COVID – 19 – As a church and therefore a gathering place for people, we need to be concerned (not panicked) by the current Covid-19 pandemic. At present the number of cases in Alberta is 20, and according to Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, all are travel related. The risk of contracting the virus is still quite low for us. However, as a responsible community we would recommend that you consider the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for 20-30 seconds regularly. Hand sanitizer containing alcohol can be used if soap and water are not immediately available, but should not be used as a regular substitute for soap and water.
- Know the symptoms of Covid-19 (Cough, fever, shortness of breath)
- If you have cough (Covid-19 related or not), cough into the crook of your elbow, and avoid touching your face.
- If you suspect that you may have been exposed or are showing symptoms, call 811 (Health Link) for the testing protocols (don’t go to your doctor)
- If you are returning from international travel, please self-isolate for 14 days (two Sundays). It’s not that we don’t want to see you, but we don’t want to run the risk of exposing some of the more vulnerable members of our community to what you may have brought back unintentionally.
- Pray, for those with the illness and for those in health care and others who are working to contain the spread of the virus.
(At the present time, the church has a sufficient stock of toilet paper)
Based on guidelines from Health Canada and the Centers for Disease Control regarding gatherings of less than 100 people, our Pub Night on Saturday is still on. You might be asked to wash your hands when you arrive, and hygiene practices in the kitchen may be more obvious. But we still want you to come and enjoy yourself.
This Sunday – The Third Sunday in Lent - “Give us water!”
During Lent this year we will continue to look at Lent as time on the edge, that place between the past and the future, where important decisions are made. In both readings this week, we see demands for water to drink. In the reading from Exodus, it is the Israelites in the wilderness who are thirsty and are demanding that Moses do something. In the reading from the Gospel of John, it is a thirsty Jesus who is asking a Samaritan women for a drink of water. In both cases thirst is creating or breaking boundaries. In Exodus, the thirsty Israelites have drawn a line in the sand (possibly literally). They are no going any further with Moses until the water shortage is sorted out. Moses needs to prove that God is still with them. In John, Jesus doesn’t create a boundary, he crosses one. He asks a Samaritan women for a drink. Even the woman is surprised. As the gospel explains in an editorial aside, “Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.” But for Jesus, the interaction with the Samaritan woman is an important opportunity to discuss the all-encompassing nature of God, that goes beyond our boundaries. As we journey through Lent, are we creating boundaries or a we taking them down.
The readings for Sunday are Exodus 17: 1-7, and John 4: 5-42, we will also sing together a metrical version of Psalm 121. In the Time for All Ages we ask “Give us…” as we talk about water and God. The title of the Sermon is “Give us water”
THIS SUNDAY IS CELTIC SUNDAY
As the Sunday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, this is our Celtic Sunday. The prayers and music used in the service will be largely based on the traditions of Celtic Christianity. Special music will be provided by the HarpBeat harp ensemble. Green attire in not unwelcome.
Please remember that our church is a “scent-free” zone because of some severe allergies and sensitives. We would ask that you refrain from using scented beauty or grooming products such as perfume, after-shave, etc. when attending services and programs at Spirit West.
IRISH PUB NIGHT (still on) - Come Eat, Drink, Sing and Be Irish!
Join us for a wee little celebration of St. Patrick's Day and all things Irish (or Celtic) this Saturday, March 14th. Wear your green, enjoy some stew and mash, sip on a pint, and join in the malarkey. Doors and Cash bar open at 5:30; Dinner at 6; Music and singing to follow. Adults - $20; Children 4-10 - $10; 3 and under free. Only 80 tickets will be sold! Tickets must be purchased in advance. Email Lori at LWalkhouse@gmail.com (or call the church office) by tomorrow.
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP EXPLORATION – Our Family, Our Stories
If you are not a member of Spirit West United Church or a member of United Church of Canada, and are interesting in exploring the possibility of membership, this is for you. The series is also open to those who are members of Spirit West and just want to learn more about what that means. This series which will run after church through the first five Sundays in Lent will look at membership through stories; God’s stories, Jesus’ stories, the Church’s stories, Spirit West’s stories, Our own stories. The exploration will end on one of the Sunday’s around Easter with a celebration of Confirmation/Membership for those who desire it. If you are interested talk to Larry.
LENTEN BIBLE STUDY 2020 – Embracing the Uncertain
This Lenten Bible study continues in the Lounge each Wednesday and 1:30” The subtitle of the study is “A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times. If you would like to join us next Wednesday, please read Luke 12: 1-34.
You do not have to attend every study. Each study in the series can stand alone.
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?
Join us in using cunning stealth and covert organization, to surprise our phenomenal Spirit West chefs. Only at the ring of their doorbell, should they discover who will join them for dinner on their chosen night of gastronomical delights!! This fund-raiser for the church will take place during the months of late March, April and May! It is a terrific time to enjoy a fabulous meal and fellowship. Those who wish to host a dinner are asked to contact Bill C or Colleen F. Hosts need to indicate the dates and times of their dinners and the number of guests they will be hosting. If there is a theme for the evening, this should also be provided. Guests will have the opportunity to select where they will dine and provide any dietary restrictions to the conveners (who will discretely pass your information, but not your identity to the hosts). A free will offering, in envelopes, will be collected by the host. A minimum offering of $25.00 per person is suggested. Please plan on attending one of these sensational evening parties and generously supporting our church.
PASTORAL CARE – Casserole Ministry
Dave S. would like to start a Casserole Ministry as part of Pastoral Care. Those making visits to members of Spirit West recovering from illness, or grieving the loss of family members, would visit the family and bring a casserole to leave with them. 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 speak to Dave S. so he can keep an accurate inventory of casseroles (not too many, not too few).
- Seasonal items continue to be collected for the Jasper Place Wellness Center and the Bissell Center – underwear, socks, scarves, mitts, refillable water bottles, hand warmers, etc. These can be left at the Giving Tree (in the sancturary by the Lounge windows) for distribution.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS NEEDED
For as many or as few Sundays as you wish. We continue to use Seasons of the Spirit curriculum. Right now we are looking for teachers for the March 22 and 29. If you want to teach on one of these Sundays, please add your name to the signup sheet by the church office. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a teacher, call Larry at 780-481-1406
Your Favourite Hymn
Do you have a favourite hymn that you’d like to hear included in one of our worship services? Please let Bonnie C. know your choice and she will make sure it is sung within the month.
A WAY TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY
You don’t have offering envelopes, you are not on PAR, and you don’t get to church as often as you would like, but you want to make a financial contribution to work of Spirit West, and receive a tax receipt. Now you can! Check out the online donation option on our website spiritwest.org and click on the Donate tab in the navigation bar.
RIDE TO CHURCH?
From time to time we encounter people who would like to come to church at Spirit West, but are unable to because they do not have means of transportation. Can you give a ride? If you would be willing to make yourself available to provide a ride to church please call the church office. Do you need a ride? Would you like to come to church at Spirit West, but are unable to because you have no ride, please call the church office. (780-481-1406)
Spirit West Prayer Chain
The Spirit West Prayer Chain is a group of people who have committed to continue our prayers of concern from Sunday through the week. To be part of this ministry, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org . You may also email a request for prayer to the same email address. If you would prefer to talk to someone, you can call the church.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church
- 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