In the reading for Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles, we find that Peter has been in Caesarea with the family and friends of Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort. Peter was invited by Cornelius, who is described in Acts as “a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God.” He was a Roman soldier, part of the occupying force. Now while Peter was speaking to the large group that Cornelius had brought together, “the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.” The important word here is “all.” Many of those present were Gentiles, non-Jews. There is surprise among the Jewish believers who had come with Peter, that the gift of the Holy Spirit would be poured out “even on the Gentiles.” When the question of baptism comes up, Peter has to say, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit?” As with the Ethiopian eunuch last week, we have a question about who sets the “boundaries” of the church. And again this week, the answer is God. The implied statement in Peter’s question about baptism is that if these Gentiles are good enough for the Holy Spirit, then no one should be putting up barriers to their inclusion in the community of believers. This may have been a problem for the Jewish believers, but who of them really wants to say that God has made a mistake. To go a sports analogy, anyone who wants to can join the team. But in the Gospel reading we see that once you are on the team there is something you have to do to keep in the game.
The Scripture readings are Acts 10: 44-48and John 15: 9-17. The title of my talk in the Time for All Ages and the title of the sermon are both “Who’s on my team?”
Communion will be celebrated at this service, and the service will be followed by the Blanket Exercise (see next item)
SPIRIT WEST BLANKET EXERCISE – This Sunday, May 6
In keeping with the call by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to churches to learn more about the historic and broken relationship between Indigenous and non- Indigenous peoples in Canada, this Sunday, May 6th, after Church you will have an opportunity to stay for a stew and bannock lunch and then participate in a Blanket Exercise. The Blanket Exercise is a teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is interactive, and requires a time commitment of about three hours. Part of this time is the exercise itself, but there is also time of discussion and debriefing afterwards. Each participant is asked to bring a blanket that you don’t mind putting on the floor and stepping on.
the stations of the RESURRECTION Bible Study – Wednesdays at 2:00 pm
We are continuing the Easter Bible Study. Using the book the stations of the RESURRECTION, written by a Methodist minister from London, we will reflect on eight Gospel stories of encounters with the Risen Christ, from the empty tomb to the ascension. Our next session will be on Wednesday, May 9. The story for this session is the Doubting Disciple, John 20: 24-29. If you have not signed up, but would like to participate, just show up.
Garage Sale – June 14 & 15 – While you are spring cleaning, please save household goods, toys, books, tools, etc. for our Annual Garage Sale. Donations will be accepted at the church starting June 1. The income from the sale of donated items goes to the church. You can also rent a table for your own sales, with the rental fee going to the church. Call the church office for information.
Outreach at Spirit West
We are still collecting mitts, hats, hand warmers, coffee cards, hot chocolate packages, coffee travel mugs, etc. for both Bissell Center and the Jasper Place Wellness Center. You can bring these items in and put them on the giving tree or leave them in the baskets on the table.
A NEW 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. It was suggested at a Board Meeting that everyone give the donate button a try (just to make sure it works, of course)
Security Access codes
The church access code for the alarm system has been changed. Each of our renters will have their own code. Members of the Spirit West congregation who have a key to the church (choir, Ladies’ Group, Men’s Breakfast etc.) need to see Norma or Larry to get the new code. You don’t want to set the alarm off, by using an outdated code.
There is now a Spirit West Prayer Circle. We gather at the church on Thursday mornings at 10:30. We share a reading, share our stories or concerns, and pray. There is no “sign-up” for this, just come as you feel the need. If you are interested, join us on Thursdays.
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 email@example.com . 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 or call Edina T. at 780-481-3508
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Our Website is at www.spiritwest.org .
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/SpirtWestUnitedChurch
- Norma => 11 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church