The first item in today’s Thursday eMessage concerns our response to the alarming rise of cases of Covid-19 in our area, and to a letter that the Church received from Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, requesting the assistance of faith communities in contact tracing and Covid-19 spread reduction.
And don’t miss the announcement further down about the Spirit West Ladies Group.
SPIRIT WEST AND COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS
As you are no doubt aware the number of Covid-19 cases in Alberta has been rising dramatically since Thanksgiving. You may have also heard that many of the recent cases have origins that are “unknown,” The ability of our Health Services to follow-up on where an infection may have originated or to trace where someone with Covid-19 may have been while infectious is being stretched.
In an effort to do our part, our Church instituted a sign-in sheet for those coming into the building. This has been partially successful. It has been far too easy to just walk past the register if there is no one there to remind you to sign in. However, starting today:
- The doors of the church will be locked. If you want to come into the building ring the doorbell, and you will be let in.
- You will be directed to the sign-in register and the hand sanitizer
- If you have a key, let yourself in, sign the register, sanitize your hands, and let the office know that you are in the building.
- You are expected to be masked, it you don’t have a mask one will be provided.
These may seem somewhat drastic measures, but we have to do the best we can to protect ourselves and those in our community.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
This Sunday – Remembrance Sunday
The Scripture Readings are Deuteronomy 4: 9-14, Psalm 78: 1-7 and John 15: 9-13. In the Time for All Ages, I will talking about “Stories” My sermon is titled, “Called to remember.”
This Sunday is, in Canada and much of the Commonwealth, the Sunday before Remembrance Day. As time has passed, fewer and fewer Canadians who were born in Canada have experienced the horror of war. Remembrance Day has in many parts of our society, become less significant. While Canadian soldiers were in Afghanistan, and we saw on television the Ramp Ceremonies and processions of hearses along the Highway of Heroes, some interest was rekindled. But the war was still something far from our day to day experience. But for many of our new Canadians, war is not distant or abstract, it has been a real part of their lives. It is probably why they moved or fled to Canada. I think one of the most important aspects of a day like Remembrance Day is the opportunity to tell the stories of why this day is set apart. In some ways it is like the commemoration of Passover in the Jewish community, when at the Seder meal a child asks, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” And then the story of Passover is told again. We need our stories, good, bad and ugly to remind us of who we are and where we have come from, and to help us move into the future with greater understanding. We are also starting to learn, that we have not heard all the stories of the people of our nation. We have not heard the stories of the First Nations, and we are beginning to understand that the stories of the experiences of our “minorities” have also not been heard. Have you ever had the experience of reading a book (a real book, no a kindle, kobo, or e-reader) and two pages are stuck together and at first you don’t notice. But somehow, after you turned the page, the story makes less sense, you can’t figure out why John is in the picture and Mary seems to have disappeared. And then you notice the stuck pages, peel them carefully apart, all becomes clear. We can’t let the pages of our stories get stuck together. This Remembrance Day, find a story to read and share about why “this day” is different from all others.
Zoom into the Spirit West Women’s Group
The Executive have had an initial Zoom meeting to discuss moving forward with some General Meetings over Zoom. This would include a meeting portion (business/education) and then a craft; kits for the craft would be prepared in advance and available for pick up at the church or delivery.
The tentative date chosen is Monday, November 16, 2020 at 7:00 pm. Please contact Cathy Sutherland firstname.lastname@example.org or Margery Wright at email@example.com, so we have an idea of numbers and availability to Zoom.
If you have questions about how to set up Zoom, we will find someone to help, just let Margery or Cathy know.
If numbers are good we will consider having a second craft night on the first Monday in December.
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
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.
Sharing our Celebrations (note the submission deadline)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. During the Prayers of the People, only the first name of individuals will be mentioned, and the specifics of request The prayer request are also forwarded to the Prayer Chain.
We are continuing to invite members of the congregations to share virtual greetings as part of our Sunday Worship Video. It is a way for us to see each other. Bonnie C. is spearheading this program, and has been doing the recording. You may get a call from her asking if you want to be a “Greeter.” If you have not heard from Bonnie and want to be a greeter, you can call the church and your name will be given to Bonnie, or you can record you own greeting. Record a 10-30 second greeting on your phone (record in “landscape,” hold your phone horizontally, this way ‘---,’ not this way ‘I’) and email your video to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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.
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 ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
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.
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.
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 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