.
The Scripture Readings are Isaiah 64: 1-9 and Mark 13: 24-27. In the Time for All Ages, I will look at the ways we need to “Get Ready!” My sermon is titled, “It’ll be different this year”
ADVENT AT SPIRIT WEST
ZOOM Coffee Hour – Sundays in Advent
One thing that people have said about church online, is that they miss the opportunity to chat with people over coffee after the service. Well, for the Sundays in Advent we are going to try a virtual coffee hour on ZOOM. At 11:30 am on each Sunday in Advent starting this Sunday, you can ZOOM in with others from the congregation for a visit over a cup of coffee (or tea, or whatever…). This is a trial, and if it is successful, we will continue it. You do not need to register in advance, just click on the link.So, starting on Sunday, November 29 at 11:30 am ZOOM to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85252850387?pwd=NmhhV0VvbjhEVERQajFDNm90cXpqdz09 for our coffee hour.
Advent Small Group Study – Now is the time
We will be having a virtual small group study on ZOOM on the four Wednesdays in December from 1:30 to 3:00 pm. The Study is called “Now is the Time.” The series begins by re-imagining the Advent and Christmas stories in the time of COVID-19 :
- When Mary Couldn’t Hug Elizabeth.
- When all Joseph Could Do was Dream.
- When Angels Couldn’t Sing.
- When Shepherds Were Sheltering in Place
- When Borders Where Closed.
CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS EVE OFFERING
Our Worship Team at Spirit West will be creating a special Worship Video for Christmas Eve this year. It will be available on December 24. Part of the service will be by candlelight, so we would encourage you to have small candles available for each person in your household (maybe battery operated for young children).
In “normal” years when we gather at the church for Christmas Eve, we take up a special offering. For a number of years now this offering has been divided between the needs of Spirit West United Church and the No Room in the Inn program of the Edmonton and District Council of Churches. This year No Room in the Inn has chosen Catholic Social Services - La Salle Shelter and St Katharine Drexel Place for their 2020 campaign.This campaign focus is domestic violence and the need for women’s shelters. We are appealing for support of two of our women’s shelters, LaSalle Shelter and St. Katharine Drexel Place, which are in need of backyard upgrades so that the children in care can safely play outside on the properties:
- La Salle Shelter, a second-stage shelter, annually helps more than 30 women and their children escape domestic violence, and transition into stable housing. La Salle shelters those who are fleeing abusive relationships, where they can stay for six months to one year.
- St. Katharine Drexel Place supports dozens of women each year to stabilize their lives by helping them pursue career and educational goals, focus on family, and find permanent residence in the community. This is subsidized, transitional housing for women in crisis and their children. Clients are homeless, vulnerably-housed, or at risk of homelessness.
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
Using the list of those who have volunteered to be Scripture readers, Norma has drawn up and sent out a schedule of readers for the next couple of months. If you have read scripture for one of the worship videos, you will be on the schedule and will have received a copy. Please confirm with Norma as soon as possible that you are available to do your reading. Readings can be recorded well in advance of the date required.
Sharing our Celebrations (note the submission deadline)
In this time when it is important for us to look for signs of hope and joy, opportunity is being given for you to share your 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 noon on Thursday for inclusion on the Sunday) During the opening section or our Worship Video, I will announce celebrations that have been shared with me.
Prayer Requests If you have a prayer request that you would like included in the Prayers of the People that are part of our worship videos, your request needs to be into the church by Thursday at noon for inclusion on Sunday. The best way to send in your request is to email email@example.com. During the Prayers of the People, only the first name of individuals will be mentioned, and the specifics of request The prayer request are also forwarded to the Prayer Chain.
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 .
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.
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH
You may have bottles piling up for recycling. You can 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.
We can now accept donations by eTransfer. The contact name for the eTransfer is Spirit West United Church, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.
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 email@example.com. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain and will form part of the Prayers of the People in our Sunday Worship.
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 and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
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