There is a lot of new information in the eMessage this week. Be sure to check out News from the Board from Colleen F., our Board Chair. Also note the information from Lori W. regarding Outreach.
This Sunday – FIRST SUNDAY in LENT
This Sunday is the first Sunday in Lent, although I must confess that with our church closing to in-person worship in the middle of Lent 2020, it feels a bit like we have been in Lent for a year now. But we are really entering Lent 2021, that period of prayer, meditation, penitence and reflection that takes us to the Resurrection. Traditionally, Lent has been a time for more rigorous spiritual discipline, and this often included fasting or abstaining from certain foods. The whole concept of “giving up” something for Lent has its roots in this tradition. We encounter the biblical model for Lent in today’s Gospel reading from Mark. We are reminded again of Jesus baptism, but immediately after that Jesus goes into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan and was with wild beasts. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke include more details about the temptations Jesus faced. So it is this time away, wrestling our demons that has become an image of Lent.
Included in the service on Sunday will be the Imposition of Ashes. In biblical times and in many cultures, putting ashes on oneself is a sign of mourning or repentance. When Jonah finally got to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s displeasure with the behavior of the citizens of Nineveh, we read that the king “removed his robe,, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.” The Christian tradition is to be marked with ashes to start Lent, on Ash Wednesday. We did not have an Ash Wednesday service, so we will observe this ancient custom on Sunday. I hope that those of you on our mailing list received your packet of ashes this week.
The Scripture readings for Sunday are 1 Peter: 18-22 and Mark 1: 9-15. I am calling my sermon, “Put your whole self in!”
ZOOM COFFEE HOUR CONTINUES THIS SUNDAY
Join Zoom Coffee on Sunday at 11:30
Meeting ID: 857 4674 6882
LENT 2021 FOR SPIRIT WEST
Lenten Group Study – Practices of Releasing
There will be a ZOOM Lenten Study starting on Wednesday, February 24 at 1:30 pm and continuing each Wednesday in Lent. During the six sessions, we will virtually join Janice MacLean, of the Prayer Bench, and wise friends as they explore original goodness and name the practices that release us from fear, grief, sense of scarcity, violence, and patterns that harden our heart and tarnish the goodness that is always staring back at us. Using metaphors from the Lent gospel readings, stories, poetry, art and music we rub away at all that limits the human spirit, and dulls our life, and suggest authentic spiritual practices to claim again original goodness.
Please let me know at email@example.com or by calling the church if you are interested in participating so that I can send you the ZOOM link as well as the participant resources for each week. Remember, if you are interested but are not sure if you can attend all the sessions let me know. You can still receive the weekly resource packages to study on your own
NEWS FROM THE BOARD
A couple of years ago, I (Colleen Fox) was elected as the Vice-Chair of the Spirit West Board, with the expectation that at the Congregational Meeting in November 2020, I would be elected Chair for 2021. Well, as you know, we did not have a Congregational Meeting in November so there were no elections to the Board. Following the advice of the National and Regional Councils on what to do about church board positions during Covid, I was named Chair of the Board by the Spirit West Board at their meeting on January 27. This is going to be a busy year, and I want to make sure that the members of the congregation know what the Board is doing. Since we are not meeting in person yet, there are only two ways to get the word out: the Thursday eMessage and the Sunday Worship Video announcements. So here are some things you need to know.
Annual Congregational Meeting
There will be an Annual Congregational Meeting of Spirit West United Church on March 14, 2021 at 11:30, this will take place on ZOOM and the link will be included in the eMessages closer to the date.
When our building was built, the lower hall was considered to be a “community hall” for fire regulations and was wired accordingly. For the lower hall to be acceptable as a “daycare” additional fire sensors/smoke detectors need to be installed. We are working with the Daycare operator to have this done. This is a requirement before the Daycare operators will get their final approval to move forward. After they have been installed and approved, the daycare lease will be signed.
We have started the process to find a new minister as Larry will be retiring at end of June this year. The preliminary work has been done by John Punko. (Thank you John) The Rev. Hugh McGregor has been appointed as our Northern Spirit Region Pastoral Relations liaison. At our next board meeting on February 24 we are going to start to put a team together to work with Northern Spirit Region to continue the process.
As more information becomes available we will share it with you.
OUTREACH – Jasper Place Wellness Centre Bagged Lunches
Spirit West is again responsible for providing Bagged Lunches for the Jasper Place Wellness Center on Saturday, March 6.
As with our last bagged lunches Lori is estimating about $ 5.00 / bag - 25 bags needed. Although this project is funded by our church as Outreach, you can sponsor a lunch or two by donating specifically to “Outreach.” Lori and her family will do the shopping, bagging and delivery like last time.
If people would like to drop off other items (winter gear, etc.), these can be left by the “giving tree” just inside the front doors at Spirit West. Lori will come by to pick these up from the Church on March 4.
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
You may have gotten (or will get) a call from Diane H. our new “Greeter Co-ordinator,” asking you if you would record a greeting for our Sunday Worship videos. If at all possible, please say yes. Recorded greetings should be sent to our “Recording technician” (Paul W.) at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can come into the church and we will record your greeting. Video greetings need to be sent in or recorded by the Friday before “your” Sunday.
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. Your reading can also be recorded at the church between 2:30 and 4:30 on Thursday afternoons.
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 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. During the Prayers of the People, only the first name of individuals will be mentioned, and the specifics of the request will not be shared. The prayer requests are also forwarded to the Prayer Chain.
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 below…
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 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.
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