Again, there is a lot of new information in the eMessage this week. There is an update on the way we will be celebrating Communion, and be sure to check out News from the Board.
This Sunday – Second Sunday in Lent
This Sunday is the second Sunday in Lent, and the focus is on Covenant. We don’t use the word covenant much in our everyday conversations, and many of us may be unsure of its meaning. A covenant is an agreement between two parties where both parties benefit in some way. Covenant also carries the understanding that some work or effort may be required by both parties to maintain the terms of the covenant. Marriage is considered a covenant. The vows that the couple make in the church (or wherever) may outline the terms of the covenant, but they must continue to act as married people for the covenant to be maintained. In the Bible, we find covenants between God and various people or nations. In the passage from Genesis in this Sunday’s readings we see the start of a covenant between God and a man called Abram and his wife Sarai. If you are thinking that Larry has made a couple of typos, and that their names were Abraham and Sarah, you would be partly right. Not about the typos. But about the names, when God first encounters the couple, they are Abram and Sarai. As part of the covenant with God they are given new names, Abraham and Sarah. For God’s part, the childless couple will have a son (a bit of a miracle because Abram/Abraham is 100 and Sarai/Sarah is 99.) and God will be their God in an everlasting covenant. For their part Abraham and Sarah and their multitude of descendants are expected to live in complete faithfulness to God. In the Gospel reading we find Jesus predicting his own suffering and death. He also tells those that have been listening to him that if they want to be his followers there is a cost. They must “deny themselves and take up their cross.” Even Peter has trouble with this aspect of discipleship. Living in a covenant relationship can be hard work, but also rewarding.
The Scripture readings for Sunday are Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16 and Mark 8: 31-38. My story in Time for All Ages is called, “This gift is special.” I am calling my sermon, “But, I had other plans…”
ZOOM COFFEE HOUR CONTINUES THIS SUNDAY
Join Zoom Coffee on Sunday at 11:30
Meeting ID: 852 4693 1629
Lenten Group Study – Practices of Releasing
Our ZOOM Lenten Study started on Wednesday, February 24 at 1:30 pm and continues each Wednesday in Lent. During the five remaining 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
COMMUNION SERVICES (not on ZOOM)
The Communion Services in January and February were conducted over ZOOM, and the results were less that hoped for. Because of the current limitations of the Church internet, ZOOM services are fraught with technical difficulties that detract from the worship experience. A work order has been created by Telus to improve our internet capacity, but this requires a site visit from a technician in the near future. So for the Communion Services in March and April (Easter) we will return to recorded services on YouTube. Once the capabilities of the improved internet are explored, we hope to be able to live-stream services. We will let you know as progress in made.
“Congregation” needed for recorded Communion services
The Service to be recorded for Sunday, March 7, Lent 3 will be a Communion Service, and it has been the practice that there be three people in the church to make up a “congregation” to receive communion while the service is recorded. The service is conducted in such a way that physical distancing is observed, and the communion elements are prepared in strict sanitary conditions. The service for March 7 will be recorded on Friday, March 5 at 11:00 am. If you are interested in being part of the congregation of three please let me know.
NEWS FROM THE BOARD
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.
Pastoral Relations – (Finding a New Minister)
Establishing a Search Committeee – Members sought
At its Meeting last night, Spirit West Board, passed the necessary motions to establish a Search Committee to find a new minister for this community. The committee’s tasks include finding suitable candidates, interviewing the candidates, preparing a short list, interviewing those on the short list, and ultimately deciding on a candidate whose name will be presented at a congregational meeting for the congregation’s final decision.
Being on the committee will require a high level of commitment to see the process through for the benefit of the congregation.
Information received by the Board from the Region suggests a Committee of four to six people and membership on the Search Committee is not restricted to members of the Board. If you would consider serving on the Search Committee please contact Colleen Fox, Board Chair at 780-487-5178 or email@example.com.
Reviewing the Minister’s Job Description
A important document in the search for a new minister is the Job Description. What are the duties and responsibilities of the minister who serves Spirit West United Church? The current job description needs to be reviewed, and will be by the board. However, the input from members of the Spirit West community is also important. If you would like to review the Minister’s Job Description and provide input to the Board, a copy of the document will be sent to you. Just call or email Norma at the church.
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