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THIS SUNDAY - THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – Mothers’ Day or Christian Family Sunday
The Readings for this Sunday are 1 Peter 2: 2-10, Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16 and John 14:1-14. There will be a special presentation for Mothers’ Day. I am calling my sermon, “Like a Rock.”
This Sunday is Mothers’ Day, though a few years ago the church began to call it Christian Family Sunday. At Spirit West we have acknowledged it as Mothers’ Day, and in more typical years have had the children give flowers or chocolates to the mothers and other women in the congregation during the Sunday service. Things are different this year, but we will still pay tribute to mothers during the worship video. In that regard, we are normally used to hearing God referred to as Father. Jesus calls God “Father” in the Gospel reading this Sunday. But what are probably not as familiar are the images of God as Mother that can be found in the Bible. You may see some of them in the Sunday video.
In terms of the scripture readings for Sunday, I again see that Easter theme of the difficulty of recognition. Initially we saw that Jesus’ followers had a lot of trouble recognizing the risen Christ. Then we began to see a larger concern about the inability of those around Jesus to see when God is at work in the world. But, this week’s readings come with the underlying reassurance that God continues to be active in our world, even when we do not or cannot see it. In the first letter of Peter, we are encouraged to grow to our full potential in faith. In John’s gospel, Jesus’ followers want to see God. And Jesus has to say to them, basically, “haven’t you been paying attention to what I have been doing and saying?” And the reading from Psalm 31 is part of a prayer for deliverance, a prayer that we all could be praying right now. Because in the face of difficulty the psalmist is able to say to God, “You are indeed my rock” and “My times are in your hand.” And the psalm ends with words of encouragement, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.”
I am looking for people who would like to volunteer to read the scripture readings. We will send you the readings for your Sunday, and you can record your reading at home using your phone. When you are done, either send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the video as an attachment, or you can save the video to a memory stick and drop it off at the church (in the mail-box outside if you wish, just let us know). These will need to be in my inbox or at the church by the Thursday before your Sunday.
If you want to volunteer, send an email to Norma at email@example.com and we will include you in the schedule.
This Sunday the scriptures will be read by Bob H.
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.
SO REMEMBER, AS YOU CONTINUE TO WORSHIP FROM THE SANTUARY CALLED HOME, YOU HAVE OPTIONS…
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Sunday. Follow the Spirit West Services on YouTube. A new Sunday Worship Video is uploaded each Saturday.
- Option 2 - Set aside time on Sunday. Light a candle, read the readings for each day, read and discuss my reflections in the Thursday eMessage, and pray.
- Option 3- “Attend’ one of the live-streaming services from another United Church through the link found in SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING… below.
SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING ACROSS CANADA
There are a number of United Churches (and some Presbyterian) across Canada who are able to live-stream their Sunday services. At least three Edmonton churches are doing this: Millwoods, Robertson-Wesley and Southminster-Steinhauer. Check out this interactive map for livestreaming services across Canada: https://arcg.is/1TaKqS (and remember to take into account time zones for churches outside of Alberta)
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH – (Throw your bottles at the [mortgage] principle)
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 principle on our mortgage.
We would like to offer a big thank you to those of you who have been able to support the work of Spirit West, particularly those of you who have mailed in your donations or dropped them off at the church. You generosity, as well as that of those on PAR, is greatly appreciated, especially as we have lost our rental income.
Please remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can 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 by Norma’s office. We are also working on making e-transfers possible. We will let you know in a future Thursday eMessage when this option is available. You can also donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
OUTREACH – Underwear and Face Masks Needed at Bissell Centre
We got a thank-you letter from Inner City Pastoral Ministry (Bissell Centre) thanking us for the lunches we provided. A very special thanks was included for our Lori W. who with Bill and Adam did all of the leg work on our behalf.
But we also have learned that Bissell is in need of UNDERWEAR. Ladies and Men’s - sizes Medium and Large.
If any of you would like to shop and deliver undies to the church (there are boxes just inside the doors), 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.
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.
At the present time, 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